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

[Correct spelling of certain names, words and terms used in this interview have not been verified.]

<Begin Segment 1>

gky: Okay, this is October 20th, the year 2000, with Roy Uyehata, U-Y-E-H-A-T-A. Why don't you pronounce your last name for me?

RU: Uyehata.

gky: Okay, Uyehata, and this is in El Macero, California. Roy, can you tell me a little bit what it was like being that first class at Camp Savage, what the camp physically looked like, what the guys were like?

RU: Well, in those days, I had them brought up from Camp Wolters in Texas where we were so mistrusted and distrusted. When we shipped from Fort Ord to Camp Wolters, we took the job over as collector of camp garbage. That's how much trust they had in us. So we were very mistrusted. Not only mistrusted, but we had no morale. Morale was very poor among all the Nisei soldiers there because when you're confined to a job that was formerly done by stockade prisoners, that really destroys your morale.

gky: So this is after Pearl Harbor?

RU: After Pearl Harbor, that's right. And this was in March of 1942.

gky: That's kind of a long time for you all to have, to not be trusted and to, you know, from December to March to have to do things that the prisoners were doing.

RU: Yes, that's right. Well, they seemed to favor the stockade prisoners over us. That's how low we were in the army hierarchy, and so it was very bad for morale. And then they, when we got the orders to go to Camp Savage, we were very happy because we all wanted to get out of the job of collecting garbage every day.

gky: What made you volunteer to go to Camp Savage?


RU: In July of 1941, Captain Rasmussen came to Fort Ord to interview each Nisei soldier to see what proficiency we had in the Japanese language, and so I was among those that were selected to go to Camp Savage or Presidio San Francisco in November. And then they had us bring a note home to have our parents sign it, agreeing that we were, we'd be volunteering to go to the Presidio class. And I brought home the slip of my paper and my father signed it. There were five people selected in our company to go to the school, but four of them received, I guess, the authorization of their parents, but one of them didn't. So he did not attend Camp Savage when we were sent over there in May of 1942.

gky: What made you volunteer? What made you want to volunteer for the country that had put your parents in camp?

RU: Oh, yeah, well that's true. But in 1941, before Pearl Harbor started, there wasn't, we weren't even thinking of the camp. That's the reason. We wanted to do our duty and so volunteered.

gky: But you didn't go to the Presidio.

RU: No. But you want to know why we didn't go to the Presidio? Because there were five men selected from our company but only three had been to Japan. So they selected the three that had been to Japan to go to the school, and the two of us who had not been to Japan were rejected at that time.

gky: But when you went in June of 1942, by then your parents had been thrown into an internment camp.

RU: That's right, that's right.

gky: Didn't that change how you felt?

RU: No, we all felt that our, the way they were treating us at Camp Wolters, we -- same as Walter Tanaka at Fort Custer. He was shoveling coal into the stoves, and none of us wanted that kind of a job, so we all volunteered.

gky: So it was a matter of getting out, rather...

RU: That's right. We wanted to get out of that kind of predicament.

gky: How do you remember Camp Savage as being? Physically, what did it look like?

RU: Camp Savage was a deserted CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps] camp, and it was, which it turned into an old man's home. And then I don't know, so many years afterward, even that had been closed. So it was dirty, dilapidated buildings that were given to us, and we had to go over there on our hands and knees and scrub all the floors, clean all the windows, and clean everything up before we could move in.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

gky: Let's jump to -- you left Camp Savage early...

RU: Yes.

gky: ...and were sent to?

RU: New Caledonia. And that was November. We graduated from school on November the 6th, and then we shipped out of Camp Savage on November 17th, which is one week before Thanksgiving, and sent to San Francisco to Angel Island where we stayed another week. And then they put us on a boat, liberty ship, I guess, and sent to New Caledonia. Of course, they didn't tell us we were going to New Caledonia. We only could tell by the direction the ship was sailing that we're either going to New Caledonia, or Australia. We thought that first we were going to Australia.

gky: The week between your graduation and the time you shipped out, did you take that week to go see and your family?

