Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Wes Ruth | Utility Squadron 1 (VJ-1) - Navy

4:51   |   Wes Ruth was eating breakfast when he saw the planes coming in. He thought they were ours until the bombs started falling. As he drove frantically to his hangar on Ford Island, he saw the USS Arizona hit. The Japanese had made their move. As a photo-recon pilot, he was dispatched as soon as the attacks ended to search for the enemy fleet.

More From Wes Ruth

Keywords   :     Wes Ruth    pilot    photography (photo)    Pearl Harbor    Japanese    USS Arizona (BB-39)    Ford Island    Honolulu HI    Sikorsky Aircraft    Pearl Harbor Betrayed

Videos ( 6 )
  • Wes Ruth  |  WWII  |  Utility Squadron 1 (VJ-1)  |  3:13

    It was a way to get into the airline industry. Wes Ruth figured that experience as a Navy pilot was the best way. After training, he was assigned to a photographic squadron in San Diego. The year was 1939 and, in 1940, he was transferred to Pearl Harbor.

  • Wes Ruth  |  WWII  |  Utility Squadron 1 (VJ-1)  |  3:46

    Wes Ruth piloted one of the first aircraft to take off from Pearl Harbor following the Japanese attacks. He was a member of a photographic squadron, but his task became determining the location of the enemy fleet. For his actions this day, he was awarded the Navy Cross.

  • Wes Ruth  |  WWII  |  Multiple Units  |  4:32

    Navy pilot Wes Ruth served with a photographic squadron based out of Pearl Harbor until 1944 when he became a transport pilot between the West Coast and Pacific islands. After the war, he enjoyed a number of training and photographic assignments that sent him around the world.

  • Wes Ruth  |  WWII  |  Multiple Units  |  3:31

    The devastation of the Pearl Harbor attacks could have been mitigated had clear warnings been acted upon. Wes Ruth explains these shortcomings as detailed in the book, "Pearl Harbor Betrayed."

Cold War
  • Wes Ruth  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  4:57

    During the Cold War, Navy pilot Wes Ruth flew many photographic and mapping missions, including a memorable one to Central and South America. He then had his first shipboard experience on board a support ship for patrol planes. For a time, this vessel was stationed near China to keep tabs on the activities of the Chinese Communists.

  • Wes Ruth  |  Cold War  |  Multiple Units  |  4:16

    As a Navy pilot, Wes Ruth had a number of assignments related to photo-reconnaissance during the Cold War, including the research and development of Navy technology. He also studied the progress of our Allies in that crucial area. He then took command of a patrol squadron. His last stop before retiring was in Naval Intelligence.

Showing : WWII Videos
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