Big Island of Hawaii – Mauna Loa Volcano starts to erupted on November 21, 1935. Six days later a new vent opens spewing lava on the volcano’s north flank. A lava flow quickly develops, heading towards the town of Hilo. Hilo would be consumed by lava by mid January if no action was taken.
The US Army Air Corps is notified to divert the flowing lava bydropping bombs in it’s path. US Army Air Corps approves of the mission and on December 26th deployes six Keystone Bombers from the 23rd Bombardment Squadron, Luke Field – Ford Island, Pearl Harbor; as well as four LB-6 light bombers from the 72nd Bombardment Squadron.
Mission accomplished – Hilo town is spared by dropping twenty 600 pound bombs diverting the lava flow. The Airmen are looked upon as heros. Honored for saving Hilo town, but deemed cursed for fooling with Tutu Pele, Goddess of the Volcano.
Two of the bombers crash while landing back at Luke Field. Both pilots survive the mishap. A month later, on January 24, 1936 two aircraft explode in mid-air over Oahu. Six of eight airmen were killed. They were identified as the six who flew the volcano bombing mission. The US Army concluded that the two aircraft collided in flight.
Kanaka Maoli and Hawaiian Islanders show great respect as they know better; they know what really happened. The six airmen suffered the wrath of the Hawaiian Goddess Pele.