RU: No, we weren't allowed. Only those of us who had parents living in, staying in Tule Lake, Manzanar, or Poston, or Gila River were not allowed to visit their parents because General [John L.] DeWitt said, "Nobody, no Niseis under any conditions, could enter the Western Defense Command."

gky: When you went to Angel Island, who else was on the island with you? I mean...

RU: All the people that were being shipped overseas were all at that island. So we asked them, "Why can't we go and visit San Francisco, since our..." Colonel Munson was in charge of the team, said, "No, you cannot leave this island."

gky: How did that make you feel?

RU: Well, we felt pretty bad, because he said supposing we won't ever come back. Supposing we get killed, or we're going overseas, so we can't visit our parents. They won't let us go into San Francisco, so we felt... our morale was destroyed.

gky: Did you know then that you were going into combat?

RU: Oh, yes, we knew that.

gky: What did you expect?

RU: Well, we didn't know what to expect, because from the stories that we heard, Bataan Death March and all that, and we knew we were headed into very dangerous territory. [Ed. Note: The Bataan Death March began on April 10, 1942; the island of Luzon fell to the Japanese and 75,000 Filipino and American troops were forced to march to a prison camp 85 miles away in six days. Many atrocities were committed by Japanese guards and hundreds of American and Filipino soldiers died.]

gky: How did that make you feel?

RU: Well, you didn't know what to expect, until we got to Guadalcanal.

gky: But, you know, sometimes there's some kind of an excitement about it. I mean this is wartime, it is exciting in a way, and it's very dangerous, and there's a lot of uncertainty, just like your parents were facing uncertainty with their futures.

RU: That's right. Well, for us it was a kind of a unique experience because one day out of San Francisco harbor, all the Coast Guard people got sick, so seasick; they all couldn't do the job of guarding the ship. So they asked the six Niseis to take their place on guard duty, you know, guarding the ship to see that if we could see anybody try to fire at us. And so we went on eight-hour duty, and eight hours off for about four days until the sailors could get back on duty.

gky: Gee, it seems you go from being mistrusted and having to haul garbage to being...

RU: That's right.

gky: ...watching for Japanese subs.

RU: That's right.

gky: Didn't you feel that was kind of schizophrenic of....

RU: Well, that's our duty. In the army, you do whatever you're asked to do. So we took on that job while the sailors were seasick and they couldn't do their job. They couldn't stand watch, so we took their job over and did it for the first week or so, eight hours on, eight hours off. And then later, after the sailors were able to come on duty, then it became four hours on, and four hours off.

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

<Begin Segment 3>

gky: When you got to New Caledonia, what were you called on to do?

RU: Oh, New Caledonia, that was an entirely different -- we reached our destination and we -- Colonel Munson knew exactly what to do. We started going through all the stuff that was shipped from the Guadalcanal. So we went through the, screened all the documents and translated all the important ones, and until February, when they shipped me to Guadalcanal with four other people.

gky: So you -- let's see, this is February of...

RU: '43.

gky: '43. So when was the big, the battle of Guadalcanal?

RU: Oh, Guadalcanal Battle was mostly fought by the Marines, and then in October of '42, the Americal Division moved into Guadalcanal, and the marines gradually left the Island, and Americal took over.

gky: So it's pretty much the mop up.

RU: That's right.

gky: Did you find any interesting documents, or any interesting...

RU: Oh, yes. We found a lot of the diaries, important diaries were translated by the -- we had five men over there and three were interrogators, and two men were nothing but translators so they did the translation.

gky: Do you remember any particular passages, or anything that struck you from a diary that you translated or read?

RU: Well, since the Japanese had evacuated the island a few days, one week before we got there, most of the documents were discarded documents, you know, so it wasn't that important anymore. The bulk of the people had left Guadalcanal for these other islands nearby, like Vella Lavella, Munda, New Georgia, and so...

gky: But do you remember where you, anytime when you were translating documents, do you remember reading anything in a diary that just sort of struck you?

