For much of the country, the weather Hawaii was experiencing in the late stages of autumn 1941 would have been considered unseasonably warm, but in Hawaii, the mild temperatures and partially cloudy skies were common at that time of year. Nobody on the island of Oahu on December 7, 1941 expected there to be any significance to the weather conditions, but little did they know that the beautiful weather would lead to the start of a terrible morning. As Japanese fighters crossed the Pacific, they were given hope that their mission of a sneak attack on the 7th US Fleet anchored near Honolulu in Pearl Harbor would succeed when the announcement was made of “clouds mostly over the mounts. Visibility good.” There was nothing obstructing their sight-lines, no heavy cloud cover to hide the harbor and no heavy rains to make flight difficult. After crossing the rough waters of the North Pacific, the Japanese were met with a clear “long white line of coast” once the island was in view. Though the United States suffered greatly due to the clear conditions of the morning, something else was happening approximately 2,200 miles away at Wake Island. Scheduled to return to Pearl Harbor on the morning of the 7th, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, encountered unfavorable conditions. As the Enterprise tried to return on schedule, she was met with rough seas that delayed the arrival, this turned out to be a strike of good fortune. Had the mighty vessel made it back to Pearl Harbor on time, she would have been engaged by Japanese fighters and likely damaged or destroyed. The USS Enterprise played a vital role in World War II, earning enough commendations to become the most decorated US ship in the war. The good weather at Perl Harbor aided the Japanese attack, but the adverse weather that prevented the Enterprise from returning and perhaps being sunk, greatly aided the American cause and that ship helped turn the tide of the war in the pacific.
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