Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview III
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 21, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-03

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Let's see, today is September 21, 1999, and this is the third interview with Henry Miyatake. We did two last year, and the place we ended up last time, Henry, was, it was after the war, and you had met your brother, and the two of you were on your way to Alaska. You had just got a job with the CAA, the Civil Aeronautics Administration, which is a precursor to the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration. But why don't we start there, and why don't we start with the trip up to Alaska? What that was like.

HM: Okay. My brother had started employment with the CAA one year previous and so, anyway he was down on his vacation time. And as it happened, this recruiter for the eighth region, from Alaska, was down in Seattle at the same time, and so my brother arranged a civil service test with this guy Hammersley. And, I took the test and Hammersley was desperate for hiring people at that time. And so, consequently he looked over my Civil Service Exam status and he offered me a job if I was to hire on immediately for service starting in June of '48.

TI: And this was when you were about eighteen years old?

HM: Yeah, I was eighteen at that time. There was a problem because they didn't want to hire anybody in that category until they were age nineteen. So my brother decided well, he'll come back on another trip and we'll drive up to Alaska, because he wanted the vehicle. So anyway, at that time the Alcan Highway was not, not starting from the Seattle area. You had to go all the way back to Missoula, Montana to pick up the northern approach to going up to Alberta, Edmonton, White Horse, up through that route. And the Canadian section, British Columbia, Canadian section was not completed at that time. And this was the wartime Alcan Highway. So consequently we drove from Seattle to Montana to Glacier National Park. And here it was in June and it started snowing like crazy. We must've had about six inches of snow.

TI: As you were going through the Rockies?

HM: Yeah. Through the Glacier National Park. Anyway, we get through that area and we get to Lethridge, Alberta, and then we drive through Calgary, Edmonton, and then through White Horse, Northwest Territories and then Fort Nelson, and then up through Tok Junction. But that was about 2600 miles of gravel road. And if you had a fairly decent car when you started, when you ended up in Anchorage it was pretty well beat up. It, it was a really rough road. And a lot of people were discouraged from going up this Alcan Highway because it was too rough on the vehicles. The other problem was the spacing between the gas stations. Some of the spacings were like a hundred and fifty miles, and they would have signs up: "Last gas station for a hundred fifty miles, you better fill up or you gonna run out of gas." And because of that they were charging -- this is the first time [Laughs] my brother and I were charged more that $2 a gallon for gasoline. And this is an era when gas was selling for about 23 or 26 cents a gallon in Seattle. So it was a kind of a different approach to pursuing long distance automobile ride.

TI: Now, why did you decide to drive up rather than just sail up to Alaska?

HM: Well, the problem in, in Anchorage is that if you buy a vehicle there at that time there was $1,100 premium on the vehicle. And vehicles during that time period were selling for about $1,600 to about $2,000, somewhere in that range. So when you get up, got it up to Anchorage, you're talking about another $1,100. So we decided well, we're gonna drive it up there and have a vehicle in Anchorage. Because my broth -- brother wanted to do a number of things. And he was still on flight status at that time. So he was traveling outbound from Anchorage to all the fifty-eight field stations that the FAA had. And he wanted to build a house in Anchorage, and so consequently he had to have a vehicle of some sort. We selected a passenger car, which was the wrong decision to make. We should've had a pickup, but nonetheless that was the, the passenger cars were cheaper than the pickups and so we decided to go on with a passenger car. When we got up there, they said, "Well, we're gonna put you in the aero navigational facilities group." So I had to learn the teletype systems, the high speed Bohme Keying System. And this is the international method of sending weather data. And Anchorage used to collect all the weather information from the fifty-eight field stations. And then we also had a Russian intercept and we collected all the Siberian weather. And the weather starts from Siberia, and it comes through the Aleutian Chain area, comes down through Alaska, goes down to Canada, and goes down to United States, depending upon which way the jet stream was running. So all the data was based on, the predictions were based on the Russian weather. So the Russian weather was first, the Alaskan collection was next, the Canadian weather was subsequent to that, and then the U.S. weather. So, the collection was dependent on the weather information from Russia. So we used to have intercept stations down the Aleutian Chain and also northern part of Alaska, that would intercept the Russian weather on a sequential basis. And they would run updates like every two hours or somewhere in that vicinity. And this became a problem later on, but -- anyway, that was the sequence of events. And the Russians were sending data at about 200 words a minute on Morse code.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: So this was, so there's collaboration between the Russian Government to supply weather information to --

HM: Not really, it was that we were just intercepting their information. And they had their own weather collection themselves, so that they can predict, and also warn their own aircraft and all shipping and so forth on the weather predictions.

TI: Okay, so you got first the Russian signals, and then you have these weather stations on the Aleutian Chain?

HM: Yeah. We had a whole bunch of them down the Aleutian Chain all the way down to Shemya which was like, I don't know, that's about close to two thousand miles down from Anchorage. It's a long, long chain. And we also had the stations like Point Barrow and Umiat and all these different places.

TI: I'm curious. Were these stations staffed, or were these --

HM: They were staffed. They were staffed by at least thirteen people. They had their own cooks. They had their own weather people. They had the FAA airways communication type people, and air navigational facilities. So each one of these stations were independent and autonomous organizations, and they all operated out of the eighth region. And because we needed to collect the weather data, all these stations had to have com -- telecommunications capabilities. And then they all had an airport because we have to land the personnel there, and land the mail, bring 'em equipment and all this kind of stuff, bring 'em supplies. So they were all fed from the Anchorage central headquarters.

TI: Did you have occasion to go visit these, these --

HM: Well, my brother was on flight status at that time, so he would fly out of Anchorage and they'd go out to these different field stations. And one of the, his jobs was that he would have to calibrate the air navigational facility equipment, like they have radio ranges, they have landing system equipment, on some of the major fields, they had a lot of ability to have airplanes come into the system regardless of what the weather was. And it was all-weather type situation. At that point we were using the basic ILS system which was a pretty old system, obsolete system today, but nonetheless that was what was available and we would be able to use any kind of weather to bring the airplanes down. And all the FAA flight equipment was geared to that capability, so regardless of what the weather was, if they were able to fly the airplane, they would be able to land it or take it off. But, we were flying converted C47's, DC3's, Douglas airplanes, and they had all the air nav. equipment in there. And all the people that were involved in the process were required to take instrument flying. And so when I ended up taking the teletype course and the Bohme high speed interaction Morse code system, which happens to be German by nature, but the Russians adapted it after they defeated Germany. And they were using this Bohme system. And the Bohme system required exceptionally fine and meticulous maintenance on these Keying Heads. And my brother was, had the reputation of -- he came out number one in the teletype class about a year and a half before I even entered the, the school, when he first went to work for FAA. And unfortunately his reputation kind of hung on my back because we had the same last name. So the teletype instructor was very, very rigorous with me. He was very stringent. And he made me a, one of the guys that he pinpointed from troubleshooting efforts and things of this nature. So it was kind of hard for me to follow in his capabilities. And, but this was the precursor about some other things that happened later on. But, anyway --

TI: Well how did it feel? I mean you following sorta in the footsteps of your brother. I mean, was that something that you saw as a positive, or was that a negative --

HM: Well, they expected more out of me than what I was willing to provide. And it, like for instance on this Bohme Keying Head system. It, it's a very precise piece of equipment and you cannot use parts that are not paired to each other. They're honed surfaces. So consequently, when you start putting the thing together, it's like a watch that you put together because the thing is extremely accurate and precision formed machine. And it's one of these deals where you have to have a good dinner or a good meal, very content, you be, you have to be really relaxed. Because when you try to put this thing together, if you got nervous hands, you've had trouble. You wouldn't be able to put the dumb thing together. And my brother was very good at these kind of intricate devices. He was so good at it that when he went out to these different field sites, they would have a bunch of Bohme Keying Heads already available for him to overhaul. He would spend a lot of his time in the evenings overhauling these dumb things, because some of these station technicians weren't capable of doing it. So anyway, I fell into the same trap at the Anchorage central control station. And so it got to be a problem because Monday, on my Monday shift when I used to come into work, they would have all these Keying Heads lined up and says, "Henry, you got this job for the whole week. You're gonna overhaul these darn things." And once you take 'em apart, if you, you have to leave those items paired together because they had sliding surfaces, they have a Geneva Drive mechanism in it. If you took 'em apart and you just didn't track which ones were paired to which areas, you could never put the dumb thing together because they just will not fit. It would not slide together. And it had so much play in it, the thing wouldn't work right. So I devised all these trays, and I had this guy in the shop make all these different trays to put all these paired items together to identify 'em as such. So when I took it apart I had these things all into the labeled container areas. And these had little small pins with springs in it. And all these things were paired to each other, so if you took 'em apart, it must be on this side, the flat side goes to the interior mechanism. And we used to mark it with a scribe pen, this is the interior side, and we used to put the numbers on 'em. That's the only way I could go through this equipment and make it work right. And once you get that reputation it's terrible because they're gonna foist all that stuff on you.

TI: Well, I'm curious, did, in some ways did you surpass your brother in terms of doing this function?

HM: Well, my brother used to come back and say, "Oh man, you're doing it the wrong way. This is the way to do it." And he used to show me all the shortcuts that he devised over the time period he was doing this thing. So we devised some jigs to hold these things in position. So when you lowered that item into the brass housing, then you were able to lower everything together rather than trying to put one piece together then the next piece in the assembly function inside of this brass housing. That thing was designed as a nightmare for any individuals that had nervous hands because he couldn't possibly do it.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Well, are these devices still around? I'm now, now curious...

HM: Yeah, they're still around --

TI: After, after hearing this, I'm curious to look at this.

HM: Now, the reason why this device came about was the, World War I, the Germans devised this ultra fast Keying device to transm -- transmit Morse code at extremely high speeds. At that time they were running 250 words a minute. And the allies during World War I could not decipher what was going on because the speed was so great that they couldn't, nobody could copy Morse code at that rate. You had to be a typist that could type 250 words a minute to begin with if you wanted to do it, this thing on real time. And you had to have the exceptional capability of keeping phase with the, with the speed of the system. And then they would purposely send, between messages, they would kick up the speed to a maximum speed of about 300 words a minute and it would be gibberish. So this would be to distract whoever was trying to decode --

TI: So it was a form of coding almost, to just sort of, an encryption or something like --

HM: Yeah. Well, the way that the Germans were doing it was they were receiving the information, and they were inking it on a paper tape. And then they would read the paper tape at the slower rate. And they would just have a operator typing all this stuff in there. Well they didn't discover this, the method of translating this high-speed data until way towards the end of World War I. And that became the standard that was used for weather data transmission. And so consequently, when the Russians defeated the Germans, they took all this gear that they had, and they were using it. This is after World War II now, so there's one whole generation difference. And everybody in the world started using this thing. And the U.S. adopted the Bohme Keying. And that's when my first interest in cryptology and all this kind of stuff started. You know, we were using teletype machines at that time which was going at sixty words a minute was standard speed and then sometimes we were running at seventy-five words a minute. That was about the standard rate we were using. And the teletype machine is a kind of a adaptation of automating international Morse, Morse code. And since then, of course, we've gone into much higher data transmission functions. But the Baudot system was the method that they used to look at ASCII as a keying method for determining data transmission functions.

TI: That, that's interesting. Yeah.

HM: And so, and this had a lot to do with how data was transmitted during that era. In, in fact, during World War II, lot of the data transmissions were using the teletype functions in whether you talk about ultra systems, or enigma, or code magic, or code purple, they all used the teletype system. So, and in the case of the Japanese, when they had to transmit Nihongo in terms of high speed data transmission, they had to use roumanji for the transmission, and then they convert the roumanji into Japanese ideographs. It's a very laborious, inefficient way of doing it, but that was the state of the art during that time period. But anyway, because I got this stupid reputation for doing this -- they wanted some more flight people to go out to these different stations to service the equipment at these different bases. And so my brother said, "Well, why don't you apply for that flight personnel approval." And at that time I had been taking the instrument fly -- flight (training) --

TI: So when you say flight status, that means actually you get your pilot license?

HM: No, no this was going with the flight crew and going to these different field stations and then calibrating the, the ground equipment for air navigational facility items. And then having the ability to overhaul some of this gear. And then -- like in the Bohme Keying Head, they would have trouble with the dumb thing, and we'd have to bring in the parts to update it and overhaul their equipment and get it up to speed, but just all the ones they had trouble with. And these guys would -- because they had so much trouble with these Bohme Keying Heads, the spares requirements were extremely high, because the personnel at these different remote places, either they had to shut off the equipment right as, after they quit using it for their hourly weather forecasts. Either that or they would have to have a whole bunch of spares so that between visits from these guys from Anchorage, they would be able to operate that station and be able to run it. And it was a problem, because we used to have some of these stations that would have maybe twenty pieces of equipment, and they would be only able to transmit once an hour.

TI: Well, how frequently would the Anchorage people come by, and why wouldn't they just ship these back to Anchorage to your little workshop?

HM: Well --

TI: Get 'em fixed and then send 'em back?

HM: The problem was, you get a place like Umiat or one of these stations way out in the boonies, and the way we used to service those areas was, the airplane used to fly above the, the field station and we used to open up the airplane doors and we used to kick the bags out of the airplane.

TI: [Laughs]

HM: And that was their mail and their, the spares, and even the food we used to transmit that way. And we wouldn't even stop at the airport. Because, there was no use for us to stop. There was nothing for us to really pick up, and if they wanted us to transmit any messages they would use the regular communication links. So if it was emergency, we had to pick up a person at that base, then we would have to land. But some of the problems were that these were formerly bases that we used during World War, World War II. And in some of these areas the fuel was never fueled in. It was just using the old fuel that they had in these fifty-five gallon drums. And they, when we landed, if we wanted fuel, we were short on fuel on the airplane, most of the time we had to go out with a manual pump and pump this thing into the airplane from these fifty-five gallon drums. And these were av. gas, you know aviation gas, you know, 125/(130 octane) --

TI: So you avoided landing and taking off again because of the fuel requirements?