RU: No, I didn't get to read any documents. All I read was a bunch of operations order that they had discarded, and...

gky: Let's see. You were there for the second battle of Bougainville.

RU: Yes. That was a year later. That was one year later.

gky: It was in 1944 in March?

RU: March of '44.

gky: What was... tell me what that was like. I mean, how you felt like you made a difference.

RU: Well, I felt that... when I was interrogating this prisoner on March 8th, which was fifteen days before the planned attack, I got the information that first, before that, the POW wanted to find out how he could get off the island. I said, "Gee, how strange, this man is asking me how he could get off the island. So there must be a reason why he wants off the island." So I kind of took, deliberated, and told them that it's going to take me a week to interrogate him, and it'll take another four or five days to cut the orders for him to leave the island. Another maybe four or five days after that, so we could get enough prisoners to make a consignment for railroad shipment. And so by that time, he was getting really scared that he may not be able to leave the island in time when they're going to attack us. So he said, "Did you know you're going to be attacked on March the 23rd?" I said, "Oh, yeah, sure. Several people have told me that." But I knew this was real important information, that nobody had ever given me such information before. So I delayed, I interrogated him for another thirty minutes or one hour, and I told him, "I got a headache so I've got to go back and get some aspirin for my head." And so I left him, and then went back, and rushed back over to the tent and told my CO that, "Did you know that we were going to be attacked on March the 23rd, at dawn of 23rd?" And the first thing he said to me was, "A Japanese soldier wouldn't say such a thing." I said, "Oh, no. He's telling me the truth. If you don't believe me, why don't you ask one of these other team members to interrogate some more higher ranking POWs at the POW compound?"

So the reason why I thought that he might be telling me, giving me some important information was because I knew that every prisoner that I talked to, ever since I started interrogation at Guadalcanal and Burma, they never told me their crew names, you know, their surnames. They were always giving me some other -- Tanaka or Murakami or Takahashi or some common name, Suzuki. And also I knew that no Japanese prisoners ever wanted to be recaptured after, you know, be recaptured by their own people. So I knew that this prisoner was telling the truth. And sure enough, when Sergeant Matsuda went over there to interrogate other POWs to verify the information that I told them, he said, "Yeah, you're right. You're going to be attacked March the 23rd." And then that our CO was convinced we're going to be attacked. So he told the commanding general, 14th commander that we're going to be attacked on the 23rd. And so that evening, all the movies on the island were stopped to get ready for the attack, although nobody was told the reason why they shut down all the movies, cancelled all the movies.

But then, on the 21st of the month, I said, "Gee, that's funny. Our commanding general is supposed to tell everybody to get ready for the attack.' And then I asked the mess people, because I knew that the mess people were going to get attacked by the Japanese. You know, every Sunday as I went to the mess hall on Sunday morning, I could see plume of black smoke about 300 feet up in the air, so I knew that the forward observer of the Japanese artillery is going to hit us with a barrage of shells whenever they attack. So as I passed through the mess line on March the 21st, which was two days before the planned attack, I asked, "Were you people warned to dig your foxholes any deeper?" He said, "No. Nobody told us to dig our foxholes any deeper." So I said, "Gee, I thought it might be a good idea if you did, to dig your foxhole a little deeper, because you might get attacked in the future, some future date." And then I let it go at that. And then the next morning I said, "Did you dig your foxhole any deeper?" He said, "No." He said, "Are you God or something like that?" I said "No, I'm not God, but I know we might be attacked, so you better dig your foxhole deeper." And then on the night of the 22nd, the commanding general knew that we were going to be attacked on the following morning. So then he told all the artillery people on the island to attack the Japanese at 7:45 p.m., and they attacked, opened up the barrage, and I guess it lasted about two hours, and the barrage was so heavy that the ground -- we were situated about two and a half miles from the front line -- but the ground shook like a earthquake, rolling motion of a earthquake. It was that intense. The artillery barrage was so intense, that... -- then I found out later that even the navy, there were six destroyers, and they called that, "Griswold's Navy," our army corps commander's name was [General] Griswold, Oscar Griswold. Even they shot many, many rounds of their naval gun at the enemy front line. So, but two days later when they counted the enemy casualties, there were five thousand dead, and nearly four thousand wounded.

gky: How did that make you feel, playing a pivotal role in this particular battle?

