8 June 1944
My dear Colonel,
I am not sure if I should address you thus, for from the beginning you were more a “fatherly” Colonel to the boys in the 100th; and as long as I am on this side I shall refer you as being one to us. I have heard from Capt. Kome that by the time my communication reaches you, you may have resumed your place in civilian life.
The reason why I am writing you this letter is not to spin you such trite yarns; rather from two days ago, I was chosen the Public Relations “man” for the outfit. A fellow who shapes, polishes (what little I am able to do) the day by day happenings of the 100th which are to be released to the public, particularly to the habitants of the islands and their newspapers. The many problems which have suddenly been thrust upon my shoulders I am not able to define clearly nor weigh them correctly. I mean in relation to the post war plans, and the places that the boys will take in the island communities when this war has terminated. In as far as what policies I shall pursue I am able to perceive plainly enough, beside I have Capt. Kometani with me and whom I can always rely to steer correctly the direction of my thoughts. And yet, even if I do think I have the situation sized up correctly, I
am not sure how much I am able to do.
Broadly, I hope to build up my effusions on these ideas. (1) Since we have done nothing wrong, such as antagonism toward the army, visible lack of desire to fight, etc. we should not assume an apologetic attitude nor a defensive one. (2) That we have never primarily intended to prove that we were loyal Americans – to prove by fighting – as we have done nothing suspicious, and by the simple process of being born in the islands we were automatically made citizens. Our desire has always been to take the places with the rest of the Americans, to crush lascivious totalitarianism. The American way of life has been too deeply ingrained into our personalities that any Un-American action was unthought of. (3) That we were in the service prior to the war. When the December 7th sneak attacks fell upon the islands, we quickly took our places with the rest of the soldiers who have been assigned stations on the islands from the Continental States. I am profoundly convinced with the genuiness of these ideas. Other swell ideas may crop up from time to time which I intend to make use of. –Col. Turner, if you see the weaknesses of these ideas, as you are able to see through civilian ideas eyes, and the maturity of your experiences, will you kindly write me a letter in explanation of your ideas. I am sure Capt. Kometani and your head
put together can give my scribblings true, correct direction. Beside the knowledge that you are going to correspond with me will give me infinite solidity of expression as well as confidence.
After endless moving north, partly by vehicles and mostly by the approved G. I. way, we are finally enjoying the luxury of loafing. The weather which is surprisingly similar to the sultry Hawaiian weather in midsummer, has made our garments laved with grime, perspiration, dirt and dust. At times we breathe more dust than air, I swear. The boys barbered each other – the approved “kokua” fashion – and the most of us enjoyed exhilerating helmet baths, sans scented soap that we hope to enjoy one of these days, after the war is over. – There is a profusion of flowers, quite unlike the section of the country we started from. Vari-colored flowers grow everywhere, on stream banks, on hills, gullies, and road sides. Roses, charming things, abound too. Two days back I ran into a carefully tended rose garden. The blossoms were a good five inches in diameter. And I do not believe I was a victim of hallucination then. My senses, sight, smell, and touch, verified the reality and size of those blossoms.
I hope this letter finds you in fine health, buoyant spirits, and in good fortune. The boys still go into battles as if you were amid us, chiding us but instilling infinite confidence.
Pfc. R. Tomita