Densho Digital Archive
Twin Cities JACL Collection
Title: Ed Yoshikawa Interview
Narrator: Ed Yoshikawa
Interviewer: Steve Ozone
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Date: October 12, 2009
Densho ID: denshovh-yed-01-0010

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SO: And then talk about your army experience.

EY: Well, nothing too exciting. I went abroad with a group of Nisei that was to join the 442 as a replacement batch of men. So we ended up landing in La Havre, France, took the troop train all the way down to Marseilles, and as the 442 was coming off the southern France operation, oh, we were there in Marseilles for about a couple of weeks. And from there we took -- just because I was there, I was rewarded a battle star, not having seen any action, with the group. Anyway, we took an LST boat to Leghorn, Italy.

SO: What does LST stand for?

EY: It's a troop ship, small unit. Did not have any accommodations for, I don't remember whether they had sleeping quarters or not. But ended up in Leghorn, Italy, and we went, camped out there by, near Florence, Italy, and the entire group that left Camp Blanding, Florida, the basic training, had been quarantined with German measles. And we were all given shots but they needed some replacements, the 442 needed replacements. So there was a signup sheet that said all those who had measles in their childhood days, sign up. So literally, what they were asking for was volunteers to go up to the front line, so I persuaded my buddy George to sign up, 'cause, "You must have had German measles when you were a kid, I had it." So all right, we signed up, so the next morning we all lined up with all our gears ready, packed. Lined up to go and out of the 120 or more they said, "We have too many so we're going to have to drop off four of you." And they took four names, 1-2-3-4, not the tail end of the alphabet, not all the Yoshikawas the Yamadas or anything like that, and it just so happened that they picked my name out and I had to stay back. And my friend George went up to the front line. And a week later I found out that he was wounded and it worried me sick. And a week later after that I found out he survived without any problem, but he did have a scar on his neck. And many, many years later I went to a reunion in Seattle for my wife's class reunion of 1943 and '44, and lo and behold, George was there. And I so said, "George, where's your wife?" So I was introduced to his wife and the first thing I did was to apologize for the scar on his neck because I was more or less responsible.

SO: That's a good story. And then how much longer were you in Europe then?

EY: Well after VE Day, there was a sign-up sheet for men who knew Japanese and was being interviewed for transfer to the MI here in Fort Snelling. So I said, well, I have some Japanese knowledge, so I signed up. However, when my appointment time came I was involved in a poker game, which was a rare, rare occasion where I was winning. So I said, I can't leave, so I missed on the interview and missed my chance to come out to Fort Snelling. Anyway, after that, when we got our discharge notice, I said, well, I went to the clerk, said, "Rather than being discharged in California, do you think there's a way I can get discharged in New York so I can spend some time with Pearl?" He said, "Oh, yeah." He took my file and put it in with the New York bunch. And so I got my discharge out of New Jersey and I was able to spend a week in New York area. And Pearl had a friend, real close friend, and he had an apartment so I spent the one week with him. But another strange thing happened is that Pearl said, "Ed, Terry's getting married that weekend." I said, "Oh? Well, that's okay." [Laughs] So that's what happened and the we spent whole the week there and she was still going to school. And then I went back to Sacramento, California, and I spent about six months there.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright ©2009 Densho and the Twin Cities JACL. All Rights Reserved.