Recent events made me realize that I missed April 18, the 68th anniversary of the killing of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. From Wikipedia:
Yamamoto held several important posts in the Imperial Japanese Navy, and undertook many of its changes and reorganizations, especially its development of naval aviation. He was the commander-in-chief during the decisive early years of the Pacific War and so was responsible for major battles such as Pearl Harbor and Midway. He died during an inspection tour of forward positions in the Solomon Islands when his aircraft (a Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” bomber) was shot down during an ambush by American P-38 Lightning fighter planes. His death was a major blow to Japanese military morale during World War II….
On 14 April 1943, the US naval intelligence effort, code-named “Magic”, intercepted and decrypted a message containing specific details regarding Yamamoto’s tour, including arrival and departure times and locations, as well as the number and types of planes that would transport and accompany him on the journey. Yamamoto, the itinerary revealed, would be flying from Rabaul to Ballalae Airfield, on an island near Bougainville in the Solomon Islands, on the morning of 18 April 1943.
U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox to “Get Yamamoto.” Knox instructed Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of Roosevelt’s wishes. Admiral Nimitz consulted Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr., Commander, South Pacific, then authorized a mission on 17 April to intercept Yamamoto’s flight en route and shoot it down….
Eighteen hand-picked pilots from three units were informed that they were intercepting an “important high officer” with no specific name given…. First Lieutenant Rex T. Barber engaged the first of the two Japanese transports which turned out to be Yamamoto’s plane. He targeted the aircraft with gunfire until it began to spew smoke from its left engine. Barber turned away to attack the other transport as Yamamoto’s plane crashed into the jungle.
Unlike Justice Stevens, I have no reservations about the killing of Admiral Yamamoto.