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Xiphias Gladius

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Wanna see the most awesome photo EVER? [Dec. 9th, 2011|12:01 pm]
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You know what that is? That's four women fighting fires at Pearl Harbor after the attack. Looks to me like a black woman (or dark Pacific Islander, maybe Samoan -- hard to tell in a black-and-white photo), a Japanese woman, a Chinese woman, and a woman with her head turned away from the camera, but judging from the hair, and because I want it to be, I'm going to say she's Jewish. Because why not?

That's a REAL GODDAMNED PHOTO. WHY THE HELL HAVEN'T I SEEN THIS BEFORE? Why isn't this photo on the cover of every American history textbook ever?

Edited to Add: More details about the photo have come to light. As it turns out, this wasn't taken on Dec 7, 1942, but it was taken at Pearl Harbor, after the war had started. These women were just what they appear to be: a Hawaiian wartime firefighting brigade -- Elizabeth Moku, Katherine Lowe, Alice Cho, and Hilda Van Gieson. Ms Lowe says that this looks like a training exercise, rather than them actively fighting a fire. Ms Lowe and Ms Moku were best friends even before the war, and, after the war, Ms Lowe's kids called Ms Moku "Auntie Moku."

As for ethnicity: Ms Lowe is half Chinese and half Polynesian; Ms Moku is half German and half Polynesian. Ms Lowe wasn't as close to Ms Cho or Ms Van Gieson, so we don't have her account of what those women's backgrounds are, but judging from faces and surnames (and there are other photos where we can see Ms Van Geison's face), Alice Cho might have been Chinese, or possibly Korean, and it's hard to nail that down: Alice Cho is a fairly common name. Hilda Van Geison we can probably guess was of Dutch extraction.

Knowing all that, I find this photo every bit as awesome as I did before I knew it.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: vvalkyri
2011-12-09 05:10 pm (UTC)

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wow. looks like you found this on buzzfeed? More context re the finding?
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2011-12-09 05:12 pm (UTC)

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It's a photo of unknown people taken by an unknown photographer that was in the Getty photo archive of the day.

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/12/07/9249784-a-look-back-at-pearl-harbor-attacks-70-years-ago
[User Picture]From: vvalkyri
2011-12-09 05:16 pm (UTC)

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thanks for the link! I have several people I want to send to :)
[User Picture]From: jazzfish
2011-12-09 05:35 pm (UTC)

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... yeah, awesome.
[User Picture]From: whuffle
2011-12-09 05:51 pm (UTC)

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Nuts. Hate to say it, but the site this originated from now says they're no longer certain that it actually IS a real Pearl Harbor photo. And given some very minute inconsistencies, I could well see someone questioning it's veracity.

Sorry. Honestly, I wanted it to be true as well
[User Picture]From: xiphias
2011-12-09 05:55 pm (UTC)

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Well, even if it wasn't at the Pearl Harbor attack, it's still a bunch of tough firefighting women. So it's STILL cool even without that.
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[User Picture]From: whuffle
2011-12-09 06:00 pm (UTC)

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Haircuts & styles are inconsistent on two of the women. As are the cut of the jeans worn by two of them.

Actually, it looks like the four front figures are a more contemporary staged photo interposed on top of an older image.

But I'm just an amateur....
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[User Picture]From: tigerbright
2011-12-09 06:51 pm (UTC)

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+1
[User Picture]From: adrian_turtle
2011-12-09 07:01 pm (UTC)

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Are you thinking of the jeans on the woman in back? To my eye, those look like they were cut down from a pair of men's overalls. As for hairstyle...The woman with straight hair probably didn't start out with her hair lose. It's easy for a hat to fall off in that kind of work, and braids or hairpins to come undone.

[User Picture]From: wcg
2011-12-09 05:52 pm (UTC)

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Yes, that's great. Thanks for featuring it.
[User Picture]From: tigerbright
2011-12-09 06:51 pm (UTC)

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AWESOME.
[User Picture]From: shmuelisms
2011-12-11 03:57 pm (UTC)

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I'm pretty sure I saw this photo, with the same attribution you give, "years ago" (can't recall how many). So the claim, at least, isn't new.

I also love how everybody is a damned skeptic these days. "We/they couldn't possibly have been that awesome". Sigh.
From: (Anonymous)
2011-12-13 02:00 am (UTC)

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According to an interview with one of the women on NBC news the photo was taken several days after Pearl Harbour when they were in training.