Colorized photo of a Japanese kamikaze attack on the USS Missouri
Some background on this photo.
April 11, 1945, the USS Missouri shot down all but one kamikaze planes, except the one in the photo. After the attack, a corpsman discovered the remains of the young Kamikaze pilot; only his upper torso was found. He called up to the bridge, asking whether he should discard it overboard. Missouri Captain William M. Callaghan made his controversial decision: “No, when we secure, take it down to the sick bay, and we’ll have a burial for him tomorrow.’ This did not sit well with many of Missouri’s crew. The pilot’s remains were taken to sick bay for examination before it was placed in a canvas bag and weighted down with dummy shell casings. Three of the crew stitched together together an improvised Japanese flag.
The next day, April 12, a burial at sea with military honors was performed. The ship’s chaplain performed the service and six pall bearers tipped the flag-draped remains into the sea to a volley of rifle fire. Although there was much bitterness among some of the crew, Captain Callaghan insisted it was the honorable thing to do. The pilot was “a fellow warrior who had displayed courage and devotion, and who had paid the ultimate sacrifice with his life, fighting for his country”. He understood his crew’s feelings toward the enemy— his own brother had been killed fighting the Japanese on Guadalcanal three years earlier— but he felt it necessary to show honor and respect to a brave warrior, even if he was the enemy. He believed the kamikaze pilot was doing his job, as his country demanded.