A Moment in Oregon’s History: 1945 Japanese Balloon Bomb Incident

Japanese Balloon BombsOn May 5, 1945 the Reverend Archie Mitchell, his wife Elsie and five children from the small town of Bly were on an outing near Gearhart Mountain. Archie was getting the picnic from the car while Elsie and the children walked into the woods. A moment later there was a terrific explosion.

Elsie and the five children, ranging in age from 11 to 14, were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb.

The balloon was filled with hydrogen gas and was one of 9,000 such balloons with bombs attached that Japan unleashed during World War Two. The bombs were intended to start forest fires along the Pacific coast. 

The six who perished near Bly were the only known casualties inflicted by Japanese attack on the U.S. mainland during World War Two. 

If you have enjoyed this moment in Oregon’s history, you can find more tales of the wild west, including non-fiction biographies and novels, audio books and DVDs, on my website:  Writing the West http://ricksteber.com