February 2, 2010
Kamikaze (Japanese, “divine wind”), suicide squadrons organized by the Japanese air force in the last months of World War II. The term was originally applied by grateful Japanese to a typhoon that destroyed a Mongol invasion fleet in 1281. It was revived in 1945 and applied to pilots who flew their aircraft, loaded with explosives, directly into U.S. naval vessels. Kamikaze pilots, sacrificing their lives in a last-ditch effort to stop the American advance, sank about 40 U.S. ships.