Densho Digital Archive
Manzanar National Historic Site Collection
Title: Victor Ikeda Interview
Narrator: Victor Ikeda
Interviewer: Richard Potashin
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: November 6, 2007
Densho ID: denshovh-ivictor-01-0046

<Begin Segment 46>

VI: But anyway, so I went back to Spokane for about three weeks for my furlough, and then I came back to Fort Snelling. And by that time they realized that we weren't going to school so they sent us down, all the people that weren't going to school, down to Camp Campbell in Kentucky with the Third Division. And since my background had electrician or electric training, I was assigned to the Signal Corps in headquarters. So we went down there, and I remember I had no knowledge of equipment at all 'cause I just went to school. And we had a case where they got a call saying that some of the equipment had failed 'cause it wasn't working, so, "Could you please send somebody down?" So they said, "You all go on down there and see what's wrong." I didn't know what I was going to do. But I went down there looking around, looking around, and I found out that somebody had pulled the plug out, out of the socket. It had somehow come out, and so I plugged it in, and the thing worked, so I got all this credit. [Laughs] I went back, they promoted me to a corporal. [Laughs] So they gave me a T5 which is technician in the fifth grade.

Well, I like sports, so I went to play touch football. And in playing touch football, I hit a kind of a gopher hole, and I broke my ankle. So next thing I knew, I was in the hospital. And they set the ankle, and I was in a cast. And being with the Third Infantry Division, they don't need people with crutches and casts, so I was in the hospital all this time with crutches and casts. And I had nothing to do so I'd take the crutches and cast and go to, go to town, go to Clarksville to see the movies and come back. When they finally got my foot healed enough so I can get along without it, they gave me a medical furlough for thirty days 'cause they don't want to keep me around. So I went back to Spokane again. [Laughs] So by the time I got back to Camp Campbell, I was getting pretty close to my, halfway through my one year. So they said, "Well, we can't send you overseas anymore because if we get you there, you have to come back." So they said, "Okay, we'll send you and get you ready for discharge," and they sent me to Fort Ord, they sent a whole bunch of us there to Fort Ord. Well, we got to Fort Ord in the fall, and if you know Carmel, Monterey Bay? Around September, October we get there, and we got six months, we were getting ready to be discharged. We have nothing to do. They assigned us, "Well, maybe you can work at the commissary office." But basically, by that time, all the training has stopped at Ford Ord so it was kind of like a ghost town waiting for people to come back to be discharged. So my military experience was not the 442 type or the MIS. It was a kind of thing that, yeah, I was in the army, it was during World War II, I broke an ankle. [Laughs]

RP: But you fixed a radio.

VI: But I fixed a radio and got my technician. [Laughs] T5.

RP: You were a hero.

VI: So what happened is, at that time, Fort Snelling closed. They were closing, and they moved Fort Snelling to Monterey, and that became the language school. Now, some of the people that I trained with at basic training, we went up to Fort Snelling, the ones that flunked the test on purpose. A couple of 'em were Japanese teachers' sons that flunked the test. [Laughs] They landed up as cooks. So when Fort Snelling moved, they came over to Monterey and they were cooking there. And I had a good friend that was the supply sergeant for sports equipment and all that. So he'd get the golf clubs for the officers. So they were at Monterey now at Presidio, and I'm at Fort Ord with my friends. And we had nothing better to do, but weekends we'd go and we'd flip a coin and said, "Should we go to Los Angeles or San Francisco?" So we'd go up to see the guys up at Monterey. And I liked to play, I learned how to play golf, so that we'd play some golf. And I remember one time we were out there playing golf during the daytime, and the colonel of Monterey saw us and thought we were students up there. So he was going to get the MPs to get after us until this sergeant, this supply sergeant, told, "No, they're from Fort Ord." I played Pebble Beach for ten dollars a round at that time. So as far as my military experience, it wasn't a hardship as a lot of 'em had to go through. But I served my time.

<End Segment 46> - Copyright © 2007 Manzanar National Historic Site and Densho. All Rights Reserved.