RU: Well, I thought I did my job, you know, since I was saving my own life. If I had not given that warning, they could have overrun our position. They had so much confidence that they were going to overrun our position that they had marked the place on the map where they were going to have a surrender ceremony, where the American commander was going to surrender to the Japanese general.

gky: Is that where the Japanese general surrendered to the American commander?

RU: No. No, but they had that much planning going on. They had a propaganda leaflet written up by the Japanese 6th Division commander saying that they have to avenge the defeat that they suffered in Guadalcanal, you know.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

gky: As a specialist, your position was not one that could be filled by anybody?

RU: Well, not really, because, like I said, I think I had an added advantage when they thought I was a former POW. They were always telling me, "When did you get captured?" And I wouldn't tell them. I told them, "It's none of your business."

gky: Did the Japanese prisoners that you interrogated, how did they look on you? What kinds of things did they ask you, or did they ask you?

RU: Yeah, they asked me all kinds of personal questions. He said, "How am I supposed to act when I get captured like this?" I said, well, I told him, "If I were you," I told him, "I would feel as though I'm reincarnated." That's what I did tell him. He says, "Oh, yeah, that's a nice way to take it." You know, in the Buddhist religion, they believed in reincarnation, and so I said, "That's what they call in Japanese, nagusameru. In other words, to pacify their soul, you know. So...

gky: When you think back on your experiences in the MIS, what do you think is the most important thing to you that you did?

RU: Well, that is the -- when I found out that the -- I felt that was the most important thing I did for the U.S. Army.

gky: What role did you play in the Admiral [Isoroku] Yamamoto shooting down of his plane?

RU: I had nothing. It was Harold Fudenna's hard work that resulted in Yamamoto being shot down.

gky: When you think about all the things that all the Nisei did, not just you, but all the people overall, how do you look on the role that you all played in there?

RU: Oh, I think we played a big role. I think George Sankey's translation of Z-Plan [formally named "Combined Fleet Secret Operations Order No. 73" that detailed Japanese plans for a decisive military battle], and Admiral Yamamoto's plane being shot down because Harold Fudenna made the accurate translation, and Maya Moko's wipeout of the 6th Division thought they all had a big part, and then all the work that the Merrill's Marauders did in Burma, they made a big difference in the outcome of the war.

gky: How, what kind of a difference? I mean, how would you describe the difference?

RU: Well, it shortened the war. Like, General MacArthur said, "It shortened the war by two years."

gky: I'm sorry, do you want to do that again? I think it was Colonel [Charles A.] Willoughby [Chief of Intelligence for the U.S. Army during World War II].

RU: Well, General Willoughby is on behalf of General [Douglas A.] MacArthur and, but the general said, general MacArthur said that, because of our work, we knew more about the enemy than what they knew themselves.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

gky: Okay, this is tape two with Roy Uyehata, and this is October 20th, the year 2000 in El Macero, California. Roy, you were talking about being a Nisei, and what that was like.

