Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Joe Yasutake Interview
Narrator: Joe Yasutake
Interviewer: Alice Ito
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: October 9, 2002
Densho ID: denshovh-yjoe-01-0013

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AI: And that, that was in 1954 that you graduated from Illinois?

JY: That's right, 1954. So I was in the service from between 1954 -- well, I got married to my late wife at that, at that time. She was -- as I mentioned, she was from Hawaii and I had gotten to know her through a mutual friend when I was going to the University of Illinois, and so we started dating and we had known each other about a year. And then when I, when I went in the army I had to go to this, what they called the Field Artillery Officers Course down at Fort Sill. Actually, I had it easy because there were some people in the, like in the training that they had to go through, through OCS that had a rough time because they went through the same academic training we did but they had to do all the soldiering on the side, and since we as lieutenants were already commissioned, we just, all we did was go to class. But even with that, I started thinking that, "This is not a life to be by myself," and so I talked my, my... was she my fiance at the time? I can't -- yeah, she was. That's right. We'd gotten engaged before that, and we were gonna wait until I got out of the army and then I decided, "Nah, let's not wait anymore." [Laughs] So I called her down to the, down to Oklahoma, and we got married down in Oklahoma.

AI: What was her name?

JY: Her name was Elsie Kurisu, was her maiden name, and she was, she was born and raised in Kauai in Hawaii. So she had never experienced cam, of course, so she knew nothing about, about any of that kind of thing.

AI: So you got married there at Fort Sill, Oklahoma?

JY: Uh-huh.

AI: And then what happened after that?

JY: Well, and then we got, I got assi-, assigned overseas, and for, for a while I was afraid I was gonna go to Korea because that was still smoldering there, and you couldn't take dependents to Korea. But fortunately I'd asked to go to Europe, and I got my -- that's what they let me do, so I was able to take my wife over with me, so that turned out, that turned out well from that standpoint. We went overseas and got -- I was assigned to Ulm, Germany, which is just a little bit outside of Munich. And aside from all the war games, I was out in the field. I was in the artillery, and so they just continuously had war games over there where we'd go out and dig through the mud and fire rounds at artillery and all that stuff for about eight months out of the year. But the other four months were pretty neat because we were back in the garrison, and we could take leave. You know, my wife and I were, we were really young, like we were twenty-two, and so -- and we had our own car and our own apartment and had a maid. You know, it was kind of pretty high living for a, for a young couple. So we traveled around Germany and went to Switzerland and things like that whenever I could get off, so it was -- if it hadn't been for the army it would have been like a honeymoon for that time period. [Laughs] So it was, it turned out, it turned out well.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2002 Densho. All Rights Reserved.