HM: Yeah, and then --

TI: Just fly by and drop it.

HM: Yeah, drop if you can and get to the major base, and then get into there, to those bases because we could have automatic fuel systems. And they had gasoline-powered trucks and we would drive the trucks (up) there and fuel up the airplane. Otherwise we were cranking away. Of course the base personnel would crank too and get the fuel in the airplane.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Well, one of the reasons I'm interested in the fuel stations is that -- the ones that you went to when you were on, finally got flight status -- was the interaction that you had with the native population.

HM: Well that's when I first found out about the Aleuts. You know, we were down in the Aleutian Chain I think Randall or Port Heiden I forgot which base it was. Anyway, a big storm came up and we had to tie down the airplane. And in Alaska when you have one of these williwaws, you know, it's about maybe twenty minute notice that you're gonna have -- you can see the storm clouds coming up.

TI: What'd you call it, a williwaw?

HM Yeah. It's a horrendous change of, of weather all of a sudden. And you know you get like the wind would be maybe, prevailing winds would be about like twenty, twenty miles an hour or somewhere in that vicinity. And these williwaws would come up and it would be over a hundred miles an hour within a twenty minute time period. So you get the warning and you're gonna tie that airplane down if you're not gonna take off and get out, get out of there immediately. You have to tie it down because that airplane's gonna fly by itself. That's the only way of us getting back to Anchorage, so we were very dependent upon that airplane. So anyway, once we got the warning we used to tie the airplane down with these cable straps that on the landing gear, and hook the airplane down as, the best we could for that field. And then we'd have to seek shelter into one of the major buildings. And if you're caught outside you're in bad trouble because these windstorms, and especially in the wintertime when it's mixed with snow, they'll blast you. It's a horizontal snow. It's not vertical anymore, it's horizontal. And it will smash the snow up against the building so hard that you'd have to use a pick to get the dumb snow off the side of the building. This is how bad it gets. And I thought to myself, they fought World War II in the Aleutian Chain. In fact Japan occupied Attu, Kiska, some of those different islands out in the end of the Aleutian Chain and they used those bases as their operating base. And I thought to myself, how the heck do you fight a war when you get these williwaws? You just don't fight. You just gotta cover yourself and try to keep from gettin' blown over because that's the state of affairs. But anyway, we were, we were called into this base and it happened that there was a native family there. And one of the, the sons was an employee of the FAA. And so he had brought his family to visit this base, and this williwaw came up. So it was kind of enforced process of them staying through the williwaw, and through the night to keep themselves from getting in a, in a bad weather condition. So this son started talking about the family lived in a cannery for awhile. So I said, "How come you lived in a cannery?" And he started talking about what happened during World War II. And he said, "Well there were a lot of families that were hauled up and put into the canneries. And then they separated the men from the, from the rest of the family and they put 'em into road gangs." So I thought that, gee this is strange. I never heard of this kinda stuff before. And he started explaining what, what happened, transpired and he was too young to go to the road gang, so he stayed with the, with the mother. And this was just the normal happenstance of the Aleuts. They, they, when the military, U.S. Army took over some of these areas in the Aleutian Chain, they felt for the security of the people, and I think there're some other reasons too, they hauled all the people off the Aleutian Chain areas. And the, the males went into labor camps, and a lot of them went to build the Alcan Highway as conscripts for labor. And the rest of the family was sent to abandoned canneries that no longer were being used, and then they had to fend for themselves. And the basic subsistence stuff was brought there, like bread n' the flour and things of this nature, but they had to fend for themselves rather, rela -- for the rest of the food. So that's the first instance where I found out Aleuts were conscripted for labor, and also for the, the families being put into canneries.

TI: Now were they taken by the military and were they sort of guarded to stay in the canneries, or how did --

HM: No they were left alone once they got in the canneries, but they were just dumped there. And the military, the U.S. Army did haul them outta there. And it was like a fifteen minute notice. They were told to pack up their stuff and, and they were gonna get moved to a different area, and then they segregated the men at that point and they said, you know, "The men come with us and we will transport the rest of the family to these different places." But they didn't know they were going to a cannery. They had no idea where they were going. And, that was the first instance where I got kind of introduced to this Aleut situation.

TI: Did he describe some of the hardships that they, they went through while they were in these camps?

HM: Oh yeah, because they were lacking in food and supplies didn't come regularly. And they had to fish for themselves when they could and then they dried the fish and just for survival functions.

TI: 'Cause my readings show that there was a fairly high death rate among the people who --

HM: Well, there's a high death rate among Aleuts anyway because there's a lot of pleurisy and different problems that exist, tuberculosis and things of this nature, because they, they have a high alcoholism rate, and they, survival functions during the winter is kind of rough for them. But when I thought about that, I recalled going back to the Puyallup internment, that there were some people from Alaska that the parents couldn't speak Japanese or English. They were native Alaskans. And the kids were able to speak English. And during one of my situations were I got hauled out of the, the Block 1 line and I got -- I was trying to eat with my friends and they got hauled out for being in Block 1 instead of the other blocks that these guys were residing in. I ended up at the end of the line, and this kid that was about eleven years old or so, we started talking to each other and I was trying to talk to his mother, and I tried in English, and I tried in Nihongo and no response. So, I asked this kid, well where did he come from? And he said, "Saint Petersburg." So I said, "Where the heck is Saint Petersburg?" And he said, "Oh, it's up in Alaska." And I said, "What are you doing down here?" And he says, "Well, I don't know. They just, they just took us into custody and this is where we came."

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: So the physical similarities between the natives in Alaska and the Japanese were very close?

HM: Yes. You know, the story is that we all came through from the, the Asian continent to, through the Bering Straits through Alaska, maybe down the West Coast for the Native American Indians. I mean this is one of the stories that people have. And they look very similar to us.

TI: And was that the reasons, or one of the reasons why they were also evacuated from those towns? Because those towns were still used by the military...

HM: Well --

TI: They weren't, they weren't deserted, they were still used.

HM: Yeah, well in the case of the Aleuts, the military did this as a practice to get them out of there. And I don't know whether they were using military in this vicinity, or any other reason, but they just hauled them out, out of the Aleutian Chain. So a lot of the people, maybe a couple thousand or more got hauled out of there. So their, their lives were completely disrupted, because they're normally fishing type people and they fish during the salmon run season. And then they, and they would hunt also. They were good hunters. And they had rifle equipment and things of this nature. And I guess from the military standpoint, here there's a whole bunch of characters that's running around down in the Aleutian Chain, and they have no ability to control these people. Their, they go out on these boats and, and they're totally independent, you know, what are you gonna do with them? So, I guess their feeling was, well just round them up and put 'em in the canneries. And anyway that, that was the first contact I ever had with these people.

TI: Did you discuss what happened to the Japanese Americans on the West Coast?

HM: Oh, yeah, yeah. I told him about that and he says yeah, they heard about it and they were aware of it. And, well, when I got back to Anchorage that time I told my brother, well I met this family and they're talking about what happened to them. And he said, "Yeah, they, all the way down the chain it was like that," he says. He knew about it, but he never talked to me about it. But that became quite evident that the, the U.S. government had done number of different things that, that I was not aware of. And this became a starting point for saying, well, maybe it was not just Japanese Americans, it's for other groups of individuals. And, well that was first key point. But the other problem later on was when I found out about the people from Latin American countries being thrown into the United States, more or less being kidnapped. But that was one trigger of, maybe the start of things like you know what did they do to all these people, and well, how can we do something to correct it. But --

TI: But on a personal level, how did you feel with that family? Did you feel closer because of that sorta shared experience?

HM: Well, in the CAA, the ground rule is that you can't fraternize with the native population people. And the only reason why this kid was involved was because he became an employee of CAA. And he was doing clean up work and things of this nature and just general administrative functions, general labor type functions. But he was an employee, therefore they treated him a little bit differently. But when you go out to any of these field stations, there is a strict rule, you cannot fraternize with the native population. Because their philosophy is that once you share something with that individual, they could use that item, or any of those items as their property also. It's like a commune system. So you can't afford to have these people want to use the radio equipment that belongs to the FAA or CAA at that time to their own discretion. You can't afford that. So the rule was that you cannot fraternize with these people, socially or otherwise. Don't do, do it. So they had a lot of problems, especially out in the far out stations like Point Barrow and places like that. Where during the summertime when everything was great, when the fishing was great, and the hunting was great, everything was fine. But when, when all the monies were used up for alcohol and other purposes, and they were, they were lacking in food, they would come to the CAA stations and they said, "We're hungry, we want to eat your food." And had there been social fraternization at that point, or previous to that, they felt they were welcome to that food. I mean, because of their commune philosophy.

TI: And so you were told all this, and those were the rules for the CAA at that point --

HM: Yeah, but the exception was made for this guy because he was a CAA employee.

TI: Right, right.

HM: See, so they had allowed his family to come with him for the visit, and he was showing them the facility. And that's when the williwaw started up and they couldn't go home. So --

TI: Well, what I'm curious is you were -- so in a lot of ways, because of the rules you were kept away from the native population. And then this thing happened, this incident happened where by happenstance you're able to learn more about this. I was just curious if it changed your thinking about the native population, the Aleuts, because of this, this very brief incident?

HM: Well, one thing, they looked like, like us. And they treated us very well. And anywhere I went in Alaska, when there were native population, I mean they'd, they'd try to be very friendly with me. Whereas for the Caucasians, they wouldn't treat 'em the same way. So I felt more kinship towards the natives than the Caucasians did. There was some -- well we looked similar, and I was willing to help, go out of my way to help these individuals. But because of the rules, we had some very strong cut off points and maybe because of that I felt a little bit more friendly to those individuals. And well in my brother's case also, when he went out to these different stations these natives would try to befriend him. So it was mutual for all of us. And when I visited the Kimura family, and I told them about this, they says, "Yeah, they always get us mixed up with the natives," you know, that was his statement.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: And the Kimura family was a family in Anchorage?

HM: Yes. Well, my brother had worked with one of the brothers, the Kimura brothers in Minidoka. So, when we went up to Anchorage well, they had Frank Kimura, George and Billy, they had -- they owned the largest laundry in Anchorage, and which serviced Fort Richardson and Elmendorf Air Force Base, so they had a huge business. I mean they had probably about fifty employees in their laundry, and then they owned the Golden Pheasant Restaurant, and then George owned a fishing site. And George had an airplane which I liked to fly. And so in the summertime George says, "Well, you got your instrument rating, how about showing me how to fly on the instruments?" So I says, "I don't have an instructor rating for instruments, but I'll show you the rudiments of flying on instruments."

TI: Well, at that point ILS was pretty new too, wasn't it?

HM: Yeah, it was pretty new, but it was a method that was encouraged by FAA, I mean CAA to be used all through Alaska so that they can make it an all-weather type operation from most of these bases. Well, it was slowly being integrated into the major bases first, like it was first on Anchorage and Fairbanks and a lot of the major facilities, Juneau, Ketchikan, these, all these places. And some of these places like, well in Juneau and -- they would have very difficult landing patterns, so it was essential that they had ILS equipment there. But George was just a VFR pilot and he said -- he was a better VFR pilot than I was, but I could fly instruments better than he could, because his instrument capabilities were quite limited.

TI: I'm just curious, was that a float plane, or was it --

HM: Yeah, this was a Piper Super Cruiser on floats. And during that first summer, George says to my brother, he says, "You have refrigeration experience so why don't you set up a refrigeration plant for me. I need a cold storage facility." And it's right close to his fishing site. He bought a native fishing site, salmon fishing site. And they would be paid according to how many fish they would get, and they would haul them to the cannery. Well, the cannery used to strip the fish and take the eggs out. And the eggs became a terrible problem because its, the flies would get on it and it was a sanitary problem, for them. They had to dispose of it. So George Kimura got the bright idea well he's gonna salt those eggs and he's gonna sell them to these Japanese trading companies. Anyway, so the refrigeration plant was to hold these different, big wooden barrels of salted salmon eggs. And for the canneries it was a sanitation problem. They had to get rid of that stuff. So George says, "Well, just to make it legal let's make it three cents a pound." I don't know where they arrived at three cents, but he was buying these salmon eggs from the canneries for three cents a pound. And they would, he would use the local labor there and he would salt down the salmon eggs layer by layer and then they fill up these big barrels. And the barrels were heavy -- heavier than get out. They were all -- almost all water. And so my brother ordered some refrigeration gear from Seattle and had it sent up. And for a while we were setting up this gear inside these insulated Quonset huts, which George bought from Fort Richardson as a surplus sale. So we set up the Quonset huts. And they were easy to assemble. And then we insulated the floor because we had to keep it at refrigeration levels. And then we installed the refrigeration gear.

And so George says, "Well, why don't you be partners with me? We could do this as a kind of business." So I told my brother, "I wanna fly that airplane. If he pays for all the gas and maintenance and this kinda stuff let's make a deal. I could fly his airplane any time and he could have the interest in the refrigeration gear." Well, that was the dumbest deal I ever thought of. When I come to think about it, because George was rolling in money, because he was selling this stuff. He was buying for three cents a pound, he was paying for a minimum amount for the rock salt, and he was turning it over to the, these Japanese trading companies for $1.50 a pound. I mean his profit rate was horrendous. Well being so, my object and my viewpoint, my willingness to trade off the flight time on the airplane was more essential to me than getting into this really good economic deal. Well, anyway as it turned out I did fly his airplane quite a bit. [Laughs] I had a lot of fun with it. And we used to go out, even during the moose hunting season we used to go out and with a friend of ours and, we used to go on the float plane and go into places that nobody else went into and you could fish and do whatever you wanted. But --

TI: Tell me more about George Kimura. It sounds like he was quite the entrepreneur in a city that was just growing rapidly. Whatever, whatever happened?

