Author: Robert Taira, D Company
Puka Puka Parades, May-June 1982, vol. 36 no. 3
Robert Taira and Company D recall various memories of WWII
In the heat of combat one feels secure and safe under certain circumstances even though all hell is breaking loose around you. Such was the case when some members of Dog Company were resting, concealed in a haystack, in the vicinity
of San Georgia after an exhausting 20 mile push in a span of 24 hours by the 100th Bn as part of the 133d Inf. Regt. Suddenly German shells began pounding the area. A shell or two landed on their protective haystack and it was ablaze in no time. Martin Tohara, Kawano and Kisuke Arakaki, to name a few, had to scramble for other cover and concealment like scared jackrabbits. Luckily, no one was moving his bowels at the time of the shelling. But it just goes to prove that there is no such thing as a safe and secure place in war.
Anyone trying to bail out water with a small pail in a sinking rowboat should appreciate what Dog Company and other 100th Bn boys had to go thru during a major battle in the German Winter Line in the winter of 1943. After a series of costly and fruitless assaults to capture Hills 841 and 920 near Colli, the 100th had to dig in while trying to regroup and prepare for further assaults. Cold, thirsty, hungry and thoroughly miserable, the men had dug in when the area was deluged by 2 days and 2 nites of heavy winter rains. Fox holes and trenches, carved out of almost solid rock filled quickly with rain water. Out came the canteen cups to bail the chilling rain water, but this bailing action was not fast enough to relieve the misery of cold, wetness and fear all rolled into one.. Everyone slept sitting or standing. Battling a tough enemy under normal weather conditions is bad enough but this kind of war was too much – fear, misery and frustration compounded many times.
Anzio brings back many memories for Dog Company members such as oxen jerk beef and steak, big supply of canned corned beef left by the haole units, and being awake and alert by nice and in dreamland by day. But for many of the boys, the discovery of greens (looked Like Chinese un choy) in certain sections of the Mussolini Canal was the great event. Mixed and cooked with 5/1 or 10/1 canned goods, the greens added flavor, color and zip to the daily chow. Some boys felt that the little snails which stuck to the delectable shoots had a great deal to do with the enhanced taste and flavor. Wonder how many had to endure diarrhea and a touch of trichinosis during those few weeks prior to the great push for Rome.
And there were other episodes recalled by Doggies as they meet for monthly chapter sessions. Martin Tohara swears he met an Italian named Michaelangelo and that a 2-star general landed on top of him after he dived into a roadside ditch during a German air raid. Fuzzy Fujimori was so busy bringing ammunition for his section’s 30 caliber heavy machine gun that he missed the beautiful show which routed the enemy at Belvedere. Bob Taira recalls how Tom Plourde and he almost had a confrontation with a German squad during the rescue of the Texas “Lost Battalion” near Biffontaine. Plourde wanted to capture 8 of them with his .45 pistol, but Taira convinced him that discretion is the better part of valor. So both live to this day.