Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Henry Miyatake Interview IV
Narrator: Henry Miyatake
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: September 23, 1999
Densho ID: denshovh-mhenry-04

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: ...we'll go and I'll get into it, but when you, when you think about the Japanese American community, we sometimes focus, we focus a lot on the negative aspects, the incarceration. But then I've interviewed people who said, well, because of, of the incarceration, it actually opened up new possibilities because...

HM: But --

TI: They, they were like either in a very small, essentially a ghetto --

HM: Yes.

TI: And all of a sudden they saw a much bigger world, and it, it changed them. And they, they relocated to the Midwest, after the war. And then all of a sudden they, their careers took off.

HM: Okay. Yeah, several months ago -- in fact, Alice attended the same session I did at the Seattle Public Library. We had a guy named Waller. And he came up from Lake Oswego, Oregon. And he was the guy that the WRA used as, as a basis of getting different cities to allow Nikkei from the camps to relocate. And he was trying to promote them, the fact that here were some professionals, well-trained, and capable people, and you guys are having a labor shortage in these different places. This was during the war. And he would convince these people from the Chamber of Commerce and the mayor's office and everybody else that they should at least provide opportunities for these people in the camp. And he did -- he went a long ways. Otherwise a lot of people like Minoru Yamasaki, for one, he woulda still been a low-level, low grade-type employee, rather than being a superb architect like he turned out. But he -- that guy Waller did a tremendous job for us. And the Japanese American community, as far as I know, had never given any commendation or any award or any recognition of the fact that he did this.

TI: Now, how old is Waller? Because I, I remember talking to Alice about this.

HM: Oh, he's about, probably late (seventies), maybe (eighties), sometime. He's, he's very lucid. He's, he's got all the memory functions. He remembers a lot of things that he did.

TI: And so he would go out to these communities, just sort of, and, and talk to mayors and council people --

HM: And Chamber of Commerce people and different key individuals that were capable of hiring these people. Even the school districts because he was recruiting for school teachers at that time. But he started in Salt Lake and Denver, and then he started working his way towards the East Coast. And directly through his work, Yamasaki got his job opportunity. And I know one person that was an aeronautical engineer, and when he went to St. Louis, the -- those guys at McDonnell Aircraft were really hard up for engineers at that point. And he got his opportunity to do that, that venue. And had it not been for that, probably -- and like you say, we were still stuck on the West Coast. We would have never got into Boeing.

TI: Well, do you think it, it accelerated? Because before the war I interviewed people, and, and they got an engineering degree, but they ended up working at the Pike Place Market.

HM: Yeah.

TI: They couldn't, couldn't get --

HM: Well, they couldn't get a job. They wouldn't even give you an interview at Boeing. The, the friends that my brother knew at that time, they were aeronautical engineering graduates, and they were highly placed graduates. They wouldn't even get an interview with Boeing.

TI: And so do you think the war changed that? Or was it the need for engineers after the war that really changed things?

HM: I think a combination of different things. One was the fact that Nikkei were looked upon as very dedicated workers. They, they knew their stuff. They were capable and willing to work. And the other thing was, like McDonnell had different connections, different companies. And so consequently you start with one, and you got a reputation of being a fairly good producer, you're gonna be able to be employed with somebody else. And this is what started the whole system because once the inflow of Japanese engineers started in the aeronautics business, man, they just started overwhelming the companies. Like even at Boeing, we got 11 percent Asians in the engineering force there. If they took out the Asians outta there, boy, they'd be hard-pressed to replace them.

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

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Well, actually, this is a good place. Why don't, why don't we get into -- where we ended up the last interview was where you ended up with the, your military service. And so why don't we pick it up there?

HM: Okay.

TI: Because we'll start getting into the engineering a little bit later. So why don't we start there? So why don't you tell me, after you were discharged...

HM: Well, let me tell you, right at the end of the, of the, my military service, couple things happened that really turned a lot of things around. And right before my separation the adjutant calls me up and he says, "Hey, you better show up here. We got a serious matter that we, gotta discuss with you." So I went up to the guy's place, and he says, "Okay, we've negotiated a whole bunch of deals, and this is the package deal. You either take it all or you reject the whole thing." So I says, "What is it?" He says, "Well, the good part, they're gonna forget about your court-martial. We're gonna purge it from your file and all this kinda stuff. Bad thing is, we're gonna bust your rank, bust you down to nothin', and we're gonna have you available within thirty days for recall."

TI: What does that mean, within thirty days of recall being --

HM: Well, in other words, they could -- even if I get separated they could call me back in thirty days' notice.

TI: Okay.

HM: But anyway, though, the, I thought the war in Korea was winding down, so I thought that's a very remote possibility. Anyway, here's all these different things they laid in front of me. And they said, "The other thing is, formally, we're gonna have you discharged at Fort Meade." I said, "What are you sending me down to Fort Meade for?" "You gotta be down there at 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, if you wanna do this thing properly." So I says, about Riggins, he's the guy that got me into all this trouble. He says, "Well, we had him transferred to a military intelligence, and he's headed for Korea." And they got him outta CIC.

TI: And Riggins, again, was the, was the one that you had the shouting match with?

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: And he's the one that filed the court-martial charges against me.

TI: Right.

HM: So in order to get him off the record, off the record books, they had him transferred to MI, destined for the, Korea.

TI: I'm sorry. MI or the CIC?

HM: No, MI.


HM: Military Intelligence.

TI: Okay, he went to Military...

HM: So they, they took him out of the Counterintelligence Corps and throw him into MI.

TI: And this was all done for your benefit?

HM: Well, there was a couple things in the back of the, the situation that I didn't realize at that time. They said, "Okay, the other thing is, we're setting up this research group in Holabird for counterintelligence equipment, and you have to convey all rights to Captain Jenkins." So I says, "Yeah, okay. Fine." I didn't see anything coming out of it, no monetary --

TI: These were the, the patents...

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: That you had been working on?

HM: Yeah. The two of 'em. And then we filed another one later on about ultrasonic equipment used for interrogation purposes, but I shouldn't really be talking about that one. But anyway, you see you got to relegate this to the, the research group that we're setting up. And Jenkins is gonna get promoted, and he's gonna be in charge of this area. So you will turn it all over to him. Sign the thing off.

TI: Now, I'm a little confused. Why would that be important to the army since, you know, they owned the rights anyway as a, as a --

HM: Well, the thing that, my name appears on that thing. So if there's any further work to be done, usually the person's name on it is consulted on the progress of it, see.

TI: Okay, got it.

HM: And in this case I'm just turning everything over to them. And the army at that time, they had no provisions for giving us any remuneration or credits or anything else relative to patent applications. So -- and then, and Jenkins wanted to get up higher in the, in the system anyway. And since he was in charge of the research group, or was gonna be placed in charge of the research group, that would give some credence as to the justification for having that department. And they were gonna come under the separate budget. So he was going to have his own staff. So I didn't have any problem with that. I signed it off. So anyway, that, that was the package that they had for me. And they, they did purge all my court-martial stuff out of my 201 file.

TI: But they also purged your name from all the patents?

HM: Yeah. Well, that, that was no problem to me, yeah. But as it turned out, when I went down to Meade, Colonel Grimes was the commanding officer there. And he says, I want you to do me a couple of favors because I'm kind of committed to this thing. And he says, "Well, we have six guys going down to Langley tomorrow. Can you go with them?" So I said, "What is this for?" And he says, "Well, you'll find out when you get there." All this kind of crap. So anyway, we go through this ceremony in the morning, and then we get into this van, and they bring us down to Langley. And this was an interview with the CIA.

In the first place I didn't want to have anything to do with the CIA. And then the second thing was I knew what kind of job they were going to offer me, and I, I had no interest whatsoever in the kind of job that they were going to offer. And I guessed pretty right because they said, "We want you in telecommunications work. We want you in Japan, and you're going to have undercover job." And I said, "No, no thank you." It was a very quick interview.

But they loaded us back into the van. And one of the six guys had accepted the job with them because we're all, all being prepared to be separated from the army, and the CIA wanted to have a chance to recruit the people. So that was the commitment that Grimes had, see. Well, Grimes later on became CIA after his retirement from the army. So he was trying to help himself because he was trying to get people to...

TI: Right.

HM: working in the departments he was interested in. So anyway, that, that was the end of that situation. But Westinghouse, who became the development organization for these Mark torpedoes for the navy --

TI: And the Mark torpedoes were the, sort of the sound-sensing, or they would zero in...

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: ...on the propeller sound?

HM: Yeah. And couple of the features in the patent were very unique because it related to the harmonics of the propeller system. And the Russian propellers were kind of crude. And they weren't contour-milled in a manner like the US propellers, so they made quite a bit more noise and they're less efficient. And one of the features of the patent was that we would relate to the Russian propeller noise spectrum. Anyway, Westinghouse liked some of these parts of the patent.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

HM: And so anyway, the, the mail had finally filtered down to me. And I was in Fort Meade in the bachelor officers' quarters there for about a week because I waiting for this friend of mine to get separated. And we were going to go down the coastline to Florida and New Orleans, and he was going to ride in my car. And the major that we hauled back from Korea because he had had the $50,000 tag on his head. He was of the head of an informant network in Korea. Anyway --

TI: And so you had to actually go there and escort him back?

HM: Yeah. Gallagher's -- one of the las -- one of the jobs that we had was to go get this guy and make sure he comes back alive, even if you have to sacrifice your own life, because the major's more important than you are. This kind of crap.

TI: And the $50,000 price tag was someone who was after him that was...

HM: Yeah.

TI: a, a bounty?

HM: Yeah, the North Koreans. And supposedly the intelligence group from North Korea was -- because he had this huge group of informant network system. And they were able to confirm the military movements of different groups and all this kind of stuff. And he was, he was well-known. He could speak Korean fluently. And he had adopted a Korean kid at that time.

Anyway, part of the problem was to get clearance for that Korean kid to come to the United States. And this is one of the children, that he had lost both his parents. And Molina had used one of the parents as his informants. And he, he was, he was really a very strong, religious, morally supportive person. And he felt compelled to bring that kid back with him. So anyway, that took a little while in Korea. And then he got clearance through the state department and immigration department. And he came back with the kid. And then I lost track of him until I went back down to Fort Meade, and he was assigned as the operations officer down there for the detachment.

And so during the course of waiting for Delbridge to get separated, he says, "I want you and Delbridge and my son," -- he calls him his son -- "to come to dinner." So we went to this restaurant, and he says, "Here's what I'd like for you guys to do." And he says, "I'm going to go into the priesthood for the Catholic church, and I am going to resign from the army. I have to relinquish all my," -- what do they call it? "My, my tangible assets. And I have a piece of property down on Biscayne Boulevard in, in Miami Beach." And, what is this coming to? I look at Delbridge and he looks at me, and he says, "I've been watching you guys, and I feel fairly good about having you become my son's guardians. I'll make you a deal." He says, "If you will take the property on Biscayne Boulevard, both of you, and you do whatever you feel like doing, and if you can take care of my son until you go through college, you can have that property, lock, stock and barrel." It's, he says, "It's title free. I mean, it's, it's -- only thing you have to pay right now is taxes on it." And that was the deal he propositioned us with.

TI: And give me a sense of how valuable this property was.

HM: Well, this was about a mile from the Fountain Blieu Hotel, which at that time was the main drag of Miami Beach. And it was ideally suited for a restaurant. In fact, the, that whole strip, they had a bunch of high-class restaurants on the place. And this was reason why we were going down to Miami Beach, to take a look at the property. And Molina's parents were located in Tampa, Florida. So the kid was either up in the Fort Meade area or during school time he would be transported back to Tampa. And the grandparents would be more or less taking care of him.

And so then anyway, Molina explained that, well, you're Oriental, and you understand the Orient a little bit, and you understand Koreans and so forth, so you can bring that part of the parenthood and guardianship to bear. And then Delbridge, you're a good money man because he was in the finance control area. And so that was the proposition he made. So Delbridge and I thought, well, he was about three days from his separation. So we said, well, are we going to take this thing seriously or just forget about it? He says, well, just as a favor to him, let's, let's do it. So anyway, that's the route that we selected. We wanted to go down Miami Beach first, go to Tampa, visit the parents, and then take this kid around down in, in Tampa. So that's how we configured our trip. And then we wanted to go down to New Orleans and stay down there for several days, and then take this other kid home to Oklahoma. He was another kid that was being separated the same day as Delbridge. So I thought, well, that would make a good arrangement. And so that's how we planned our trip. And we did that. We did take him to Jai-Alai and dog racing and all these things that Delbridge liked, horse racing down there in Tampa. And we got along with the kid real well.

TI: And how old was the kid?

HM: At that time he was, he just got to be twelve years old at that time. So I kind of pictured in my mind, when I went to camp, about his age.

TI: Right.

