Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Roy Uyehata Interview
Narrator: Roy Uyehata
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: El Macero, California
Date: October 20, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-uroy-01-0007

<Begin Segment 7>

gky: Can you think of anything else about your feelings about being in MIS?

RU: Well, I felt I did my share of work, hard work in the MIS, and you know, I think that's one of the things that I kind of took some pride in. I got my field commission because of what I did during the second battle of Bougainville, I'm sure of that, and...

gky: How did you feel about what the Nisei did? I mean, how important do you think it is that you're Nisei?

RU: Well, I think all the Niseis did what they were asked to do, you know. I felt those people that had their brothers fighting in the Japanese army, they fought with mixed emotion, I thought, because it is pretty hard to -- of course, all of us, even wearing United States uniform, we did our best to fight for our country, but at the same time, I don't think they felt too good about themselves if their brothers were fighting in the Japanese army, you know.

gky: That is a tough position to be in.

RU: Oh, yes.

gky: Your parents are in internment camp...

RU: That's right. Brother's in, that's Japanese army, yes.

gky: That's really a way I guess, to divide your family.

RU: That's right. But at the same time, we knew that if we ever got captured, that we'd be tortured and probably executed. So with that in mind, I carried a .45 to put a slug in my head before, if I got captured. I went behind the line twice, and nearly got captured twice.

gky: Can you tell me a bit about going behind the line?

RU: Well, you're taking a chance. They always ask for volunteers. They don't ask you to go. They said, "We're looking for volunteers to go on a behind-the-lines mission." So I volunteered, and then another person volunteered. And then the second time, nobody wanted to volunteer, so I volunteered again. But the second person was a different person, the second time. It was that kind of a... all the married people said, "Why should I volunteer to go behind the line? I might get captured."

gky: Also, what did you go behind the line to do?

RU: That was on Bougainville.

gky: And would you sort of explain to me, a little more clearly, what it means to physically go behind the line?

RU: Well, that's a, it's a task that was asked of us to accompany a Fijian regiment. See, not U.S. army people, but Fijian regiment wanted the volunteers to take care of it in case they capture some prisoners or capture some document to be able to translate right away and see how important it was. So it was kind of a deal that was cooked up by the army and the Fijian regiment.

gky: Okay, so it was just linguists that were...

RU: Oh, yeah. That's right.

gky: And how did you almost get captured?

RU: What?

gky: How did you almost get captured?

RU: Well, they surrounded us. They surrounded us. We were only, I guess there must have been about a hundred, two hundred people in our group reconnaissance patrol, and we were surrounded by Japanese, two companies, so there were about 250 people. And then what they did was, we had a navy man so he said, he asked the navy to send some LCMs [Landing Craft, Mechanized] or LCIs [Landing Craft Infantry] so we could get on board and leave. And that's what happened.

gky: Anything else you can think of?

RU: That's about all.

gky: Okay. Thank you very much.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright &copy; 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.