Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Roy H. Matsumoto Interview
Narrator: Roy H. Matsumoto
Interviewers: Alice Ito (primary), Tom Ikeda (secondary)
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 17 & 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-mroy-01-0065

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TI: Okay, and so --

RM: So two start out, so I was in first group go out there in I&R platoon and Lieutenant Grissom was in charge, he was the platoon sergeant, leader. And he was a schoolteacher. And that's what he told me. But a few days later we came to place called Wesu Ga and first time I met the enemy. But we didn't know, see, we just go on a trail and all of a sudden the machine gun opened up and then the first one got killed was, his name is Private Landis. And our own blue combat team, my own I&R platoon about fifty men there and I was one of 'em in the member and first casualty and Bob Landis got killed and so lieutenant, he said, "I'm a schoolteacher, but that's, most hardest thing was write letter to next of kin," and he said, "I don't know how," that was a schoolteacher and should know. That was his confession, kinda sad. But later on, the, we had a training camp set up for the replacement, other group in honor him, Camp Landis.

TI: So it sounds like that first casualty was pretty hard on the platoon.

RM: Yes.

TI: And so what were you and the other men thinking and talking about when that happened?

RM: Well, then we may encounter so, well, at the time we scared because actually, we met the enemy there in the first experience so everybody's shaking, but we have to do our... so then we can't see, they open up so we withdrew and retreated and we cannot recover, they go out there and they shoot with machine gun. So next day, we wanna bury him so went out there then see where there might be booby trap, see. But there wasn't booby trap, but that happened later on, some people try to get the souvenir, then blown up by grenade, set a booby trap.

TI: So what they would do is they would booby trap, sort of, the bodies --

RM: Body.

TI: -- of people who had been killed.

RM: Yeah.

TI: Realizing people would come back to collect the bodies and they would booby trap those.

RM: Yeah. Well, later on at... I didn't want to mention names, but my unit, "Sergeant, I want to collect some Japanese flag," you know. And they, each one carried a Japanese flag that signed by the neighbors and relatives for good luck, good wishes. And they carried that flag. Then people tried to get souvenir, then hurt because somebody was booby trapped or they waiting with a machine gun go out there. And unfortunately, they talk, "You think we're gonna survive?" I said, "Yeah, if you're careful." But I told 'em, "Don't go after souvenir." But then the one, some Japanese got killed and remained there and then he went after and a sniper got him, got killed, so...

TI: Yeah, so it's, it's terrible.

RM: That's one of, so kinda scary.

<End Segment 65> - Copyright © 2003 Densho. All Rights Reserved.