Densho Digital Archive
National Japanese American Historical Society Collection
Title: George S. Matsui Interview
Narrator: George S. Matsui
Interviewer: Marvin Uratsu
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: December 11, 1997
Densho ID: denshovh-mgeorge-01-0011

<Begin Segment 11>

MU: Okay, so when were you sent overseas?

GM: Uh...

MU: Roughly...

GM: Let's see -- summer of '43.

MU: Summer of '43, huh?

GM: Uh-huh. I think it was July.

MU: Gee, things are getting kinda hot with the war in the Pacific.

GM: Yeah, hot. We had a team of ten guys and Sergeant Hiroki was our team leader. He was a tech sergeant (...) at that time. And three of us got staff rating, others got sergeant rating. And our team was assigned to Central Pacific area. So we were lucky. We landed in Honolulu.

MU: Got [inaudible]. Yeah.

GM: And, first we went to Schofield Barracks. And then from there, we (were) there for a while, then we went to Tent City in Wahiawa. And from there we had our first operation on Marshall Island, Kwajalein. Our team went to Kwajalein.

MU: Okay.

GM: And that's where we deciphered a hydrographic map and sent it out to (...) Captain Zacharias -- captain of the Salt Lake City Heavy Cruiser. Found out that we translated that and he came (down) and (gave) us a commendation letter (for deciphering the hydrographic map of the Marshall Islands.)

MU: Oh, that's pretty good accomplishment, huh?

GM: I guess.

MU: What was the importance...

GM: Importance was he was able to bring his battle group into the harbor and put the net up at the entrance so the Japanese submarines couldn't get (in).

MU: That was in Kwajalein?

GM: Kwajalein. Yeah. Uh-huh. Marshall Islands.

MU: Yeah.

GM: Uh-huh.

MU: Okay, then from there...

GM: Then there, three of us had to remain, and -- under the sand we found cases and cases of Japanese beer.

MU: Gold mine, huh?

GM: Oh, boy. Was it good. [Laughs] And soon word got around and the commanding general found out, confiscated it.

MU: Ah.

GM: We were smart enough to hide some, though. [Laughs] Buy, was that good. Japanese beer was good. It was cold and it was (buried) in the sand.

MU: It was cold in the sand?

GM: Yeah. Funny, huh? I think the bomb must have hit part of the area that uncovered it. [Laughs]

MU: Pretty nice party, then, huh?

GM: Yeah. God, we had fun. We had, three, three or four of us had to stay back. But, couple of Hawaiian guys were in our group, they were sent back to Hawaii again. I said, "Oh, (gee), what is this? Show impartiality here." [Laughs] We had to stay on that little island -- coral island, and they get sent back to Hawaii.

MU: Yeah, that Kwajalein was a real small place, wasn't it?

GM: Yeah, it was very small. They had Kwajalein and -- other islands, I can't remember the names.

MU: Then from there...

GM: (...) we went back to Hawaii, then...

MU: You went back to Hawaii, also?

GM: Oh, rest and recuperation. (...)

MU: Oh, okay.

GM: Then in the fall, well, not fall, summer, Saipan invasion.

MU: Okay.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 1997 Densho. All Rights Reserved.