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IJN August 15, 1945
|Pilot Lieutenant Tatsuo Nakatsuru (KIA)
Commander Vice-Admiral Matome Ugaki (KIA)
Radio Warrant Officer Akiyoshi Endo (KIA)
Crashed August 15, 1945
Built by Yokosuka. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) as Type 2 Dive bomber / D4Y Suisei (Judy) manufacture number unknown.
Assigned to 701 Kōkūtai. Nose number 22 painted in white on the forward cowling. Tail code 701-122. This dive bomber operated from Oita Airfield on Kyūshū.
On August 15, 1945 after the Emperor made the radio announcement that Japan would surrender, a final kamikaze attack was planned against U. S. Navy ships off Okinawa. This Judy was scheduled to fly a mission under the command of Warrant Officer Akiyoshi Endo.
Although his subordinates protested, Vice-Admiral Matome Ugaki decided to take command of this aircraft. Before boarding, Ugaki made a final diary entry, noting that he had not yet received an official cease-fire order, and that as he alone was to blame for the failure of his aviators to stop the enemy and decided to fly a final kamikaze mission himself to show the true spirit of Bushido.
Completing his diary at 4:00pm, he joined his staff officers for a sake toast then entrusted his Sensoroku [personal diary] to his secretary of his class association with the instructions that it should never be place in enemy hands.
After posing for pictures wearing a pair of binoculars, he removed his rank insignia from his Type 3 uniform (dark green) and carried a sword presented to him by Admiral Yamamoto then boarded this aircraft. The original pilot Warrant Officer Endo served as radio operator. While taxing, Ugaki was observed to wave from the cockpit.
This Judy took off from Oita Airfield as one of ten aircraft on the kamikaze mission. Afterwards, three aborted due to engine problems. The remaining seven planes flew southward to locate U. S. Navy ships off Okinawa. At 7:24pm, Endo transmitted Ugaki's final radio message reported that the plane had begun its dive onto an American vessel. This aircraft failed to return. In fact, it did not manage hit any American ship and was likely shot down.
The next day, the wreckage of an aircraft with three bodies inside was located by the crew of LST-926. One of the occupant's head was crushed, missing his right arm was wearing a dark green uniform. The Americans buried the bodies on the beach. Likely, this was the wreckage of Ugaki's aircraft and his remains. All the other aircraft on the mission had only had two crew members.
The Ōita Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Takeoff Site Monument was built during October 1976 at Ōsu Athletic Park in Ōita City. The back of the memorial reads: "At 4:30 p.m. on August 15, 1945, the Pacific War's last kamikaze attack corps sortied from this site. The names of these men who died when they dove into American ships near Okinawa are listed at left." At left are the names Kamikaze pilots and crews, the first name is Matome Ugaki, 55 years, from Okayama Prefecture. Plus, seventeen others aged 19 to 24.
Fading Victory The Diary of Admiral Matome Ugaki, 1941-1945 mentions this loss page 624, 663-664, 665-666 (epilogue)
Ōita Kamikaze Special Attack Corps Takeoff Site Monument (photos)
J-aircraft "Admiral UGAKI's Last Flight & His D4Y Suisei *PICS*" March 7, 2007 [Page 1-2]
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