The Mitchell Monument

Students and Teacher Killed in Japanese Attack

Mitchell Recreation Area
Seventy years ago, May 5, 1945,  six U.S. civilians were killed in Oregon by a Japanese attack.  They were the only mainland victims of enemy action during World War II.  Killed were five kids ages 11 to 14 and their Sunday School teacher, Elsie Mitchell.  They were on an outing from Bly, Oregon for a picnic and some fishing.

They left their car and headed toward the creek when the kids spotted something odd in the brush.  Before they identified it, it exploded showering them with shrapnel.  It was one of hundreds of Japanese balloon bombs sent from Japan on the jet stream intended to explode and ignite the forests of the Pacific Northwest.  A tactic that failed.

Today, the site is a Forest Service picnic area with the Mitchell Monument to the fallen kids and their teacher as well as an Oregon Heritage Tree.  The tree, called the Mitchell Monument Shrapnel Tree, is a 160 year old ponderosa pine that still holds remnants of shrapnel from the explosion.

If you would like to explore the history of this little known site, go to Bly, Oregon, on Highway 140 between Klamath Falls and Lakeview, Oregon.  Then use the map below to get to the site.  It’s coordinates are: 42° 25′ 55.00″ N  120° 51′ 40.19″W.

Map to Mitchell Monument


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