Tuesday, December 13, 2005

October 23, 1944: Jesting admiral

For anyone interested in Korean history, this archive deserves your attention long enough to get to the punchline.

Copy from Admiral Nimitz' press conference at Pearl Harbor clacked monotonously on one of the Associated Press's San Francisco teletypes. Suddenly a side item from Pearl Harbor set another teletype going. Bureau Manager Harold Turnblad whistled in surprise as he read: "Powerful Allied naval forces have attacked a portion of the Japanese fleet lying at anchor near the entrance to Fusan Harbor on the southeast coast of Korea . . . 26 of approximately 80 ships . . . were set afire . . . more than 70 Japanese vessels, including warships and transports, were . . . sunk."

Turnblad got off a bulletin over the A.P. domestic wire. Then the Honolulu teletype bucked and started again with the last line of the attack story, quoting Admiral Nimitz: "This communiqué, incidentally, is dated late June, 1592." Turnblad's whistle died. He fired a stop order after his bulletin, soon enough to catch the newspapers, but too late to prevent a broadcast over some San Francisco stations.

Later the red-faced A.P. explained to press and radio editors: "The Honolulu dispatch . . . gave no indication that Nimitz was jesting until transmission of the text of his simulated communique had been completed. The bulletin was killed . . . the moment the San Francisco cable desk discovered the Admiral was . . . quoting medieval history."

Ah, yes. The unstoppable Admiral Yi Sunshin of Kŏbuksŏn [geobukseon] ironclad Turtle Boat fame.


  1. Hey Kush, no reaction to the murder of peasants in China? I had to complain about you on my blog... It ain't good enough!

  2. I've been inundated with stuff. I do intend to write something along the lines of, "And everyone is surprised why?"

    Privately boycott Beijing.


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