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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
July 25, 2014     The Catalina Islander
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July 25, 2014

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From page I The Japanese had occupied the Solomons in May of 1942 after expanding their sphere of influ- ence across the Pacific beginning with the Philippines. Since Gua- dalcanal was essentially the east- ernmost area of Japanese influence, it was decided in the halls of the U.S. military to attack there first. The fact that Allied reconnaissance patrols had discovered that the Japanese were building an airfield on the island was especially worri- some, because this would put Japanese bombers and fighter planes within range of Australia. On Aug. 7, 1942, U.S. Marines made their first assaults on the island, beginning what would be- come a long, arduous--and very costly--campaign to retake the island chain. And how does Catalina Island fit in to all this? Well, according to a United Press article that ap- peared in newspapers across the Jim Watson Columnist nation in August of 1942, a num- ber of Japanese soldiers captured by American forces during those first battles told their captors that they believed they were on Cata- lina Island, not Guadalcanal. "A strange story has been brought back to the United States from the steaming jungles ofGua- dalcanal, where many Japanese soldiers have died," says the article, "still believing they had invaded Catalina Island off the coast of California." According to the article, Chief Aviation Machinist's Mate A.A. Vaughn from the San Joaquin Valley town of Woodlake, Cal claimed he had talked to some of the Japa- nese prisoners who "admitted they originally believed they were on Catalina Island." His claims were echoed by fellow Machinist's Mate N.W. Ohlsson of Ashland, Wis. "One marine," said Vaughn in the article, "told me he had talked to Jap prisoners who boasted the United States might 'get back the Philippines, but would never get back the West Coast of America'." According to the article, it was unclear to the Americans whether the rank and file of the Japanese Army had been "misinformed" of their location as a morale building measure, or whether the Japanese soldiers had decided for them- selves that they had invaded the United States. The idea of the Japanese attack- ing Catalina isn't quite as outland- ish as some revisionists of history have claimed. When you consider how quick- ly and relatively easily the Japa- nese had attacked Hong Kong, Singapore, the'Philippines, Bang- kok, Wake Island, Midway and, of course, Pearl Harbor--all in the space of a few weeks--it's quite easy to understand how people on the West Coast may have had trouble sleeping at night. As a matter of fact, it was only after the war was over that we learned that the Japanese had indeed come within SEVERAL HOURS of launching a low-level assault on the Los Angeles area. Now, this was not to be a full-on D-Day type of invasion. It would have involved only a number of submarines, but still could have done quite a bit of damage. The low-hanging fruit they were after came in the form of the oil refineries and storage tanks in the Wilmington and San Pedro ar- eas. One of the little known facts of that era ("little known" because it was fiercely kept secret) was that the entire Allied war effort was largely dependent on that fuel in the early years of the war. Britain's Royal Air Force, for example, needed that fuel for their fighter planes and bombers during the Battle of Britain. Had Japanese submarines been able to make it into Los Angeles Harbor and shell those tanks and refiner- ies, Britain may very well have fallen and the war may have been over much quicker and without the desired result on the part of the Allies. Yes, it was those big smelly re- fineries and those big unsightly oil tanks that get painted up like Jack o'lanterns every Halloween that at one time held the key to the pres/ ervation of world civilization. But, fortunately, the West Coast attack never came. It happened only in the minds of a handful of Japanese soldiers and marines on Guadalcanal. servancy events Little Harbor Hike. Saturday, July 26 Starting from Two Harbors, this scenic 5-mile-plus hike trav- els the ridge route to Little Harbor. A beach barbecue lunch, includ- ing beverages, will be served at our reserved beachside picnic site and a shuttle will return hikers to Two Harbors. Los Caballeros Catalina Trek September 17 - 21 Members of Los Caballeros, all .accomplished horsemen of scheduled the Conservancy's Catalina Caballeros, enjoy their 65th Annual Catalina Trek. Catalina Film Festival September 24 - 28 Various Locations, Avalon Last year's Catalina Film Festival was bigger than ever with industry workshops, receptions and parties, award ceremonies and, of course, lots of film screen- ings. This annual competitive fes- tival includes awards in up to 10 categories. From page 1 . zation. "We're not talking about organizations like the Museum or the Conservancy which have their own donors and funding," he said, "but other Tier 2 groups." It's these smaller, more vul- nerable Tier 2 groups such as drug diversion programs and day care services, among others, that Rivkin and his group are target- ing. Besides Rivkin, the other principals involved in the organi- zation are Cliff Hague and Blanny Hagenah along with Newport Beach residents John and Barbara Heffernan. "We like to think we can help keep the fabric of the community from unraveling," said Rivkin. "If (these groups) lose their funding for more than a year, they can find themselves in trouble," he said. According to Rivkin, many of the Foundation's target groups are small, grass-roots types of orga- nizations and may not be large enough to be their own 501(c)(3) organizations. Not to worry, he & said. The Foundation can help match such small organizations to qualifying 501(c)(3) groups. Rivkin feels that one of the disadvantages that Avalon faces in funding for local community organizations is due to the lack of a traditional economic base. "There's no reason for just any- body to be out here in terms of industrial opportunities," he said, adding that Avalon's economy is based overwhelmingly on the ser- vice industry, an industry that is "not high paying." Groups interested in requesting assistance for their programs can do so through the Foundation's website. "There's a one-page form on the website," he said. "We're not looking for pages and pages of proposals. Just a one-page outline is all we need." So, too, can groups or indi- viduals get involved on the giving end of the equation and Rivkin said the group is very interested in growing its base of donors, as much at the grass-roots level as possible. On Saturday, August 2, the group will hold a meet-and-greet event in Avalon. Although the wine-and-cheese event will be by invitation only, Rivkin encourages interested parties to get in touch the Foundation through their web- site to arrange to attend. "Inquire through the website and we'll be happy to send an invite," he said. The Foundation's website address is www.catalinaisland- ina extreme It is critical that each of us on the island understands the need to continue with our water conservation efforts. STAGE 2 MANDATORY WATER RATIONING STARTS AUGUST 11th, For water-saving tips and more information, visit una f Es esencial que todos los habitantes de la isla sean conscientes de la necesidad de continuar con nuestros esfuerzos para conservar el agua. LA FASE 2 DEL RACIONAMIENTO OBLIGATORIO DEL AGUA COMIENZA EL 11 DE AGOSTO. Para consejos sobre cbmo ahorrar agua y para mas informacibn, visite SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ED SON" An EDISON INTERNATIONAL Company 2014 Southern California Edison. All rights reserved. THE CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, July 25, 2014 ; 13