Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Harry Akune Interview
Narrator: Harry Akune
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: Monterey, California
Date: July 1, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-aharry-01-0002

<Begin Segment 2>

gky: What was it like parachuting onto Corregidor?

HA: By all -- I was lucky, very, very fortunate. A lot of guys, maybe about 20 percent of the people, were casualties before they even landed on the -- I mean, on the landing itself. They either got shot coming down, or shot in the plane, or landed. It was very, very rough terrain, lots of shattered trees, stumps. In fact, I felt like I was going to be impaled one instant before, you know, that kind of situation. Despite all that, despite making all the mistakes, I came out smelling like a rose. Then when I got finally down to the end of this hill, I missed the area that I was supposed to go. So I'm in-between the enemy and my own forces. Only thing is, enemy is further down and I'm in between there, up this hill. So I knew that I was supposed to be up on top, so I got rid of my parachute and started running toward the top as fast as I could, looking also at same time around me, because I never knew whether it was enemy or not either. And of course there was some small arm fires ricocheting, you know, and so forth. So when I got running up there and I got maybe about 100 feet, 150 feet from the top, I saw this line of rifles and they were facing me. I thought, "Oh, my God, if one of them let go, all of 'em is going to let go." I thought "Oh, I will be full of holes." But then the only thing I could think of was I didn't have a helmet. Only thing I had was a fatigue and a rifle. So instead of carrying my rifle down, I lowered it, raised my arm and ran up to them, you know. Well, it so happened that there was one guy, a sergeant, who had seen me around headquarters, and he held them from firing. So, therefore, that guy really saved my butt simply because he was patient enough to see me and recognize me. Until then, he didn't even know who I was, see. Well, the ironic thing about that story is that that guy got killed on that island, and for years I tried to find out who it was. And, finally, when I found out, he was killed two days later. So, I couldn't even thank him, you know. I couldn't even thank him later for doing that for me. But from there I joined kind of a group, you know, they're all scattered the group, moved forward, and naturally I wanted to be identified as an American. So finally I found a helmet. I put it on my head in haste, you know, because you're trying to find shelter or something. So, in haste I'd be running along and suddenly there'd be some ricocheting bullets and I'd hit the ground, you know, and the helmet would fall off. So I'd go running over there to pick it up and put it on -- it was like a comedy. I did that about two, three times, you know, and finally we got to this building and I crawled into this building, there were some other guys in there too, you know, and the walls are being peppered by small arm fire, but me, I'm sitting there trying to fix the helmet. The other guys are firing, I'm trying to fix the helmet so it won't come off my head. [Laughs] But it was really kind of comical.

gky: When was this that you got onto Corregidor?

HA: Pardon?

gky: When was this? What was the date?

HA: February 16, around 8 o'clock.

gky: Nineteen forty...

HA: Forty five.

gky: Forty five.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.