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Don't worry about it.



Tyler was working in the information center receiving radar reports on the morning of the Pearl Harbor attack [Annotator's Note: 7 December 1941]. After the attack he spent alot of time being on alert. They were preparing to repulse whatever came their way.Tyler was interested in being a pilot and was interested in aviation. When he was young, a barn-stormer landed close to his house. Growing up, Tyler's family was middle class but couldn't afford for him to follow his dream of flying.When he was 23 years old he applied for aviation cadet training.Tyler had enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserve in 1932. As an enlisted man he would help clean parts and work on planes in the hope of getting a ride. He only recalls taking one flight.He saw a dive bomber crash and had to go out to clean up the mess. After that he backed out of trying to get a ride. Tyler's interest in flying was revived when he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).Tyler was a junior at UC Berkley, California. Around the 6th of October he heard from the Air Force that he had been accepted into the cadet program.After one year of training he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1937.In the CCC he had learned to respect the officers who ran the program. He was part of the surveying team. When not surveying he was part of a pick and shovel crew.Being accepted as an aviation cadet was one of the most pleasant experiences Tyler had.


Tyler took primary and basic training at Randolph Field then advanced training at Kelley Field [Annotator's Note: San Antonio, Texas]. The planes he flew were primitive biplanes primarily. In basic he flew the BT-9 which was a low wing monoplane.Tyler lost a friend during basic training. Out of 100 cadets who started three were killed and many washed out. Only 49 graduated.Tyler requested observation flying after graduation.In October of 1937 he was assigned to Moffett Field [Annotator's Note: California]. He was there until 1939. During that time the 20th and 35th Pursuit Groups were moved to Moffett Field. Tyler was transferred on 1 October 1940 after three years at Moffett.Tyler was moved into the 35th Pursuit Group. New groups and squadrons were being created. He was assigned to a squadron with Casey Vincent. They were the only two in the squadron at the time.Around the 1st of February he was told of a position in Hawaii. He took it.The men transferring to Hawaii were loaded onto a carrier and shipped to Hawaii. When they were 15 miles off of Oahu they took off from the deck of the ship. The were flying P-36 fighters.Tyler flew a variety of aircraft in Hawaii. He flew the OA-9 and P-40. He was even in charge of transition training for pilots to move from the P-36 to the P-40.In addition to his duty checking out pilots in P-40s, Tyler spent time developing his skills as a pilot.Tyler did not take part in joint training with the navy.


Tyler was 27 or 28 when he went to Hawaii. Hawaii was a pleasant place. There were alerts but Tyler never heard about them. Tyler lived off base with his friend Charles MacDonald. The two of them lived an idyllic life.Tyler was still living there with MacDonald when the war started.The Japanese were running wild in the Far East. Tyler kept up with what was going on.Tyler, now a 1st Lieutenant, and a number of other officers were sent to familiarize themselves with the information service. There was a table set that plotters would use when information came in from radar sites. There were five radar sites operational on December 7th [Annotator's Note: 7 December 1941]. The purpose of plotting the aircraft was for identification purposes.Fighters were kept on a two minute alert. After the men became familiar with the program they were taken to Fort Shafter [Annotator's Note: Honolulu, Hawaii] and shown how it would all work.About ten days before the attack, a roster was put out showing which pursuit pilots would be on station and when. On the Wednesday before the attack Tyler reported for duty at the station. He was surprised to see that it was just a telephone operator and himself. At the time there were no fighter planes on alert. Tyler was only there in case a plane got into trouble.Tyler's next shift was from 4:00am to 8:00am on Saturday [Annotator's Note: he means Sunday, 7 December 1941]. General Short had decided that the most likely time for an attack would be in the early morning hours. When Tyler reported for this shift he was surprised to see five men manning the plotting board looking over a few plots. There was no way for Tyler to know what kind of planes they were without identification people.


