Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
February 21, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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February 21, 2014

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Watson From page 1 The setting of the times was primed for just such an event. Be- cause the attack on Pearl Harbor had occurred only three months earlier, the public's nerves were already a-jangle and it didn't help matters that only the night before, Japanese submarine 1-17 had sur- faced off the coast of Santa Bar- bara just long enough to lob a few shells at the Ellwood oil storage facility. This Ellwood shelling was only the latest event in a string of sightings and outright attacks by Japanese submarines on merchant shipping off the coast, including the sinking of the S.S. Montebello near Mon- terey, the shelling of the S.S. Idaho along the Big Sur coast and, closer to home, the torpedoing of the lumber carrier S.S. Absaroka not a mile off Point Fermin. The events of Febru- ary 25, 1942, all started at about 1:30 a.m. when, accord- ing to the U.S. Government's 1983 publication "The Army Air Forces in World War II," military radar picked up an "unidentified target 120 miles west of Los Angeles." The object was reported as "large" and travelling at an "exceedingly high rate of speed". Fearing that this may be the start of an expected Japanese at- tack on the West Coast, anti-air- craft batteries around the Los An- geles area were put on alert. At 2:15 a.m a city-wide black- out was ordered in the Los Ange- les area. Shortly after that, when the object was fairly close to Cata- lina Island, the unidentified target "vanished" from the radar, later wrote it off to radar malfunc- At 2:43 a.m the Army's infor- tion or possibly the presence of a mation center was flooded with re- weather balloon. ports of "enemy planes" near Long Nevertheless, many witness- Beach. This was followed up afew es claiming to have seen a huge minutes later by the report from a "magic lantern" or glowing golden coastal artillery colonel who re- "balloon" hanging in the middle ported "about 25 planes at 12,000 of the maelstrom gave rise to the feet" above Los Angeles. UFO conspiracy. Whether these At a few minutes past 3 a.m "lanterns" was simply the focal AAA batteries fired four shots point of all those explosives isn't into the air in response to several dear. accounts from local residents re- After the war, we learned that porting a "large object" over Santa while the Japanese had indeed Monica airspace. Those first sal- been planning a limited attack on vos were all that were needed for the Los Angeles area, they appar- the rest of the batteries in Los An- ently had nothing to do with the geles to "erupt like a volcano" Battle of Los Angeles. On Christ- For the next hour, pan- mas Day 1941, the Empire of Japan demonium reigned and had actually come within hours of artillery shells rained as a low-level attack on the city of AAA fire lit up the skies Los Angeles, but by the Battle of Los Angeles they had already can- celled their plans and withdrawn many of their submarines from the West Coast. from all points around the Los Angeles area. The F aerial firestorm was so great that no one could tell just exactly what--if any- thing--was up there and whether or not anything Jim Watson was getting hit. Columnist The AAA batteries kept firing until just af- ter 4 a.m. and the "all clear" was sounded at 7:20 a.m. The sun rose that morning on a Los An- geles area that was covered with shrapnel. School childrerl glee- fully gathered chunks of metal from school playgrounds and there were at least six deaths attributed to the event, including three heart attacks and three people who were killed by wayward artillery shells as they descended to earth. Not surprisingly, a UFO com- ponent began to emerge to this story in later years; something that wouldn't have occurred to anyone in 1942. It was never determined what the large object was that had been initially sighted and skeptics One way to see the island and participa- tion gives back STAFF REPORT The Conservancy's partner- ship with the Historic Hermosa Hotel has led to an innovative Eco Package Volunteer Vacations package that allows visitors to spend three days and two nights on the Island at a very reasonable price, while they help protect and restore Catalina's ecology. Eco Package Volunteer Vacations offer a great way for like-minded individuals and groups to have a positive effect on the planet while enjoying Catalina The original photograph that appeared in the February 25, 1942, edition of the Los Angeles Times showing the infamous "Battle of Los Angeles" in full swing. (Courtesy Los Angeles Times archives) Island's beauty and protecting its Package Volunteer Vacation, rare ecology, courtesy of the Hermosa Hotel. Participants have access to Recruit five friends to join you on parts of the Island that are rarely a Volunteer Vacation on Catalina seen by others. Island, and your trip is FREE! These donations of time and energy provide a way to enjoy the The $299 Eco Package Island's scenic interior and pictur- includes: esque beaches while being part of .1-year Catalina Island a unique conservation initiative. Conservancy membership Plus, participants have the sat- 2-day volunteer opportunity isfaction of helping preserve the On-site lunches rare ecology of Catalina Island. Round trip boat transporta- This is a vacation that makes a tion difference. Two nights (Wednesday and Nursing Plants at Nursery - An Thursday) at the Historic Hermosa aspect of Volunteer Vacations is Hotel. working at the James H. Ackerman For more information, please Native Plant Nursery on Catalina. call Mindy Malan at: Hermosa Through March 2014 Hotel 131 Metropole Avenue Earn a Free Conservancy Eco (310) 510-1010 ex. 300. All hore, WIN TIC TWO TO THE SERVANCY BALL! Blanny Avalon Hagenah, great-granddaughter of Ada and William Wrigley, Jr has donated two pairs of tickets to the 2014 Conservancy Ball! Two lucky Islanders and their guests can join in the fun of dancing the night away in the historic Casino Ballroom. The Conservancy Ball will be held on Saturday, April 5, 2014. Enter today at Conservancy House! Drawing will take place on Friday, March 7, at 5:00 PM. *You must be a Catalina island residenl AND a Conservanc), member or volunteer to enter. Only one entr/ per person. Mu/tip/e entries wi// be dis /i[/ed. H/inners cannot substitute others to a#end in their p/ace. CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY yeu are cordially invited AN EVENING- In the world famous On beautiful Catalina Island Sunday, Larch 10141 Oscar telecast, fine dining, dancing, auctions In support of the Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation Tickets available starting at $75 per person Call (310) 510-5160 for details Support us online at www.BiddingForGood.com/ClMCF m OUR SPONSORS --- CATALINA ISLAND RESORT SERVICES JEAN WELLS * AIR METHODS/MERCY AIR * REACH MEDICAL AIR SERVICES* CAROL REYNOLDS * HOFFMAN PLASTIC COMPOUNDS, INC * KEN PUTNAM * R & S MANUFACTURING AND SUPPLY COMPANY * ALPHA FUND * CPSI, INC * ANN & STEVE HINCHLIFFE KATHY & PITCH HAYNES-A- CATALINA ISLAND GOLF CART RENTALS * CATALINA PEST CONTROL * GARY DWIGHT * CONNIE & JOHN ERIEL. LLOYD'S OF AVALON * JAPED YOUNGER, MD 4 1 Friday, February 21, 2014 THE CAT&UNA ISLANDER