Family Plane Hit By Zero Fighter

Rasa Fournier
Wednesday - December 13, 2006
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Martin Terii Vitousek (left) stands with his aunt Betty Vitousek and cousin Roy Vitousek III at the Pacific Aviation Museum Dec. 7. Above them is the Aeronca plane his father and grandfather were flying the morning of the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor. Photo by Nathalie Walker
Martin Terii Vitousek (left) stands with his aunt
Betty Vitousek and cousin Roy Vitousek III at
the Pacific Aviation Museum Dec. 7. Above them
is the Aeronca plane his father and grandfather
were flying the morning of the Japanese raid on
Pearl Harbor. Photo by Nathalie Walker,
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The Dec. 7 opening of the new Pacific Aviation Museum on Ford Island welcomed a host of distinguished guests including Palolo’s Martin Terii Vitousek, along with his aunt Betty Vitousek (of Kahala) and her son Roy Vitousek III.

“That’s my dad and grandpa in that airplane,” said Martin, pointing at the mannequins in the Aeronca 65TC suspended above him.

Martin explained that his grandfather, Roy A. Vitousek, would often take his son out on Sundays for flying lessons. On that fateful Dec. 7, 65 years ago, father and son were returning in the early morning hours from Molokai when they encountered the first wave of 150 Japanese Zero fighters headed to Pearl Harbor. Two of the Zero fighter planes attacked the Aeronca. Roy managed to land the damaged craft and successfully hid with his son in the bushes.


The Vitousek family meets with the president of the Pacific Aviation Museum, Clint Churchill, underneath the Aeronca plane flown by their relatives at America’s entry into WW II. Churchill shakes hands with Betty Vitousek, as Martin Terii Vitousek and Roy Vitousek III look on. Photo by Nathalie Walker

The Vitousek family meets with the president of the Pacific
Aviation Museum, Clint Churchill, underneath the Aeronca
plane flown by their relatives at America’s entry into WW II.
Churchill shakes hands with Betty Vitousek, as Martin Terii
Vitousek and Roy Vitousek III look on. Photo by Nathalie
Walker, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The Aeronca hanging from the museum ceiling is the very plane that Roy A. Vitousek flew, making history as the first American plane engaged in combat during World War II.

Roy also made a name for himself as a member of Hawaii’s territorial congress.

Betty Vitousek, at the museum to represent her family’s place in history, made her own history as a nurse during WWII and more recently by serving in Hawaii as a family court judge. She is now retired.

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