HM: Oh, oh, the place was a booming place. Because Elmendorf Air Force Base was one of the primary air defense command bases in Alaska and we had the fifty-seventh fighter wing there. And this, remember the football players from West Point, Blanchard and Davis? Well, the -- Blanchard became one of the pilots in the fifty-seventh fighter wing there. And as CAA people, we were involved in the Air Defense Command system in Alaska because they used to transmit all the weather information, and also flight information. All the air route traffic control stuff used to go through us. So consequently they, whenever they used to have a alert structure, the Air Force had priority over our own communication system. And we used to service the Air Defense Command network that used to feed Elmendorf from the Anchorage central facilities. And so we got to know quite a few of the people in the Air Defense Command. So anyway, the base was growing at a horrendous rate, and Fort Richardson was growing at another phenomenal rate because Fort Richardson happened to be the headquarters for the Arctic warfare organization of the U.S. Army. And they used to have an outfit called the Fourth Combat Regiment. And it's a strictly Arctic warfare bunch of people. And so he was getting most of the business from these two bases. I mean just the business from the bases were extremely high volume stuff --

TI: And this was the laundry business?

HM: Yeah, laundry, dry cleaning and the whole bit. And they did the whole service function. Well, they were really busy during the summertime because all this guys from, from the outside they used to call it -- that's the mainland people, U.S. con -- continental U.S. people would come up to Alaska and there'd be all kinds of business. So the summertime was a very, very busy time. And so for George, being in the, the salmon business, as well as doing part of the laundry function, he was a busy guy. He had to have that airplane to fly between Anchorage to the fishing sites back and forth. And so it was kind of a hectic type summer for him. So if he could get some of the load relieved to my brother and myself for the refrigeration stuff, that really solved his problem. And he offered us a tremendous opportunity that we did not appreciate. [Laughs] I didn't anyway. My brother thought to (himself), man, I must have a real dumb brother. Because here's a, a way that we could have made -- we, we would have been millionaires in about two years you know. But anyway, that's the way...

TI: So did George Kimura become a millionaire?

HM: Yeah.

TI: And very prominent in Anchorage?

HM: Yeah. He became very wealthy.

TI: That's a good story.

HM: But, wealth led him to other problems. But anyway, the second year the, the Japanese trading companies figured out well, if a small outfit like Kimura could do this, why don't we get in the scene. So they started arranging for buying the salmon eggs from the cannery for a buck and a half a pound. Same price that they were buying it from George Kimura. And the canneries, they changed the contract to George. They said, "Okay, we'll sell it to the trading companies." And their problem was after they got the thing packed, they have to hold on to it between the ships, before they can ship it out. And where are they going to put this thing?

TI: Well, they'll need a refrigeration units, right? Or --

HM: George Kimura's refrigeration system comes into play. [Laughs] So George was using his storage facilities for -- and then charging them the same amount of money that he was charging them the difference, $1.50 a pound for holding. So George made out okay.

TI: That's a good story.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: Well, how did the Japanese afford this? I mean I would think that after the war, their economy would be such that salmon eggs would be a luxury?

HM: Yes, it was. It was a luxury. This is -- now we're talking about, this is 1949 and '50 when they started exporting it in, in quantity. And by that time Japanese economy started to roll up a little bit and so dollar and fif -- well right now if you buy a small jar of salmon eggs, it's like what $3.95 for maybe 2 ounces or something of this nature? So $1.50 a pound was relatively inexpensive if you sort it out to levels where you have it in a sushi shop. So anyway, the demand structure was there. And, well as time went on my brother and I were involved in some of the flight situations, and they were trying to determine where they should put the new international airport in Anchorage. And so unfortunately in Anchorage we have a lot of antenna farms and transmitter farms. I mean these are big facilities. They're, just for FAA purposes, our antenna farm used to run about seven miles one dimension, and maybe four miles in the another dimension. And the air force had their own communication systems. Then the Alaskan communication systems, which is the telecommunication system for all of Alaska, run by RCA. They used to have huge antenna farms also. And the FAA had some very low frequency stuff. We're talking 190 kilohertz frequency. And when the Northern Lights used to come on, the Aurora Borealis used to be nice and bright, all your radio communications are just whacked out. Everything, they're whacked out. And, you could see the, the site from the line of sight-type microwave and VHF, UHF links and we couldn't even communicate. Even line of sight, we couldn't communicate because Aurora Borealis would just wipe us out. So they had to resort to going down to the low frequency stuff, down to 190 kilohertz. I never heard of this kinda junk before. And these antenna rays used to, just the Rhombic antenna that we used to use, one of them was eight miles long, just to transmit this 190 kilohertz stuff. And then we used to use brute force and they used to go all the way down to Seattle. That's the only way we could communicate.

TI: That's interesting.

HM: Because the Northern Lights were bad. And then the other phenomenon we used to get was the fact that we used to run UHF, VHF stuff and it would run a multiplex of teletype, voice communication, high speed Morse code, all this kind of stuff on all these links.

TI: So you had to try to figure out where an airport would go given all these antenna farms?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Because all the instruments would, would --

HM: Be disturbed. Like a landing system, if you're coming in on landing and somebody's gonna transmit on harmonic of that frequency --

TI: All your instruments would flip out.

HM: Yeah, you'd get all flipped out. I mean this might be -- I shouldn't really say this, but this might be part of the 737 rudder problem. They're getting some un -- disturbed type interference.

TI: Because all those are -- those are not wire controlled? They're radio controlled? We're actually getting off the topic. We shouldn't get into this.

HM: But anyway, the problem we used to get into was we used to get the Los Angeles Police Department. And they used to burst into our, our communication system.

TI: This was up in Anchorage?

HM: Yeah. This would happen in October and November. And that's when we used to have these funny phenomenon. The girl would be directing the police cars to go to different locations. And she'd come in five by five and it would burst right straight through our stuff. And we're trying to figure out what, what can we do to alleviate this problem. Well, it's just that we have a skip type phenomena. And once that that frequency is entrapped within certain ionosphere levels, they used to bounce up and down and used to come right in to Anchorage, and we used to get the darn thing like it was next door.

TI: Yeah.

HM: And we couldn't raise stations that were down, forty miles downstream, but we could LA five by five. And so we were all constantly trying to do optimum propagation studies and we used to get forecasts from the -- at that time it was the Bureau of Standards from Washington, DC. We used to get those forecasts and we used to try to switch the frequencies. And we were worried about what it's gonna happen on our microwave landing system. That was when they were first starting investigation of the stuff. So, they were really uptight about what interference functions would limit us to the location of this airport. So they used to make what's called electromagnetic surveys. And they used to fly this old C-47 back and forth, back and forth through the Anchorage area and the Spenard International area and try to figure out where do we get the least disturbance on these flights. So my brother and I, between the flight assignments that we had, we were flying this kind of regimen with Jack Gifford, the, the pilot. And we'd say to Jack, well how do they determine this survey? And he said, well when you get the least amount of disturbance for all the, the spectrum of the radiation function for the electromagnetics. And so we started getting involved in the, the survey information. And my brother and I, we decided well they can only put the airport here. [Laughs] 'Cause that's the least amount of radiation signals that we're getting from all this junk around all this whole area. So we decided well, in that case, let's buy the property that's going towards that airport. So we speculated on this piece of property. Seventeen acres which (was the) key corner of this area. It had to pass through this corner. [Laughs] Anyway, that's what we did. We speculated all our forward earnings and said, "Okay, we'll buy that piece of property." And we did, we did buy it. The only problem was that I was in the reserves.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

HM: When you're in the FAA, you become part of the reserves because they want to protect your priority in not being thrown back into the (active duty) reserves. So you have a regional area control. Like in Anchorage it was very strong because the, the air force and the army were very influential in what was being done in the Anchorage area. So, anyway we were placed under that jurisdiction. Well, I came down for my vacation in 1950. This was --

TI: You came down to Seattle?

HM: No. My normal curricula -- well I used to fly from Anchorage to Minneapolis, St. Paul, and go to Detroit. I used to have a deal with a Pontiac GMC dealer at Pontiac, Michigan. I used to pick up my brand new vehicle there and then I used to do whatever I felt like doing. And this was during the summertime, and then I'd drive back to Seattle and either I drove one of the vehicles back up through the Alcan Highway, or my brother flew down and picked it up and he drove it up. And that was what we did every year because we could have a brand new vehicle we use for one year and we could sell it for more money than what we bought it for the previous year. So we made this a common practice. So I got to Higgins Pontiac GMC five days before the North Koreans came across the border. And I picked up the pickup. And anyway, by the time I got back to Seattle, of course the Korean war was in full progress. And my mother thought that I was gonna be hauled into the Fourth Combat Regiment, the Arctic Warfare Regiment. And these guys stay out all winter. They are self-subsistent guys. I mean they are picked from native Alaskans. They have lived up in Alaska because they're, they're used to the environment and the weather. And you snowshoe up the hills and then you ski down hill. And you got cargo packs. And it's an interesting survival pattern. I went through cold weather, weather survival with training in the Big Delta because I was on the flight status group for FAA. So consequently I, I lived through that environment. It's like sixty degrees below zero, and part of your task is to start up this diesel engine and it's been cold-soaked for three days in that temperature. And in order to start that thing you have to start the gasoline auxiliary engine. In order to start that, you have to get the lubricant into the system and get that thing going. So, it's kind of a step by step pattern. You have to get the lubricant warm, you have to get the gasoline engine warm so you can fill up that thing with fuel and lubricant. You have to get that thing going to start even energizing the, the environment for the diesel engine, and that's been cold-soaked so you have to get lubricant system working again because it's, it's like a piece of Jell-O, that's how hard, or even harder for the lubricant, anyway you gotta get that thing started. So I was used to that cold weather routine so I thought to myself, well gee, I'm going to the Fourth Combat Regiment, that's, that's terrible. I don't wanna... so my mother talked me into --


TI: So continue the story with the -- your mom was concerned that you were gonna be with the --

HM: Well anyway, she indicated that she heard about these Alaska Fourth Combat Regiment. I don't know who she heard it from. But she said well, I should change my whole registration thing, my military stuff from Anchorage to Seattle. And I, I thought about it for awhile, and I didn't like that idea of transferring because I would lose my deferment sit -- situation with the air force. And even if I was recalled into active duty, the, the air force would have picked me up because I was in the Air Defense Command function, and they would give me a rating. So I, I was really concerned about it. Anyway I went back to Alaska. And then my brother came down for the, the holiday season, and this was holiday season for 1950. And my, my mother talked to him about her worries about me subjected to maybe recall, active duty. Anyway, when my brother came back up to Anchorage he said, "Well, mom's really worried about this thing. So maybe just for her satisfaction you should transfer your thing to the Seattle area." And I did that. One week later, "Right now," they said, "you got activated." [Laughs] Almost immediately.

TI: So your fear that...

HM: Well --

TI: ...if you had stayed you'd get --

HM: This is now in January, late January of 1951, okay. And they said that I'll have to report on, on February 19th.

TI: That's an interesting date. [Laughs]

HM: So I went to the supervisor and I told him, "Well they're gonna reactivate me. I'm on the reserves and I'll be in the army." And he says, "No, we're not gonna allow you to be in the army." And then he started doing all his things that he normally does. And he, then in about the, I think the end of January, he comes to me and says, "Henry, you really screwed yourself. You're in the jurisdiction of the Washington State people. If you were up here we could have, we would have got you off right now, because we have high priority for your type of people. But we'll try to work the problem, but you're gonna have to comply with it." So immediately I said okay, "I'm gonna go get another car in Detroit before I get yanked into the service." So, I took off and we had this crew -- what do you call it -- we used to have a pass that we could fly on most of the big airlines, and "Crew Observer" they used to call us. And the reason why we got that was because we wanted to see how different pilots and crews used ILS and different landing systems and their nav. systems and their communications systems. So we were allowed to fly as a extra crew member.

TI: So they had what, a jump seat in the cockpit?

HM Uh-huh. Yeah. There's usually, either a side of the flight engineer, back of the area there's a kinda flip over seat. So I used to get some free flights once in a while. So anyway, I got a free flight from Anchorage all the way to Minneapolis. And then I had to pay my way from Minneapolis to Detroit. And then I went down and picked up the car. It was a brand new car. And here it is in the beginning of, this is about the first week of February. And so, I wanted to go see some people in Chicago and visit some other people on the way back. So I did that. I visited the Chicago people and outbound from Chicago, and this is the wintertime and we got into a horrendous snowstorm. It was the record snowstorm for about ten years or so. Anyway, I got kinda stalled coming all the way through to the West Coast. And I was going through Wyoming and the, the weather had cleared up for awhile and so I was going about seventy-five miles an hour and I passed a state patrol car. [Laughs] And he flagged me down and he says, "Hey, you're going a little bit too fast." And I said, "Hey, I got to get to Seattle because I'm being reactivated on the reserves." I showed him all the papers and he, he believed me. He says, "Hey you better slow down because there's a storm up front." And so anyway, I thought hell, if I can drive in Alaska, I can drive in this kind of snowstorm any old time. And it, it wasn't true because my brother used to do a lot of things on the, our, our vehicles in Alaska. And he used to put like a, in front of the radiator -- because it used to get so darn cold up there, you don't need all the cooling of the radiator. So in fact you had to keep it a little bit warmer, otherwise the heater wouldn't warm up. It would never get up to right engine temperature for the heater to work. So he used to put masks in front of the, of the radiator. And I didn't do this for this car. And here I'm rolling along and we hit this squall, just like, like in Alaska, the williwaw, except in this case it's heavy particles of snow, not the driving stuff that's coming this way. So I said, "Ah heck, this is nothing." So I drove along and I get the whole front end of my engine compartment packed with ice. Of course no flow. And the car comes to a screeching halt by itself. And I thought to myself, what the heck am I gonna do now? And I was sittin' in the car contemplating. And here comes this state patrol guy, the same guy. [Laughs] And he says to me, "I told you, you gotta, gotta slow down a little bit." And so he called for a towing vehicle and they towed my vehicle and then they let it defrost in this heated garage there in this place. And we, we had lunch together. Because this state patrol guy finally came up to this place and he says, "Yeah, I been looking for you." And so I invited him for lunch and then we had lunch together. And I was telling him I was gonna try to make it to the West Coast by no later than the seventeenth. I got only a couple of days to get things straightened out. And he says, "Well, here's the road you should be taking." And he was very kind in time and consideration. And told me which ones to take and all this kind of stuff. And we got the, the car all defrosted and all the ice melted and everything else. That, that station guy was very friendly to me. I drove through Bend, Oregon back through the other way. The Columbia River Basin was iced up so I came the other route, but I got to Seattle on the seventeenth. So I had about a day and a half to get ready for getting activated.

