Ogawa file photo [2353]

Kiyoshi Ogawa

Given NameKiyoshi
Died11 May 1945


ww2dbaseKiyoshi Ogawa was born in 1922 in the Gunma Prefecture in Japan. He studied at the prestigious Waseda University and became a student-soldier, gakuto, after graduation. He was trained as a pilot and was assigned to the 306th Fighter Squadron of the 721st Kokutai with the rank of ensign in the Japanese Navy. Near the end of the war, he volunteered to be a Special Attack Force pilot. On 11 May 1945, American carrier Bunker Hill operated as a part of Task Group 58.3, 122km to the east of Okinawa, and was struck by the large-scale kamikaze attack dubbed Operation Kikusui Number 6, which Ogawa took part of. At 1004, Marine pilot Captain James E. Swett reported two Japanese fighters approaching; one of them was piloted by Ogawa. The unknown pilot struck first, releasing his 250 kg bomb which tore through the entire ship and exploded in the sea below, then the aircraft struck and destroyed most of the armed and fueled American aircraft on the flight deck. Ogawa dove next. His 250 kg bomb ignited aviation fuel, and then the aircraft dove into the flight deck near the control tower. Ogawa died at 1005 that morning. The two attacks killed 373 American servicemen and caused serious damage to the carrier that placed her out of commission for the remainder of the war.

ww2dbaseOgawa's aircraft was not destroyed. Bunker Hill's sailors found a letter Ogawa wrote on him. It said

"I will make a sortie, flying over those calm clouds in a peaceful emotion. I can think about neither life nor death. A man should die once, and no day is more honorable than today to dedicate myself for the eternal cause.... I will go to the front smiling. On the day of the sortie too, and forever."

ww2dbaseThe letter and other personal effects were returned to Ogawa's mother and other members of his family on 27 Mar 2001.

ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Oct 2006

Kiyoshi Ogawa Timeline

11 May 1945 Kiyoshi Ogawa passed away.


Carrier USS Bunker Hill burning after the second special attack off Okinawa, Japan, 11 May 1945Wreckage of Ogawa

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Mallory White says:
21 Nov 2012 08:03:25 AM

This story was interesting...and so sad. I've always really loved Japanese culture and history. I felt my heart break as I read his letter. How proud he was to die for his country and people. In war you cant be upset can you? He was there to take out the other side just like the Americans. I am an american and I can understand this.
But I am 21..he was only a year older than I when he made his last flight. I wonder if he was truly clam in flight through the calm clouds? I wonder what his last thoughts were as he crashed into the ship? A dark day no doubt for his family.
very moving story...

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Kiyoshi Ogawa Photo Gallery
Carrier USS Bunker Hill burning after the second special attack off Okinawa, Japan, 11 May 1945
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Famous WW2 Quote
"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue."

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