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On the morning of December 7, 1941, the United States of America was thrust into a war it tried to avoid. On that day, described by then President Franklin Roosevelt as “a date which will live in infamy,” Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, a US Naval Base in Hawaii. Over 2,300 Americans died that fateful tragic day. Seventy-seven years since and we still have yet to fully grasp the many Pearl Harbor survival lessons that we should have learned.


Be Prepared

Perhaps one of the most important Pearl Harbor survival lessons learned from this debacle is the value of preparation. Pearl Harbor was ill-prepared for such an attack. Considering the rest of the world was already at war, the least it could do was pay attention.

Preppers and survivalists believe that being prepared for anything will keep them alive. When it comes to war, it’s difficult to say that things will be easier if you are prepared. However, you have a better chance of surviving if you are.


Fortify Your Home

Reinforced Concrete

One way to prepare for an attack is to fortify your home. Your house may not withstand a direct hit unless you make it bombproof. One way to strengthen it is to use enforced concrete. Of course, this mainly applies to new houses or buildings though you can have some major renovation done on your home.



If you’re a fan of Mythbusters, you know that truck bed liners are effective against bombs. As incredulous as this may sound, the ragtag crew of the defunct TV show proved that applying bed liner to the inner and outer sides of wooden and cinder block walls made them blast-proof. You can watch the episode here.

Earth Berm

You can also build bomb-proof shelters in the ground. You’ll be doing a lot of digging obviously. Unfortunately, shovels and other digging tools may not be enough. You will need to rent an excavator. After the digging, build your earth-sheltered house with concrete, cement blocks, and rebar. Don’t forget to waterproof your underground shelter.


Shatterproof Windows

You definitely want your windows to be bulletproof but that would cost a fortune. If you’re not that rich, you can use shatterproof windows instead.


Survival Gear and Supplies

Even if you survive the actual attack, you still have a humongous obstacle to pass through before you can say you’re completely safe. There’s a high chance the attackers will attack again. In the case of an invasion, the culprits may stay within the vicinity until they take over everything.

If that is the case, you won’t be able to leave your home to look for food, water and other necessities. This takes us back to preparation. If you previously filled your prepper pantry with enough supplies to last a while, you’ll no longer have to risk your life outside the safety of your shelter.

Other survival gear and equipment you will need include fire starters, first aid kit, thermal blankets, warm clothes, multi-tools, knives, and a respirator to protect your body from the dust and other particles resulting from attacks.


Watch for the Signs

The United States had every reason to believe that they could be targeted by the Axis powers. While they did not participate in the war directly, they sent war supplies to the Allied Forces, particularly France, Great Britain, and Russia.

Few of you may know that the US government got wind of a Japanese message sent the day prior. In the intercepted message, the Japanese were inquiring about berthing positions at Pearl Harbor. Basically, they were asking about where the vessels or ships were moored. On the morning of the attack, American radars picked up the presence of a large group of planes flying to Oahu. Both clues were disregarded and the results were devastating.

Back at the home front, you can survive an attack if you pay attention to the warning signs. Install cameras and alarms around your property. These will tell you if an intruder is within the vicinity. Once the alarm goes off, you should have enough time to hide the family and arm yourself in case things get ugly.

Things get more difficult at night when you can hardly see. Even if you have a home security system, you should also have night vision goggles so you can spot intruders lurking in the dark. It will also come in handy when you have to confront and fight off the attackers.


Fight Back

Another of the impressive pearl Harbor survival lessons learned that day was to fight back. Despite being caught by surprise, the Americans managed to fire back at the Japanese. In fact, a certain African-American cook became famous after taking over a 50-caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun and shooting down up to six enemy planes. You may remember the man, Messman Third Class and Navy Cross awardee Doris “Dorie” Miller, from Cuba Gooding Jr.’s portrayal of the American hero in the 2001 film Pearl Harbor.

You probably don’t have ground-to-air missiles or an anti-aircraft machine gun so the chances of you shooting down enemy planes are nil. But if the attackers come by land, you’ll have a fighting chance.

Aside from fortifying your home, you should also be able to protect it. Invest on firearms and ammunition legally, of course. Learn how to use them properly and responsibly. Make sure you put your gun and ammo in a safe place, especially if you have children.

Remember, however, that your ultimate goal is to survive not to get a Presidential Medal of Freedom. If you can avoid going head-to-head against the assailants, you’ll have a better chance of surviving. Fighting with the perpetrators should only be done as a last resort.


Go to The Gentleman Pirate to know more information on how to prepare for the dangers brought about by fellow humans. There are articles on surviving terrorist attacks, keeping your home safe from intruders, and other ways you can avoid being victimized by other people.

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