By Michael Collins
Los Angeles CityBeat/ValleyBeat – September 13, 2007
“It was huge; it was just enormous, and it was practically right over my house,” said the air-raid warden in later testimony during World War II’s darkest days. “It was just hovering there in the sky and hardly moving at all. It was a lovely pale orange and about the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. I could see it perfectly because it was very close. It was big!”
If the cover photo of the February 25, 1942, Los Angeles Times is any indication, the nine spotlights trained on a huge object over Culver City that couldn’t be shot down revealed a UFO terrorizing war-jittery Angelenos. At 2:25 p.m. the preceding day, flying objects were seen above the city, triggering air raid sirens and a blackout for fear of a Japanese attack.
At 3:16 p.m., anti-aircraft guns opened up on what was described as high-flying red and silver objects zooming over the basin, with one giant UFO slowly moving over the Westside toward Santa Monica, then southeast to Long Beach. By the end of the firing at 4:14 a.m. the next morning, more than 1,400 12.8-pound shells had been fired at the mystery airships but had no effect, other than killing at least six people and burning structures to the ground.
Within hours of the raid, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox held a press conference and declared the incident a “false alarm” due to “war nerves.” Whatever it was, the Great L.A. Air Raid Event of 1942 is held annually in February at Fort MacArthur in San Pedro, where much of the defense against these alien marauders took place. Hundreds of revelers, costumed in authentic 1940s fashion, drink and dance the night away until those pesky UFOs show up and the party blacks out as the sky lights up in anti-aircraft shelling and fireworks.
See FtMac.org or call (310) 548-2631.