RU: Well, it was also depended on what theater you were with, because in Burma, China-Burma-India Theatre, the things that the Merrill's Marauders did was a little bit different from what we did. We didn't get a chance to do much of enemy communication interception work like they did over there, but our work was almost limited only to the strict interrogation and/or translation of documents, and we didn't have a chance to do much interception of signals, but we were asked to interrogate Signal Corps POWs for information about the four-digit code, or the five-digit code. In my case, it was the four-digit code. And right after the second battle of Bougainville, the Signal Corps intelligence sent a captain to find out how they could be four-digit code. And I was asked to interrogate one Signal Corps man, POW, about how to identify the certain four-digit code identification. And so since I had interrogated other Signal Corps POWs, it was fairly easy for me to find out from this POW that the identity of the numbers that were allotted from 9000 to 9020. And the captain asked this POW, "What does 9013 stand for?" And he said, "He's the commander of the 18th Army General as [inaudible]." And so once he told us that, then he started to tell us all the numbers, what they meant, what they were assigned to or some unit from 9000 to 9020. And so we broke the four-digit code that way. The mechanics of the code was in the code book, but never, that was something that was not written in the code book, and so by interrogating the POW, that's how we broke the four-digit code.

gky: Other than the prisoner in Bougainville, can you tell me about a memorable interrogation experience?

RU: Well, that as far as I'm concerned, the only memorable one is the one that for the second battle in Bougainville.

gky: Walt [Walter Tanaka, who was also in the MIS] said that he was not allowed to actually interrogate for a few years.

RU: That's right.

gky: But you were, in fact, doing interrogation, not just interpreting.

RU: That's right.

gky: How would you explain the difference?

RU: In the Southwest Pacific, in ATIS section, there were enough officers to do the job of interrogating so the Niseis had to become the interpreters. So then this is one section where it is called Allied Translator and Interpreter Section. All the other ones were called, "Intelligence Central," or [inaudible], they were always called the Translation and Interrogation Section. That's the difference, because they had enough officers to do that, whereas we didn't have enough officers to conduct an interrogation so we conducted our own interrogation.

gky: When you got to move to Caledonia, was it apparent to you why you were let out of school early to go there?

RU: Oh, yes. They were short-handed, because Guadalcanal was still, Guadalcanal fighting was still going on by the Marines and the Americal Division, so they were really short-handed.

gky: You said that the only time you were required to have an escort was when you were bathing.

RU: Bathing on Guadalcanal, because if we went on the team...

gky: I'm sorry. Just start over and say the only time we were required to have an escort is when we were bathing on Guadalcanal.

RU: Uh-huh, that's correct.

gky: Okay, can you just say that?

RU: Oh, the only time we were required to have an escort on Guadalcanal was because we were afraid that the Marines and the army personnel near the beaches would fire at us if we did not have a Caucasian escort.


RU: The army felt that our work on Guadalcanal was so important that they promoted five people that went to Guadalcanal. In February, they promoted us to one rank from T/5 [Technician Fifth Grade] to T/4 [Technician Fourth Grade] and three weeks later, promoted us to T/3 [Technician Third Grade]. So we received two quick promotions while we were on Guadalcanal.

gky: Did you and the other Nisei that you were with, did you ever talk about what it was like to be Nisei, to not be trusted, to then be trusted?

RU: Well, there were... all five of us were never in one unit before, so we all had different kinds of experience. Each had a different experience, different camps. I was the only one out of Camp Wolters, so I only know what I went through; I don't know what the others went through. I don't think theirs was quite so drastic like ours though. Camp Wolters -- when you start replacing stockade prisoners, that is quite bad, you know, for morale.

gky: At what point did you feel like you were trusted?

RU: Oh, after we got a promotion, that's when we felt pretty good because they had trusted what we had done, and even though there were no real officers to watch over us, we did our own interrogation and we turned in our reports, and then they suddenly believed what we wrote down on the POW report, so that's why we felt very good when they trusted us. But going back to New Caledonia at [inaudible] headquarters, all that trust meant nothing to the navy people. We were shoved into one room and guarded by a Marine sentry out, we couldn't even go out to the latrine without him accompanying us. That's how little trust the navy had in us.

gky: Well, it could have been that, or it could have been for your own safety.

RU: Well, both -- well, you could look at it that way. If you...

gky: You know, because this happened fifty years ago, you could look back at it with hindsight.