TI: Well, what was it that made the state patrol officer so nice to you do you think?

HM: Well, because he, you know I had Alaska plates on. I had purchased the plates in -- and during that time period every time I went to buy a new car, I used to get the Alaska plates in Anchorage and bring the plates with me. Because I knew what kind of a car it was and they would, we would send them the other information about the serial numbers of the vehicle after I got down to Detroit. And you know, since we got to know the people in Anchorage pretty well, they were very compliant with our request. So I used to have Alaska plates any time I picked up the vehicle. So that was kind of unusual for him to see a guy from Alaska running around the country. [Laughs]

TI: With a brand new car, so he was probably curious what was going on.

HM: Yeah, a brand new car. Yeah. He didn't know if it was stolen, or what the heck was going on. But he was, he was interested in what was happening you know. How, why did they came, come down from Alaska? What was I doing up there? How come you're getting thrown into the military again? All this kind of junk. So, I did get back in time to report for active duty.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So, let's get into that. So you were drafted into the army.

HM: Well, activated --

TI: Activated, activated into the army.

HM: Yeah, and then I got -- we, we were put into Fort Lewis. And the group that I was in, there was about nineteen of us in that group. And all of us had some kind of telecommunication capability. All of us were radio amateurs (licensed by FCC). That was without question a standard for the nineteen of us. And we were being kept for some different kind of assignment. And this guy that I got to be friendly with, he was from Winslow and he was radio amateur, and we were comparing our QSL numbers. Anyway, when the, the orders came through for assignment, I was the only guy that didn't get an assignment. I thought to myself, what the heck's going on in this crazy place? And I had done some funny dealings and I had my Pontiac down, down in Fort Lewis. And I used to drive this guy and myself, we used to come back to Seattle on the weekend. And when everybody got their assignment, they had eighteen orders issued and I was the only guy that didn't get an order and I thought what the heck's going on in this place? And then they all, they got all assigned to the, the Nike base, Fort Bliss, Texas. You know (this is) a First Nike installation for anti-aircraft missiles. And I thought to myself this must be another one of these discrimination deals, I thought to myself. Man I must be, must have hit somebody the wrong way on this process. So, I get called in to, after all these guys leave, and here I'm the only guy in this whole place. And I thought to myself, what the heck they gonna do with me? So I'll -- the assignment officer calls me in, he was a warrant officer and he says, "Well, you know, they're holding you up for some reason. We don't know what it is, but they're holding you up. You're gonna get reassigned." So I says, "Well, since I'm not doing anything, can I take off?" And he says, "Yeah. You gotta be back here Monday morning though." So, this is a Thursday. So I took off and went to Seattle in my own car. So, I took off. So I went back to this guy on Monday and he, he says, "Nah, we haven't heard anything." And then the orders came through and he says, "Hey, you're assigned to infantry down in Fort Ord." [Laughs]

TI: Infantry?

HM: Yeah, infantry.

TI: And so what did he think when he saw that?

HM: He says, he says, "Man, you musta rubbed somebody the wrong way," he says to me. I remember his statement. And he says, "Well, well, you're supposed to get down to Fort Ord."

TI: Now where were the orders coming from? That same --

HM: Well this is the AC of SG2.

TI: Okay.

HM: And I thought to myself what the heck is going on, I'm getting assigned infantry? Well I thought to myself, well it's, it's gonna be interesting. You know, I like weapons. So they said you can't bring your car down there. They told me a whole bunch of restrictions. And I said what's going on? I thought I was -- since I'm a reserve type I had some of these other liberties. And then, "Now you're gonna go into infantry training. So get your car back to wherever you're wanna leave it and report back here." I guess it was a Friday afternoon or something and I had to report back. So I, I left the car in Seattle and took the bus back to Fort Lewis. And they got me on the train, and a whole bunch of crazy characters on that train. You know, infantry types, not very intellectually oriented or educationally oriented. Anyway we end up at Fort Ord. And they, they put us in a different replacement company. And I thought, gee this is funny. They should be processing us like anybody else. And it, as it turned out, they, when they assigned us, this one squad that I was assigned to, they had four Nihonjins in there. I thought to myself, well, this is strange. It was one of the beginning mixed company training outfits in Fort Ord. And they told us that before we got assigned to that company.

TI: Because before, at that point they were still segregated?

HM: Yes.

TI: The infantry units?

HM: Yeah, yeah, yeah. they were either whites, or blacks, or at that time they even had Hispanic-oriented groups. But we were the first mixed company for this, this regiment. And they had four Nihonjins in my squad. And I thought what the heck's going on here. And none of the other squads had four Nihonjins in there. And so anyway, these guys are all from California. And one guy happens to be an engineer. They all spoke Nihongo better than I could. And I thought to myself, well, maybe we're going to Korea. And, so anyway, we go through this infantry training for thirteen weeks. And of course the Buddhaheads all kinda bandy around to each other and we try to help each other. And the weekends we all would try to get down to LA for some reason or other. And this guy Kato used to have a restaurant in, down on San -- South San Pedro Street.

TI: That was his family-owned restaurant? Or his restaurant?

HM: He owned it. Yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: He was the boss. And he was the oldest of us all. And he was twenty-eight years old I think. And most of us were twenty-one, somewhere in that age bracket.

TI: Out of curiosity, if he was twenty-eight, how did he avoid military service during World War II?

HM: Okay, he was a returnee from Japan.

TI: Okay.

HM: He had been in Japan see. And he returned after the war.

TI: So, returnee, so he was a "no-no" boy?

HM: No, no. He was in Japan.

TI: Oh, he was actually caught in Japan --

HM; During the war --

TI: He was -- okay, so he was in Japan during the war and then -- got it, okay.

HM: So they came back to LA and then they started a restaurant, and he owned that. It's Daruma Restaurant that he owned. Anyway, Kato used to be the owner of the restaurant. His Japanese was very good of course. His English was less than his Japanese. And then we had a guy named Hanano and he was one of these guys that left Tule Lake and then went back to Japan. And then he served with the Australian Army Unit as a translator. And they, they got him one of the priorities to get back to the United States. So he hauled the rest of his family back one by one. And no sooner than he, do that, that he got called into the army, the Korean War started, see. But he was regular army see, RA. Then we had this engineer and he was -- he had his degree from the university in Japan. So anyway, it was a funny conglomerate of people here. I thought to myself, well, they all speak Nihongo except me, very well, and they all have had experience in Japan. I'm sure we're going into the, either MI or some other function like that. So we go through these thirteen weeks of training. And Hanano, Kato and myself, we get on some like the mortar teams. And we, we place first place in the whole regiment on mortar. And so our company was -- we, we won quite a few awards. They had some very intelligent people in our company. The next barrack to us, mostly college graduate types. And we got to know some of them. And, in fact I was invited to his family's place in Davis, California. And when we went there, the guy's family was pretty wealthy. And he was a honors student at the University of California, Davis. And I thought to myself you know, they're mixing us up with a whole bunch of other characters. They must be doing something in the selection process. Well, as it turned out we were all geared to go to CIC school, but I didn't know at that time.

TI: And CIC is Counterintelligence?

HM: Yeah, yeah. And so I volunteered for two weeks advance training for infantry. I, I got so hung up on weapons at that point. And they had a group that would be using the new weapons for infantry, like the recoilless rifle, and quad fifty caliber machine guns on a hydraulic mount, you know. And I, I got wind of that and I volunteered for the -- the company commander said to me, "You're crazy. You're inviting infantry assignment." And I said, "Oh, I want to go into this unit." So anyway, right after my training date they, they cut everybody else's orders except mine because I was gonna go into this advanced training. And all these other guys like Hanano and everybody they got Fort Holabird assignment. So I knew --

TI: And this is in Maryland?

HM: Yeah. This is in Baltimore actually. It's in the city limits of Baltimore. And I thought all those guys are going to CIC. So I, I took my two weeks of advanced training and then they get, got me a priority function to be -- I, I had three days in Seattle, and then they flew me to, to Baltimore and I got CIC assignment, also.

TI: While you're talking about these short leaves in Seattle. What would you do in those few days? Would you just be with the family?

HM: Well, I hadn't been in Seattle for so long that I lost contact with all my people. But yeah, that weekend I, I went to a, a picnic at Lincoln Park and I tried to talk to all the people that I was friendly with.

TI: Was this like a kenjinkai picnic?

HM: No, this, this was a Methodist Church picnic. And I knew quite a few people there. In fact I was trying to get connected with a female there but it wasn't too successful. Didn't have enough time anyway. So anyway, they flew me back to Baltimore, and the other guys had already been there for about a week and they said, "Hey, where the hell have you been?" And I said, "Well, I took this advance training." And he says, "Oh, you dumb SOB. You gonna land up in the infantry in Korea." So I said, "Oh, I took my chance." But I had a great deal of fun on that, that two weeks. I had the opportunity to fire a fifty-caliber quad machine gun system with a hydraulic, very high response system with a very good (firepower). We used to try to hit those model airplanes, you know, that were maybe five-feet wingspan. Man we had a hard time knocking them out. But if you hit 'em once, somewhere in the airplane they would just blow up. But you gotta hit them. But we were firing fifty-seven millimeter recoilless rifles, and seventy-five millimeter recoilless rifles and firing advance mortar equipment that they had the rifling in the mortar system and man you can really spot that stuff. I was really into it. I really liked that stuff. And then they had a couple of, at that time they were the advance version of the M-15's but they were the still the, like in the prototype stage. Maybe they made a couple hundred of them and so we were firing those things off at 600 rounds a clip. But I, I really was happy, gung ho, weapons crazy type individual.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

HM: But, and when I got down, got to Baltimore, they, they process you through a kind of a informal oral and written examination. They're looking for certain individuals and certain psychological traits and background. And usually it's between hour and a half and two and a half hours of interrogation. And you got field grade officers, at least three of them, sometimes five field grade officers doing all the questioning. And they wanna know everything about you. And by that time they fairly well establish that you're not a security risk. And during the time you're in this process, they're investigating you all the way back to your birth. And this takes a while, so the screening process is a pretty elaborate one. Usually if a guy goes into this oral questioning period, if he comes right back out you know he got rejected because there's something substantially wrong from the findings of the board.

TI: And when you go into this, is your intent to score well, to keep going on because you want to stay there? Is that...

HM: Well, some guys, they don't care. I mean they have no -- because they don't know what they're getting in, themselves into.

TI: Well, how about you? What were you thinking when you're --

HM: Well, my brother was in CIC before. So I figured well, I don't know why they're examining me, or why they're interested in me but (I'll) just go in there and be just my normal self. So the, the head of the board introduces himself, and he introduces the rest of the board. And he says, this guy is a lieutenant colonel, and he asks my name, identify myself and he says, "Do you have a brother named George?" And I said, "Yes." And then he starts asking me a bunch of questions about my last job. And I didn't know this guy was my brother's commanding officer in Tokyo. So he says -- he just asked me the preliminaries and it lasted maybe about five minutes. And he says, "Gentlemen, we've looked at his record, I move that we accept Miyatake into this organization." So the guys just agreed. I mean he was a ranking officer there and just rubber stamp thing. So I go walking out of this room and the guys all say, "Gee, I'm sorry." [Laughs] They, they thought I'd flunked out, very quickly because it didn't last very long. I didn't even last fifteen minutes in there. So the assignment sheet goes up and here's my name on there. And some of the guys like Kato didn't make it. He just got dropped off. And Hanano got put into a administrative training group which is kind of different. And the other guy, they assigned him to MI.

TI: So CIC was sort of the elite of the ones who were there?

HM: Well, they were looking for certain types of individuals. And most of those guys that were in the next barrack, the, the high class college guys, most of 'em made it for the entry into the school. And the school was -- that's where they really screen, screen you out. That's where Ted Kennedy flunked out. [Laughs]

TI: I didn't know that.

HM: Well, I got put in the same cadre room he, as he was. As it turned out, they assigned Kato to MI in -- they wanted him to do a brush up course in Japanese at Monterey before they sent him to Japan. So it was a kind of a short assignment there. So, Hanano and myself were the only ones left of the bunch of Nihonjins. We had another kid named Kondo. He was a, he was a five feet zero inch height character. And he was a black belt judo guy. And his reputation in Fort Ord was that he threw a six feet four inch sergeant on the self-defense stuff and since he was black belt judo well he gave him a koshinage and he just threw him. [Laughs] And, and this was in front of a whole regiment of personnel, and this was a demonstration of self-defense. And here this small dinky Japanese kid throws this big sergeant, the instructor. And he had this notoriety of doing that, so you know everybody -- when we got to Holabird they point at the guy. "Don't, don't mess with that guy. He's liable to throw your ass." But Kondo got, he got put into another MI group I guess, and that was, that was it. They were all gone except for Hanano and myself. And so, Hanano, he didn't give a hoot one way or the other. And during the course of the, the school session, I had this guy at Higgins Pontiac drive me down a brand new Pontiac from Detroit again. Here's one car in Seattle --

TI: And one in Baltimore.