HM: And he was growing up in this, this same kind of maturity function. So I felt very comfortable with him. He was a nice kid. But anyway, when we got through with Tampa, Delbridge says, "Hey, I'm in no position to be a guardian for this kid." I felt the same way.

TI: And what would it mean to be guardian, to essentially, take care of him?

HM: Take care of him, yeah.

TI: He would live with you?

HM: Yeah, and have him go to school and all this kind of stuff, you know. So, when we were in New, New Orleans we called Molina up and says, "You know, you'd better have to, you're gonna have to take, make some other arrangements because we're not capable of doing that." And his parents were getting kind of old, too, at that point. So he was worried that the parents wouldn't be able to take care of the kid. So that, that was the end of that. But, anyway, we take this kid back to Oklahoma up in the boonies. And we used to call him the "Okie." The country that he came from really was out in the boonies, really rural, the "Okies" area.

TI: This was the other one that was separated at the same time?

HM: Yeah. Same day as...

TI: Right.

HM: Delbridge was.

TI: Right.

HM: And then we dropped him off. And the, we took the parents out for dinner that day, and we talked about their son's experience with the CIC. And they were happy to hear that he had such a good record, because he came from this hick-town and going with the big boys. But then I got a little bit of a semblance of how the Oklahomans lived, and it's kind of interesting. And then we drove to the Grand Canyon, then we went up to Las Vegas. And went up to Lake Tahoe because Delbridge wanted to look at some property up there, and right on the state line there, where that huge development took place. Anyway, then we drove back down to LA. He lived in Eagle Rock, in the LA area, and stayed at his place for a few days, and then drove up to San Francisco to see this, well, the, the prison was a little bit north of Sacramento, I guess. That's where we went to see the kid that, that got imprisoned.

TI: Oh, that's right. That was in prison for, what? We said three to five?

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: For getting caught.

HM: But they got him out a little bit earlier than the three years. And then they purged his record for the, his jail record. But anyway, we went to go see him at the prison. Then I took him back to San Francisco Airport, and then he flew back to LA, and I drove back up to Seattle. But at that point I don't know what to do. My mother wanted me to stay in Seattle because I had only been there four times in the last five years. And she thought that because she and my father were getting older that I should try to take care of the house. And I, I had a lot of different feelings at that point. And Hammersley, the guy that originally signed me up for FAA, he had a letter waiting for me at my house there.

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

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: And was your brother still in Alaska with the FAA?

HM: No, no. He was back in Seattle. After I got thrown in the army, he didn't have enough money to pay, make the monthly payments. So he was forced to sell the property.

TI: Let's, let's talk about that just a little bit. So the 17 acres that you bought, that was going to be nearby the Anchorage Airport.

HM: Yeah.

TI: And, so both you and your brother were going to make the payments on the loan to keep it going, but then you went into the army, so your brother couldn't make the payments.

HM: No. He was, he was cut off with half the monthly increment that he needed. So he decided to sell it. And he sold it very quickly. I mean, I don't think he placed the right price on the market. But anyway, he sold it very quickly. And then at that time Boeing was starting to hire people, and --

TI: But to finish up the story, so he got a low price. But then the owner who bought it, what eventually happened to this property?

HM: Oh. Well, anyway he kept it for about three years. And he got twenty times the price he paid for the property.

TI: Because you and your brother were right. The airport...

HM: We were right.

TI: It was placed there.

HM: It was a strategic corner. It was the main intersection for the traffic flow through to the airport, as well as the town area for the Spenard city. And all our calculations were correct. It was just that it was an untimely period for me to have joined the U.S. Army.

TI: Well, the thing that, an observation is your brother was very, very bright and smart, but it seems when it comes to business situations he wasn't very good at that?

HM: No, no. He was good at business.

TI: Was he?

HM: But he, I think he got into a kind of a panic over it because for one thing, he felt maybe he might be recalled too because he was in, still in the Reserves because they have you in there for six years after your active duty is finished. So he felt maybe if they did call him up they would give him the short notice like I had, and then it would be complete chaos because he would be late on his payments, and he would have to give up the property, and they would really give him a slaughtering. So he decided that while things are still in a fairly passivated mood that he was going to sell the property, and that's what he did. And he sold the vehicles that we had up there. And then he went back to Seattle. And that solved one of the problems because I had one of my cars, the one I drove from Detroit to Seattle, in Seattle, and he just took over the car. And that's what made me free to buy the car in Baltimore. So everything turned out fairly well. It's just that we didn't take, take advantage of the opportunity we had. Had we been able to sell half the property and pay off a portion of the piece that we had, had he waited 'til summertime, I think he could have done that, and at least have half the property left.

TI: It's kind of interesting because you know really, thinking back to when you were in Seattle before the war and had to evacuate, and the quickness that you had to sell everything, with the store and the cars and everything, it's kind --

HM: It was panic sale.

TI: Right. It was panic sale. So having gone through that...

HM: And that might have been in my brother's mind at the time he sold the property because he sold it in about, let's see, about, let's see, I left in end of January, so he sold it in March, I believe. And the snow was still on the ground, and you can't see the property. It's hard to sell property when you can't see it right.

TI: Right. Yeah, it just reminded me of that, when you told me the story earlier about, during the evacuation, and the sort of, that panic sale. And when you said "panic sale," it reminded me of that.

HM: Well, at least he broke even with the thing. Well, we both had monies into the property. Well, that freed up a lot of capital for us, too. So it did help. I spent a lot of money when I was in the army. I was spending probably three times my salary on a regular basis because I, I had, I cashed in my civil service retirement money, which was a dumb thing to do. But they gave me option when I was in Fort Holabird. They sent me a letter, either maintain it and you have to sign this agreement for, I forgot what, there was some obligations attached to it because I was no longer working for civil service directly. And they didn't know when I was going to be back. So they gave me that option versus taking all the money out. So I took all the money out. And I was spending it very freely. [Laughs] I was having a good time.

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

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: So you're back in Seattle. Your brother, you said, was an engineer at Boeing?

HM: Yeah.

TI: And you're trying to decide what to do.

HM: Yeah. And Hammersley, Hammersley, the guy recruited from the 8th Region, was down recruiting at the University of Washington, just coincidentally. But he had sent a letter previous to that, saying that, "Well, we expect that you'll be out of the service. And hope this letter gets to you. And I'll be at the UW campus for recruiting purposes." So I went out and met him. And said, "I want you to put me on educational leave." And he says, "Well, are you going to come back to CAA?" So I says, "Yeah, I guess so." And so he gave me a two-year leave of absence-type deal. And I figured well, in two years I'll be able to make up my mind what I want to do. And then he could extend it another two years. But I decided, well, my mother wants me around, and I haven't been around Seattle for a long time. Maybe I should go back to school.

TI: What's the advantage of getting a two-year educational leave?

HM: Well, they didn't want to provide four-year, because it, it holds up one job, in the personnel.

TI: Okay. So you were guaranteed a job...

HM: Yeah.

TI: the end of two years.

HM: Yeah. For any time, from the time I signed it 'til the end of two years, they can, I'm guaranteed that job that I did have previously.

TI: Got it. Okay.

HM: So, I thought that would be a good way of security, making a security function for my occupation. And I didn't know what the heck I wanted to do. When I was in LA, I took that exam for JPL, this is a...

TI: Jet propulsion lab or...

HM: Yeah, yeah. This is the jet propulsion laboratory thing because, well, they had, they had connections with different schools. And they had one of these work, work and education programs. And this is similar to the one they had at Westinghouse. And Westinghouse had made me the offer when they were interested in hiring me for the, the torpedo development program.

TI: Yeah. Let's back up. So Westinghouse figured out that you were sort of the mind behind that, the patents, so they wanted to hire you?

HM: Yeah. Because they were doing the Mark torpedo development program. And one of them was acoustically, acoustic homing oriented. And it kind of fit into the same bracket that I had.

TI: How did Westinghouse find out that you were --

HM: Well, because as things went on, it went to the Navy Department. And the navy in turn, were looking for contractors that were interested in different patents. And since Westinghouse had been doing work on torpedoes they assigned some of these patents for examination by the Westinghouse company. And there was couple other companies that were also given the right to look at the patents. And when the military takes over your patent, you lose complete control of it. You have no basis of going to the regular patent office. They, they preclude that information from going to the patent office. The military controls the darn thing. And if they classify it then it's completely out of control.

But they had a work and education program, too, but it was a five-year program, and I didn't want to stay in Baltimore. And the education facility would have been Johns Hopkins, which is a pretty good institution. But I didn't want to live on the West Coast -- East Coast, rather. It's too humid in summertime and very uncomfortable. So I wanted to go back at least to the West Coast. But the offer was still there, and they sent me a notification saying that if I changed my mind, I could get into the program. So I wasn't too worried about getting into some kind of school. But I thought I could get into U of W pretty easily because I had passed all the army tests for a second-year college. And when I was in Counterintelligence Corps my, one of the commanding officers I had says, "The fact that you didn't even finish high school is kind of a bad thing on your record. You better finish up your GED on the thing." So I finished up the high school one. And then he said, "Well, why don't you take the college one and keep going as far as you can on the GED process because we will recognize that on your records. And this can prevent you from going up in the ranks." So I took his advice and I did finish off the first and second-year college stuff. So I thought I'd be able to get into U of W very easily. But that was a big mistake. My assumptions weren't correct. And at that time there was a lot of vets coming out of the system. And they were getting discharged from the, from the armed services. So the veterans preference was given. They had a five-point preference relative to scores that they would be generating. And they had one program for both males and females. And it was an open-ended examination process, two days' worth for the U of W. They were trying to determine whether or not there are people out there that didn't have high school diplomas on their record that would be able to competitive -- competitively place themselves on the examination process. So they --

TI: Because you couldn't get through the regular way, even though you had your GED and had essentially the standing to go in...

HM: The U of W...

TI: ...third year.

HM: Wouldn't recognize G...

TI: Wouldn't recognize that.

HM: ...GED at that time. Now, they do, but at that time...

TI: Okay.

HM: ...they said it's not recognized because we don't think that that's full accreditation. So I had different options at that point. Should I go back to Baltimore --

TI: Johns Hopkins or --

HM: Or should I go down to California? Because a couple of the schools were kind of interested.

TI: Right.

HM: And the money part of it was the thing that held me back for the California schools. So I took the exam, that two-day exam. And it was a pretty tough set of problems they gave. They gave us math, English, the whole bit.

TI: And how many people would take this?

HM: Hundred and thirty people were in there.

TI: Okay.

HM: And so they didn't tell us who scored what on, on the test. But then they asked us to come for interview, and that's, I think about sixty-eight people were there for the interview sessions. And that was the first interview. Second interview, we went back again, and they were asking us what areas of interest you have. And they were looking at our past records. And so I told them I wanted to go into engineering, in electrical and mechanical, both. So they said, well, okay, we're putting -- I think they had about thirty some-odd individuals that they said did well enough to be placed on probation in the university. So we all signed up for the regular curriculum.

I took engineering curriculum. And I had not realized that having that long span of not having formal education would present a huge problem to me, sitting down in the classroom every day -- outside of the fact that we did this in the counterintelligence corps school, but it was for like a ten, eleven-week period. That was, and that was -- but it was under army regimentation, so you're pretty well disciplined, having to study, you have to do your homework. I mean, they really put the regimen in the process. But here you're more free to do these things. That first exam scared the living daylights out of me because I scored with a D grade. And I thought to myself, what is happening here? And so I really had to get on my toes to get, get through that first year.

Then they brought us in again after the first year, they had the -- by that time the number started dwindling down. They started getting eliminated because they couldn't hack the, hack the course level, I guess. And anyway, they had a special session for us. And they said, "All you guys that's in the sciences area, engineering and otherwise, we're going to have to screen you once more because the number of applicants for the, the sophomore and junior years are too high, and we have to eliminate the excess individuals." [Laughs] Oh, God. Anyway, by the end of this process there were seventeen of us left. And I thought, man, it's, it's not looking too good. So I figured, well, maybe I better start looking at some of these other options. And my brother kept on saying, he couldn't do it. He told me it'd been -- what was it? -- it was about eight years or nine years from the time that I had a real formal education. So anyway, I did pursue it, kept on going. But at the -- I got to the senior-year level, and I was taking dual paths, electrical and mechanical engineering, both.

TI: Was that common? That's pretty unusual...

HM: No.

TI: Pretty unusual.

HM: It wasn't common then. And...

TI: They're both very different.

HM: This guy who was my student -- he was my advisor, I guess. He says, "You got to make up your own mind, which way are you going? Are you going to go electrical or you're going mechanical? Because you're going to take these specialized courses in these areas. You cannot go through both curricula." And I says, "Why not?" Anyway, he -- I got him pretty perturbed. And he was an electrical guy. So I says, "Okay, then I'll switch to mechanical." Because I, he got me ticked-off a little bit.