RU: That's right.

gky: Do you recall when you were, back in 1942, 1943, the whole mood of the country is different, or in wartime, or in that we've never faced before with both the East and the West. Can you sort of project yourself back then?

RU: Well, when I was in Guadalcanal, my sister sent me a care package. You know what a care package is? Well, when I got my care package, the colonel said, "How come you didn't ask me, ask for my permission to have your sister send the care package?" I was shocked when he told me that. You know, care package, just a simple thing like candy, or hair tonic, shaving lotion, things like that. So he said, "In order for your sister to send anything, you need my permission." So I had to go and get his permission from then on to have a care package sent to me. That really is, you know -- it really ruins your morale when you have that kind of situation. They don't trust us enough to have your siblings send you a care package.

gky: So was that only for the Nisei or was it...

RU: That's right, only for us. Only for us. Nobody else. Oh yes, I saved a sheet of paper that says, "signed by my CO" over there.

gky: At any point did you feel, I guess, bitterness, or did you feel...

RU: No. When you went through what I did at Camp Wolters, I could understand how they could mistrust you. So it was easy to understand. So all I did was next time send for a package, I got permission from my CO and sent it back to my sister, and she sent it to me. That's all.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

gky: When you look at your experience, not in the Korean War, but with the MI in World War II, how do you feel about it? How do you feel about having served your country?

RU: Well, it was, we took it for granted that all the Niseis were mistrusted, so that's the reason, only reason why we couldn't get a commission until the war nearly ended. I got my commission, field commission, on August the 4th, of '45. That's when we knew that we were trusted, because any time you get a commission, we could enter the G2 tent, operations tent, and look at the situation, but until you have that second lieutenant bars, you cannot go in there.

gky: I didn't know that.

RU: Oh, yes. Warrant officers couldn't go in there. Even though they were promoted to warrant officers, you couldn't go into the G2 tent to look at this war situation map.

gky: Did any of your fellow soldiers, either officers or enlisted men, treat you especially well, or especially poorly?

RU: Well, after the second battle at Bougainville, they really started to trust me. They really did.

gky: That's in real contrast then, to Camp Wolters.

RU: That's right. That's right.

gky: And how did you feel about that?

RU: Well, I think that was a natural outcome after you did something that, you know, that was a very loyal act I thought, and so they started to really trust me.

gky: Why did you decide to leave the service? A lot of people stayed in you know, after the war, either in Japan, or even came back here. But why did you decide to leave?

RU: Well, because I had to support my parents. That's the main reason why I got out. I've always had to support my parents. They were depending on me for total support. That's the reason why in August of '45, when the atom bomb was dropped and my parents in Poston were afraid to come out of the cab, so he requested that Red Cross to have the army ship me back so I could find a home for them. So I came home without going to Japan in 1940...

gky: So you were never, never visited Japan as a...

RU: That's right.

gky: You used to tell people that when they look at your service record and that you served during the war, you'd say, "I was in the Military Intelligence." "Well, what did you do?" "Interrogating military prisoners." Obviously, you couldn't tell them much more than that because...

RU: That's right. I couldn't even tell them that I interrogated prisoners. All I could tell them was I was fighting in the Pacific, until 1972 when President Nixon signed that Executive Order 11652 [classification and declassification of national security information and material].

gky: That must be pretty tough for people to have such an important part of their lives. It's kind of like in the black.

RU: That's right. Because all the 442nd people could tell what they did during World War II, and here we are, we couldn't say a word, what we did. We weren't allowed to.

gky: That's pretty loyal for people to not say anything about you know, you all were not allowed to, but being sworn to secrecy. I mean, I find it, I guess, a little odd that so many people, you know, thousands of Nisei didn't say what they did during the war.

RU: That's right, and even then, until I found out personally that President Nixon had signed that executive order, nobody wanted to believe that we were allowed to say something about it because that signing of the Executive Order 11652 was never publicized. Never publicized. Niseis didn't know that President Nixon had signed such a document.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<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 © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.