HM: I can't bring that car because they transported me by airplane. They wouldn't give me ground transportation, right? So I had Higgins send me down -- well this guy's name was -- the same salesman I bought it from before --

TI: So this guy from Michigan drove all the way to Baltimore?

HM: Yeah. Well he wanted to eat the, the soft crab on the east side of the, the Chesapeake Bay, there was a --

TI: Now outta curiosity, how many cars did you buy from him at this point?

HM: Well, gee, one every year. At least one every year, and then we bought two cars, let's see, that's was my fifth car I bought from him.

TI: He must have really liked you then to drive all the way --

HM: Oh yeah. It was a pretty easy deal for him because he would try to find out the cars that were available, and he, when I talked to him on the phone, he says, "Well, these are the cars available, which one would you want?" So I said, "What, what colors?" For some reason I was fascinated with green, and I wanted a green Hornet. So I bought a, a brand new Pontiac, eight cylinder, and it was one of these fast backs. Anyway, he drives it down to, to Baltimore and he tries to get into the base and they wouldn't let him get in because they had pretty high security there. And then we had trouble with, with these guys, the Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac Chevrolet plant used to be right across the railroad tracks from Fort Holabird. And they used to have these guys that used to get kind of drunk and they used to come into the fort and right across the railroad track was a WAC detachment, and so he used to molest some of those WACs.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: These were the auto workers?

HM: Yes, auto workers. And this would occur usually on Friday night. And they had a big problem with that. So, I found out later that the first assignment that these guys got that were there before I was there, they were assigned to guard the WAC detachment. And they used to have to do it on the Friday and Saturday nights. But anyway, Glen Winnie drove his, the car down to Baltimore. So Hanano said, "Well, let's go down to Washington DC and we'll show you some of the stuff down there." So Hanano's a California type driver you know, and he likes to really wing it. And this one had a manual transmission set up on the thing. And he says, "Well this is how we do it in California." And here we're in this huge intersection in Washington DC and he just goes right on through everybody else and Winnie's just looking like this, you know. [Laughs] But the salesman and I got together. He was a good friend of mine. I used to stay at his place, by the way, in Pontiac Michigan. So we're more than just business friends. And so he says to me, he says, "What are you gonna do with this car when they reassign you?" I says, "I, hell if I know. We'll wait and see." And he says, "Well, we'll buy it back from you if you want to sell it." So anyway, I, I figured that's a good way of making the deal. So Hanano has his own agenda. His brother was killed in the 442, so one of the things he wanted to do was bring a wreath down there and find his grave in Arlington, because that's where he was buried. Anyway, during one of these crazy events, Hanano's relative was living in Silver Springs, Maryland and, and they were having a get together for a bunch of people that they hired for the air force intelligence group. And some of them were from Seattle, May Tsutsumoto, Ben's sister, Takako Yoda, and several others were from Seattle. And they were training these people for air force interrogation purposes. And --

TI: And these were women that they were...?

HM: Yeah

TI: Some were women?

HM: Yeah, yeah. I think most of 'em were women. And, because of this, they were having a party to honor these people.

TI: And these were air force? And this is, this is --

HM: Yeah.

TI: I didn't know anything about this one.

HM: In fact, this is where I got -- this Florence that used to come around and visit once in a while. She was in the air force intelligence group in the Pentagon. And she was assigned to this class as one of the personnel. And so they had this party set up. And they were gonna have Mike Masaoka there. And so I thought to myself, this is kinda interesting. And Hanano says, "Hey, you, we gotta go there." So I, I says, "Hey, I don't belong in that area," although I knew, I knew some of the people from Seattle.

TI: Now why didn't you think you belonged? Because you were younger, or... or what? I mean what was it that made you feel like you were...

HM: The women were older to begin with. [Laughs] And like May Tsutsumoto, that group was socially, was about my brother's age group socially, so I felt they were a little bit too old for me. And I, I felt kinda, kinda uncomfortable being in the midst of a whole bunch of strangers. Anyway, Hanano insisted, so we go down to this party and here Mike Masaoka is giving speech number eighteen. [Laughs] I categorized all his different speeches. He talked about these women in the service doing all this kind of stuff. And he, he talked about the fact that we're gonna have the first Japanese American woman laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. And this was Florence. She had that honor. And that was coming up that following weekend. And so anyway I got to, I got exposed to Mike Masaoka.

TI: At this point was he a lobbyist for the JACL?

HM: Yeah, he was a lobbyist. Yeah. And I...

TI: And how did you view Mike? Was he... how prominent was Mike at this point? This was like '52?

HM: No, this was let's see, latter part of '51.

TI: Okay.

HM: Okay. I think it's about, musta been late summer of '51. So, I... my feelings about him were that well, he was a pretty... he looked upon himself as a very elegant person I guess. And I didn't have too many other thoughts besides the fact that he spoke well. He was a kind of a orator type and everybody was very impressed with him.

TI: Now did you get an opportunity to actually talk to him...

HM: Yeah,

TI: on one so he knew --

HM: Yeah. Hanano and I talked to him for awhile.

TI: Okay.

HM: And talked about number of different things. And I, I was kind of interested in what his feelings were about wartime activities for JACL and other things. And you know, he gave me the same old party line. So I... that was what I expected. So anyway, that was the first time I met Mike.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

HM: And Hanano, in due course of events, he finally opts out to get out of CIC. I don't know for what reason. But that was his determination. He said, "I don't, I don't feel comfortable with these guys. These guys are all college-trained, they're intellectually above me, and I want to go back to MI." So, he had passing grades through all the courses up until that time. And we're in about the next to the last week of the program, for my class anyway. And his class, they were almost finished. And he goes up and tells the personnel guy, I want out of this organization. So, right at the end, they said, "Well, why don't you stick around for another week and we'll give you a promotion." And he says, "No, I don't want that." So he opted out. So I was kinda left without my buddy. I was kinda getting concerned.

TI: So I would think, yeah, the army would encourage him to stay because of his Japanese language -- would be very valuable for Counterintelligence.

HM: Yeah. But they also knew he was good in Nihongo for the MI.

TI: Right.


HM: Well anyway, when Hanano left the organization, we had a big party for him because all the hakujin guys really liked him. Hanano was a kind of a party type individual and, and they really thought a lot of him. When Hanano left, subsequently we had our finals for the, that school.

TI Before you get into that, did you ever get a sense of why he decided to leave? I mean you said he said he wasn't cut out for that. He didn't think that he fit the characteristics of the college type. But did he ever really confide in you why, what the reasons were?

HM: Okay. He, he was regular army. We were, we were reservists that were recalled to active duty. But in Hanano's case, he wanted to go back to Nihon. That was his, his primary objective. He wanted also to go back to his home country so he could help the relatives. And he felt that being in CIC he would be hampered by some of these activities, and MI would probably be more flexible to him because that's where he kinda had, had most of his dealings. And the other fact was that the competition was too great. He always used to say, "These guys are all college-trained and they're all smart guys and they got bigger vocabularies than I have." And he felt kind of intimidated by their level of intelligence. So he figured well MI, Military Intelligence would be probably a better area for him to follow. And I don't think he even considered a, a career in the army, but that was another position that he felt that he had to pursue. So, when he makes up his mind, he makes up his mind and that's what he did.

TI: Okay. So go ahead and go back to the final exam you're talking...

HM: Okay. Well, we had, we -- the exam is pretty rigorous, because I think everybody in the class except myself was a, was a college graduate. And I didn't even have a, since I was expelled from high school, I didn't even have a high school diploma. So it was a kind of a chore to get through that finals area. And the next thing that was kind of unnerving was the fact that everybody got assignments. And here I was the only dumb guy again that didn't have an assignment. And they put me in a replacement company and I, I saw everybody leave. I took them down to the train station or down to the airport and I was the master chauffeur for the whole group. But anyway I didn't get my assignment and I was sitting around the replacement company and that's when they put me in the same cadre room as where Ted Kennedy was assigned. And well, in, in his case he had somebody else take his finals for him at Harvard. And they found out because of the handwriting on the finals and they expelled him. And then he got drafted into the army.

TI: So he was expelled from Harvard, got drafted in the army --

HM: And then he was assigned to Counterintelligence Corp., and he flunked out of the course. So --

TI: Did you ever get a chance to talk with him?

HM: No, he never showed up in the cadre room. He had an apartment in Baltimore. We never saw him. And the only time we got into a problem with him is because nobody -- in the cadre room, we had three different bunks in there and under his area, nobody bothered to clean it. So one Saturday morning they, they pull a surprise inspection on us and they were goofing around and here they giga -- gigged the whole cadre room for not having clean floors. It had dust and everything else.

TI: That was because the dust under Ted Kennedy's bed.

HM: Yeah, because nobody has bothered to clean it. Who is this guy Kennedy? All we knew was the fact that on Friday afternoon they would allow this black limousine to come into the area. And this, this was a secured area. And they would pick up this individual. This was after the final roll call on Friday afternoon, and off, off he'd go. And so anyway, after we got the gig, I had a friend up in the adjutant's office and I asked him, "Who the heck is this guy, Kennedy?" And he says, "Well, he's got a PIO stamp on his file, 201 file." I says, "What the heck's a PIO?" Political Influence. And so (I) says, "Who is that guy who picks him up?" And he says, "He's a Congressman from up in New England someplace." [Laughs] And I never met the guy personally during that time phase. But the army regulations at that time was that if you flunked out of one service school, you cannot be reassigned immediately to the, another service school. Well, they just waived it and they sent him down to Camp Gordon, Georgia for military police school. He ends up by the way, up in Alaska at Fort Richardson. That's where he served out his term.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

HM: But everybody gets assigned and I'm sittin' there like a dead duck again, and not knowing what's gonna happen. And so I get called up by this Colonel Newton. He runs the Counterintelligence Corps School at Fort Holabird and he says, "Hey, we got a placement for you. And we know you got all this background. We know you got this FCC license, and we want to put you into this organization for training, and that's another six weeks." And that was for, they used to call it, the euphemism was, "defense against sound equipment." That was the euphemism.

TI: Defense against sound equipment?

HM: Yeah. That's a bunch of bologna that pertains to the other direction.

TI: Eavesdropping?

HM: Yeah.

TI: Right.

HM: Telephone taps, mike planting, all that kind of junk. So I got placed into that class, and they have morning lectures, and then the afternoons are, you have to work the problem and work with the equipment. And they have exams at every week interval. So by the third week I was getting so bored, sick of this stuff. It's elementary electronics. It's so elementary that I was just bored. And so the captain calls me into his office and says, "You look real bored in class. You seem completely disinterested, and we don't like to have students that way." So I says, "This stuff is so elementary that I just can't get enthused about it." So he says, "Okay, here take the finals." So he shoved me the finals, and I went, I went through the whole thing. And then the following Monday he says, "Well, I guess you know most of what we want to teach you so we want to assign you as the, the instructor for the afternoon classes." "I, I don't want it." He says, "Well, we're gonna cut your orders to that effect." And that's what they did. So I became an instructor in that area. The problem was that we have to make the lectures for the introductory functions of how to protect yourself from having this kind of equipment placed against you. Like for instance all the military attaches they used to ship out of the United States, they all used to come to the Counterintelligence Corps School for one week and we used to give them all these lectures on what to look out for. And so, we used to have groups of different countries, like Australians used to come there and they had their equivalent to CIC people trained in that kind of work. We had also people like the French Army and French Air Force people coming through there. All, all kinds of different countries. We used to have groups that were Puerto Ricans that were being assigned undercover in South America. All kinds of different people. Anyway, during the course of this teaching process, two of us had brand new cars. Lt. Parker who was another retread, recall, he happened to be Assistant District Attorney for the County of Los Angeles. And he was teaching investigation techniques at the school. And, and he had a brand new Buick and I had a, that Pontiac. And we got a notification on our windshield that we can't park our cars in the location we used to park. It was the con -- most convenient place for us to park to the school assignment area. And so I got to know Parker because of that. And I says, "Did you get the same note?" We were just getting ready to leave from the parking lot together. So he says, "Yeah." And I knew that he was my investigations instructor when I was taking the course. And he says, "Yeah, I wonder what this thing is all about." Anyway, Colonel Newton, the guy that was the Commandant of the school felt embarrassed because he didn't have a car as good as ours and he wanted us to park our cars way on the other side. [Laughs]

TI: Because he had these junior officers...

HM: Yeah.

TI: ...with brand new cars.

HM: Yeah, buncha young punks there. And so he says, "Yeah, you were in one of my classes weren't you?" And so I said, "Yeah." And he says, "How about helping me out one of these days?" So I says, "What do you want me to do?" And he says, "Well, I want you to dress up like one of these peasants and come into class, and we want to go through the interrogation process. And I want to demonstrate what happens when you use an interpreter." So I says, "You must be kidding." Because we had one of those sessions there and I did the interrogation for that, that class. Parker is one of these guys that says, "Who wants to volunteer for this interrogation?" And if nobody puts their hand up, he says, "You, right there." [Laughs] And I was the one that was in the front row. So we got into this -- in that class we got into this interrogation and where this guy was supposed to be a Nihonjin peasant and he witnessed a sabotage event. And the interpreter wasn't interpreting correctly. And I would ask a question, question and the interpreter would put it in Nihongo and then ask the question in Nihongo to the, this peasant. And the guy would iterate his answer in Nihongo, back to through the interpreter, back to me. And he was making some wrong statements and he was doing it incorrectly. So I was trying to get the interpreter to make it even more basic on the question that he was raising.

TI Outta curiosity, was the interpreter a Japanese, a Japanese American like a Nisei?