And then when I went to the mechanical side the, the guy says to me, "Well, you've never even finished high school on your record. We're going to have to have you make up all the deficient credits that you didn't have in high school, and you're going to have make it up with college credits." So I says -- that was fifty-some odd credits. I had to go another year. So I said, "Gee, that's not right." Then I tried to get back into electrical, and they wouldn't let me go back in there because they were a little bit more lenient. And so they said, "Well, you elected mechanical and you stay there." So here I'm faced with this decision. Fifty-three credits, how the heck am I going to make this up?

TI: And these would be like basic stuff, like mathematics, English or --

HM: No, no. It's not, he says, "You got to take 'em in the 300, 400-hundred level courses." That was the criteria they had. And so I went to the, that, that, the -- they had another counsel group there. And this, this was for general, all general students there. And I told them what my plight was with the dean of electrical engineering. And she was very kind to me. She said, "Well, why don't you take some of these courses that you could just sleep halfway through the course and still get away with it." She was very frank with me. So I said, "Okay." Then she asked me what I liked. So I took a lot of economics courses. I took the full spectrum of economics courses, 300, 400 series. Then I took, I even took some art courses, I guess and stuff like that. And that's what I filled in my whole stuff with.

IT: So did you end up going an extra year just to take all those courses?

HM: No. I went through summer school. I was going all through the total process. But at the same time I was working, junior year, I worked in the wind tunnel there in the summertime.

TI: Oh, right.

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

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: This is the wind tunnel on campus?

HM: Yeah, on campus.

TI: Right.

HM: And it just happened that that wind tunnel is exactly the same tunnel as the small tunnel at Boeing, and the same tunnel at Convair, which I didn't know at that time. But anyway, it came in handy because when I went, did go to work for Convair I knew all the equipment, and I knew how what, how things worked. And they used the same IBM computer system. It was a archaic computer system, and you really can't call it a computer now, but that's what it was called at that time period.

But anyway, I worked in the tunnel in the summertime. And then the senior year we, we helped the people in the mechanical engineering shops. And they were doing things like overhauling some of the test equipment that they used to use for the classes. So anyway, that became the start of the second, well, it's the second patent at the U of W. But when you're at U of W and you have the working function it's all turned over to the university. You don't have any proprietary rights. But we did it, in the senior year we did a -- they used to have this very low speed engine that mechanically, you could determine the pressure volume -- they used to have a PV indicator thing, used to call it.

TI: Right.

HM: And it was a very slow RPM engine because if it was any faster the mechanical systems couldn't follow it. And it was a mech -- mechanical plotting of the pressure volume as a function of where the cylinder was. And you can determine the mean effective pressure, and in turn, you can determine the horsepower output and what changes when you change the spark setting. So you can get some idea as to how to tune up a engine properly for a given load. The problem was that you couldn't apply the same principle in high speed engines, the normal engines that you have for internal combustion processes because it's too fast, and the mechanical system being hooked to the mechanical pressure system wouldn't allow itself to follow it accurately. So anyway, this, there were three of us working on this thing. And we says, "Hey, all we have to do is put a pressure transducer in here and put a real tiny model airplane spark plug to replace the real spark plug, and then we could put a rotary potentiometer in the front of this crank, and we could do this thing, whole thing electrically. All we need is a good scope." And so the problem was where to get a good pressure transducer. Well, my brother was in the instrumentation group.

TI: Oh, at Boeing.

HM: Boeing, yeah. So I says, "Hey, how about borrowing one of these dinky pressure transducers." So anyway, we made that arrangement. It was really a -- he charged it out, and he said it was going to be used for the purpose of the university. So it was legally done. But --

TI: And this was the basis of another patent or --

HM: Yeah. Anyway, so we stuck -- I mean, it was 18-millimeter spark plug that this engine used, a big one. And so we made a plug for that, and put that tiny model airplane plug in that one area. We kind of counter-bored the hole. And then we put the pressure transducer in there, and we put a baffle in there so we won't get high spike pressure rates. And we put the thing on there. And the dumb thing worked. We could see the pressure rise. And Mike Guidan, who was a head of the SAE group, Society of Automotive Engineers, well, he was going through the lab one day, and he says, "What have you guys got there?" And we started looking at the scope, and he says, "Well, this is a PV diagram." And Mike was my professor for a couple of courses. And, and I thought a great deal of him. He was, he was a very nice person. So he says, "Hey, you guys got something here. And I'm going to see that you guys get some recognition for this thing." So anyway, he took it upon himself to -- well, he asked for a write-up of what we had put together. And he sent a letter to the three automotive companies, Chrysler and Ford and GM, and said, "Here's a student SAE demonstration of advanced instrumentation for pressure volume indicator," and all that... he had a long title...

TI: Higher RPM and all this?

HM: Yeah.

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

<Begin Segment 7>

HM: And what do you know? We get these unsolicited offers for jobs from all three companies.

TI: Ford, Chrysler --



HM: So he says -- we all, all three of us got this thing. And this was from the student paper that we generated, and Mike kind of spiced it up a little bit to make it sound better. And then he sent this thing plus the transcript letter to the companies. So at the time we were being recruited, the final year, the, all of us got a, maybe, at least fifteen proposals for job functions. And I, I had about nineteen of 'em, I guess. So we get this thing from these three companies, and on spring vacation we decided, well, let's go see all of them. So --

TI: All nineteen? Or all, when you say three --

HM: No, the three, three...

TI: The three --

HM: Detroit, see. Yeah.

TI: Okay. Then you go get another car. [Laughs]

HM: Well, anyway, they sent us -- and, and we accepted on the dates, what dates and all that kind of stuff. Well, they sent three airline tickets, round-trip, to each of us. One comes from one company and another one comes, and heck...

TI: Oh?

HM: At that time airline fees were pretty high. And said, what? We should cash the two of them that we don't need, and change the dates to be the outside dates. And that's what we did. But we didn't do it 'til after we came back. But we went to -- we ended up in Detroit on Sunday night on this airplane trip. And they put us into a first-class hotel. Monday morning, we get a call from the desk saying this, "There's a car waiting for you guys." So, go down there and what do you know? There's a 75-series Cadillac with a chauffeur. [Laughs] And he's got the door open. He says, "They're expecting you guys." So we hop into this thing.

TI: And this was the which one of the --

HM: General Motors.

TI: Okay.

HM: Yeah. So they, he takes us to that proving ground -- what the heck was it called? -- Midland Proving Ground or something. It was still being constructed. The test track was still not finished. And they bring us into this engineering building. And, and the first thing they do is they try to show off all the development labs. And here they're using paper strain gauges. And even at the Boeing wind tunnel we were using Bakelite Baldwin Hamilton strain gauges, so we thought, man, these guys are way behind. And here's a bunch of strain gauge on this automobile chassis and in the, the sheet metal area. And they're trying to figure out the loads on it when they get hit with bumps and all this kind of stuff, stiffness criteria and the dynamics of it. Anyway, they thought we were going to be impressed by looking at this stuff. We thought -- this other kid and I, used -- worked in the wind tunnel together. I says, "Hey, that's paper gauges." That's --

TI: Now, was this an indication that the aeronautical side was a lot more advanced?

HM: Oh, yeah. We were probably five years advanced of these guys. And that's why they, this paper was so interesting to them. Here's a concept that we're using that should have been available within the automobile industry to determine the, the performance function of their engines. And there was nothing there.

TI: Right.

HM: There was no equipment that was the same as what we were proposing or what we had shown. So anyway, GM was very interested. And they made a horrendous offer. And --

TI: To all three of you?

HM: Yeah. All three of us. They said, "If you join our instrumentation group, here's what we have to offer you. You get a Chevrolet Biscayne automobile free for one year, and you have to turn it back in. Only thing you have to do is to put oil and gas in the damn thing. And then you have to write up any deficiencies of the operation of the car. And if you get promoted we'll give you the next model, we'll you give you the Bel Air." I mean, it goes up. So you're on the bottom rung to begin with, but you get the car for nothing. You get to use it for a whole year. And they give us a whole bunch of stuff, a retirement plan and all this kind of stuff. Well, those two days were very impressive except for the lab equipment. And --

TI: But then weren't you excited that you were thinking, and you had so much to offer them that you could really improve what they were doing?

HM: Oh, yeah.

TI: 'Cause of your knowledge.

HM: Well, we would change the entire strain gauging process. We used some very logical techniques...

TI: Right.

HM: Instead of this dumb paper. Duco cement. That's what they were using, paper gauges with Duco cement. And you can't use that in the wind tunnel because it's so inaccurate and got so much drift that you, you can't use it for accurate measurements.

And, but anyway, that was the first situation. And then we went to Chrysler. And the, the facilities weren't as, as great as General Motors. And then we go to the engineers desk. And they have all the GM reports on this Chrysler desk. The main R&D that was being done in the automotive industry at that time was General Motors, and everybody robbed General Motors' data to design their vehicles. I didn't realize that. But anyway, Chrysler was a little bit poorer.

And then by the time we got to Ford we were taking the secretaries out for lunch because nobody else would bring us to lunch. It went downhill very quickly. And then they said, "We're going to show you a preview of this new car that's going to revolutionize the automotive industry." Anyway, they opened up this thing, and they had this funny-looking grille on the front. That was the Edsel...

TI: Right.

HM: ...they were showing us. And they thought it was so great, those guys. And I thought to myself, how in the heck they going to sell this sick little vehicle? But that was the, kind of a let down. It started off real great, at GM, and then Chrysler was a little bit less. And by the time we ended up in Ford, man, they didn't even bother to get us back to the hotel. We had to figure out a way to get back. [Laughs] I mean, it went from extremely good type of accommodations and service functions for us down to zilch at the end.

TI: Well, how did Ford and Chrysler think that they could compete with GM to hire you? I would think that they didn't have the money, they didn't have the research facilities.

HM: Oh, no. They had the hiring budget. There's no problem there. But if you looked at the facilities, like at Ford, you looked at their place where they're doing the prototype work, the floor's dirt. It's not concrete. It's dirt. They were using that kind of facility. And that was the standard in the industry at that time. And GM was the only one that had real nice facilities, clean, really well-staffed. Everybody was in the white smock. Ford, they looked like a bunch of tramps in there. We eliminated Ford altogether. Chrysler was eliminated. And we said the only one we would consider would be GM. But then the three of us, none of us decided we wanted to live in Detroit. So when we went back we just cashed in our airplane tickets. And we had multiple expense accounts. And so we made quite a bit of money on that trip. But, but none of us wanted to go work for them, even though the salaries were extremely good.

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

<Begin Segment 8>

HM: In fact, they were better -- the only other salary that was exceeded that Hewlett-Packard when I went down there. But that was because Yukio Tazuma, one of my friends from way back, Seattle guy, well, he was in the same class as this guy that was giving us the tour at Hewlett-Packard. And he was head of industrial design, and he knew Yukio very well. And he, when he found out I was Yukio's friend, when he picked me up, he says, "Oh, gosh, well, what the heck is Yukio doing?" So I says, "Well, he's working at Boeing." "You know, I've been trying to get that guy down here. He's a good guy. He shouldn't -- he should be working for a company like ours."

But I spent about three days at Hewlett-Packard at one, one time period. Then they asked me what kind of work I'd, I'd like. So I said, I've been doing different design things. I've been involved with, some of the IBM equipment in the wind tunnel. They had a kind of a pretty good shadow on what, what I was doing. But they had three different jobs that they had lined up for me. One was a digital voltmeter. And then the second one was -- at that time digital voltmeters were the rage. And then the second one was, they had a frequency oscillator system that was, would key into different frequency spectrum. And then they had another work item that, it was a universal oscilloscope multimeter. And the thing that really scared me away from Hewlett-Packard was this, this Chinese Ph.D. And he's sitting in with the design group, just like you're one of the group members, and he starts writing this differential equations on this blackboard, and he'd go like hell. And here he's, he's finished with the bottom line, and I'm still on about the third or fourth line...

TI: Trying to figure out what he's doing.

HM: ...trying to figure out what is this, that thing doing? Anyway, he was a very, very well-trained mathematician, as well as being an electrical engineer, Ph.D. And it scared the living daylights out of me. I couldn't possibly keep up with this guy. But I didn't want to tell this host guy that, after the, I think about the third day I was there, I, I spent almost one day each with each of these the different design groups. And I was afraid to tell him that I couldn't keep up with the guy. So I kind of shied away from the thing. I said, "You guys got some real powerful people here, and maybe I won't even make the grade with them." He said, "No don't think about that kind of stuff. It's easy to pick up." But that was a deciding point that I didn't go with them.

TI: And in the back of the mind you thought that you would probably work for Boeing? That you would get a job there?

HM: No. I had this, this, we had a temporary assignment right towards the end of our senior year. They were looking for different types of individuals. And --

TI: This was Boeing.

