Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Masao Watanabe Interview
Narrator: Masao Watanabe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: June 19, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-wmasao-01-0032

<Begin Segment 32>

TI: Now, on a recon patrol like that, were you stocked with pretty much the heavy fire power that you talked about earlier?

MW: Well, we had about the same. The squad size was about the same, but our fire power was dependent on the terrain of what we took. We were pretty sharp soldiers -- [laughs] -- and I think you can say we were geared for where we were going more than the standard so many riflemen, so many BARs. Much more flexible in those days.

TI: And when you were taking your position and you were there waiting, what was going through your mind? Did you think that you were going to fire upon the German company, or what were you thinking?

MW: Well, personally I think I always felt, if we go in, where would I want to be? Or what would I want to have, as far as protection, or escape routes, or whatever. You start thinking pretty fast in those situations. So I had taken a position where I thought I would have the best chance, if we had to do something. Does that answer your question?

TI: Yeah. Well, in your mind -- I'm thinking you're outnumbered twenty-to-one, even though you have a better position, whether... I was just trying to understand. What goes through somebody's mind? Is it fear? Is it an adrenaline rush? Is it...? What, what feelings or what thoughts are going through your mind at this point?

MW: Gee, that's hard to answer, 'cause at that point in time, I think we were pretty well-trained to do what we were told. I hate to think we were rabbits or something, but all I know is if they thought we should go fire, I'd want to do this or be here. So that I think I was prepared for what was asked of us.

TI: Well, and when you got your order to pull back, can you recall what your feeling was there? Was it one of relief or disappointment, or... what were you thinking at that point?

MW: You ask pretty good questions, you know, trying to... well, I think first of all you look out for yourself, and if it's to, just to retreat or get out of there, all you're really concerned with is your position in the squad. I'll go after him and I'll protect him until he leaves and I can leave. So I guess that's a dumb way of puttin' it, but you get kind of mechanical.

TI: Right. So it's almost like you don't even have time or space to think about yourself. You're thinking about what needs to happen.

MW: Well it's the squad, and I think that's what made us so good. You didn't think only of yourself, but where is my position here? What do I do if this happens? I think we had, as a group, a pretty sharp bunch of guys; and I didn't have to worry too much about the guy in front of me or behind me. I just had faith.

TI: That's a good story. Other battles?

MW: What were you mumbling?

TI: [Laughs] No. I was just thinking about other battles.

MW: [Laughs]

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.