Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Rudy Tokiwa Interview II
Narrator: Rudy Tokiwa
Interviewers: Tom Ikeda (primary), Judy Niizawa (secondary)
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii
Date: July 2 & 3, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-trudy-02-0052

<Begin Segment 52>

TI: In fact, someone I wanted to talk about, you talked about earlier, he was a friend of yours at Poston, Lloyd Onoye.

RT: Oh, yes.

TI: And we want to go back, and talking a little bit, because he was this strong man, a good friend of yours that served also in the 442.

RT: Yeah. See now, Lloyd Onoye, he was a big, husky guy. To show you how strong he was, when we were in those concentration camps, we used to play basketball, block against blocks. And there was one game we went down to, and, well, they never should have had the referee from that block.

TI: Right. You told me the story yesterday...

RT: Yeah. Oh.

TI: About you had to hold him down with six guys.

RT: So you can understand how strong he is. Well, I probably told you this, too. That he was one of the first to go in for induction, and he had a murmuring heart, so they 4-F'd him and sent him back. So when he was back, why, we used to wrestle and stuff like that. And we, I never used to wrestle him by myself. There'd be three, four of us. But we could never take him down. And he was so good-natured all the time, that when he went to the 442nd, I was quite surprised. Because he wasn't one of them kinda guys that would get in the fight all the time or anything. But it didn't take long for a lotta the Hawaiian people to realize, "Hey, this is no man you can fuss with." 'Cause him and I were down one day, went to the PX to drink beer. And this little Hawaiian guy was, guy thought he was something that was big. And he gave Lloyd a little hard time. And he figured, I guess if he got in a fight with Lloyd, that everybody, all the other Hawaiians would back him up. But when he started to fight with Lloyd, and Lloyd just picked him up and threw him against the wall with one hand, everybody looked at it. And they said, they figured, we ain't goin' in and get in that fight.

But you see, now here was a guy was a real good soldier. He went all the way through the war almost. And the last push we're making, I wasn't there no more. But in the last push that we were making, he became acting first sergeant. And so he got, he got the headquarters of his company, I Company, took a direct hit on the headquarters and it wiped everybody out. And then I heard that they were in a tunnel. And so you know me, sometime I say things when I shouldn't. So then when I, when they talked about how the tunnel was, the hole of the tunnel wasn't facing the German side, it was facing American side. All right, if you're gonna shoot an artillery shell and it goes down the tunnel, and it gets the guys maybe 50 feet down inside there, it's got to come from the back side, our side. And now, with this outfit that was back there, even today, they claim no, it wasn't one of theirs. But it had to be a short round. And the I Company CP got wiped out. It was only, they only had about another, I think, about three weeks or so, and the war ended. Here was the guys, so good-natured and everything, and so good. And he was one of the main guys that spoke about why we should volunteer for the good of the Japanese Americans and everything. And then he becomes one of them that don't return.

And so maybe I'm a nut, because I go to Washington, D.C. And I always got to go to the Arlington Cemetery to pay my respect. And I could never find Lloyd's grave. And I knew that the family had him buried in Arlington. So finally, we spent something like, oh, it must have been five, six hours we went walkin' around lookin'. And we finally found his cross. But deep inside -- I was glad we found his cross -- but deep inside, I felt a little bit bad, because like when I go, I got my buddies, (John) Nakamura and them guys, they're all buried. And they're almost all buried in one little spot there. But here he is, way out amongst all the hakujins, all by himself. And so what I had said when I went to pay my respect, I says, "I'm sorry, Lloyd, that you couldn't be with the rest of the guys. But you're still amongst our people. So I want you to be able to rest in peace." Because it's, it's that feeling you have inside. You want him to be with the rest of the guys.

So I've been, I've always looked at this and I've always said, "Well, one of the things that I would like to do, even today yet, is I would like to be able to, some way or another, get to the younger generation, and get them to understand what these guys went through and what their thoughts were." Because I heard, I've heard things from Japanese families, "Aw, them guys volunteered because they wanted to get out of camp. Well, if they wanted to get out of camp, all they had to do was sign up for any kind of work job outside, and they'd go out of camp for six, seven months, and then shipped back again. And I hear things like that, and it aggravates me. Because here it is, I know why the volunteering was done. And to think that these guys can't understand this. And I've always said that I think there's gonna be a day when the 442nd is not gonna exist. And this was the reason why now I'm talking amongst the younger people. I want them to form this "Sons and Daughters."

And it's like I said, in France, the people in Bruyeres would like us to form a "Sons and Daughters." And they'll even treat the "Sons and Daughters" better than they treated us. When we went there, we all went to hotel and stayed. But they said, "If the 'Sons and Daughters' will come over, and you let us know how old they are, we'll try to put them in homes of couples about their age." That's how much they want to keep this thing going, how much they respect what the 100th/442nd did for them.

TI: That's tremendous. Now I want to go back, and they, sort of the short round, sort of the friendly fire that killed Lloyd. At that point, I believe that wouldn't have been a 522 artillery?

RT: No, no, no. It wouldn't have been a 522.

TI: Because by then they had split off, hadn't they?

RT: Yeah. See the 522 was in Germany.

TI: Right. And I want to ask you about that. But just, so, what unit would have fired?

RT: So it had to have been the 92nd. And they insist no, they didn't have a short round.

<End Segment 52> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.