Densho Digital Archive
gayle k. yamada Collection
Title: Roy Matsumoto Interview
Narrator: Roy Matsumoto
Interviewer: gayle k. yamada
Location: Washington, D.C.
Date: November 8, 2000
Densho ID: denshovh-mroy-02-0012

<Begin Segment 12>

gky: This is tape four with Roy Matsumoto on November 8, the year 2000, in Washington, D.C. Okay, go ahead.

RM: Okay. One time, it's in 1992, they had, Marauder had a reunion in Richmond, Virginia, and Grant and Hank Gosho was living at the time, so they came, the three of us Nisei met there. But, anyway, I took my two daughter with me and so happened I was, I wasn't going to come. But Burma News, that's our organ, Merrill's Marauders organ, mentioned that they're going to have next reunion at Richmond, Virginia. Then I told my daughter Fumi and Karen, they going to have a reunion in Richmond, next one. But I have been to others with the family but, anyway, just mentioned that news, Richmond, because I was stationed Virginia five years. Then while I was there, I know I'm not going to be transferred out, so I called my family, so they joined me. What they did was, they were living in Berkeley. They flew to Washington, D.C., by way of Chicago. So from Virginia, I was stationed at Fort Story, Virginia, Cape Henry, so I drove up Washington, D.C., to pick them up. Then they went to school there, so when I mentioned reunion Richmond, Virginia, so they want to come. So they want to go. "Let's go Daddy." So I thought maybe I won't be able to afford, cost too much for a family, four of us go." But that was in '93. I'm already retired so I don't have an extra income. But anyway, well, if you want to go, let's go. So decided to go there.

So what we did was we flew to Washington, D.C., because I live in Berkeley. I retired in '63, so many years meantime. They attended school in Virginia and they were already going school in Berkeley and graduated from school already. So I want to see Virginia again and want to meet classmate, or schoolteachers and so forth. So, okay, that case I will take you. So we flew to Washington, D.C., then rented a car and went to see the Smithsonian Institution, and museum, and aerospace, and Lincoln Memorial, and Washington Memorial, and those places. We'd been there before when Virginia but, anyway, we visit the places, those memorials and so forth, then we drove down to Virginia and went to Norfolk. First thing we went to was where I stayed in the barracks. Still the post is there. Fort Story they call, and they have a transportation corps and have amphibious training. So there's two lighthouse, old one, new one. So climb up there and let's go see school and see what happened to the schoolteacher. So she went to elementary school, asked them what happened to a certain teacher. "Oh, she was promoted. Now she is the principal of the high school, the Cox High School she started." So went there. She was so happy. Then let's go see Williamsburg, you know, that's historical places like some fort there and so forth. Then pass through Williamsburg, then went to Richmond and checked in reunion. So we went to hotel room. Of course, four of us. Then about time to go for banquet, you know. So dressed up, went down there, almost everybody in the room already, see. Then, so, look around and no place to sit, except around the entrance, some vacant seats. So we sat there. All of a sudden somebody notice that I'm there, see. Of course they knew I'm coming because I register already. So come to me and hug me, and, "Nice to see you again, long time no see." Some people I saw. I went to some St. Louis one, and also I went to one in Phoenix one, so forth. Anyway, then come to me and then talking to, and he said -- I forgot what one that said, probably I knew him -- but he says after talking, then, "You know what?" telling my daughter, see, that was Fumi. "What?" He said, "You save our asses in Burma." Saying in front of a lady. Then he kind of tried to tell my daughter, the one that talking, see. He introduce other people that never met before, you know. Tell them this is his wife. That's my daughter. And the other one, my wife, this is his daughter. [Laughs] My wife look young at the time. And the other one is already graduated college, school teacher, and so forth, eight years, something like that she taught. She thought my wife. Anyway, was kind of a laughing thing. GI talk, you know. Save our asses. That was kind of funny. Then people talking so lot of people come and see me because I haven't seen for, some of people knew so, families, you know. Then, all of a sudden, this president of the association, Mr. Phil Piazza, says, "Why didn't you come sooner? We had reserved seat table for you," you know. The main, you know, at the table there. But they'd reserve for me because they know I save their -- that's what they say. So every time I go there, they acknowledge me. Stand up and, "If he weren't there, then some of us won't be here tonight," see. Those kind of comments.

gky: And how do you feel about that?

RM: Well, kind of embarrassing. I didn't save, you know. We just survive. I mean, if you want to give credit, sure, I did. But the thing I did was end up in survival. But, actually, I want to survive myself, that's why I did it. I didn't want to make a hero, you know, I don't want to take a risk, but so that's why every time -- that was two years ago, three years ago. This guy came down there, "You remember me?" The change, I don't know, see.

gky: Talking about only about Merrill's Marauders...

RM: Yeah, that's why, Merrill's Marauders.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2000 Bridge Media and Densho. All Rights Reserved.