HM: No. He was hakujin guy. And he was trained in Monterey. Well, to come to the issue, we knew, I knew what the answer was supposed to be because we used to trade answers from the class ahead of us. We said, "What the heck kinda stunt is he gonna pull on this thing?" And then they would tell us. That they were one week in advance, so they were taking the class that we would take the following week. And the answer was known to me, so I was trying to get the answer outta this guy and the interpreter was screwing it up. [Laughs] I really got kinda ticked off. And the, and I guess Parker realized that I could understand the Nihongo part of it and this was why he wanted me to become the, the peasant, and this guy was being reassigned to a different assignment. So he talked me into it. So he gave me all these grubbies and zoris, and kind of dirty up my hair and go walking in there. And Parker really used to enjoy me because you know, I would, I would give flippant answers. And when the guy offers me a cigarette, the, the person that's doing the interview process, interrogation process, I would take the whole pack and slip 'em in my pocket. And I used to really destroy the balance of the equilibrium of the interrogator to the questioner.

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

HM: But, Parker was a real nice guy, and I got to know him fairly well because of these crazy stunts. In the morning, in this, this class I would have one hour of lecture and then the rest of the day was free for me, so I used to goof around a lot. Used to -- and then Parker, when he wasn't lecturing, he would tell me all his disaffection about it. I mean you recall, (he) being a first lieutenant, whereas in his civilian job, he used to run a big office of district attorney and attorney people. So, he was telling me one time about how they got the machine that was the key to cracking Code Magic. This was -- all these crypto machines at that time were based on this German invention that was patented in 1926, in Europe. And the machine was built because commercial banks and different entities wanted to crypto their information through the main teletype system. And the guy that invented that system was the same guy that made the Klineschmidt Perforator, which was the basis for the high-speed data transmission stuff. So all these things are kinda interrelated really. And so he told me the story about how they absconded this Japanese naval lieutenant and he brought this crypto machine. This was in 1940. And he was on the train from San Francisco to Washington DC and this was the, one of these non-stop trains, but for this specific event they needed that machine that he was carrying to be examined overnight. So they had this train break down all of a sudden in, in St. Louis. And he was attracted to this female person, and he put the unit that he was carrying -- he was not supposed to leave, get it out of his sight at all costs -- and he had put it in the hotel safe because this woman entranced him. During the time it was in the hotel safe they got it out, and then they took it all apart, they photographed every part of it, figured out how it was gonna work, put it all back together, put it back into the hotel safe. The next morning, unbeknownst to him, he picks it up and he goes to Washington, DC.

TI: Okay so this was before the war so he had diplomatic immunity, but they knew he had this machine.

HM: Well, this is what Parker tells me.

TI: Now Parker, was he -- he wasn't in the military? This was just a story that he had heard?

HM: Yeah. Because he had worked with a guy that was involved in this case.

TI: Okay. Got it.

HM: And so I says, "Parker, either you're giving me a line of crap here -- either that or this is something that nobody else has talked about." Because in one of the classes that we have in Counterintelligence Corps, it is about crypto analysis techniques, enigma system, the ultra system, Code Magic, that kind of stuff, how invalid some of these systems are, what the attributes are, and so forth. They don't get into the details of it, but they tell you what the stories are. So, well Parker had all kinds of other things that he told me about that I wasn't aware of. And he was just a whole repository of these spy stories. And that was the first time I ever heard of Richard Sorge, and he was a master spy in Japan for the Russians. But he had all this thing in his head. He, he was an extremely intelligent individual. He was totally disaffected by the army. He wanted to get out any way he, he could possibly get out. He wanted to get back into civilian role, because his salary was now undermining his economic security and the whole bit. And he was mad at the army. And he was a -- we got to be pretty good friends. We used to go eat together. And he introduced me to this guy that was a, the, the chief cook at the officers' mess. And he was a Hawaiian kid. And he used to make tsukemono and all this kind of stuff in the back of his kitchen operation. And every so often he'd say, "Hey, I got a new batch of tsukemono, come on back here." And Parker and I and a couple other Nihonjin guys, we'd go back to the rear end of the kitchen there, and we would eat ochazuke and some of this other stuff that he prepared.

TI: Whatever happened to Parker, career-wise?

HM: He became -- well there's a building named after him in Los Angeles. The Parker Building. It's a -- well he got way up -- he became the head of the police department at one point. He got way up in the ladder. He was a smart guy. There's nothing that can hold him back.

TI: Interesting.

HM: So, but he was a very disaffected officer at that point. But he wanted to have a little bit of fun and here, here's this Nihonjin guy willing to become a victim of ridicule. And in the classes the hakujins have never seen a Japanese being interviewed. They don't know what the manner -- mannerisms are, nothing.

TI: Well out of curiosity, because of his law degree, did you ever talk about the incarceration during World War II?

HM: Oh, yeah, yeah. He, he was -- said that's totally invalid. They should have let you guys out immediately as soon as the Supreme Court cases came up. He was well aware of some of the things that went on. And so, he was a kind of a bright light for me. He was a hakujin guy that knows all this stuff, and willing to talk, and we have some common interests of trying to get out of the service. He was a very good person to me. And during this interval, when I was in Counterintelligence assignment --

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>


HM: ...getting really tired of this instructor job. And then Parker got his, enough points to get out of the service. And so all the interest levels that I had, all my friends were now assigned in Japan, most of 'em. They used to send me letters saying, "How come you haven't joined us here?" It used to aggravate me. And so I got involved in couple of things. I, I made two patent applications. One was because during the time I was assigned to the school, we used to go on temporary assignments, like I used to get assigned to the second army in Fort Meade. And they would assign me a mike plant job in the, on the post because the army had jurisdiction of all the housing within the Fort Meade complex. And we did a job on a person that had a complaint against him. And the allegation was that he was providing Germans with intelligence information because he used to have visitors from Germany come over to his place and they used to have parties. His previous assignment was in Germany and he got to know a lot of people there. He had, he was, his -- that guy had a assignment as a PX officer. And unfortunately the, the neighbor was jealous of all his high-revved economics. He had a brand new car and all this kind of stuff. And so the complaint was that he was involved with some mili -- military intelligence function. So that was the reason we bugged his house. And unfortunately the guy had been embezzling funds from the PX, which is not a military intelligence type area. But nonetheless, because they got that information that executive officer of that detachment decided to bring it to the criminal investigation detachment's attention, indicating that this guy had been doing these funny activities. But later on that, that got involved into a court martial situation for me.

I used to have to haul around this crazy tape recorder. It's army type tape recorder and it's built to military specs, heavier than get out, very rugged. And we used to get complaints from people like in, in the European sector saying that, "This unit is not suitable for our purposes. It's too heavy. It's too cumbersome, and all the information should be fed back to our department because we're teaching this stuff." So I decided, well, why, why can't we take a standard, fairly high quality tape recorder and make a different power supply so we could adapt to different countries' electrical feeds. So like we knew in Japan they, they were using 100 volts and some of it was 50 Hertz, European sector was 200 volts or 220 volts or, and some of it was 50 Hertz and some of it was 60 Hertz. So I made a adaptive type power supply as part of my conceptual patent thing. And I did that, and I -- the other instructor that was there in the same organization, was from, he graduated from Stevens Institute, which is a, at that time was the foremost ship building design technical institute in the United States. And they used to have a towing tank, which is a long, looked like a long swimming pool and they used to drag these different hull configurations through the tank to determine drag, all these different constants. It's similar to a wind tunnel except you're just running it through water. Anyway, since I had the car, he didn't have the car and he wanted to go home. We used to -- two weekends I guess, I, I drove him up to his place and I was the family's houseguest. And he was located pretty close to Stevens Campus. So I had often wondered about different things about marine design. So I said, "Hey, if they're open, can you, can we take a tour of the place? I'd sure be interested in seeing what you people had there." So anyway he -- and that was a Saturday afternoon when we went there. And there, his old professor was there. And so they had some kind of a, I don't know -- it wasn't a open house but it was kind of a introductory thing to new students to come and see if they want to enroll there. So anyway, we got in a huge discussion about shipbuilding design and the noise from different things in the hull, like a propeller makes a huge amount of noise.

TI: Right.

HM: And so I got this crazy idea, well, why don't we have a propeller-seeking, noise homing underwater torpedo. And I, I -- that just came out of my mind because --

TI: Because you could figure out some kind of device that would, that would home in on that, on that vibration or that noise?

HM: Noise on the propeller. And that's a real noisy, noise, high noise generator on a ship. So since I was making this patent application or going through this red tape of filing this stuff I decided I, I would do one for the acoustic torpedo.

TI: Now what gave you the idea to patent this information? Where did that come from?

HM: At that time Captain Jenkins, who was the head of the department said, "Hey, if you guys could figure out something better than what we're using," and he knew this other kid was from Stevens, had a pretty good background in electronics. He says, "Why don't you guys apply for a patent? At least we will get our department name in the, in the news." And so he was encouraging us to do that.

TI: But this would be a patent owned by the U.S. Government?

HM: Yeah. You have to sign everything, all your rights to the government. And the army in this instance, in this specific case, to the CIC, because this recording equipment was relative to what the CIC needed in their field functions. And the, the missile thing, the underwater torpedo thing, was -- he thought well, they'd just file it and it would go to some other department of defense area. So he was encouraging us to do this. He was a ham himself. He wanted us to be participant in the military amateur radio system. Under his encouragement, all of us that were hams, we signed up with this system. So we became part of the emergency Mars network. And well, I didn't think anything about that patent for a long time. And we got a call from this outfit in Chicago and they said they wanna see if they can talk to me about the patent application I made. Well it was long since I had forgotten about it. I couldn't care less.

TI: This was years after you -- you're still in the...

HM: No, no, this was months after...

TI: Okay.

HM: ...the situation.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

HM: And by that time I was getting so bored about the school that I, I kept on volunteering for these different assignments. And so they would -- I volunteered for this one in First Army. So I went up to Fort Jay and doing all kind of funny business of -- well this was the remnants of Sergeant Greenglass's operation. And Greenglass was the courier for the Rosenburgs. And the Rosenburgs were executed for atomic energy --

TI: Right.

HM: The data transfer and all this kind of stuff. But Rosenburg, I mean Greenglass was a sergeant in the army and he was running around in a brand new Cadalliac convertible. And he had a lot of girlfriends, and he got one girlfriend really mad at him and she turned him in. Turned him in because she was mad at him. And she made a whole bunch of allegations. So consequently, everywhere that Greenglass went, we bugged his places to find out what was going on.

TI: So were you one of the foremost experts on bugging for the...

HM: Well --

TI: ...for the CIC at this point?

HM: Well, I was willing to volunteer for these dumb assignments and they, I guess they figured, well, if this, this guy is dumb enough to volunteer, we'll use him. We don't want to use our own people, see. And well, that kind of stopped after I heard about another incident. During the time we were taking this Defense Against Sound Equipment Course, they had couple other courses running along side with us. These were called specialist courses. And one of 'em was in entering systems, how do you enter a place surreptitiously, and how do you get into things like, even safes, how do you get in there? Well, they used to have guys that were, had backgrounds in locksmithing. And during the time we were running the course, it was a concurrent type of situation. They have six guys in this entry class. I got to know all of them fairly well because we used to take our breaks together and used to go to the coffee shop. And he was assigned to Sixth army. And he got -- something was wrong with his entire system. And they were in the Russian, one of these Russian commercial companies, import-export companies, and they got nabbed. They got nabbed by the San Francisco Police Department. And they sent them up for three years in the California State Prison system. And the army denied he was doing anything for the army, which is the normal thing that happens. So anyway, he got convicted and he got thrown into jail. And that stopped all my volunteering work. I just quit right there.

TI: 'Cause you realized that the army would not back you up if you got...

HM: No, no but the normal...

TI: ...caught doing something illegal.

HM: Orders are that -- first of all you shouldn't get caught, but if you did get caught, the army's gonna deny that you had anything to do with them. I mean this is normal standard procedure.

TI: Uh-huh.

HM: So you're at your own risk. But after I heard about that case I said, "Oh, that's it. No more for me."

TI: And the army wouldn't cooperate in the investigation because you would know that he was doing something, he was like an instructor.

HM: Oh, yeah. I knew he was under orders to do that function. But three of 'em got caught. And the surveillance system broke down. I found out about it later because we visited him in the, in the prison. But --

TI: Well, how did he feel about that? The fact that the army didn't support him. Was he surprised?

HM: He was bitter. Yeah, he was bitter. They funded the defense money for his attorneys. That's all they did.

TI: That's amazing.

HM: Yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: But this is standard procedure. So that stopped my volunteering work. [Laughs] It came to a screeching halt. About that time, they said well, General Gallagher at that time was, he wanted a super-duper detachment. World-wide detachment that had their own airplanes and all this kind of stuff. And this airplane thing really struck a bell with me. And I thought, "Oh, God, he's gonna have his own damn airplanes." And so when I investigated some of his, of this formation of this detachment. And I said they had a provisional detachment commander assigned. So I sought, sought him out through the personnel files, and I went to him and I said, "Hey, here's my background. I could speak enough Japanese to get me in trouble..." And he says, "Yeah, we can use you." And so I got assigned to this so-called 890th group. And nobody talks about that group. Anyway, they had their own organization so they used to send us to all these different assignments.

TI: Was this to do things like to bug? Things like that, to eavesdrop? What was the function of this group?

HM: Yeah, we were formed into different teams.

TI: I see.

HM: One guy on the team was a entry guy, and one guy knew how to bug things...

TI: Right.

HM ...and the other guy knew a lot about photography.

