In May 1945, a pastor from Bly, Oregon, led his wife and a group of children on a day trip near Klamath Falls. They were all looking forward to hours of fishing and picnicking in fine weather. Everyone got out of the car while the Rev. Archie Mitchell was parking along a remote logging road and unloading the fishing tackle. Suddenly, he heard his wife, Elsie, who was five months pregnant, call out: "Look at what we've found! It looks like some kind of balloon."

Those were her last words.

An explosion ripped through the mountain stillness, sending twigs, branches and sawdust flying into the air as the blast echoed through the mountains. Along with Elsie Mitchell, it took the lives of Sherman Shoemaker, Edward Engen, Jay Gifford, Joan Patzke,and Dick Patzke, all aged between 11 and 14 years old. These were the only enemy casualties of a Japanese military campaign to attack the United States with a most unusual, brilliant and, ultimately, ineffective weapon: balloon bombs.