Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Frank Hiratsuka Interview
Narrator: Frank Hiratsuka
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Skokie, Illinois
Date: June 15, 2011
Densho ID: denshovh-hfrank_2-01-0014

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: And after you graduate from high school, what was next for you?

FH: Well, that was almost the time for getting drafted, so I went to some, I went to school about, after summer I went to school for about a semester and I got drafted. So I didn't figure in worrying about that at all.

TI: And then, so you got drafted, and then, so what, where did you go next? I mean, where was your basic training?

FH: Basic training was Camp Maxey in Texas. It was near the Texas-Arkansas border, Texarkana. I forgot what the name of the town there was, but it was Camp Maxey.


TI: Okay, so where we left off was you had just, I guess, done your basic at Camp Maxey. And then after Camp Maxey, what's next?

FH: I got sent to Snelling.

TI: When you were in basic training or anything, did you ever face any discrimination, any, especially in the military, did people ever give you a bad time?

FH: No. The only thing I didn't like is when we went into the rec room it was always this country hillbilly music playing because we were in with a bunch of people from that area, so we couldn't listen to our own kind of music.

TI: Even though you were a musician. [Laughs]

FH: Yeah. I didn't have anything to do with that there.

TI: How about, were people aware of the 442 when you were going through basic training? I mean, did you know about the 442 and what they had done in Europe?

FH: We heard about it, but we didn't know too much about it.

TI: So the little that you did know, what did you know about the 442 back then?

FH: It was all Japanese Americans, from Hawaii and United States. Basically it got started by the Hawaiians, the 100th, I think. And they drafted, not enough people volunteered and then they got drafted, too, from here.

TI: But did you hear about some of their activities in Europe and how well they fought or anything like that?

FH: No. We just heard that they were good fighters, but we didn't know what was going on with that.

TI: So then you went to Snelling, which was, at that time, the headquarters for the MIS Language School.

FH: But I didn't go to language school. I worked in cadre. I worked in Company K as a mailman.

TI: Did you ever come in contact with the other Japanese Americans over at Snelling?

FH: Oh yeah. I think my uncle's, my aunt's brothers were in Snelling and I saw one, and he looked just like his brother, so I said, I called his name. He says, "That's not me." I said okay. [Laughs] They were in language school.

TI: But then you weren't, you said you were, like, more the mail area?

FH: Yeah, just a mailman type.

TI: And why did they send you to Snelling? Do you know why Snelling versus someplace else?

FH: No. I thought we were going to Hawaii or somewhere else, but they sent me to Snelling.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2011 Densho. All Rights Reserved.