Today marks a historical WWII anniversary for the Dundee area of Omaha. On April 18th, 1945, the corner of 50th and Underwood Avenue was hit by Japanese bombs. Jim McGee with the Dundee-Memorial Park Neighborhood Association says this was a serious incident involving a 32-foot Japanese balloon carrying six bombs. He says in the days ahead there was a lot of chatter but no official announcement – for good reason.
McGee says, “People didn’t know about it at the time because there was a campaign of silence. The government didn’t want the Japanese to know that any of these devices made it across the ocean and into the interior United States. Perhaps one of the reasons was that we were building the very Martin Bombers that bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” The Martin Bomber Plant was located in Bellevue.
McGee says the device flared brightly in the night sky but caused no damage or injuries. People rushed out of their homes in their pajamas to see the incident but didn’t know the details until years later.