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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 Suisei / D4Y Judy manufacture number unknown.
Assigned to 701 Kōkūtai (701 Air Group) based at Oita Airfield on Kyūshū. Tail code 701-122. Nose number 22 painted in white on the forward cowling.
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.
Before boarding the aircraft, Ugaki posed for a photograph wearing a pair binoculars. Afterwards, he removed his rank insignia from his Type 3 uniform (dark green) and carried the sword presented to him by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto when he boarded the dive bomber. The original pilot Warrant Officer Endo served as radio operator for the flight. Aboard, Ugaki was photographed seated in the rear cockpit. While taxing, Ugaki was observed to wave goodbye.
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 last radio message reporting 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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July 24, 2020
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