70 Years Later: The Great LA Air Raid Remains a Mystery

The Fort MacArthur Museum holds fundraiser on the 70th Anniversary of one of the greatest mysteries in LA history

February 1942 -- Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, the United States had already entered into Word War II and anxiety was high among Americans who had the attack on Pearl Harbor still fresh in their minds.

On the evening of Feb. 24, 1942 and early morning hours of Feb. 25, 1942 one of the most controversial events happened in LA history: The Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942.

An apparent and never confirmed attack by sea and air injected panic into thousands of Angelenos and a state of warfare over the city.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of this event, San Pedro's Fort MacArthur Museum is holding a fundraiser on Feb. 18. The museum "is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Fort MacArthur, a U.S. Army post which guarded the Los Angeles harbor from 1914 to 1974," according to its website.

During the Great LA Air Raid, unidentified objects were seen flying into the black Los Angeles sky, triggering an ordered blackout of the city with U.S. Army planes taking to the dark skies as reported by Bryon Palmer on CBS radio the next day.

Nearly 1,500 shots were fired into the sky and anti-aircraft guns were heard all around the Southland.

A Japanese submarine was reported off the coast of Long Beach, moving north toward Santa Monica.

The Los Angeles Examiner headlined its paper following the event, "Air Battle Rages Over Los Angeles." The Glendale News Press responded to the event by headlining its paper, "Anti-Aircraft Guns Blast at LA Mystery Invader."

The apparent "invasion" remains a mystery today, no single aircraft nor vessel was ever captured, shot down or confirmed spotted by U.S. officials.

It was a "false alarm," said the Secretary of Navy, Frank Knox, the next day.

"The event runs a wide swath of people -- people that like vintage music, people who are interested in the history, people who are looking to learn more about the events and also the conspiracy theorists, who are on the other side of the event other than the historic side that believe that this was the largest mass sighting of UFOs in American history," Joseph Janesic, vice-president of the Fort MacArthur Museum Association said.

The fundraiser will be hosted by the legendary Maxwell DeMille with music performed by Dean Mora and the Fort MacArthur Officers Club Orchestra.

Attendees can also expect a period dance exhibition by the Satin Dollz and a display of vintage military equipment.

Around 800 people are expected to attend, Janesic said.

It's a vintage atmosphere where people are encouraged to wear vintage attire, but not required.

Pre-sale tickets can be purchased for $20 via the museums website or for $30 the day of the event.

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