Glenn Miller - An American Icon
While December 7, 1941 is truly a date that lives in infamy, the Japanese invasion of Wake Island on the same day is sometimes overlooked. The first attack on Wake happened just hours after Japanese planes filled the skies over Pearl Harbor. Wake Island is a small atoll in the South Pacific, barely above sea level, and it was undermanned and unready for an attack.
Wake Island was garrisoned by a small force of military personnel. The 1st Marine Defense Battalion with 450 officers and men was not at full strength. There were twelve F4 Wildcats on the base commanded by Marine Aviator Major Paul A. Putnam. The Wildcats would play an important role in keeping the Japanese invasion force at bay over the next few days.