Wars for Peace
WW2 in the Pacific #2
On the morning of April 18, 1942, 16 B-25B Mitchell bombers took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet (CV-12).
The crew members felt angry, admiration, and just plain confused when their commander told them to practice taking off from 500 feet. Then they were astounded to hear that their commander was now going to be Lt. James “Jimmy” Doolittle. After days of hard work the pilots were ready for whatever it was to come.
The 80 crew members of 16 B-25B Mitchell medium bombers were startled to see the installation of extra fuel tanks and the removal of the radio from their planes. When they asked the ground crew why, they said they didn’t know why the commander tasked them with this.
The crew was even more surprised to see planes loaded on the aircraft carrier Uss Hornet. The B25 was designed to lift off from around 5,000 feet. But the Hornet’s deck was just 500 feet, measly for the B25.
After a few days on board, the orders were given early to take off. This was weird because they still had 250 miles until the usual launch zone. They were given no explanation.
Each pilot was nervous that they wouldn't make the 500 feet, that even with all the meticulous planning the plan will fail. Miraculously all the planes got off the deck. Now comes the 650 miles to Japan.
Many Japanese were sure that mainland Japan was safe from attack, Hirohito, the emperor, told them this. They believed him. So when they were bombed, this made them question Hirohito and wonder if he was a good emperor.
Tokyo was little defended, so it was easy to get through. Though damage was minimal, it boosted American morale by 1000%.
One B25 was consuming it´s fuel faster than expected so even though the raiders were specifically told not to, the B25 turned north towards Russia. It ended up about 40 miles north of Vladivostok. They were taken prisoner by the Soviets and their plane was confiscated and used as a troop transporter on the eastern front.
All the other planes either crashed in China or ditched in the ocean. The Chinese hid the survivors but all were eventually caught. All but one of the raiders returned home. He died when his plane ditched.
This article was written by Stella, a sixth grader, as part of her work with gr. 6 ELA teacher Ms. Cormier.
The article “Women Leaders: Helen Keller” and the book Out of My Mind describe young women who have had to overcome great challenges. Melody Brooks from Out of my Mind and Helen Keller are similar in many ways.
One similarity that Keller and Melody have is that they both had to overcome challenges. Melody was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was born, her condition had a constant impact on her life. Cerebral Palsy is a condition where a person can not speak or move properly. Cerebral Palsy does not affect the brain whatsoever. Melody thinks and learns just as well as any other kid, she just can’t control her limbs or get her thoughts out. Unfortunately, when some people see others who are different or disabled, they assume that they are simple minded or incompetent. Melody got this kind of treatment from many people she met. Nobody could look past the fact that she could not speak, could not walk, and that she had Cerebral Palsy. They could not see that really she was just like any other kid.
Keller was born a healthy child, but when she was nineteen months old she got extremely sick. Her sickness was so severe that she lost both her sight and her hearing. At nineteen months old Keller was speaking very few words, and with no sight and no hearing it was almost impossible to learn. So, her parents went out in search of answers. The Perkins Institute for the Blind recommended that Keller work with one of their most recent graduates, Anne Sullivan. On March 3, 1887, Sullivan went to Keller’s home and promptly began their lessons. Sullivan began with finger spelling, but it was hard for Keller to associate the word with the actual object. Sullivan got an idea, she took Keller out to the water pump and put Keller’s hand under the spout. As the cool water gushed over one hand, she spelled into the other hand the word "w-a-t-e-r" first slowly, then faster. Suddenly, the finger spellings had meaning in Keller's mind. She knew that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the cool substance flowing over her hand. By nightfall Keller had learned 30 new words.
Another similarity that Melody and Keller have is that they had trouble communicating. Cerebral Palsy made it so that Melody could not speak. Melody felt misunderstood, as if she was living in her own world, where she couldn't communicate, move on her own, and she was totally alone. Melody could remember everything, all the way back to when she was one year old. She remembered everything she had seen, heard, and felt, she also remembered everything she had ever learned. This is because she had a photographic memory, her mind could take pictures and keep them stored away until she needed information. Many people assumed that she was simple and unintelligent, but in reality she was probably smarter than everyone in the room. Melody was a genius, but nobody knew it, and she had no way to tell them.
It was almost impossible for Keller to learn to speak, considering she could not hear words, see sign language, or watch the movements of the mouth. Keller had no language with which she could communicate to her family, and she could no longer hear them. This meant her behavior was often challenging. She threw temper tantrums, over almost everything. She became wild and unruly, she would kick and scream. Her family members eventually gave into her desires in order to avoid her tantrums. By doing this Keller became quite spoiled, she got everything she wanted. However, Sullivan was convinced Keller had much more potential. Instead of giving Keller her way, she persisted. Though Keller was difficult and spoiled, Sullivan never gave up, and Keller eventually learned to speak.
Melody Brooks from Out of My Mind is very similar to Helen Keller. Both Melody Brooks and Helen Keller had to overcome many challenges. Both Melody and Keller had so many feelings and thoughts that they were dying to express. Keller benefited greatly from the love and dedication of her teacher, and I look forward to learning how Melody finds her path to happiness. Melody and Keller did not just survive, they thrived.