Taketora Jim Tanaka was born in 1926 in Sacramento, California. He was 16 years old when he and his family were incarcerated in Topaz, Utah, due to Executive Order 9066. Once the 4-C classification was lifted for the Nisei, he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Tanaka recalled vividly the sight of his family behind barbed wire saying good-bye as he boarded the truck to take him to his induction center.
Tanaka did his basic training at Camp Blanding in Florida before being sent overseas to Europe. In southern France, he was assigned to the 100th Infantry Battalion, Company A, 2nd Platoon. He was part of a BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) team during the assault on the Gothic Line in Italy. While in Northern Italy, a German eighty-eight shell landed only several yards away from him. “Thank God, it was a dud,” he said. “Maybe one of the slave laborers working in the manufacturing center sabotaged that shell.”
He later married Tomiko and retired as a machinist.
(From an interview conducted by Bryan Yagi.)