On Watch During the Japanese Attack

On Watch During the Japanese Attack – September 9, 1942


Ezra Ross

On September 9, 1942 at sunrise, an aircraft launched by the Imperial Japanese Navy submarine I-25 flew over Cape Blanco and Port Orford en route the initial bombing raid on Oregon’s forests.

Standing watch that day at the Coast Guard Station Port Orford was Seaman 2nd Class Ezra Ross, USCG Reserve.  Ross reported unidentified aircraft operating in the area, enabling the IV Fighter Command to begin tracking the aircraft, eventually resulting in a U.S. attack on the submarine later that morning.

For his actions that day, Ross was specifically cited by the commanding general of the Fourth Air Force.  The citation reads, in part:

To:  ROSS, Ezra L. (514-582) Sea2c, U.S.C.G.R., Coast Guard Station, Port Orford, Oregon. “The Commandant, Thirteenth Naval District, in is receipt of a letter from Brigadier General Barney M. Giles, U.S.A., Commanding General, Fourth Air Force, San Francisco, California, in which is cited the report of an unidentified plane from the Coast Guard Station, Port Orford, Oregon, at 0635, 9 September, 1942, as being of material assistance to the IV Fighter Command in the tracking the plane in question, with the further request that this be brought to the attention of the observer on duty.

“It has been learned that you were the observer mentioned….”

Mr. Ross passed away in October 2003.


U.S.Forest Service Long Ridge Lookout Post

After Seaman Ross reported his sighting, the aircraft was again spotted over the forests east of Brookings, Oregon by two U.S. Forest Service lookout posts, one at Mount Emily and the other at Long Ridge, about 30 miles from Brookings.  Lookout posts were manned by Forest Service personnel who were also trained as air defense observers.

Manning the Long Ridge post that foggy morning were
Ed Conley and his wife Esther


Esther and Ed Conley
with son


The road to the lookout post


The Conley’s reported the unidentified aircraft, resulting in the following citation from Brigadier General Barney M. Giles, U.S.A., Commanding General, Fourth Air Force, San Francisco, California:

“…two of the observation posts were of material assistance to this command through the reports they made on September 9th of an unidentified airplane near Brookings, Oregon. … The vigilance of these two observers is highly commendable.  The information they furnished the IV Fighter Command was of great value….”

Mrs. Conley currently resides in Port Orford, Oregon. Mr. Conley is deceased.