September 2, 1945:
Excerpt for our Nonfiction book Whispers From the Soul, by Don and Linda Pendleton.
On board the Attack Transport USS Rutland, riding anchor in the Philippines, Radioman Second Class Don Pendleton was on duty in the Radio Shack when a “plain language” Morse Code message from Washington D.C. produced a flurry of excitement. Most messages received during those war years were cryptically encoded for security purposes. A plain language message from the President of the United States himself would have been reason enough for some degree of anxiety for the radioman on duty at the moment. This particular message was awesomely stunning as the young radio-telegrapher began typing in the surprising announcement.
The Rutland was the Flag Ship of Attack Transport Division 47 which was already involved in the preparations for an all-out assault on the Japanese homeland. This division, comprising six Attack Transports with their full contingents of five hundred combat soldiers on board each ship, had been assigned to lead invasion forces in Northern Japan and they had been outfitted with foul-weather gear designed to protect them against the colder climate of the Northern Pacific. Don was a part of the Flag Group itself, directly under the supervision of the Task Group's commander, Captain C. L. Hutton, where his principle assignment was as the Petty Officer in Charge of an elite ten-man group of “Scouts and Raiders” who performed special ground missions behind enemy lines. When not involved in those duties, he worked alongside the Ship's Company in the Radio Room.
When the startling message from President Truman began forming in Don's earphones, his fingers caressed the keyboard of the typewriter and he was stunned to discover that he seemed to be typing out a script for a science-fiction movie. An Atomic Bomb had been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan?!
All of these warriors had known from the moment that the Task Force had begun marshaling for an invasion of Japan itself that this operation would be “one bloody son-of-a-bitch!” After Guam, after the Philippines, after Iwo Jima, after Okinawa and Ie Shima, they all knew that a ground assault of the Japanese mainland would produce the most ferocious and brutal battle that they had ever encountered.
But–an Atomic Bomb? What the hell could that mean? They were soon to discover what it meant. After the second Atomic Bomb had been dropped, this one on Nagasaki, the shaken Emperor Hirohito of Japan announced to his people that the war was over.
The “Tokyo Task Force” was already steaming north from Manila and all now understood the full import of that astounding message from the President. This war was finally over. The Japanese had sued for peace.
For the soldiers and sailors of the “Tokyo Task Force,” it simply meant that they would all be going home soon. A few weeks later, on September 2, 1945, Don and his small group of Scouts, en route to a survey of the docking facilities in Yokohama, sped in their small launch directly beneath the fantail of the USS Missouri, anchored in Tokyo Bay, as the official surrender ceremony was being readied for General MacArthur, Admiral Nimitz and the Japanese emissaries. The Tokyo Task Force soon after became a leading element of the “Magic Carpet Fleet” which began taking home soldiers, sailors and marines from around the Pacific.
Yes, World War II had ended. Planet Earth had just entered a dramatic new phase of human evolution from which there would be no turning back.
The Atomic Age had begun.
From "Whispers From the Soul: The Divine Dance of Consciousness" by Don and Linda Pendleton.