Army & Navy: Local Color

The planes the Japs bombed on Hickam Field at Pearl Harbor wore an identifying emblem that had marked U.S. warplanes since World War I, and was as familiar to air-minded Americans as the national flag: a white star superimposed on a circular blue background and carrying a red disc in its center.

The early weeks of war proved that the traditional emblem had a bad drawback: from certain angles on the wing of a plane diving or turning in the sun, the red heart of the star could be confused with Japan's plane marking—a...

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