Illinois History Minutes

December 7 Illinois History Minute


It’s December 7th, the day in 1941 when Japanese forces attacked the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu. More than 24-hundred Americans died in the attack, including dozens of Illinoisans.

They included Navy seaman 2nd class Bernard Conlin and Navy fireman 2nd class James Conlin, brothers from Decatur, who died on the USS Arizona. Army Air Corps Lieutenant John Dains of Mount Olive was one of the few American airmen to make it off the ground that morning. Some researchers think Dains shot down the first Japanese plane in the war. Some Illinoisans who killed at Pearl Harbor were identified only recently, including Navy Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Keith Tipsword of Beecher City, near Effingham.

His remains were identified and re-buried in his home town in 2022.