Two days ago the world lost a very unique man. Actually that is quite an understatement. He was more than unique because he was one of a kind. There had been others like him at one time but nobody remained at War with the United States and its Allies of World War Two for as long as Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda did. For many years he waged his War single handedly.
I’ve read his book “Never Surrender” and I thought about how many people have gotten through some seriously hard times because they had no choice in the matter and they played the cards they were dealt. What makes Onoda different is that what he did had nothing to do with playing the cards he was dealt. Cards are a game of chance. People who play cards often fold.
It wasn’t by chance that Hiroo Onoda became a Soldier. He voluntarily enlisted in the Imperial Japanese Army. He later earned a Commission. He was trained as an Intelligence Officer in a Special Warfare Unit. He was sent to the Philippines and was left there to carry out a special Mission after the Japanese Army withdrew from there. He didn’t then “play the cards he was dealt”. He was there to carry out the Orders he was given and he did so for Twenty Nine Years. Most Japanese Soldiers were ordered to lay down their life for their Emperor and Homeland. Lieutenant Onoda was ordered to remain alive, avoid being captured, to continue to resist the Enemy, gather Intelligence and prepare the battlefield for the return of Japanese Forces as best as he could.
After 29 Years his Commanding Officer returned to read the official Order of Surrender that was issued in 1945. Only then did Lieutenant Onoda end his Mission. It is my opinion and the opinion of many that Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda is the greatest Japanese Hero of World War Two. He fought and lived with Honor. He is worthy of respect.
As a small token of memorial I offer a movie that I can’t help but believe that Hiroo Onoda might have seen at some point in his life. While it was being produced and released to the silver screen, Lietenant Onoda was carrying out his Orders on the island of Lubang. This movie is one of my all time favorites. Sushi and Sake are on hand for a flight to the South Pacific.
Tonight I offer a toast to a simple man who spent the years of his youth as the ultimate Warrior.
As our previously unplanned Saturday Night Special I give to you, Hell in the Pacific…