HM: Yeah, Boeing. So they had a so-called management, management trainee program. And I -- through my brother's insistence, I kind of got into that thing. And you were supposed to go through a whole series of assignments and, over, I think about twenty, twenty-month period. And then you could pick out the one that you wanted and you could be assigned to the area. And then you're supposed to become a first-level supervisor. But I started that program, and before we graduated they terminated the darn thing. And then they said, "We're going to discontinue it because the labor requirements are so heavy now that we can't afford to do this kind of thing." But then I interviewed people like IBM. And that was when they were making that Ramac 305. Are you familiar with that big, huge disk? Well, that was the group that I interviewed. And the thing that frosted me was you had to wear a tie, and you had to wear a white shirt and a dark suit. And that, they comply with that rule. You go to the design group, and here's these guys, they have the tie. The coat was on the rack, but any -- everything else, the tie was on.

TI: Well, thirty years later, just to let you know, I interviewed IBM. Same thing. Got the job offer, had to wear the same...

HM: Yeah.

TI: They still wore the white shirts and the ties and the suits.

HM: But I decided then and there this is, this is it. No, I don't want to be in this kind of job. But, and the reason why I picked Convair at that time was the fact that the weather was great, you could do -- they gave me a whole selection of jobs. Wind tunnel --

TI: This was called Convair?

HM: Yeah.

TI: And that's located -- where was that located?

HM: In San Diego. It used to be Consolidated Vultee. And then they changed their name to Convair. And that became a part of General Dynamics. So it, the, the San Diego division was for making commercial transports. At that time they were making the Metropolitan and that, that 240, 340, 440 series of airplanes, twin-engine prop airplanes. And they carried about forty passengers, something like that.

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

<Begin Segment 9>

TI: So Henry, before we go on with Convair, see right now we're in 1957, you're twenty-eight years old, and you just graduated from the University of Washington. But before we move on to your career at Convair, I want to ask you, while you were going to the University of Washington what kind of interactions did you have with the Japanese American community in Seattle?

HM: Other than the student that we used to associate with, not too much. I really didn't have that much time to begin with because I was doing, like either a part-time job or trying to pick up speed to get up to the same level as everybody else. And I was trying to figure out what I should really want to do for my college thing. So I was trying to get myself involved with like the Mechanical Engineers Society and then the SAE group, Society of Automotive Engineers. And I was trying to do that kind of activity rather than being active within the Nikkei community.

TI: How about student organizations that were Japanese American-related, like SYNKOA House, things like that? Were you involved at all with the people in those --

HM: I knew what they were doing. I knew quite a few of the people. They were a little bit younger than I was, so I kind of shied away from getting involved with that group. But I did attend some of the social functions and things of this nature.

TI: And how about socially? Were you dating at this point in college?

HM: Yeah, occasionally, yeah. But we were lower campus guys, so it kind of differentiated us from the other more astute social individuals. But we used to go to the library once in a while, see who's around. Anyway, the, during that time period I guess I became pretty good friends with this kid from Taiwan. And, and he used to be in one of my engineering classes. And I used to wonder, he's taking a lot of electrical stuff and mechanical stuff. He's kind of -- that's different. Anyway, went to lunch one time together, and I said, "How come you're taking all these crazy classes? Are you electrical or mechanical or what are you?" And he says, "Well, I don't know. I haven't made up my mind," he says. And then -- well, I used to date his sister. And anyway, from his sister I finally found out why he was doing all this stuff. And he was on a program from Taiwan. And, and if he went back to Taiwan he would be a conscript in the army. And he just didn't want to do that. And so he was taking these courses up until maybe fifteen credits from graduation for that major, and then he'd switch. And he had done this for quite a while. And if you call him a professional student, that'd be pretty correct. But he was a smart guy. He knew a lot of different fields.

TI: That's good.

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

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: Let's move to Convair.

HM: Okay.

TI: And one question, why did you choose this company? Here you had the auto company...

HM: Okay.

TI: You mentioned the other ones in Detroit, but you also, you had opportunities at Boeing.

HM: Yeah.

TI: But you chose Convair. Why?

HM: Well, the tunnel was familiar. That was the one thing. I knew what I was getting into because it was very similar to the, to the U of W tunnel. In fact, if I closed my eyes and looked just at the tunnel test section I couldn't tell if it was U of W or Convair tunnel. Same color scheme, same windows, observation windows, same everything. Equipment, the data processing equipment, was kind of different. But anyway, I felt so comfortable with that, being able to get on with the test process quickly, that it gave me a sense of confidence that I could do this job with half my eyes closed, I guess. But -- and then the fact that they were so friendly. The guys that took me around were very, very friendly people, especially this person that I became good friends with later on. And he was one of the wind tunnel supervisors. And he had Nihonjin as student friends in college. And he made me feel very comfortable and at home. And he showed me all the different places in San Diego. And I felt very comfortable with the place. And --

TI: And this is almost in contrast to Hewlett-Packard, where you didn't feel as comfortable, although it might have been a really interesting job.

HM: Yeah. I probably would've been better selection for me from a salary standpoint and from stock options and the rest of the stuff. But I had such a apprehension about working with a Ph.D. that could go on and fill up a blackboard, and I'm still only one-third done trying to figure what he was trying to derive here. I got kind of scared at that situation.

TI: Okay. And then this Convair was very comfortable and familiar for you.

HM: Yeah. But it might've been too easy. It was not that much of a challenge. But, oh, I thought that was the best decision. And then -- well, I got married in my, end of my junior year. So anyway, my partner said she'd rather go to San Diego than Detroit, for one thing. And I had other options, too. But San Diego was the thing, the climate-wise was the thing that really gave her a fascination.

TI: Now, was your wife from Seattle or was she...

HM: Yeah.

TI: ...from California?

HM: No, she was from Seattle, yeah.

TI: Okay, all right.

HM: And, so anyway, we're, we had a house right on top of the hill overlooking the plant, and Lindbergh Field was right below us. And it was walking distance to go home for lunch. And that's what I used to do occasionally, but it was straight up. It was, I mean, it was a very steep slope. So it kept me in pretty good shape. But, maybe that's going back to my school days, when I used to go home for lunch.

TI: That's right.

HM: That, we lived right on top of the hill there. And we could see all the airplanes take off and land. Only problem was that we had a huge picture window looking out towards San Diego Bay. And when the F-106s, they used to take them off for the flight to Edwards for the delivery function and check-out for flight. And they used to make two a day, as a production run. And here these airplanes would sit at the end of the runway and get all the other passenger airplanes out of the flight corridor. And they would turn their afterburners on, and they would fly side-by-side down the runway. And then they would take off, full afterburners. Of course, they were flying at a horrendous rate. And when they did that, that window would shake maybe about an inch. I, I used to put my finger on the, into the middle of the window, and see how much deformation that was taking place. And it would be about an inch from the mid-point of that window for deformation. That's how much the window was shaking.

HM: Now, why would they have to go full afterburners? Were they just testing it out?

HM: Because they were trying to get out of the main flight corridor where their normal cruise and climb-to-cruise function was.

TI: Okay.

HM: So they would fly up, then take off and they'd be gone in just a minute or so. It was a high-performance airplane, and they, it's a delta wing, so you're using a lot of thrust to get off the ground. And you might have to -- you put on the afterburner and get out of the, out from under the slow speed regime. And, but it was a good place for watching airplanes if you were a spy. You could see the North Island Naval Station there and all the flight planners going over there, and then the Lindbergh Field. And you could watch the whole San Diego Naval Base operations from where we were sited.

And, but at that time we were working on a whole bunch of different airplanes, one of which was a seaplane, a jet ski airplane. And the first week I was there in San Diego, after we rented the house there, I was looking out the window, and this guy was bringing the airplane back to land in the San Diego Harbor, and he started porpoising. I could see him, just coming down to the, to the bay area. And he started porpoising, and all of a sudden he disappeared. I thought to myself, what the heck happened to that guy? And he just dove right in there. That was the end of that program. The navy quit making any plans for fighter airplane that they could launch as a float, float airplane. But it was a high-performance airplane. And we worked on quite a few of those airplanes in the wind tunnel, and quite, quite high-performance, high-mach number airplanes. But trying to get a float on an airplane was not an ideal thing to have because they compromise your entire design, aerodynamically as well as from a landing standpoint.

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

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Now, how long did you work at Convair?

HM: Let's see, worked there about three and a half years.

TI: Okay.

HM: And we went through this evolution where they went from a full commercial airplane production process, we had about 22,000 people working there. And couple of things happened. One, we got hooked on with Howard Hughes' aircraft requirements because Hughes, at that time, controlled TWA through the Hughes Tool Company. And he was the primary procurement agent for TWA for airplanes because Hughes considered himself a good pilot, which he was. Secondly, he considered himself a good engineer, which might not have been the case, but nonetheless he felt that way. And he was dictating to Convair because Convair was the third company relative to commercial transports at that point. Boeing was first with the 707 prototype, and then Douglas came out with their equipment, DC-8 equipment. And then it became Convair. So they were the tail end of this process. And they were living off the fat, off the 340, 440 airplanes because they were selling those things like hot dogs, and they were up in the thousand regime for the 440 airplane. So they thought, well, they could fend off the competition for a while by making a more superior airplane than Boeing or Douglas. And the reason why they hired us was because we had some previous experience at Boeing. And I was on B-52 program for a while, and then the 707 program before I got hired by Convair. And --

TI: I'm sorry. This was when you were a student. This was a student, or when --

HM: Yeah. This was when, my last year at U of W.

TI: Okay. Got it.

HM: And then I was working at, on the second shift at Boeing. And we were in the, the B-52 program for increasing range. And then we got switched over to the 707. And that was the production airplane, 707 program. So when Convair hired us they knew we had that background. And they knew I had wind tunnel experience. So they says, "Well, this is a nice fit for this guy." So we were assigned -- I went from the military aircraft level, the F-102, and then the 106. And they had some funny problems with the 106 because it carried a bunch of missiles inside the missile bay, inside the airplane. And the, and the missile bay would open up and shut very quickly. It's pneumaticall-controlled. And in fact, bing-bing-bing, like that. And it would be open and close. And they would shove out the missiles during this time process. So everything was very high-speed regime. Well, when you get into transonic region, air flow doesn't behave like it normally is supposed to behave. And they used to open up the door, get the missile out, and close the door. And then the missile would try to come back right on the airplane. And it used to bang up on the bottom of the airplane. And we had one fatal accident because of that. The plane went out of control, and he dove in.

Anyway, they, we were working on the B-58 Hustler airplane. And that was the airplane that used to come apart. They used to go supersonic, and all of a sudden, whoof, the whole thing just disappeared. So we, we were really busy trying to figure out what's happening in these airplanes and delta wings, high-performance over the Mach II-type vehicles. So we had our hands full.

And then, then they started saying, "Well, we're going to have to get with the commercial airplane stuff," and we were being dictated by Howard Hughes. And he would change his mind about every other week. In fact, he used to come to the wind tunnel, and he says, "Oh, I don't like that configuration. You got to do this, you got to do that." And so he was God for Convair because he was going to buy 120 airplanes. And so we got to a point where we said, "Well, this guy can't make up his mind." So we started making the different parts of the wind tunnel model in modules, so the fuselage is one module, and the front end was another module, and whenever he sees it, "You don't have enough passenger space. You've got five abreast seating. You're going to have make it longer," all we did was chunk the front end. And we had a plug in the, in-between. And so it was a new model. And once you painted it up and you smoothed it out, you couldn't tell where the joints were.

TI: And you did this just because you knew Howard Hughes was going to keep changing...

HM: Yeah, because...

TI: ...the configuration.

HM: He kept on changing his mind. He couldn't figure out where the market was.

TI: Now, was that an unusual way of building these models, in a modular form? I would think that would be, to try different configurations, that made a lot of sense to make it modular also.

HM: Well, in air force designs, you usually optimize that airplane for given configurations. So it's, you're making variations like wing depth variations, maybe camber variations on the wings, stuff like that. But you don't change the fuselage length at liberty like he was doing. And that, that's what we were compelled to do. And everything is on a rush program. So we're running tests at San Diego, and we're running tests at the Co-op (JPL) Wind Tunnel in Pasadena. And then we're gonna bringing it to Langley, my old, the old haunts of the CIA, and bringing it to Cleveland for propulsion tests and things of this nature. So the wind tunnel groups are very busy. And once you get on one of these test programs, working a hundred hours a week is nothing. That's expected of you.

