When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Carl and Shelley Mydans were already covering the effects of World War II in the Pacific. Early in 1941 they went to Pearl Harbor, in Hawaii, and China, and later to Manila, in the Philippines.
Clark Air Base, a U.S. Air Force base on Luzon Island, was overrun by Japanese forces in early 1942. On the first day of war in the Pacific, the Japanese managed to destroy the American planes on the field. Some pilots escaped to fly again; some fought and died as infantry soldiers on Bataan and Corregidor; and others died in Japanese prison camps. This group portrait of pilots was taken just a day after the Japanese had destroyed their grounded planes. In January 1945, after three months of fierce fighting, American forces reclaimed the air base.