Date of infamy: A look back at the Pearl Harbor attack

On the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, lasted about 90 minutes, killing 2,333 American military personnel and wounding 1,139.

The first targets were airfields in Oahu, to prevent a counterattack by air. In the first wave, at least 181 Japanese planes started bombing and strafing airfields and ships in Pearl Harbor around 7:55 a.m.

Pearl Harbor anniversary
(Kurt Snibbe/Southern California News Group)

An hour later, 170 more planes arrived in a second wave. The attacks ended just before 8:50 a.m.

Japan’s main targets were eight United States battleships: seven moored along Battleship Row, and one in dry dock across the channel. Three sank, one capsized, one was beached and the rest were damaged.

  • The Attack 1941 On Pearl Harbor

    388685 06: (FILE PHOTO) Ford Island is seen in this aeriel view during the Japanese attack on Pearl harbor December 7, 1941 in Hawaii. The photo was taken from a Japanese plane. December 7, 2001 marks the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. (Photo by Getty Images)

  • Shrapnel Damage

    December 1941: Dan Pires the caretaker at Punahou School, Honolulu examines a chunk taken out of a window sill by anti-aircraft shrapnel after the attack on Pearl Harbour (Pearl Harbor). (Photo by John Titchen/Three Lions/Getty Images)

  • Pearl Harbor Attack

    An explosion at the Naval Air Station, Ford Island, Pearl Harbour (Pearl Harbor) during the Japanese attack. Sailors stand amid wrecked watching as the USS Shaw explodes in the center background. The USS Nevada is also visible in the middle background, with her bow headed toward the left. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

  • War Bulletin

    7th December 1941: The newspaper tells of bombing in downtown Honolulu an hour and a half after the attack on Pearl Harbour (Pearl Harbor) by the Japanese airforce. (Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images)

Approximately 119,550 of the more than 16 million veterans who served in World War II are alive, according to 2023 Veterans Affairs statistics. In 2020, there were about 325,574 World War II veterans alive. Approximately 10% reside in California, the most of any state.

Pearl Harbor anniversary
(Kurt Snibbe/Southern California News Group)

By the numbers: Totals for the Pearl Harbor attack

United States

2,403 dead; 68 civilians

188 aircraft destroyed; 155 damaged

18 ships damaged

Consoling feature: All three of the U.S. aircraft carriers stationed at Pearl Harbor were out to sea. The USS Arizona and USS Oklahoma were the only two of the eight battleships that were not repaired.

Imperial Japan

64 dead; 55 in aircraft and 9 in minisubs

29 aircraft destroyed; 74 damaged; 5 minisubs destroyed

Pearl Harbor anniversary
(Kurt Snibbe/Southern California News Group)