TI: Now, how did you like this? You were young, and --

HM: Well, it was a challenge. Once you got into a wind tunnel program it was a challenge. If you got on with the, the test engineer that knew what he was doing it was even more fun because everything came together. If you got on a crew that was kind of flaky -- and I did get on one because they said, "All you guys that are available, you guys go up to Pasadena and support that dynamic model." And here was the, the Convair 880, a version they finally ended up with, and we were doing dynamic test functions. And the airplane behaved dynamically just like a regular airplane. The bending modes for the wings, these were all modeled after the real airplane from the construction details that we were designing. And so you'd fly this thing inside the wind tunnel at Mach .91. And we, we were in the control room at that time and watching this airplane being flown by the test conductor. And all of a sudden there's nothing on the screen, just disappeared. [Laughs] And it ended, alarms sounded that says that there's something on the screen of the, where they take all the big particles out of the wind tunnel system because it's a continuous flow system. And we were running it .91 Mach. And the thing is going like crazy in there. And we lost the whole model. It was a million-and-a-half dollar model.

TI: It just broke up and --

HM: Well, it went into a pitch-roll condition, and then it went down the tunnel. And it was, you're, these things are built-up just like a model airplane. They've got ribs in it and spars in it, and you've got the ribs all sectioned in the proper place. In fact, during one of the tests that we ran before that, we put kerosene in there to simulate the fuel inside the wing. But fortunately it didn't fail at that point, but on another test when we were at maximum mach number and maximum angle of attack, that's when it failed. But the whole thing went down the tunnel. All that work that they spent, maybe a year creating, was down in like...

TI: Now, so you were...

HM: ...two seconds.

TI: ...there for three and a half years.

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

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: Why did you leave Convair?

HM: Well, Convair got themselves into a huge amount of trouble. In the wind tunnel records that we used to put on, then used to say, "You have to put the thing down in pencil." And it was IBM cards. And then like we would be working on one model for a couple of hours and then another model because we were in an instrumentation group. And we would get that thing calibrated for that tunnel or a given condition. And then we would work on the model that we would be placing in there next. So we would be appropriating maybe anywhere from one hour to maybe three hours per day for a given project. So we were shuffling between the military programs as well as civilian programs, which was internally funded. And we did this all in pencil. And I used to keep my monthly record file of all the programs I was charging to.

And one day we had an air force audit. They said, "Everybody that's working in this area please stop what you're doing, and we want you to bring out your monthly record of charges." And all of us did that. About a week later, they said over the PA system, "Cease all work on F-106, 106C, advanced version of the such-and-such, the navy aircraft, and terminate all work from now." And then the newspaper came out and says it's a huge scandal. They had been shuffling around these charges. And the navy -- I mean, the air force at that point shut off everything on the F-106 program. They came to a screeching halt. The only airplanes that are to be built are the ones on the assembly line, no more. The contract was terminated right there. All hell broke loose at that point.

TI: Because what the audit showed was that Convair was overcharging the air force?

HM: Yes, for working on commercial projects. That's why they were putting it in pencil. I thought somewhat funny, but then we never questioned --

TI: Right. Because, just, I mean, for the viewer, I mean, in sciences and engineering, you're always taught to do it in pen because it's a record.

HM: Yes. Yeah, it's supposed to be in pen. But anyway, that completely terminated all the military programs, almost overnight. And people were indicted. They were charged in court. And the air force brought the, the hammer down. And so people were starting to get laid off two weeks subsequent to that. And then the next thing that happened was the Howard Hughes airplane programs went from 120 airplanes down to 20 airplanes. And so by that time we were starting to roll these airplanes out the door. And Howard Hughes got into money problems. And he couldn't pay for the airplanes. So he said, "I refuse to accept these airplanes because they cannot meet performance specs that we agreed to." And so he put the Pinkerton guards around these airplanes, and he wouldn't allow even the Convair people to even get inside the airplanes. And anyway, that, that, the employment figure went from 22,000 down to 1,500 in one fell swoop. That was for the airplane part of the General Dynamics.

The other thing that was going on was the Atlas ICBM program. And they were building up manpower there. So, well we had done the wind tunnel tests for the Atlas Missile, and a missile is a pretty simply vehicle to do wind tunnel tests on. But that's what we had done previously. And we were somewhat involved with some of the instrumentation functions because we wanted to match up between the flight characteristics versus the stuff we got in wind tunnel data. We used to kind of correlate the information. So anyway, they assigned all of us in bulk to support the failures at Cape Canaveral. And it just happened that we were having one failure after another. And because it's such a marginally designed vehicle for what it's supposed to do, the failure rate is extremely high for that kind of situation. You get a big gust of wind, that, that's the end of the vehicle.

TI: So you were doing this after they had made the cuts, the major cuts at...

HM: Yeah.

TI: ...Convair?

HM: The wind tunnel didn't...

TI: So you were there?

HM: ...get hit very badly because we had ongoing programs. We had to support Edwards Air Force Base on some of the --

TI: So although the employment went down to like 1,500, you were still there.

HM: Still working at the wind tunnel, yeah. In fact, there was higher demand in the wind tunnel now because of the, the malfunction analysis that we were performing for the Atlas vehicle than we had during the normal time period. So everything in the wind tunnel was very busy. So we were recruiting guys that were being laid off, and bringing into our wind tunnel instrumentation area. And then, then that became a problem because here they're shipping us in bulk, like five and ten-man groups down to the cape to try to figure what's going on down there. And so it was a very busy time period for us.

And after they got those problems resolved on the cape, then they decided to ship us as part of the deployment group for the Vandenberg operations. And the first wing of Atlas Missiles was supposed to be stationed at Vandenberg. And we went up there to see if we could get the thing supported for the air force acceptance. And anyway, during one of those time periods -- they were getting pretty lenient to bring families up to Santa Maria for living quarters because we were staying up at Vandenberg for maybe a month at a whack. And they had all kinds of problems at Vandenberg because here it was a different kind of installation from Florida, and it was supposed to be an operational squadron, and the Air Force people were involved. And so everything became a mix-up up there. And then they were having failures all over the place. And Kruschev was going down to Disneyland from San Francisco after they had that UN meeting, and our orders were at that time we were going to make one of the Atlas take off at the time the train is going past Point Arguelo, which is the railroad line that goes right on the coastline down to the LA area. And we were supposed to launch that vehicle when the train was going, with Kruschev on it, down that link. And so everything was a panic. So we got people on top of people trying to get the dumb thing operational.

And anyway, it was during one of these crazy activities, a guy I used to work with, he got so mad at this supervisor because we had been cannibalizing other vehicles to get the equipment put on the one that we were preparing to launch. He got so mad that he socked him in the jaw, and all hell broke loose. It was really a hectic situation. I've never seen an operation that was that hectic in my life. But anyway, he got fired on the spot. And we didn't get the vehicle launched. It just didn't go. But after that whole process I started looking at my job, and well, this is little bit too much. They send us up to Vandenberg and here they...

TI: Right.

HM: ...put us into these different areas that we don't belong in, and they make us work like twenty hours at a whack. I just got so tired of it that I decided well, maybe I better start doing something else. Well, there was a bunch of us that, we used to do instrumentation. And some of these guys got into areas where they needed to do special equipment for calibration purposes, like you had to know how much pneumatic system efficiencies were in the missile. And they had nothing to do these calibrations, one of the guys that was in this design group for the Atlas Missile, he said, "Well, let's have it made outside." And he said, "Hey, let's form a company that can make this stuff. And we could do a better job than the suppliers that they have around here. They don't have the smarts to do it, they don't have the equipment to do it. We could do a better job." So bunch of us got together, and that's when we started this X-Onics Corporation.

TI: And how big a group was this, roughly?

HM: Well, we had, initially six guys, but it expanded to about fifteen. And --

TI: And where did the money come from to do this? Did you all chip in to --

HM: No. We had a bunch of contacts with the La Jolla bankers. They had some guys in La Jolla that had had -- it's like the Micropho -- Microsoft reservoir of funds, very similar to it. But these guys had liquid capital. They had it available. And so anyway, they set up the initial money for X-Onics Corporation. And by that time I was ready to quit Convair because of all this monkey business up at Vandenberg and everywhere else. After we finished Vandenberg then they sent us out to a place of, out in the boonies.

TI: Now, how do you feel? Because, I'm thinking from a family perspective, now did you have your, were your son and daughter born at this point?

HM: Well, the daughter was born, yeah. The oldest daughter was born.

TI: Okay.

HM: And then Robert was born at...

TI: Where you're at --

HM: Yeah, in San Diego. He was born at Scripps. And anyway, we had them all up at Santa Maria because they would allow us to bring the family up there. And they weren't school age, so it was great for my ex-wife because she know -- they used to pal around with all their friends and all the families that were up there. And it was just a great vacation time for them. They used to go around to different parks. And they had a good time.

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

<Begin Segment 13>

HM: But, well, I decided that, that this whole experience about, on these guys getting into such great frenetic exercises would not be great for me. And so I decided to quit Convair. And I worked for X-Onics. And we got into problem situations like General Atomics, which was another division of General Dynamics, which is atomic energy outfit that was located close to the Astronautics division of General Dynamics. Anyway, they wanted some cleaning equipment to get all the radioactive crap that was on some of the equipment. So I had done some work in ultrasonics, so I knew a little bit about it. And so we got some designs together, and we made couple of prototypes. And we started making ultrasonic cleaners specifically for the atomic energy cleansing requirement. And so we were doing a number of things. And then the more we got into ultrasonics, the more people wanted these different things. And so it came to a point where they said, "Well, we can't keep up with the demand here. We got to get some other production capability." So they said, "Well, they're making ultrasonic stuff in Japan. So Henry, why don't you go to Japan? You've been there before." [Laughs] So of course, been there for four days. But anyway, he said, "Why don't you go over there and get together with the ultrasonic company? And let's have them make the equipment over there." So I was, I was kind of apprehensive about the whole thing. And he said, "Well, we'll send your whole family over there." Well, that was a convincing point. So anyway, I go to Tokyo, and I headed a program for this electronics show. And I started look -- scouting for ultrasonic companies.

TI: And when you're in Japan, did you just -- you used your Japanese.

HM: Yeah, yeah. My broken Japanese. Everything that got me in trouble. Well, as it turned out, there were three -- there were five companies at that electronics show that had ultrasonic gear. And three of them were quite impressive. And one was very impressive. They were doing things like plastic welding. They were doing things like making plastic cans or equivalent of cans, and they were using motor oil inside of them, and then sealing around the periphery with, ultrasonics. And it was leakproof. Ultrasonically welded plastic cans. And they had a lot of stuff there. And so this was the Cho-Onpa Company. So I arranged to the meet the president. And, and I -- when I met with him I asked him if he would be interested in a technical tie-up. But we guys in the San Diego thought we knew it all about ultrasonics, and these guys would just make the products for us. Well, it just happened it was the other way around. But --

TI: So the Japanese technology was, surpassed what you, what your --

HM: Yeah. We had a machine tool, ultrasonic machine tool, that we were contemplating using for dicing up the semiconductors. At that time they had germanium semiconductors, and they were -- it was a chip form. And they were depositing on the germanium at that time. But in order to dice it up they were using different techniques like slicing with a abrasive blade, and other ones would be punching holes with a whole bunch of metal tubes. And there was high demand for that equipment. And also the machining for things like dies, very small dies, that were either diamond for the die format or some very hard metallic item.

And anyway, these guys were making the diamond die for drawing the ultrathin wire for Western Electric. I didn't know that at that time. And these guys in Japan were doing it. So anyway, when I went to this company to talk to the president, he says, "Okay, this is the kind of stuff we're doing." And he started showing me this different kind of stuff. And he says, well -- and I look at this piece of equipment, looked like a 1929 piece of gear, wrinkle finish, industrial design was zilch. And he was showing me these diamond dies. And I thought to myself, man, they could make some really fine wire with this diamond die system. So I asked him who they made it for, and he wouldn't tell me. He says, "Well, we can't tell you that." "Is it American?" He says, "Yeah." Well, anyway I found out from another guy in the plant later on that it was for Western Electric.

So anyway, I said, "Hey these guys are saying that they can drill a hole in this kind of material at this rate." And I (telephoned this performance data) thing to San Diego. And Henry -- the return was, "Henry, you must have put the decimal point in the wrong place."

TI: In the wrong place.

HM: Yeah. I said, "No, this, this is absolute." So I said, "Are we going to make a 16-millimeter film of this operation real-time, and it will show you exactly what's it doing." So we did that. We sent them the film. He says, "If they're doing what you saying they're doing, and if it's the material you claim it is, then they're doing it three times faster than we are. They know more than we do." Then the whole ballgame changed. Then we had to get a technical tie-up, not a production tie-up. So we started doing the negotiation. And then when we finished the negotiations, that's when they had that board meeting, and Nomura comes up to me and asked me if I knew a George Kazuo (Miyatake). But at that point he was a hundred percent supportive of everything I was doing. But as it turned out, the company in San Diego, we got -- the news started coming out that these guys are doing all these things. Of course, it was based on the Japanese technology, but nobody knew that. And they made this public stock offering, and stuff started to go up. And they got into news too much. And then during the stockholders meeting the La Jolla bankers decided to swing their votes to guys of another company. And so we got merged in, without any knowledge of the guys.

