About This Site

The Japanese Balloon Bomb Website was developed by an Oregon resident, Joe Tracy, to help get the word out about the Japanese Balloon Bomb attacks during World War II. It is an informational and educational Website. You can contact Joe Tracy via joetracy@earthlink.net.

A Message From Joe Tracy:
I've lived in Oregon for a long time and it wasn't until 2008 that I first learned about the balloon bomb attacks when the documentary On a Wind and a Prayer aired on TV. As I was watching, I found myself intrigued by this aspect of World War II that I had never heard of before. The concept of the balloon bombs was genius - build balloons that travel along the jet stream to the United States then drop bombs. As far as war strategy goes, it was a bold move. But an even better strategy was the United States keeping the media quiet about the attacks so that Japan would deem them a failure (which they did).

It wasn't until later in the documentary that I learned about six people in Oregon, including five children, being killed by the balloon bombs. My heart sunk. Here are innocent people out for a picnic and a curious move by one of the kids sets off a bomb that would affect several different families. Five children died along with a minister's wife who was pregnant. It was heart-breaking.

I found myself expanding my studies of the Japanese balloon bomb story to several different mediums. I read books, read newspaper articles, magazine articles, and watched videos. I was impressed with On a Wind and a Prayer for its ability to tell the overall story.

And then there was On Paper Wings, which took a completely different approach to the events in 1944 and 1945. On Paper Wings is a documentary that studies the human impact of those involved in the Japanese balloon bomb incidents. From the Japanese schoolchildren who built the balloons to the families in Oregon that lost children, brothers, and sisters, the documentary humanized the whole story. But it went beyond that and brought healing. It brought healing to those who have followed the story.

The story of the Japanese balloon bombs is intriguing because so few Americans (to this day) know the story. Few realize that the only American civilian casualties in the continental U.S. happened at the hands of a balloon bomb. And five of those casualties were children. Six if you count the one the minister's wife was carrying.

As you learn more about this amazing time in history, I hope that, like me, you will come to appreciate what it means to forgive and what it means to unite in the face of something so deadly. For in the end we all share the following in common: we are human and we have feelings. By healing our enemies become our friends and we share in the joy of that unity.

Joe Tracy