TI: Sounds a little bit like "Mission Impossible." You know that --

HM: It's a very low-key stuff. And so they used to send us to things like -- well, first thing they did was they sent us to maneuvers, army maneuvers to figure out if we could outwit the other side and wipe 'em out and from a counterintelligence standpoint, really screw them up. And that was part of our mission. And we went on some of these assignments. And then they had this deal in Tokyo, so I volunteered for it. And I was told that at the time by the executive officer that when I get through with the assignment I get two weeks free. I be free to do as I feel like. And I wanted to see the guys in, in Japan because they were my former classmates and they were having a grand old time over there. So I said, I volunteered for the deal. So they flew me from Fairfield Susun Airfield, I forgot what the new name is, but that, that was the MATS base, and they flew me priority to Tokyo and we did our job. We get briefed on the job and we did the job and finished it. And we come back and they asked us, "Well, how did everything go?" And said, said, "Well the recording looks okay." And as soon as that happened and the debriefing ended they said, "Well, pack up your stuff we're gonna have you go to Tachikawa." I says, "What are you talking about? I got a two week leave here." The orders were written in such a complex manner that the two weeks starts from the time I return to the United States. Dirty son of a guns. Anyway, they, they put on this on this semi house arrest and hauled all three of us to Tachikawa, and off we go from Tachikawa back to, to Fairfield Susun.

TI: They thought they'd put you under sorta that semi-house arrest because they thought you would take off and just --

HM: Well, they claimed that we were burned. That somebody saw us. That was a bunch of bologna. That was just to get 'em outta the, to get us out of the Tokyo area. But, I was looking forward to the leave. And you couldn't contact any of the people because we're still undercover assignment. Anyway, they bring us back to Fairfield, and then the guy says, "Well, you're free to go. We got orders to clear you. You guys can go out, whatever you want. And you got two weeks on your own time." Oh, that was a dirty stunt. Anyway, I came back up to Seattle and spent the two weeks here and then went back to my assignment back there. Then they had another assignment to Korea, but that, that was an easy one.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

HM: Then I got -- I, I really got myself into a pickle. This, this, this army PX captain, that, he had a court, court martial thrown against him, general court martial. And he was cited for embezzling PX funds, expropriating U.S. Army material, and funds.

TI: This is the one that you helped by sorta bugging his...

HM: His place, yeah.

TI: His place to get information?

HM: But instead of being a Counterintelligence case, it was now a criminal investigation case.

TI: Right. Uh-huh.

HM: And it had proceeded to the point of a court martial. And then, this army regulation saying that you can't do this. If it's for one allegation, you have to prove it under that basis. You can't transfer data to another army organization. So I, I found out about this whole incident and, in fact a friend of mine that was stationed at Fort Meade said, "Hey they're court-martialing this army PX guy." So I went to the, the executive officer of that detachment that handled the case and we got into a shouting match. And I accused him of violating army regulations, and things got worse and he started calling me some nasty names, and I in turn returned the favor. And about a week later my commanding officer says, "Hey, we got a complaint here. You're gonna, they're gonna file court martial proceedings against you for insubordination." I says, "What's this all about?" He says, "Well, you went down to second army detachment and you cussed this guy out and a bunch of other things, and they're citing you for insubordination." So, I said, "Well, I knew what his rank was." And I guess in the army terms of military justice that was a legitimate allegation to make. So they froze me out of my job at that point because they said, "Hey, you're faced with this problem and you gotta resolve it." So this guy that got me into the CIC to begin with, he got wind of it and he says, "I want to talk to you. Maybe we can clear this thing up before it gets too, too bad." So he was willing to offer some help. He knew the guy that filed the complaint and he says normally he's a pretty good individual, but once you get him riled up he's, he acts insane. And the guy used to be under his organization's structure. And so he interceded. So, the thing got beat up through the organization function. Finally Gallagher, Gallagher who was at that time head of CIC, got attention of this court-martial that was suppose to take place -- I mean it was becoming very serious. It was not a, it was not just a cussing of another person out or something like that --

TI: Were you under house arrest or anything like that?

HM: No. There was, I couldn't, they wouldn't give me any traveling authorizations or anything. It wasn't under house arrest, but they wanted me around. So they didn't know what to do with me. So they sent me back to Fort Holabird. So I'm in this, this, these quarters and this adjutant that has a, is a friend, he says, "Well we're gonna put you underground and they're not gonna find you." So I said, "Where're they gonna send me?" He says, "Well, you know, the Central Records Facility is a classified organization and we don't want to identify anybody in there. We don't want to identify the work that they're doing."

TI: So they were just going to try to hide you until this thing blew over --

HM: The thing blew over, yeah, and it quieted down, see. And so they said, "Well, it's not a very good job, but at least it'll hide you. And you, as long as you stay hidden there, and it gets close to your separation time, well, we'll just sneak you out." That was the plan.

TI: Because you were within months of leaving --

HM: Yeah, I was at that time, let's see, this was toward Thanksgiving, I would have been released in February, but they could have held me over sixty days.

TI: At this point what was your rank in the army?

HM: Well, as a special agent, they don't put any rank on you. They only assess you on the pay level. So when we were doing the teaching at the school, because the, the classes that we were exposed to, some of these guys were like military attaches. So they were all field grade officers or better, and in fact they, they used to have some regular generals in there occasionally. So they didn't want us to be encumbered by rank so they would put unassigned brass on us, no rank, so we got officers, unassigned brass, but no rank. If they wanted us to show rank, then they used to give us warrant officer's ratings on the thing. So anyway, by the time I got this court martial thing they had auto -- automatically demoted me down to practically nothing. So I, I wasn't too concerned at that point, but the fact that they found me this place to hide for the next three months, I figured wow, that's a pretty good deal. At least I won't get involved in the court-martial case.

TI: At this point, as this court-martial was proceeding, did you feel like you had somehow screwed up somehow? Or what were you thinking?

HM: Well, I shouldn't have sworn at the guy. I, I told him to go to hell amongst other things. And he did the same thing to me, but nonetheless, I should have never gone and confronted him on this situation, because even though he, he faulted the army regulation, I had no authority to do that to him. I should've just kept my mouth shut and gone the other way, but it perturbed me so much that they were gonna send this guy off for ten to twenty years in Leavenworth that I felt compelled to do it. And I don't know, I felt they were kicking a guy down and kicking him again and I thought that was really a dirty stunt. And on top of that I didn't like that executive officer. When I served under him he was very arrogant. He called me a "Jap" a couple of times and I remember that, and it kinda rubbed me the wrong way. So this was a kind of a way to get back to him, in that, having this problem. So I was assigned to this Central Records Facility. And since I was the newest guy on the, on the job, they decided to put me on third shift which was midnight to eight o'clock in the morning. And all the guys that were there assigned to this department were very smart individuals. They were either history majors, or psychology majors, they had advanced degrees. And a bachelor's degrees was one of the minor areas, and here I wasn't even, I didn't even go to college. So anyway they stuck me in this place and the lead guy was a friend of the Kimmel family, I, I wasn't aware of that, at all. And on Sunday morning which is a, or Sunday midnight, that's Monday morning according to army time, so we show up for assignment on Sunday night. And because we don't have any instructions for any information requirements from assistant chief of staff, G-2 from Pentagon, because it comes during the day and it flows into the afternoon of the first shift, and then usually, second shift gets what's left over, and then we get either emergency type things, or on Sunday night, nothing because they didn't operate over the weekend usually, unless it's a emergency type situation. So his, his normal procedure was wow, let's start looking into some of these cases. And like typical ones that he looked into was the court-martial of Kimmel and General Short, Pearl Harbor thing, this, this superwoman spy that was operating in, in Germany during World War II, and all these kind of incidents, Richard Sorge's case, what they had of him.

TI: And these were all the classified sort of military documents?

HM: Yeah, yeah, and we had thirteen million plus files in that place. It was a huge repository of information. And it was all in dossier numbers. It's case numbers or study numbers. And so he had some feedback from the, the AC of SG2 the intelligence department in the Pentagon. So when we were tracking something like a, a case for an organization, he would have the all the dossier numbers of the people that were hitting the organization and then we would spread out from that, and it's like a big organization chart, once you get the key guys everything falls out from under it. And our job was to integrate the information to try to get it to some recognizable intelligent form.

TI: Would you actually write reports based on that, or you just collect the files?

HM: We'd collect the files and then --

TI: And put them into one --

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

HM: Normally, in the afternoon, when they have the afternoon break, it is our lunch break, we would discuss the issues and then, further we'd determine which ones we would seek further information about. And then it would go into a kind of a summary format, and we would identify each of these areas and then we'd make -- at that time they used to have the photocopy machines -- not the ones we have now -- but they used to be using reflex paper, and we'd file that stuff and then the courier would run it to the Pentagon the following day. But because of the Sunday night situation, nothing was being asked for, and we were free to do as we pleased. And, one time I got into this conversation that I was in Minidoka, camp in Idaho, and this guy knew quite a bit about all the legal ramifications of World War II. He knew about Rosenburg case, he knew of a lot of this stuff. And of course he had been working there for quite a while. So one day, he gives me this list of dossier numbers, and he says, "Why don't you look these things up? They might be of interest to you." So I said, I asked him, "What is it for?" And he said, "When you look at the first file, you'll understand." So I went searching for these files, start looking at 'em and then, this is about the reports and the camps. Fascinating reports in fact. By the end of that first day that I was looking at the thing, here are guys that I knew about, names I recognized. I thought geez, this is damn interesting.

TI: And these were written by whom? By the administration, the WRA, or --

GH: No, this was by the informant system and the agent system that the CIC had under their control.

TI: Okay.

HM: Okay. Now I'll get to that next point...

TI: Okay.

HM: ...little bit later on because there's a connection right at the end of my army career. Anyway, I looked at this thing and I thought to myself, no wonder this block manager was never able to get out of camp. You know, they had fingered him and said he was suspect of doing this, suspect of doing that. Nothing that proved that he was doing some of these things, but he was suspect of it. Allegations were made and this was in the reports. And I, the more I looked in the thing, by the time I got to the end of the file numbers I thought, oh man this stuff, this thing is really interesting. And so during the remainder of the week I used to investigate all the other associated dossier numbers, because they would have agent names on it, agent numbers. And I thought man, we were really well-infiltrated as a, as a population. And then of course this one assignment he had was because his student friend was the son of Kimmel. One weekend when we had nothing to do he says, "Why don't we look at the Pearl Harbor court-martial file." And that's what we did. We looked under all the army testimony files. The depositions that they made prior to the testimony of these individuals to that court martial. And so anyway, he arranged a meeting with this guy's son, Kimmel's son. We met with him in Baltimore on the weekend and had a long discussion with him and told him what we had found out and been exposed to, but we can't get anything out for you.

TI: Because Kimmel's son wanted to clear his father's name.

HM: Yeah.

TI: And so he was trying to get in there --

HM: As far as I know, even up to several years ago he had a bill in Congress to repudiate the court-martial. And, but at that time it didn't get through Congress. I don't know what has gone on since that time. Anyway he was making a very strong effort to repudiate both General Short's court-martial, as well as Admiral Kimmel's.

TI: And the information that you're referring to is information that is classified that won't be opened up for some period of time?

HM: Yeah. It won't be opened up 'til 2044.

TI: And that's what, you say ninety-nine years after the...

HM: End of World War II. Like the Civil war, it ended in 19 -- 1865 I believe it was, well they didn't open it up 'til ninety-nine years after the fact. That's when we found out that Hooker and all his, his funny things that he was doing, the reason why hookers are called hookers today is because of his operations. But that kind of stuff didn't come out 'til long after the Civil War was ended.

TI: Now with the Freedom of Information Act, would some of this material be available?

HM: No because it pertains to National Security items. And if it's sensitive they, they would keep it classified in that manner. A lot of it has been declassified. A lot of it has been purged. In fact, during one exercise at the Central Records Facility they got so many files that they couldn't hold it all so they started purging all the old stuff and stuff that was irrelevant to National Security issues.

TI: I guess I want to go back to what you've, what you read about Minidoka. I mean how much can you tell me about in terms of that information.

HM: Well --

TI And clarify because it's not really clear to me when you said that the community was really well-infiltrated? How, what can you tell me about that a little bit more?

HM: Okay.

TI: I'm not real clear about that.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

HM: Okay, let's jump to the end of my -- the last week I was in the army. The adjutant calls me up and says, "Hey, you're kind of defunct in the Central Records Facility because they're kinda easing you out of the job there because they got the replacement for you." So, I hadn't really been showing up for the last several days because they didn't need me. So the adjutant says, "Well, if you ain't got anything better to do, I got a bunch of things I need for a favor from you." So he said, "We got a guy coming in here that's been in the army for a long time, but he's never qualified with a weapon. He's never been in a uniform and we want you to get him through the medical thing, examination at Fort Meade Hospital, and we want you to get him into a uniform, we want you to get him to a firing range, and get him, get him all his shots so he'd be qualified to be separated from the army. And at that time, because the Korean War going on, the army regulation stated that you must be qualified with a weapon. You must have a hea -- health examination to determine disabilities and all this kind of junk. You must go out in uniform with the proper rank. So anyway, I thought this was a snap. I had a car, I knew the guys down at Fort Meade. Oh, this will be nothing. I could get it done in a day, that's what I thought. So I go up to the adjutant's office the following morning and here's this guy in civilian clothes. He's a Nikkei. And I talked to him and he says okay, so I told him I had a car and I could transport him to these different places and, are you ready to go. And he says, "Well, I gotta put my stuff into the BOQ." So I bring him down there and dump the stuff and take off. And I says, "Well, the longest lead time item on this thing is your uniform, and what kind of uniform do you want?" So he says, "Well, a standard uniform." So, I said, "Well, what rank did you hold?" He says, "Well they got me classified as a major, but I never wore any uniform." So anyway, we bring him to this uniform shop in East Baltimore Street.

TI: And what were you thinking at this point?

HM: Oh God, I thought...

TI: Here's this Nikkei, he's a major...