TI: Well, were they the original six to fifteen employees? Were you -- did you all have equity stakes?

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: So how did you make out? Did you make out pretty well?

HM: Well, the first go-around wasn't bad. We got absorbed by a company that was local company. And then --

TI: And so you're, you got stock in that company?

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: You just sort of...

HM: So we had options, and we were in pretty good shape at that point. Next level, the thing that happened next was that the -- there was an article in the Los Angeles paper about, it was this upstart company in San Diego doing this kind of stuff. And Interstate Electronics was looking for exactly the kind of company that we represented. So on the next go-around they took us over. And they had no requirement to observe the stock option rights that we had from the previous company. They, they were overwhelming in their ability to vote the stock of the company we got absorbed from, absorbed into. And consequently all the options we had just went down to zilch.

TI: Well, before that happened, I mean, was it similar to like the startups now when companies, and...

HM: Yeah.

TI: you were, you were --

HM: Pretty good shape, yeah. I thought, man --

TI: To the point where you could retire?

HM: Yeah.

TI: To that level?

HM: It was pretty close, yeah.

TI: Okay.

HM: Yeah. But the second time, the second merger...

TI: Just wiped it out.

HM: Kept it -- wiped it out.

TI: Well, did it wipe out the bankers too, the La Jolla bankers?

HM: No, no. They played the game according to benefiting them. So --

TI: So they made out?

HM: Yeah. Because they had preferred stock, and that had a different, different kind of relationship.

TI: So you and your other co-workers got screwed?

HM: We got zapped, yeah. [Laughs]

TI: Well, but then yet you held a lot of the technical knowledge and the connections.

HM: Well.

TI: So that that -- they had to be careful.

HM: Unfortunately, they had the, a new general manager come into play because we became Interstate of Electronics, now. So he says, "Hell, I've been to Japan, and prices are low there. You're getting paid too much. So we're going to cut your salary." And they did. And here I had a six-man group there, and they're cutting my salary and cutting my budget, and I had to leave, let some of these guys go. So I'm starting to work two shifts now. I have to do export inspection stuff and all this stuff, besides monitoring what the design functions were and --

TI: Well, out of curiosity, why did you guys stand for this? I mean, you guys --

HM: Well.

TI: I mean, at some point -- yeah, it doesn't make sense to me.

HM: Yeah, it didn't make sense to me either. So I said -- by that time I, I was working so much that I started getting ulcers. And I didn't realize it at that time. But anyway, I was, exiting blood. I just started at that point. And I decided, well, I'm not going to take this crap. So I wrote a letter of resignation. And I said, "You're required to transport all my items back to the United States." And that guy wouldn't recognize it. He says, "You went on your own free will." But well, I was a company officer at that time. And so everybody that I was working with were supporting me. But now we've been absorbed as two generations level, and they couldn't care less. So I said, "I'm quittin'. Shipment -- this is the last shipment I'm going to make, be responsible for that, after that, phooey." Then I went on vacation. And then I collapsed at a ryokan. I lost so much blood by that time that I just, knocked over. And they transported me to the Tokyo hospital. And I was there for about two weeks. And the doctor says, "You've got to get off of this kind of workload that you have. Either that or you've got about three years to live." I decided, well, I'll go back. And that's when I came back to the States. But had we had the only the one merger, we would've been in great shape.

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

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: How many years were you in Japan?

HM: A little over two years.

TI: Okay.

HM: Yeah. It was a very exciting two years, it was a very busy two years.

TI: Yeah. It reminds me of...

HM: Never worked that hard in life.

TI: ...some of the software startups that I've...

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: ...seen.

HM: Just about the same way. Yeah.

TI: Interesting. Okay, so we're -- we come back to the States.

HM: Yeah. Okay.

TI: You -- financially, probably aren't doing very well because you just quit your job, and you didn't get your stock or stock options?

HM: And they wouldn't pay for the freight of all the stuff, household furnishings and all that kind of stuff, back from Japan. So it cost us quite a bit of money to come back.

TI: And did you go back to San Diego?

HM: No, I didn't. I was so ticked off at those guys. I said, "I'm coming back." And I came back to Seattle. And I screwed around for a couple months trying to get my ulcers under control. And then my brother says, "Hey, they want some people for..." My brother comes back in the scene again. He says, "They want some people for this Dyna Soar program. And if the program goes, it's going to be a real nice program."

TI: And so you called it a Dyna Soar program?

HM: X-20 program. And the thing that was interesting was going to be launched with a Atlas Missile. And they were going to mount the Dyna Soar vehicle on top of the Atlas Missile, and that was the launching mechanism. So I knew something about Atlas. So, well, my brother gave this guy in the personnel department my name, and they called me up --

TI: So how were you feeling at this point? Here you had gone through this incredible two-year experience, and essentially burned in some ways, physically.

HM: Yeah, yeah.

TI: But then was it a sense that you had to get a job to support your family?

HM: Well, yeah, because the economics dictated that, see, because --

TI: And were you bitter at this point?

HM: No, no. I wasn't bitter. I knew -- I had hoped that they would not have been merged a second time around because that was of the end of our stock option thing and our stability and the, the organization that we were involved with. Now, we were compounded second-level, and we kind of diminished, diminished in our importance and responsibility. And instead of improving on the ultrasonic equipment, they just stagnated the design. They froze the design and said, "Oh, we're going to keep buying this stuff." And eventually the relationship with Cho-Onpa and X-Onics Corporation (Interstate Electronics) just broke down. And the company in Japan says, "Well, we have come to the end of this contract that we have signed with you. We no longer will even exercise any options for extension of it." So that was the end of that. But they have made some very interesting products since then, but nonetheless, X-Onics wasn't part of it. They killed their own goose. So I was kind of, kind of burned out with San Diego and X-Onics, so I came back to Seattle.

TI: Okay. So you're at Boeing, and this is about what year?

HM: Well, okay. '63.

TI: '63.

HM: Yeah. And so I go on the Dyna Soar program, first of all because they wanted some people with Atlas experience. The vehicle itself was important to them. And I got into systems engineering there. And the program lasted -- let's see, when did they kill it? MacNamara got on the scene, and he says, he wants to know what the military requirements for this vehicle is. And it was a hypersonic test vehicle. It was to gather hypersonic test data, so that they can go on a hypersonic mission and go as many times around the world as they want. It was a sub-orbital platform. And it was a very efficient way of doing the job. And they wanted to get hypersonic aerodynamic information. And they wanted to use it as a test vehicle for materials and things of this nature. But when MacNamara came down and said, "I want to determine the military requirements," and he changed it from a experimental data gathering system to one that had a military criteria on it. And there wasn't, it wasn't designed for that thing.

TI: So that killed the program.

HM: Yeah. So we worked like Thanksgiving weekend, we just worked 'round-the-clock to try to get the thing out because it had to be finished and be submitted to MacNamara. And when he looked at it he didn't like it, and they killed the program right after the beginning of that year. But, that wasn't a problem. I learned a lot in that program because the hypersonic era was a lot different from subsonic and transonic stuff, that -- it was a era where I was just getting into the Boeing scene, back into the Boeing scene. And they were trying to figure out what they're going to do with some of us after the Dyna Soar program got cut.

TI: It must have been a very different environment. Here you went from a very small, entrepreneurial situation to Boeing?

HM: Yeah. It was a very relaxing-type environment for me because yeah, I was working double shifts. And here I had to just come work from 8:30 to 5:00. And it was easy. So I was feeling pretty comfortable until the program got cut. And then we got put on the lunar orbiter program. And that was the first satellite system they put around the moon to determine the landing -- possible landing sites for the future programs. And that, I spent some time on that program. And then, then they threw me into this proposal effort because Boeing was trying to get the manned orbiting laboratory at that point, and they were getting, they wanted to get into the supersonic low-level missile program.

TI: Now, how did things work in Boeing for you to go from program to program? Do they recruit internally to get to, pull together teams, or...?

HM: Yeah, normally when they make these teams, they put the teams together, it's because the team director knows the individuals that he's going to place in different responsibility positions. And these guys in turn have to go and scrounge for people and pull them into his organization to make sure that they could get their job done properly. So it becomes a situation where people, by reputation and by being able to implement certain capabilities, and show performance, that they are kind of becoming a, magnets to these other individuals because they're responsible for carrying out their functions.

TI: And what would you say was your reputation during these early years at Boeing?

HM: Well, first of all, that, they said, "Well, here's this guy from," -- formerly I worked for the Astronautics and Convair -- "and he knows this stuff. Why should we try to train anybody else? Well, he's got the basic information. He's been in launch programs. He's been out on the Cape." So that became a very interesting item to them. And the first thing they did was, they said, when I went into that group, he says, "I'll give you a couple of days to prepare a presentation on Atlas Missiles." And that was the first thing I did. That was my first assignment. Got out my old Atlas books that weren't classified that I still had, and I went through the description of the vehicle. And they were kind of -- from that point on, they said, "Hey, that guy knows the Atlas." So anything that happened to do with the Atlas vehicle performance, they used to come to me. So that kind of started the whole procedure off.

TI: But then as they went to the lunar orbiter and those other manned space stations, you didn't have the background necessarily for those?

HM: No. But they wanted somebody that had some data and experience with liquid-fueled propulsion equipment. No matter what vehicle it is, be it Atlas or Titan or, they have almost the same type of equipment. Different manufacturers make it, and might be different levels of performance, but basically it's a Rocketdyne engine, which is adaptation of the V-2 engine, really, if you want to get back down to it.

TI: And so your knowledge base was good, but I also imagine as they're recruiting, they're also looking for a sense of teamwork too?

HM: Yeah. You got to be able to work as a team. And the proposal efforts -- it doesn't make a difference where your rank is. It depends upon how much effort you can place into the situation collectively and work together and make a good proposal. So the whole nature of working in the proposal team is different.

TI: And so you must have had a pretty good reputation as a good team player to be --

HM: Well, like in the wind tunnel team, you work as a team. It's, you do instrumentation, if somebody has a problem you have to help 'em. If it's a model work, you have to do model work for him because you've got to get that thing into the tunnel to be tested. And you guys at -- I mean, the tunnel time is like 2,000 bucks an hour minimum. And right now probably it's about $15,000 an hour the way, the way it's going. But the tunnel time is so expensive compared to the labor function of the employees. And you got a limited number of people on the team, like maybe ten people on a team. And you're covering everything from the electronics to the remote control systems to the instrumentation functions to the flight control mechanism, data readout system. Everything has to be done in coordination, otherwise you're not going to get the job done.

TI: So you're used to, you were, as an engineer, very used to working with these very well-coordinated, specialized teams.

HM: Yeah.

TI: That could do things very quickly.

HM: They're willing to give themselves to the project. So if we have trouble in a certain area, even though you're not a specialist, you become the, the peon and you follow the guy's orders and you try to implement the process. So the proposal teams get very culturally oriented because they have certain individuals that keep being put on the next proposal because of what they have done in the past. And in the system engineering you try to integrate the whole vehicle. So, like in the X-20 program, Dyna Soar program, it's a combination of the air vehicle, the booster vehicle, the systems that relate to telemetering the data, the instrumentation side, the test vehicle, all these kinds of things, ground stations. Everything comes into play. So the more general knowledge you have and you can get down to a specific detail, the better off the team is.

TI: The proposal team...

HM: Yeah.

TI: ...or the...

HM: Yeah.

TI: Right.

HM: Yeah.

TI: Now what, in your mind what makes a good team member for some of these proposal teams where, where the --

HM: Well, the guy that could work twenty hours out of a 24-hour day and don't have to worry about bringing his kids to a ballet practice. Don't worry about eating. And if you need him, and you're putting together the end proposal, like the system engineering department's supposed to do, you want him to be able to work from Friday morning at 7 o'clock all the way 'til Monday morning at, to the time you start delivering all these different documents and get 'em off to the airplane to Washington, D.C., or wherever it's supposed to go.

TI: Well, under those criteria were you a good team member? Was that sort of how you were?

HM: Well, because we had that practice in the wind tunnel. I mean, it was just second nature to me. So, but it's, you kind of suspend operations of the family because you're not there anymore for a while.

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

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Well, so talk a little bit about the impact on your family. Because your children at this point were growing up --

HM: Yeah. They were growing up, and, but my wife wasn't working at that time. And she didn't feel too uncomfortable about handling the kids for maybe a couple of days when I wasn't home. And she knew when it was the end of the proposal and the deadline date, I said, "I'm not going to be home for the weekend." Sure enough, I'm not home for the weekend. But she got used to it. Well, with the wind tunnel thing, also got her used to it because I would be gone on trips, and I wouldn't be back for two weeks sometimes, three weeks maybe.

TI: Now, out of curiosity, when you moved back to Seattle and started raising your family, what part of Seattle did you live in?

