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Our Fighting Forces
DC Comics, October 1978, No. 181, 44 pages

Captain Storm, a WWII PT boat captain, leads the Losers in two stories related to kamikaze in the October 1978 issue of Our Fighting Forces. In the four-page comic entitled "The Samurai Dies at Sunset," a kamikaze pilot crashes into an American carrier and survives, but he quickly commits suicide when Capt. Storm tries to rescue him from the water. "American Kamikaze," the eleven-page leadoff story in this issue, tells the story of a suicidal mission by the Losers against the Japanese in Burma. World War II serves as background for these two stories, but the adventures depicted in this comic book have little connection to history.

Our Fighting Forces, a DC comic book series with assorted war stories, was published from 1954 to 1981. The Losers appeared in Our Fighting Forces starting in 1970 and continuing for over fifty issues. The Losers had four members: Capt. Storm, Gunner, Sarge, and pilot Johnny Cloud (the Navajo Ace). The name of Losers suits the team since they all had lost their previous individual DC comic series, but they together remained popular as a team throughout the 1970s. The name also fits well since Capt. Storm lost his PT boat, crew, and one leg earlier in the war when a Japanese submarine attacked his boat.

In "The Samurai Dies at Sunset," kamikaze pilot Lt. Saburo Okiya attacks an American aircraft carrier with his bomb-laden Zero fighter. Capt. Storm's PT boat is escorting the stricken carrier that has been hit once already in a kamikaze attack when he spots Lt. Okiya's Zero diving toward the ship. The Zero crashes into the carrier, but Lt. Okiya is thrown safely into the water. Capt. Storm, clinging to a piece of wreckage, rescues him. However, the kamikaze pilot dives away from the wreckage as Capt. Storm rescues a member of his boat's crew. Lt. Okiya then draws out his ceremonial dagger and commits suicide.

Plot inconsistencies make this story preposterous. The comic's third frame clearly shows several American ships far below Japanese kamikaze planes, but by the second page Lt. Okiya suddenly enters a fog that completely blocks his view. His controls are shot away so he cannot guide his Zero, but he still dives directly into the carrier. An officer on the carrier shouts to abandon ship even before the Zero hits, but this command possibly could have caused by another kamikaze plane that had crippled the ship. Even though the kamikaze plane crashes into the ship with a huge explosion, Lt. Okiya somehow gets thrown unscathed into the water.

The writer of "The Samurai Dies at Sunset" commits several historical errors. The kamikaze pilot dreams of ships sinking "like fiery torches in the Japan Sea," but the Sea of Japan between Japan and Korea is far away from the East China Sea where kamikaze hit American ships during the Battle of Okinawa. The pilots in the comic shout "banzai" as they raise sake cups to the rising sun Japanese flag, but Japanese during the war never treated their flag in such a reverential manner. The comic's kamikaze pilot encounters no American combat air patrol planes as he approaches American ships, which very rarely happened, especially in broad daylight, since radar usually detected them long before reaching the American fleet.

The story stereotypes the kamikaze pilot as someone who wants to commit suicide even apart from an actual suicide attack, but this notion has little basis in history. Lt. Okiya immediately thinks he must thrust a dagger into his heart when he cannot locate the enemy ships. However, if kamikaze pilots during the war could not find an enemy ship, they usually tried to survive in various ways such as returning to base or at worst making a forced landing on or near a small island. Lt. Okiya's suicide in the water follows the samurai way of committing suicide rather than getting captured alive by an enemy, but many downed Japanese pilots tried to escape or let themselves be captured rather than immediately turning to suicide.

"American Kamikaze" features the Losers in a desperate mission in Burma to destroy a cable car installation being finished by the Japanese Army in order to speed up delivery of supplies through the jungle. The Losers parachute from a plane into the Burmese jungle, but Japanese soldiers capture them. When the cable car installation has been completed, Capt. Storm and the other Losers accompany Major Kyoni, the Japanese commander, on the cable car's first trip. The cable car soon plummets to the bottom of the gulch when the cables snap from the corrosive acid put on them by Capt. Storm. The Losers barely escape from the cable car before it falls.

Major Kyoni admires Capt. Storm for his bravery in riding the cable car even though he knew that the cable would soon snap due to the effects of the corrosive acid. The Japanese leader says, "You are American samurai, committing hara-kiri for your cause. I salute you!"  Kyoni decides to stay with the cable car about to plunge down since he has failed, whereas the Losers climb out the windows to go along the cable by hand to escape to the other side.

This comic book's last story introduces a super spy with the code name of Falcon in a battle against Nazis. Even this comic has a kamikaze element as Falcon rams his plane into a German bomber headed toward Roosevelt and Churchill in Casablanca. However, Falcon does not die in the attack in the same manner as Japanese Army pilots often did when they rammed B-29 bombers. He ejects a microsecond before the crash.

This issue of Our Fighting Forces presents various perspectives on suicide attacks, but the stories are rather far-fetched with little historical accuracy.