Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Mits Takahashi Interview
Narrator: Mits Takahashi
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: March 20, 2008
Densho ID: denshovh-tmits-01-0023

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: So let's, let's jump to, you go to Europe with this contingent of several hundred men at least. And at what point do you connect with the 442? Where, where was the 442 in their kind of sequence of battles that you...

MT: Okay. As you know, and most of, people know, that 442 was formed and then they fought in southern Italy, and they did very, very well there. And when the town of Livorno or Leghorn was being liberated, or was liberated, Mark Clark was the first general there, and he was the first to lead the group into the so-called liberation parade or whatever. But the select group right behind 'em was the 442. And Clark thought enough of the 442 that he wanted them to be right up there with them. And then they went into the, that was more or less the southern Italy, and then from there, I think there were around the Leghorn area for a while. Then they were sent up to France, went through the "Lost Battalion," Battle of the Lost Battalion, and the draftee group that I was with, we joined the 442 right after the Battle of the Lost Battalion.

TI: Okay, so this was a point when... I've interviewed others, so it was probably, in terms of, yeah, troop strength, they were at a low because full strength, there were four thousand or so. At that point, after their casualties, they're down to maybe under a thousand men because of the casualties they took, especially in those previous few weeks where they liberated, oh, it escapes me... Bruyeres, and then as well as the rescue of the "Lost Battalion." So you came, or joined them...

MT: Right after that, yeah.

TI: a particularly -- for the men who were fighting -- a particularly difficult time for them, because many of them had, had seen heavy fighting and they had taken so many casualties.

MT: My first impression when I joined the 442 is the fellows that had gone through the Battle of the Lost Battalion and the Battle of Bruyeres and things, they looked like insane people. They just... I mean, it was frightening to look at 'em. They were so traumatized in so many ways that you knew that they had gone through an awful lot. I mean, they were stressed out, and my first impression was, "My God, these guys are scary to look at." I mean, they went through a hell of a lot, hard time.

TI: Did you know any of the men personally, when you met up with them, that you knew from before?

MT: There were two or three Seattle fellows in the company I joined. Can't recall if they were there at the time I joined the outfit or a little after that they came out of the hospital or joined the company or what, I don't remember. But there were quite a few fellows, Seattle fellows in the same company that I was in. Where we got together I can't really remember, but right after the Battle of the Lost Battalion, when I joined the company, I think there were one or two. I think Mas Watanabe who passed away was one of 'em. I can't think... oh, Pete (Kozu), I think was another fellow.

TI: Do you recall having conversations with them in terms of what they had just gone through or what they were going through?

MT: That was something we didn't talk very much about.

TI: And so how was it communicated to you what they had gone through? I mean, how did they let the newcomers know what it's like?

MT: They wouldn't be talking to, say, like draftees like myself, the latecomers. But they themselves would, every so often, you know, friends from different companies and things, they would get together and they'd be drinking beer or something, and they would say, "Yeah, you were there at such and such a hill," or such a town. They would talk about it amongst themselves but we weren't part of that. We were outsiders. [Laughs].

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