HM: Oh. I, we stayed, when we first came back we stayed at my parents' place. And then, well, Kathy was kindergarten age. In fact, she went to a kindergarten in Japan. And that kind of spoiled her because we were in a very interesting district. It was made up of half non-Japanese nationals, like me, and fairly well-off Japanese nationals. Across the street from us, the guy -- Shinagawa was the guy's name -- he was, for that year he was given the honor of the national (art treasury) of Japan for wood block prints. He was the foremost noted wood block print maker. And his wife was a patron of this, this kindergarten. And I didn't realize what kind of kindergarten she was a patron of. And first impact I had was when they had an open house day, and Kathy was enrolled in this kindergarten. And Shinagawa and Yoichi and anyway -- ended up that the brother of the emperor was there. Prince Mikasa was there. And he was a patron of the school. [Laughs] I thought to myself, what the heck am I getting myself into? But right after that I decided, well, it was kind of a rainy day one day, and my, the maid wasn't feeling so well. And she used to bring Kathy up to the kindergarten. So I took an umbrella, and I, I walked Kathy up to this kindergarten. And here comes a chauffeur-driven car, [Laughs] it happened to be a Rolls Royce. And this chauffeur opens the door, and this kid comes out. The kid goes into the kindergarten.

TI: So it was a school for privileged --

HM: Yes. That was the vice president of the second biggest steel company in Japan.

TI: Now were these private schools, or was it a public school in a very well-to-do --

HM: This was a model school that was set up to determine what teaching systems they were to use for other kindergartens in that whole area. It was a nationally sanctioned school, so some of the budget came from the national government. I didn't know this. I had no idea this was -- the obaasan across street used to say, "Well, we have a nice school. Would you like Kathy to go there?" So I said, "Sure."

TI: That's funny.

HM: Well, the deal was that my wife at the time would be teaching the oldest kid there. And he was going to, he was in his last year of high school. And they would teach him English pronunciation. That was the deal. And then they would make sure that Kathy got into this kindergarten. And she kept her word. And everything went along very smoothly.


TI: You talked about your, how your daughter had a wonderful kindergarten experience in Japan, but now we're coming back to the United States. And now you enroll her -- you have to think about enrolling her in school here. So --

HM: Well, the thing that I was looking for was the best scholastic record of all the school districts, how many people went to college. So, at that time the Bellevue School District was the best one in the state. So I decided, well, we'll get a place in Bellevue. And that's why we ended up in Newport Hills. Still the same place we started.

TI: Did you ever, did you also consider, because this was the early '60s...

HM: Yeah.

TI: That, in terms of minorities, there probably weren't very many out in Bellevue.

HM: Oh, yeah. They didn't want to sell us the house I wanted. And it wasn't because of the seller didn't want to sell it, but the neighbor complained to the real estate person that she didn't want persons of Asian, Japanese ancestry living next door to her. So we ended up with the third selection that we wanted. Neighbors on both sides, they didn't mind. So we were the first non-Caucasian, non-black family in, in Newport Hills.

TI: Were you concerned about how your children would be accepted by other children in that area?

HM: Initially we were. But the neighborhood was very nice neighborhood. And they started participating in things like swimming activities because the pool was only a block and a half away. They have -- in the wintertime they put this big balloon on top, and it's a pressurized system. And they had tennis courts there and they had other recreational activities there. And this was a community play area. And they had a parking area. And that kind of attracted us to Newport Hills. And I figured, well, if the neighbors will accept us, the one on each side, well, I, I think we could talk with the rest of them to accepting us. That was my feeling. And the kids did get some resistance when they enrolled in the school. But the school is right close to us. It's another, another two and a half blocks away from us on the other side of the pool. So we're right in the center of this thing. And it was a very convenient place for us. And, well, the kids, after they got to know the neighbors and the neighborhood kids, I mean, it was no problem. But --

TI: And was Kathy fluent in Japanese and English?

HM: Yeah, both. Yeah. She used to correct my Japanese because I used to make some grammatical errors that were pretty bad. And she would say, "That isn't the way to say it." And she would correct me. But, and Robert was, when we came back, was two years old. And he would, [makes an expressive sound] just Nihongo only, because the maid used to take care of him most of the time. His English was pretty, pretty minimal. But my mother really enjoyed him because he would talk Nihongo at a mile an hour, mile, mile per minute clip. And my, my father also enjoyed him. But, and he was a really a jovial-type kid that would speak Nihongo like crazy. He had vocabulary that was better than mine.

TI: Well, that's interesting. So by the time he got to school age, kindergarten, was he able to keep up his Japanese?

HM: No, no. He'd lost it altogether. But the Shinagawa kids, they had younger kids besides the kid in high school, they used to come over, and they used to play with Robert, so, and both Kathy, both. But, and that's why they got so good in their Nihongo. It's surprising what a kid can do in different languages.

TI: It is amazing.

HM: But by the time he went, started school, he lost all his Japanese.

TI: Okay.

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

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: Well, let's go back to Boeing, and...

HM: Okay.

TI:'re working hard there. We're in the '60s. Is there anything else you want to talk about? I want to get to the point where, we started getting to the point where you got involved with the SST program, things like that.

HM: Okay. Before that, bunch of us like Tom Koizumi and even some of the people that were in the wiring group, thought that we should do something in order to, to eliminate some of the discriminatory practices against Asian engineers. And I had worked with a couple of Korean engineers, and this guy happened to be a graduate of Tokyo University. And for a Korean to be able to get into Tokyo University is -- he's got to be in the upper part of the first one percent of the top of the class. This is the criteria they have for Korean people in Japan. So, anyway, he felt that he was being held back. He had a Ph.D., and he just couldn't get up in the promotional ranks. And anyway, Tom Koizumi was a third-level manager at that point. And he was in the business management area. And he felt that we were being exploited relative to our capabilities versus our salary and status within the company. He had access to all kinds of information that none of us in the SPEEA level were entitled to. So he used to share some of that stuff. He used to say, "Here's the breakdown of all the engineering staff. Here's the Asians, and here's the educational levels for each of these age brackets." And the salaries were quite a bit lower than the average of the, all the engineering groups.

So this was, this was almost about the same time that I started having some problems in the organizations I was assigned to. Well, the thing that came out -- well, my brother was assigned to a atomic energy test program that Boeing had a subcontract. And he was into heavy particle physics. And they used to run the, the linear accelerator down the lower level of the development center. Nobody knows about what's happening down there, but they have a real big doughnut-shaped accelerator. And they're running this thing day and night. And they got all these target items in there. And they're trying to figure out the particle functions. Anyway, that was part of the atomic energy test program he was involved with. And they were -- he was going down to Mercury Flats in Nevada on a regular basis. Every time they had a underground test, he'd be down there a week beforehand, and stayed down there --

TI: These are the underground nuclear tests?

HM: Yes. That was being performed during that time. And they were being done maybe once every three weeks or somewhere around that frequency. And so he would go down there and get the data and come back. And he was doing this on a regular basis. Well, he was also building a house down on a hundred, South 160th, and it was a pretty big house. And I used to go out there and try to help him on some of the installations because he had some custom things incorporated into the house. And about the latter part of October he says, "Hey, I'm going to go on another trip very shortly. So they're going to be some custom doors coming. Would you help the installers, tell them how it should be fitted?"

TI: And your brother was in good health and everything was fine?

HM: Oh, everything was fine, yeah. He was in tip-top shape, yeah. So anyway, he goes down to Mercury Flats beginning of November. This is 1966. And I get a call from his wife about 3 o'clock in the morning. And says she got a call saying that George has been killed. So, "Oh, God, what's goin' on here?" So I tried to get into the Boeing system for the emergency department about whether or not there's been a report of his death. And they never heard of anything of that nature. So anyway, I called up the number that she gave me for the person that made the contact in Clark County in Nevada. And he said, "Yeah, they had a accident." They classified all the information. All we know is that it was a fatal accident.

So well, I figured, well, the morning after I went down to the public relations department, and they sent me to the industrial relations department, and finally they gave me the information that he got killed. And so I decided, well, let's, let's help the widow out here. Before he left on that trip in November he had cancelled his will because the will designated the children by name, and he had another child after that. And he said, "Well, I'm going to take care of it during Thanksgiving, the Friday after Thanksgiving because we used to get a day off there." Go to his lawyer's office and change it. So he cancelled the will. And I didn't know that he cancelled it. I thought he was just postponing the revision of it. So when the, this announcement came through the system, the banks froze all his accounts like they normally do.

TI: Right.

HM: And so Amy, the wife, couldn't get any of the funeral arrangements done because they didn't have the money to do it. The bank accounts were frozen and all this kind of problem. So I told her well, let's set up a separate account for his arrangements. So I funded that, that process. And then the Boeing office called her and said that they cannot provide the insurance money because this is a classified accident. It involves the Atomic Energy Commission.

TI: Even though he was working for Boeing?

HM: Yeah. And he had the accident insurance, travel insurance, and he had his own private life insurance. None of the insurance companies would honor their commitment because they could not get a verified death certificate that had the cause of death and the circumstances of the death because they classified this whole thing.

TI: Before we get into that, Henry, too, I just wanted to get how you were feeling. I mean, your brother was incredibly important in your life.

HM: Yeah. Oh, he was the mainstay of my technical knowledge. But oh, no, I was really shaken by this. But anyway, the insurance companies said that they weren't going to pay off on the thing. And then I contacted the other, his private insurance company and said, no, they can't provide the information unless they given all this documents. And so anyway, I took a week off from Boeing, my work. And I was on the SRAM (Missile) program at that time. And I went to the Industrial Relations Department. And I said, "First of all, I need to have the body sent back because we have to arrange for the funeral." And they says, "You got to pay for it." I said, "What are you talking about? You guys send him down on an assignment down there, and you're not going to pay for his body coming back?" He says, "Well, we'll only pay for live passengers coming back." And that was the policy at that time. I didn't know this. This was the policy. Anyway, I got ticked off and I started going up the ladder. And I ended up with the vice president of industrial relations. A guy name Micklewaite. And I told him, "You guys going to start having to implement some of these things. The insurance for one thing. I want his body sent back." And I got pretty demanding. And he says, "No, you got to pay for the body being sent back." Because if they put him in the casket and they put him in lower lobe (of the airplane), they charge you three times the first-class rate. And, also they have to make special accommodations so that thing won't rattle around. And they charge excess for that. But they refused to do it. So I, anyway, I authorized the airline to have it shipped up here. And then I, I got on the -- the newspaper reporters were hounding us at that point because they wanted to know something about him, they were writing an article in the Seattle Times. And I told the reporter that I'm going to have a sit-down strike in this guy, Mickel -- Vice President Micklewaite's, office because he refused to send my brother's body back. And oh, I was really ticked off at that point. So I did have a sit-down strike by myself.

TI: And did the Times write an article about this thing?

HM: No. They couldn't come in the plant, so they couldn't, they couldn't witness any of it. Anyway, the Boeing security guys came, and they picked me up, one on one side and one on the other, and literally picked me up off the ground and took me off the, outside the building. [Laughs] As it turned out they wouldn't do anything. And the insurance companies wouldn't pay off. So they put me in a heck of a predicament because he was trading commodities. And he had a system in his basement that -- he had all this teletype gear and everything else. And they were getting the data over the lease lines. And whenever the price hit this range that he was looking for or whatever he was looking for, it would ring an alarm system, and Amy would call him at work and tell him the Number 6 alarm sounded.

TI: So he would sell or buy based on the --

HM: Yeah. He knew which ones all these things were set for. So he would take the proper action. Anyway, this commodity guy calls Amy up and says, "Hey, there's so many things that are going to mature, and we gotta do something, otherwise he's going get -- "

TI: A ton of soybeans or something.

HM: Yeah. Bushels of all these grains. So I got ahold of him. And he says, "Well, we can't trade this account. We have no authority to trade this account. It either has to be court-established based on instructions that he left." And at that time I didn't know he had had the will vacated. And I said, "Hey, it must be in the will someplace," so I got Amy. And then sure enough, the damn thing was voided as of a certain date. And I called up the broker, and he says, "Well, what do you want us to do?" So I said, "What can we do?" He says, "Well, you could place just the opposite orders, and just cancel them out. And your two orders will just cancel everything out. So you won't -- the only thing you have to pay for is the commissions on all these orders." So I said, "Okay." So I transferred out all my stock accounts that I had, and transferred into the company, and we did, we did it, we matched up the orders and cancelled everything out. But Boeing wouldn't pay for the, they wouldn't do anything for the insurance part of it. So I got attorney, and I told him to pursue the whole thing, and it was on a contingency basis. Well, he ended up with about 20-odd percent of the whole insurance, all the insurance things, because he had to go after each company.

