Early Technology in Its Infancy
Photo Courtesy of Infoage.com

While researching the Pearl Harbor incident on its 67th anniversary, I came across this vignette. As most of us have heard all the major stories before, I decided to write upon this uneventful sliver of history…

The story goes like this. A large blip appeared to the northwest of the island, the largest blip either of the newly trained radar operators had ever seen… They called Kermit Tyler, the switchboard operator. Having heard Hawaiian music all night and having been told the radio station plays Hawaiian music so the planes can hone in on it….and knowing that a flight of large B17’s was en route, Kermit made the logical conclusion, and said: “Don’t worry about it.”

America’s destiny changed 50 minutes later…

But had he spoken up, little would have changed. There was no method to warn the remote airbases.. none of the ships could have been moved, and considering that no one ever expected the attack to come, one has to consider what the recriminations would be if all the planes had been scrambled, and general quarters sounded across the entire fleet, over a laughable fear that then turned out to be the B17’s after all?

Kermit Tyler was cleared by all boards of inquiry, including the U.S. Congress. His only crime, one constantly faced by every single person on this planet, was that he did not think big enough outside the box, and did not refer the incident or seek additional counsel..

Kermit is 95 today and I believe still occasionally surfs off California… He was planning on surfing after he got off his shift at 8:00 am December 7, 1941, but the war he could not prevent… got in the way…

I see myself as one Kermit Tyler. Perhaps we all do.

To fight against that urge, explains a little why I continue to probe, pick apart, dissect, reformulate, investigate any incident that appears anomalous. Others may dismiss the evidence out of hand. We won’t know who is right until the anomaly has past…rectifying it with some preconceived notion. But if something falls hard into my lap, arbitrarily making me responsible for the welfare of others….. I do all I can… Unfortunately that’s just the way I’m wired…

I know. Sometimes you cluck your tongue and shake your head….and mutter that this intrepid soul has lost it…..

And sometimes you may be right; just don’t expect me to agree with you.

Otherwise, you may be just like the hero of this post…..and with all good intentions….restate his infamous words of historical significance to equal effect.

Hey. “Don’t worry about it…..”