The Navy once took a dim view of a postwar dental prank played on Japan's military leader, but the joke will live on at a Naval museum.
A Navy Dental Corps official this week picked up mementos of the taunting message "Remember Pearl Harbor," engraved in Morse code on the dentures of Gen. Hideki Tojo. They will be displayed at the Navy Dental Corps Historical Museum in Bethesda, Md., Navy officials said.The perpetrator, the late George Foster, was reprimanded at the time.
"He's probably rolling around on his cloud right now, laughing his fool head off," said his widow, Beverly Foster. "He's thinking this is great."
Foster, who died in 1989, was the head dental surgeon at a prisoner-of-war camp in Tokyo, where Tojo was among his patients in 1947. He and another surgeon engraved the message on the inside of the general's dentures.
"Needless to say, our sentiment toward the Japanese was not the most favorable so soon after World War II," Foster wrote in 1988. "I figured it was my duty to carry out the assignment. But that didn't mean I couldn't have fun with it."
When their commanding officer heard of the prank, he ordered the message removed. Foster told Tojo the dentures needed cleaning and took off the coded message.