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

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: What was Boeing's stance? Why were they so --

HM: Well, that was their policy at that time. And I was really fumed about the whole thing. And I took that whole week off. And then we got through with the funeral, and I went to, back to work on Tuesday. I skipped Monday. I told them I was sick. I was sick emotionally, I guess. So I went back, went back to work on Tuesday. And every one of us used to have one of these security things. And they changed it for mine so I couldn't get in the door. So I had to go through the lobby to the receptionist. And then, by that time this reception center called my group, and said, "Henry's back. Shall we let him in?" He says, "Yeah." So the guy come up to the front area, and he proceeded to bring me back to the work area. And the supervisor was there. And he says, "Wilkinson wants to see you in the project office."

TI: Who was Wilkinson?

HM: He was the head of the program. SRAM program. He was a part-Cherokee. And he felt kind of a kinship to the non-Caucasians. And he kind of favored me, really, on the good side. And when we used to have the staff meetings, we used to have them on, every Thursday. And I was the guy that used to collect all the data and have it documented and prepared for everybody to review. So I would go around, like on Tuesday, I would ask for the information, update information. And Wednesday I would collect it, and I got it reproduced. And then Thursday morning when they had the staff meeting every -- everybody had a copy and everybody was ready to go. Anyway, he knew me from that area. And he used to always have a couple of good words when we used to pass together. But he said, "Well, you know you lost your, your clearances." "What do you mean, lost my clearances?" He says, "Well, obviously you must have rubbed somebody the wrong way because they went to the AFPO office of the, air force personnel and operations office, the plant representative there. And he complained about what you had done. And they knocked off your top-secret and your crypto clearance and your atomic clearance." And, because this vehicle had a warhead on it. Anyway, he says, "You're off the project. We're going to have you go with the security guard and you're going to clean out your desk. And you're history here." And Micklewaite was the guy that did that. So anyway, I cleaned out my desk --

TI: And the project director couldn't do anything?

HM: No. He couldn't do anything. He says, "If you lose your clearance, automatically you can't handle the data because you're doing high-level stuff." And he says, "I'm sorry." And he apologized for it. But that was it. So I asked him, "Where am I supposed to go?" He says, "I don't know." He said, "Why don't you go to personnel and find out?" Anyway, I got really ticked off at that. That was one of the things that really irritated me, the way they treated people that were on assignment that were deceased. So I wrote a nasty letter to Bill Allen and that company.

TI: And Bill Allen was the president at that time?

HM: Yes. He was the president. And I wrote a cc to Micklewaite, saying, "This is not a way to provide necessary functions for their employees that are fatally injured on assignment for Boeing." And I said what, what had happened. And anyway, I was floatin' around for a couple of days. I didn't know what they were going to do with me. And I guess that was another break point in how I felt about the Boeing company. Maybe we got to do something. I mean, you got to correct all these problem areas. And well, six months later they changed the policy on deceased persons. They did cover him regardless of what the accident, the circumstances of the accident, because if he's on assignment for Boeing they will cover him on all insurance, travel, and otherwise. And they will bring the body back. But that was six months later. But, I guess the letter to Allen did take effect, but it took a while to take effect.

TI: Did he ever acknowledge the letter? Did you ever hear anything back from Allen?

HM: No. He, they did send a note at the time I did send a letter to him that, Mr. Allen has received your correspondence and this kind of stuff. This is like a form letter. And so I knew he received the information. But, well, that put me in kind of a problem area because here I had been working on all these military programs, proposals first, and then we become the honcho group for the, for the SRAM program, and Smith was one of my, of my proposal managers, we had kind of migrated to this area. And all the guys I knew that I used to work with were -- a lot of them were in the SRAM program or in the proposal area. Because I got my classification stuff knocked off, well, I had no chance of going back in there. So I lost all kind of communication ability with those guys.

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

<Begin Segment 18>

HM: As it turned out, there was a guy reviewing my, my folder. And I was at home because I, I figured, well, no use staying at Boeing and they're putting me on leave without pay. So I says, "Well, that's what they're going to do, they're entitled to, to that action." And so I get a phone call, and I -- they said, "Come down to the SST program." That's down in the DC (development center) area. So I got hired on in that program. But they were looking for a guy that knew government specs and airworthiness criteria and flight characteristics. And they knew that I had some flight experience way back. So I got hired on to that group. And then I ended up the structures group. And this guy that, the manager of the group, says, "You're familiar with FARs, and we want you to go through that thing with a fine-tooth comb and tell us exactly what the structures organization has to meet." And that was the start of my being involved with the SST structures organization. And then he says, "Well, we got nobody going to this meeting, but we're supposed to send somebody." And this was two weeks after I get into the organization. "You go to this meeting." So I said, "Oh, sure." And that's where I met Mike Nakata. And Mike was involved with the fastening area, welding structures. And we were thinking of welding the whole air frame together. For the SST because it's titanium. But that's where I think Mike and I started talking to each other. And --

TI: At that point Mike was a Boeing engineer?

HM: Yeah.

TI: He had been with Boeing how long?

HM: At that time about twelve years, something like that. Longer than I had. And anyway, every week -- and they had a specialist team. And we were covering structures and landing gear. And this representative from the major areas -- air frame, systems, propulsion, all this, all these different groups, and we'd talk about the relative requirements that we have to meet. And I was part of that process. And Mike would talk about the structures problem in terms of fastening and the high temperature problems that we were going to be faced with. And every week somebody had an assignment and they had to make a presentation. And it was a kind of an interchange of information. And lot of the people had their own agenda. They had their particular own...

TI: Right.

HM: ...field. And some of the conversations used to get pretty hot. Anyway, Nakata made a presentation and everybody started yapping at him about welding. And he started talking about welding ships, which he had a lot of background on. He says, "If you didn't weld those ships, they'll leak all over the place." He, he used to give these guys a hard time. They used to tell him, "Well, hey, we're not building ships." He said, "Hell, we are. Renton, we're building a hydrofoil, and we're using a lot of materials." You know, this kind of crap. I remember some of these feedbacks were very pointed to these individuals. And anyway, I thought, this guy is different. He's outspoken. He's not like a Nisei. He shoves it right back in their face if they give him a hard time. And he and I were the only non-managers in the whole place, the whole committee. And I made a real cursory presentation on FARs because we didn't have nothing on supersonic commercial airplanes, except for the stuff that Concord had done, and provisionally that the FAA approved. And it was not a new fully certified-type system. It was not a full airworthiness criteria. It was based on the British aviation organization's evaluation of the airplane. And, so I just summarized all the stuff that they checked on for the Concord airplane. And then I made a summary from the FAR standpoint on the relative elements they covered.

TI: We should clarify FARs. Was it Federal Air Regulations?

HM: No, Airworthiness.

TI: Airworthiness Regulations.

HM: Yeah. Anyway, these guys started giving me a hard time. So I said, "This is an airplane that we haven't even built. We don't even know what the long-term criteria's gonna be. We don't even know if the Concord's going to be a successful type operation. Russians have their own supersonic airplane. It's got to be competitive, and it's got to be geared for that requirement." And they really started plowing into me. And so at the end of the session Mike comes up to me, and he says, "You give them hell, didn't you?" he says to me. And anyway, he says to me, "We're the only Nips around here that give these guys hell." [Laughs] But anyway, at, at that point I thought we had a kind of a joint mission in our lives.

And then we used to go out and eat together. And he used to tell me, "You know, we take too much crap from these guys. We're better than they are. We should hold our own." And a lot of these things that he talked about I agreed with. As things went on he says, "We got to do something. We got to be united." And I thought to myself, well, Koizumi had been talking about all this getting the Asian engineers together. So I told him what we were planning to do.

And as things turned out we started talking about why the hakujins were taking the viewpoints they were on Japanese engineers. We didn't speak out. We didn't stand for our positions. And the guys that Mike used to work with would say, "Well, you guys haven't even done anything about the time you guys were put into camps. What the hell have you guys done?" And Mike reiterated that to me. And he says, "We haven't done a damn thing." So I would say, "Well, you know, you can't do too much. We were -- it's constitutional, according to the Supreme Court, what the government did." And he says to me, "Ah, don't give me that crap." He was pretty cold-blooded with me. So I said, "Well, yeah, your friends are right. We should be doing something." And then after that he would say, "I hear you talking about it, but you're not telling me anything. What are you going to do about? What are you going to do about it?" And that kind of perturbed me. I thought, oh, God. Gee, he's right. But then what can we do?

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

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: Because you didn't think forming this organization was going to be enough? That the organization had to do...

HM: No, no.

TI: ...something. That there had to be something --

HM: It has to be more than just the engineers. It has to be a big, broad network of people in the Seattle area. And even interfacing the company and saying, "You guys are not giving us the respect." But beyond that, he felt that because the Nikkei weren't speaking up, that they're going to keep walking on us anyway. And that really set my mind to thinking. And then I used to have these discussions with our attorney. We were making some limited partnership agreements. And, and there was a real estate guy involved, Paul Sakai and myself, and I had a lot of people that wanted to become part of a limited partnership because we had a pretty good track record on the real estate transactions we were doing. And we usually tripled their money in a matter of about three or four years. So anyway, when we went to this attorney, and this guy's name was Anthony Hoare, he says, "You know, you guys have a very strange draft of what limited partnership you want me to draw up." And he says, "This is the first time I've ever heard of a limited partnership that wants the distribution first to the limited partners, and then the profits to the general partners at the end." He says, "I've never heard of this kind of stuff."

TI: Because usually the general partners get their money out...

HM: First. Yeah.

TI: ...first. And then --

HM: Yeah. So I, I said to Tony, "Well, we got a lot of limited partners in this thing that, would like to have their money first before the generals get it." And he thought this was real strange. And he says to Paul, "Do you agree with what Henry's saying?" And Paul says, "Well, not really, but he's, he's pushing it. He's got more guys investing in this thing than we do. So he's got the majority function here." And anyway this, the real estate guy said the same thing roughly. So he says, "Okay. I'll draft it up, and I'll -- let's have another meeting. And you guys can review it." And that's what we did. Anyways, Tony thought that I was kind of strange in that way because we're not taking the skim off the top. So I says, "Well, I feel empathetic towards limited partners because I'm one of them." [Laughs]

And then we got into a discussion about the evacuation. I forgot what the lead-in to it was, but anyway he had studied the evacuation very thoroughly in his law school time period. And he had a great deal of knowledge about it. And I talked to him about Gordon Hirabayashi. And he knew about the concurrency situation of the test case. And he was also able to (try cases and) be at the Supreme Court. And he had been approved for that level of legal contest. Usually you're approved for certain levels, superior court, appellate court, appeals court. But he had, he had something to do with one of the cases in the Supreme Court. So he was approved for -- and he had a lot of knowledge about this thing. So I started asking him a whole bunch of questions every time we used to meet. I used to get there a little bit early for the purpose of asking him these things. In fact, I wrote 'em down one time. And he says, "Hey, let me see that piece of paper you're referring to." So he says, after he looked at it he says, "I got couple of books here that you should read." And he takes 'em off of his bookcase, and he says, "Here." And he says, "You should read 'em, and then ask your questions after you read these books. Do a little bit of homework first."

And the two books was, the first one was How to Find the Law, and the other one was the Supreme Court cases where the United States government lost and the plaintiff won. But Millikan, a whole bunch of them in there. It was a good book. So I studied the damn things very thoroughly.

And at the same time my, my son was in Doctor Hughes' gymnastics program at the U of W. And every Saturday (morning) and Wednesday evening they used to have gymnastics for these young kids. And he was trying to groom these kids from junior high school level to high school so that he'd have people to pick from for his U of W program in gymnastics. He wasn't having the down level type guys, able to produce. So the class was on Wednesday evening and Saturday morning. And so I would drop off Robert like Saturday morning, and I'd go to either the main library or one of the other libraries. And I started trying to find this stuff that related to the public laws relating to the evacuation process, and then after the evacuation about the money distribution of the Sumitomo Bank thing, the Yokohama Species Bank, so forth. And I couldn't get into their data system because we had to have a budget for it. So on one occasion I told Tony, "I can't get into that law school database. Can you help me?" And he says, "Yeah." He writes out this thing --

TI: Because Tony was a faculty member or had some connections --

HM: No. He had -- he was a kind of advisor to some of the candidates for the law school. Well, he was interested in trying to get people, especially minorities, into that law school. That was one of his interests. Anyway, so he gives me this authorization. And the authorization was to be able to use that law firm's budget for my, for my investigation work. And gee, I thought that was pretty generous because he wasn't making too much money on our limited partnership deals. And so he said, "The reason why I'm doing this is because I want you to really go and find out what it is that had, had happened, the circumstances. I want you to be able to tell me the various historical points of the thing. And if you really want to do something you're gonna have to know all the facts." And that's what he -- that was the, kind of a catalyst that started all that stuff, investigation in the law school library. And that's what started me on reading all kinds of books and things of this nature.

TI: Okay. That's good.

HM: And then in time, I was able to confront Mike Nakata with a straight face, and says, "Yeah, okay. This is what we're going to do." And that's how we really got started.

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