A few minutes after 7:00 [Annotator's Note: 7:00 a.m., 7 December 1941] one of the plotters made some entries on the board. The board he used covered areas outside what the other maps showed. There were two plots on the board.At about 7:15 Tyler got a call from the radar operator.The two men manning the radar were supposed to shut down at 7:00. The meal truck was late so they decided to continue running the radar. Lockard was more experienced so he was teaching the other man.When a large blip appeared, Lockard thought his equipment was malfunctioning. The men talked about it then decided to call it in. That is when Tyler got the call.Tyler had a friend who was a bomber pilot. He knew that B-17s were sent in groups of a dozen or so to the Far East so he thought that was what the men were seeing. The base operations officer, the base commander, and other officers were at Hickam Field waiting for the B-17s [Annotator's Note: American B-17 bombers]. That reinforced Tyler's thoughts that what the men were seeing were the B-17s.When he went outside and looked toward the harbor he could see puffs of smoke and airplanes dive bombing. He thought the navy was training.At 8:05 he got a call from a sergeant at Wheeler Field telling him that the field was under attack.Tyler called all of the stations and had them resume operations.At 8:15 Major Tindall arrived and took over.The information center was located in a barracks type building. A couple months after the attack an underground facility was constructed to house it. Tyler remained at the information center for several days before returning to his squadron, the 78th Pursuit Squadron. The squadron was moved to Kaneohe where they conducted fighter training.


On 1 September 1942 Tyler was transferred to the 44th [Annotator's Note: 44th Fighter Squadron] at Bellows Field as squadron commander. On 15 October the 44th was sent to New Hebrides to a new fighter strip. The squadron did a lot of training then started sending four ship flights up toward Guadalcanal.The Hawaiian music playing with no announcements all night was done when flights of B-17s [Annotator's Note: B-17 American bombers] were being sent over. When Tyler got in his car to go to work he noticed that the music was playing with no announcements. The B-17s that came in arrived during the attack and were attacked.When Tyler got the call he was certain that the planes coming in were the B-17s. There were also a number of other planes in the air at the time.Tyler wasn't about to wake his commander up at 7:15 in the morning. After the attack Tyler had to give testimony before a number of boards.Tyler had never seen the radar scope before the attack.The Japanese came in on almost the same course as the B-17s. The radar sets were primitive at the time and Tyler doesn't know if they were plotted or not. It wasn't until later that it occured to him that what he had seen on the plot must have been the Japanese.


The first board Tyler went before was the Roberts Commission. He also went before army and navy boards. The boards were not hostile to him at all. He has copies of all of the testimony from the hearings.Tyler got rapid promotions out in the South Pacific. He moved all the way up to Lieutenant Colonel but rose no higher. He thinks that is a result of the hearings.Tyler feels guilty to the degree that he was at the top of the training list. He was originally to be on duty at noon on Saturday and his time was changed to Sunday morning. He doesn't think that anything he would have done differently would have changed anything. Even if he had called out that the radar image was the Japanese, there were no fighters on alert to scramble. If they had had prior knowledge, Tyler guesses that they probably could have gotten 30 or 40 P-40s in the air.Even had Tyler recognized the threat nothing could have been done.In the first 24 hours after the attack there were rumors of Japanese landings on the North Shore of Oahu.After the attack Tyler's group was on alert but didn't do any patrol flying.Tyler had temporary duty as controller. He would not have been given that duty if the army thought was at fault for the attack.


Tyler flew a number of missions at Guadalcanal and again later in the Philippines. On the 15th of June 43 [Annotator's Note: 1943], Tyler was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became Operations Officer of the Fighter Command. He remained at this post until the 5th of May 1944.Tyler returned home and had a good life. He has no regrets.Around February of 1945 Tyler was sent back to the Pacific as a representative of the Air Force Board. It was a free lance assignment and Tyler was able to fly missions. At the time he was flying P-38s [Annotator's Note: American P-38 Lightning fighter aircraft].Tyler liked and disliked the P-38. He thought that bailing out would be difficult.During a flight from Guadalcanal Tyler was leading a four ship flight. He got into a brief scrap with Japanese planes but did not shoot any down. On another occasion he saw a Japanese shooting at his wingman but the Japanese pilot left when two other aircraft arrived.Tyler attacked a boat with about 20 other guys. He doesn't know how it stayed up with all of those planes attacking it. He also took part in dive bombing missions.Tyler retired from the military on 31 July 1961. He put in 25 years in the Air Force and four in the Marine Corps.Tyler has attended some of the ceremonies in Pearl Harbor but doesn't believe that there will be anymore of them.


Tyler feels Pearl Harbor was a strategic error of the Japanese. Over night people were lining up to enlist. After the attack the feeling was intense. When Tyler made the "don't worry about it" call, he didn't believe that the Japanese could have pulled off the attack and have someone like him on duty at the time of the attack. Tyler believes that it was fate that he was the one on duty at the time.Tyler feels that the Air Force treated him very fairly given the situation. He had very good assignments.

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