Densho Digital Repository
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Alan Kumamoto Interview
Narrator: Alan Kumamoto
Interviewer: Brian Niiya
Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: February 7, 2019
Densho ID: ddr-densho-1000-464-6

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

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BN: So Heart Mountain, then what happens with your dad in terms of leaving?

AK: So he leaves, he joins the Military Intelligence, so he goes off for training, so does my uncle Joe. And then they are on that, one of the group that are going to the war area when the war ends. So my uncle's ship, Uncle Joe, his ship gets diverted and goes, and he's there with the signing of the peace treaty with MacArthur, and then they go directly into Tokyo. But my dad's ship gets diverted to Korea, so there's still fighting going on. So Military Intelligence is broken into two kinds of factions. I think one is called CIC, (Counterintelligence Corps) and CID or something, Criminal Investigation Division, and I don't know what the other terms are. But so one of them is going up and interpreting and translating up in the hills, and you use a loudspeaker and so forth, "The war is over, come out, surrender," kind of thing, which isn't as safe as it sounds. And the other one is criminal intelligence which is black market. So it's fellow U.S. GIs selling cigarettes or contraband at one time or another. So he was a little bit of both. But I know one of the things, there were two things. One, they didn't wear any rank, so you didn't know if the person next to you was an officer or what you were. And so the Caucasian guys in the MIS were all FBI or some kind of, with a law enforcement background. And so I know that one day, when he was wearing his stripes, they said, "Oh, you're only a sergeant or something like that," because everybody else was an officer. And there was an incident where they were supposed to go and yell at these people that the war was over, and he told them... they weren't issued firearms, so he said, "You know, all of you guys have guns, I don't have a gun. It's pretty stupid for me to up there and start yelling at these guys, and then they start shooting and you guys are running away, and I'm just standing there." So the lieutenant just pulled out his .45 and handed him his .45. And he turned around to his assistant and said, "I lost my weapon, get me another." Those are sort of the incidences that we hear stories about.

BN: And then when you were at Heart Mountain, did you remember him leaving?

AK: Well, he would come back in uniform.

BN: While he was training in Minnesota?

AK: Before they would go overseas, maybe once or twice, so we have photos and that type of thing. When he was there as a pharmacist, for my birthday, they would have ice cream, so he would bring ice cream, then they would bury it in the snow until it was the right time, but I would look through the window when he was coming back. So I knew where it was.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2019 Densho. All Rights Reserved.