Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Art Abe Interview
Narrator: Art Abe
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: January 24, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-aart-01-0023

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TI: Okay, so you go to New York City, and then what happened?

AA: Pardon?

TI: And so what did you do in New York City?

AA: Oh, they give us twenty-five, transportation and twenty-five dollars, but the twenty-five dollars was given to us when we arrived in New York. I tried to get a job in the field of marketing, but civil service, or I mean the federal government, U.S. Employment Agency had pretty much control of where you went to work. The defense industry had primary priority on workers, and when I went down to check with the, with the employment office, U.S. Employment Office, they shunted me into the Veterans Administration to take care of national service life insurance, which was, I felt was okay, that was providing service to the guys in service.

TI: So this would be a civil service?

AA: Civil service job, yeah. So I worked there for, until, when the war in Europe ended. They opened up the other branches of service, other than the 442 and the MIS, I guess, to Japanese Americans, so I got drafted. And I got assigned to the signal corps, which was not part of the 442. And I spent most of my time up in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, in a signal corps school until I got discharged.

TI: Going back to, to your civil service position where you were processing insurance claims, so explain this to me. These were like life insurance policies, or what kind of...

AA: Yeah, GI life insurance.

TI: And so, so the people that you would process were those that were, like, killed in action and things like that during the war?

AA: Yes.

TI: So I'm curious, did you ever come across any Japanese American?

AA: Oh, yes. I was assigned to... each clerk had an assignment for ten thousand policies, and I happened to be, get assigned to a batch that contained the, all these 442 soldiers. And it used to bother me to see those death notices come through, I'd have to pull those policies and send them to the claim adjusters.

TI: So you would see the, the impact of how many Japanese Americans were being killed in the 442, 'cause you had to pull those policies. And then you went, I'm sorry, to the signal corps, so I just wanted to follow on, then you're, and then you're done with that. So what did you do after your military service?

AA: I went back to the University of Washington and finished up in the School of Business.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2008 Densho. All Rights Reserved.