From: Lone Star Nation
February 24, 1943
Newly minted Lieutenant Suzuki Kaito walked away from his G4M1 bomber, leaving it in the care of his ground crew after yet another training mission over the Ocean near Yokohama. Training had continued day in and day out for three months, and he was finally nearing graduation. As the third son of a relatively influential branch of the powerful Suzuki clan, Kaito believed fighting in the Naval Air Service was the best chance to win honor for his family. He had not realized how long the training period would continue, however. As news of one victory after another reached Japan from the front, he felt like the war was passing him by.
Kaito's reverie was interrupted by another pilot in his Hikotai, Lieutenant Haseyama Soru. "Heard the news? All pilots and co-pilots are meeting in the ready room. Rumor is we're finally heading out for combat!"
"About time!" exclaimed Kaito. "I wonder where? Rabaul? Java?"
"All the action is in Burma right now. It's got to be Burma," said Soru.
"But that's Army Air Force territory," argued Kaito. mens' conversation blended into many similar arguments as the pilots of the Hikotai filed into the ready room. While not boisterous by Western standards, the din was a riot in Japanese terms. Total silence descended as the Hikotai's Commanding Officer, Captain Kitano Hidetoshi, marched into the room.
"Gentlemen, I will not mince words. The hour has come for you all to serve the Emperor in battle."
Cheers erupted from the group of trainees, and it took a short time for Kitano to restore order.
"Enough! You may wonder why these orders have come shortly before the formal conclusion of your training period. You may also be curious as to the location of your first posting. The answers will surprise you."
"This morning and afternoon, an armed merchant cruiser operating at the limit of Japanese aircraft patrols was attacked by American carrier torpedo bombers. Hit twice, the brave ship stayed afloat long enough to launch its floatplanes. One plane confirmed the presence of an enemy task force with several escort carriers. The other plane flew directly to the nearest Japanese base to ensure that the sighting would be reported even if radio messages failed to get through."
Always a bit of a showman, the Captain paused for effect before dropping a bombshell.
"The base where the floatplane landed was on Shimushiri-Jima in the Kuriles. Gentlemen, the enemy threatens the homeland, and you will be called upon to defend it until reinforcements can arrive from the Southern Resource Area. You must not fail in this sacred duty. Remember your training here, and use it well. We will take off immediately for Ominato, then on to Shimushiri. Banzai!"
Kaito joined the other pilots in a hearty response. Inside, however, he worried. Although they were for all practical purposes fully trained, it couldn't be good news that the Empire was relying on unseasoned pilots to defend the Home Islands. He had wanted to go to the front, but it appeared that the front had come to him.
< Message edited by Cribtop -- 3/17/2013 9:38:59 PM >