HM: Maybe this is one of the guys that's writing some of these reports. You know, that I had looked at. And I thought, well he wasn't a very talkative guy. He was pretty closed-mouthed. So we bring him to the uniform shop, we get him sized up for the thing. And I says, "Hey, what kind of weapon do you fire? I mean what are you familiar with?" I started asking him about these questions and he says, "I don't know anything about weapons." The only thing he's fired was a .22. So I thought this is kind of interesting. Here's this guy, he's a major now, at least he's, in pay he's a major. He doesn't know anything about weapons. Okay, well, we'll first get him into the hospital and start getting him some of the tests. So that was our first stop. And then I call up the range officer and ask him, "Can we qualify this guy with a weapon?" And he says, "Yeah, bring him down, bring him down." So after the part of the examination was over they said, "You have to finish up the other exam because they gotta take some x-rays and all that kind of stuff, so bring him back tomorrow." So sure, okay. So we go down to the firing range and so that was the range that we used to go to just about every other week. And this, the range officer, training officer was an Olympic pistols guy for the Olympic games. And the weapon that we would use was a .38. And my favorite was a .38 with a 6 inch barrel on it, target style. So I, I figured well, anybody could hit a target with a 6 inch barrel weapon. You can't help but hit it. So I told the range officer well, let's, let's use the .38 because the .45 is kind of heavy and it's, it's an automatic and the .38 is a much easier weapon to use and you could fire more accurately. So anyway, that, that's what we assigned him and then we showed him the sequence and range safety requirements. So he says, "Okay, you gotta hit, you gotta hit into this zone here for this score and to get a marksman you have to have this many points on the thing." So anyway, he gets the thing and you can tell he never fired a weapon. He, he had a hard time hittin' the target. And anyway, we go through about four sequences like that. And the range officer calls me over and says, "You know, this guy is gonna have a hard time. He just doesn't have the arm strength to keep that weapon up there and he flexes too much when it recoils." So I, he says, "We can do this thing all afternoon we won't be able to finish him off." So he says, "Why don't you get on the next range to him and you fire at his targets." So I have no problem with that. So, I get to the next range and all of a sudden he becomes a marksman. [Laughs] But anyway, he thought he did real well.

TI: Well, he didn't know that you were, you were shooting the targets for him?

HM: No, no. I was firing a lotta rounds. But anyway, we got him officially qualified, and then --

TI: By the way, how old was this gentleman?

HM: Oh, okay he, he was recruited in 1929 into the -- before it became the Counterintelligence Organization. It was the Army Investigatory Agency or something. They had a different name to it. And he was a student at the University of California and they recruited him.

TI: So when the war broke out he was probably in his early thirties then? So '29 he was probably about twenty...

HM: He was a college kid when he was, in '29 so, let's say he was about twenty-one at 1930, and this is 1953 at that point.

TI: So twenty-three, so he's like forty-three at that point.

HM: Yeah, yeah, and he was up for retirement. And he had been under cover all this time. Never been in a uniform in his entire army life except for this last day, or last two days anyway, and then he had that uniform.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: All right, go ahead. Continue the story.

HM: He, so he says okay, so we better check out all insignias. He knew enough about that part, so we go back to Baltimore and we go to one of these service oriented shops and we pick up a unassigned brass for his service area, and major's leaf. So I told him, well, if you're gonna keep it, why don't you, the emblems and all this kind of stuff, why don't you get the gold-plated ones because they don't corrode and they'll be shiny all the time. And he liked that idea so he ordered those, those items. And the following day we brought him back to Fort Meade for the rest of his physical, and a couple of other items that he had to take care of. And then we brought him back to the uniform shop and it fitted very nicely, and put all the insignia items on there and put his cap on, and so anyway, he wanted a photograph taken of him. So, okay, we went down to one of those places down on East Baltimore Street and took his photograph. And then he says, "Well, we better, tomorrow is my separation date so I better put the uniform back," and he put it back in the box that they gave him. He felt that he was obligated to me for running him around all over the place. So I said, "No, forget about it." He says, "I'll tell you what, why don't we hit all the strip joints down on East Baltimore Street?" And so I said, "Hey, I'm driving so I gotta get you back to the post. You're valuable cargo because the adjutant is looking forward to your retirement, separation ceremony." So he had a few drinks at this bar, and the next bar and all over. And then Blaze Starr was the feature attraction at this about the fourth bar that we went to. I don't know if you're familiar with Blaze Starr, but she was the best strip teaser during her era that I, I'm aware of. But he was enthralled with Blaze Starr, so we get this front row, we got this, looked right up at her. And he was really into it. And he got, he got really, he had his fill of alcohol that night. So I bring him back to the, to the BOQ, and he starts on this talking jag. And he has kept all this stuff inside of him for all these years and he needs to have somebody to talk to, and he knows I'm CIC, so he feels kind of free to express himself. So he starts talking and I mean on, and we were there until about two-thirty in the morning he was talking. And he tells me all these different things. And I thought to myself, here's this guy that was probably filing these agent reports all this time and there must be a bunch of guys like him. And he's the guy that was doing this.

TI: Because he shared that he was in the camps during this period?

HM: Yeah. He was in Tule Lake. He identified the areas that he was in. So --

TI: How did he feel about that? Did you get into, did he talk about that?

HM: No, that was his job. That was his assignment. He didn't have any guilt. He didn't have any feelings of undermining his own ethnic group or anything. He -- that was not part of his psychology, I guess. That's why he made such a good agent and he stayed in there for so long. He had a good army retirement at that point. He's retiring as a major.

TI: Well how did you feel?

HM: Well, I didn't know what to think. I just was completely amazed at what was happening, and the way he was talking, and all the things he was telling me. I just, I was just kinda overwhelmed with what should I think about this thing? I didn't even know.

TI: Well it seems like it caught you by surprise, even though you were CIC and had been in there. And your brother had been CIC, the fact that they --

HM: But we had been under a different type of function. We weren't undercover. And some of the people that were in my class, especially the guys that had geology background, like the guy that his name was right next to mine alphabetically, so we used to get called right after each other. But he went up to Alaska. He had a masters in geology. And he was a petroleum expert, and they sent him up there because the, the (petroleum search) operation, that wasn't even evolving at that point. In fact we used to fly over that area in Jack Jefford's -- you know from Umiat coming back down towards Anchorage, when we were trying to hit Moose Pass there. We used to fly over there and he used to say, "Henry, that, that's oil down there. Can you see that stuff? That's oil down there." It would be dark stuff under the ice. I'd say, "Jack, you're drinking too much lately." But everybody knew there was oil down there.

TI: But then what the CIC would do with undercover is they would spot something that will evolve in the future and, and put plants there years --

HM: Well they wanted to know if there was some funny activity going on. There was always the doubt that, like, that right across the Russian and Alaskan border there, there's two islands there, and the people from the Russian side used to have relatives on the US side. And they used to go back and forth. And so that was part of the, the suspicion that was raised that there was too much inter -- interfacing between the Russians, natives and the US natives. And they were all one big family. And so a lot of the original residents of Alaska used to be Russians. Like St. Petersburg was a Russian settlement. It was a Russian -- built up by the Russian Orthodox Church. So there was a lot of Russian influence there and we were in the midst of the Cold War, and the Korean War was going on. So all the things were suspect. So they sent Miller up to Alaska. And at that time they changed army regulations; when we got into CIC they said, "You can only gain one salary. Either you gain the army salary or your undercover salary, but not both." Some of the guys who, were collecting both. So they changed the army regulation at that time. So, but these things were going on at that time. Undercover operations were going on and they were sending people to post-graduate schools. I mean they were getting post-graduate degrees with the army pay.

TI: And that's just to be undercover because they need that history as they went on --

HM: Yeah, well you know the University of Washington used to be regarded as a pink institution at one time. There was a lot of so-called "communist sympathizers" and all that kind of stuff. In fact the dossier files that we used to look at, some of them indicated that they were involved with these so-called "pink" organizations. And that kinda eliminated some of those individuals from be -- getting top secret clearance, or even secret clearance because that was used as a point schedule, affiliations with different groups and all this kind of stuff. So all this thing kind of gelled together. But things that you have done in the past that you might have no recollection of, or have no bearing on your, your loyalty to the United States, might be regarded by the case review officer that's reviewing this stuff as pertaining to your ability to discern loyalty to the United States. So all this stuff kind of comes together in this guy's case. The major's case, he was, he felt that it was his duty to do this job. And that's the kinda guy you want in a operation like that.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: Well, you mentioned that at the point, when you first found out, you didn't know what to think. It's been decades later --

HM: Yeah, well this kind of thing as you evolve later on, and then you start thinking about the fact that -- Mike Nakata used to tell me the reason why Nikkei don't get ahead is because we don't make noise, we don't dispute things, we don't call them to task on things like the evacuation. And this kind of stuff kinda over the years started to -- I used to look back at the major's drunken exposure of all his activities, and all the stuff I saw in the Central Records Facility and all this stuff started to come together. And this is why maybe I got so obsessed, according to my, one of the attorneys that I knew, obsessed with this feeling of going after redress.

TI: Because it was clear to you -- I mean I don't want to put words in your mouth -- but because it was clear to you that it wasn't a mistake. I mean it was a very, almost calculated government act --

HM: Well, even the start of World War II, from Roosevelt's standpoint was a calculated situation. And I look at history in terms of what actual events took place. How Roosevelt, well they used to call, have the ABCD powers, America, Britain, China and Dutch, ABCD, and they used to have this formal organization saying, "Okay, we wanna keep Japan as it is and wanna keep them as a secondary power, we don't want them to become a world power, and therefore we're gonna do all these things to them." So to me it was a matter of time between war with U.S. and Japan. And Japan did the U.S. a hell of a big favor by bombing Pearl Harbor. Had they gone on their merry way and infiltrated into French Indochina, and Thailand, and Burma and these different places, it would be hard-pressed for the President of the United States to ask the Congress to declare war on Japan. And there was so much dissention at that point about getting the U.S. involved in any war that the whole episode of these things that happened later on would have probably been different.

TI: Now I want to go one back now, I'm still sort of reeling from the story about the, when the adjutant, is adjutant, I'm probably mispronouncing it, but, he wanted you to take this major around, wasn't, I mean didn't --

HM: There was no mechanism to take him around because they were not suited for this kind of purpose.

TI: Right, but I'm curious that he asked a Japanese American to do this.

HM: Well, because I wasn't doing anything.

TI: So you don't think it registered with him...

HM: I was goofing around.

TI ...that here it would have --

HM: Walt Partain who happened to be the adjutant at that time and I became good friends. In fact, because I had the car, and his family lived in Chattanooga Tennessee, on three-day passes we used to haul from Fort Holabird all the way down to Chattanooga and spend the weekend down there. And his father owned the Coca-Cola bottling plant and the 7-Up bottling plant, both. And this was unheard of in my way of thinking because you don't operate both franchises, but he operated them as two separate companies, and he owned them both. I mean he was a very wealthy person. And Walt and I became good friends. And all the time I was in that area I used to pick him up. And he used to be a fast pitch softball pitcher, a very good one. And all the time that he was, used to warm up for this softball games, I used to try to hit his fast pitch. I never got a solid hit out of any of those pitches. I mean, he used to really throw a fast pitch.

TI: So you guys had developed a relationship beforehand...

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: So he thought that he could trust you to do this, and do it well.

HM: Yeah, and then I used to loan him my car occasionally when he had dates. We used to go on double dates together with the nurses.

TI: Sure. Did you ever talk to him about the major, and were there other people like that that he was aware of in the army?

HM: Well, I told him this guy had a big story. But he was -- at that time we were kinda busy because he was doing a whole -- processing a whole buncha guys for clearances. So he didn't really have the time to spend with me on that stuff. But right towards the end then, I wanted to get down to Fort Meade because I wanted to pick up another guy that was being separated. So I left the post pretty quickly after my separation.

TI: Okay.

HM: Well, he knew these guys were around. It's just that in this guy's case, he didn't have a car, he didn't have transportation, and they didn't want to provide him a driver to haul him around for two days. And it's just a convenience point for him. Had I been around there for a long time, probably there would have been other people that would have been processed through the same way. And the major's story was very interesting. It was -- I had never heard anybody of that type of undercover work to reveal himself in the way he did.

TI: Right. Did you ever get in touch with him after he left?

HM: No.

TI: After he separated?

HM: I kept track of him for awhile, but then I thought well, he's another, he's leading his own life. He's got his own life to lead so forget it.

TI: Okay.

HM: There's other things I had to worry about. But anyway, that kind of set the stage for my exposure to what, behind the scenes what was happening to Japanese Americans. As I, as I look at it today, we were one of the most infiltrated ethnic groups prior to World War II. We were unfortunately not given the benefit of the doubt. We were unfortunately, like in the Supreme Court case, Korematsu case especially, when General John L. DeWitt testified before the Supreme Court saying that we were providing intelligence information from the camps to the Imperial Japanese forces in the Pacific. And the other agencies, knowing that he, he was lying, would not come out of their closets to say that DeWitt had nothing to stand for in terms of his testimony. There was no substantial information indicating that we were doing those kind of activities. And this was one of the profound areas where there, there was no test of that testimony that he provided. So under the books, in the Supreme Court briefs, if you look at it, the testimony by John L. DeWitt, indicates that we did, by his allegations transmit information.

TI: And was, do you think he was basing it on the CIC? Or again, I'm not --

HM: No, he was basing it strictly on his hatred toward the Japanese Americans --

TI: On his hatred. Okay, I just want to be clear, so it wasn't based on any of the undercover work --

HM: No, he was no -- the FBI knew that, the Federal Communications Commission knew that because they were monitoring all this stuff.

TI: And they had access to the same reports coming out?

HM: Yes, but they just kept their mouth shut.

TI: Okay.

HM: And so here is a bunch of government agencies -- ONI knew that too. ONI, Army Intelligence, FBI, and the, the forerunner of the Defense Security Agency, they all knew it, but they wouldn't come out of the closet. They wouldn't testify against DeWitt.

TI: Because in some ways if they did it would blow the cover --

HM: Yes, it would have blown his entire testimony. But they left it in. It's part of the record.

TI: Okay. Well, at this point, I think we're gonna stop. And, this is probably a good stopping point.

HM: Okay.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 1999 Densho. All Rights Reserved.