The A6M entered service in 1940 and became known as the Zero because of the Japanese
designation of Type 0 Carrier Fighter. The Zero technology was years ahead of any other fighter
and had no problem clearing the skies of opposing aircraft. There were numerous variants of the
Zero including the folding wing A6M2 Model 21 designed for carrier operations. The A6M2 was
the most produced Japanese aircraft of WWII. As the war went on the Model 21 would be the
Zero variant that most Allied pilots would encounter.
Takumi Hoashi was one of the Zero pilots launched during the first wave attack on Pearl Harbor
from the aircraft carrier Shokaku on December 7, 1941. His mission, along with others, was to
strafe Bellows Field. Hoashi and his wingman claimed 3 aircraft destroyed on the ground. Hoashi
held the rank of Buntaicho (usually a Lieutenant commanding a division) from November 1941
until June 1942. Hoashi was killed in June 1943 when the second prototype of the J2M2 Raiden
he was flying crashed and burst into flames.