Well shame on you if you aren't classics like this;
After dozens of letters and many hundreds of manuscript pages exchanged between us, we finally met in March 1969 when Genda visited the United States. He was invited to the United States in part to participate in the Naval Institute’s distinguished visitor program. (I had been assistant editor of the Naval Institute Proceedings from 1963 to 1967.)That stuff is solid gold.
During his visit Genda spoke at the Naval Academy to an audience of Naval Academy midshipmen and faculty, and area USNI members. When asked if the Japanese had possessed the atomic bomb, did he believe they would have used it against the United States, he replied, “I think so.” When in a later conversation I raised the subject to him, he responded, “Why wouldn’t we have?” (He also spoke at the Smithsonian Institution while in the Annapolis-Washington area.)
That week Genda and I had a lengthy, private session at his Annapolis hotel. His English was excellent, his views candid, and his personality overwhelming. During our discussion of the Battle of Midway (June 1942), we spoke of the failure of the Japanese to detect in a timely manner the three U.S. carriers that arrived in the area unbeknown to the Japanese. One of the Japanese search planes had developed engine trouble and had not been immediately replaced. It was in that plane’s search sector that the U.S. carriers were located.
When I asked Genda if another scout plane from the carriers or one of the accompanying cruisers or battleship should have quickly been launched to cover that sector, he responded, “Of course.” Not really thinking, I asked whose fault it was that a replacement plane was not immediately dispatched. Without hesitation, he pointed to his own chest and said: “Genda!”
Genda sent me a very kind letter when he received a copy of our book—Aircraft Carriers: A History of Carrier Aviation and Its Influence on World Events, published in 1969. The title page listed me as author “In collaboration with” General Minoru Genda, Captain Eric M. Brown, and Professor Robert M. Langdon of the Naval Academy.
We exchanged notes over the next few years, albeit with far less frequency than when we were working on the book. He retired from the upper house in 1986 and passed away three years later, the day before his 85th birthday.