Author: Ben Morimoto, C Company (Kauai Chapter)
Puka Puka Parades, May-June 1982, vol. 36 no. 3
Ben Morimoto recalls memories of his experiences during WWII
In trying to relate events that took place 40 years ago or so is a difficult task for the names of comrades, places and dates or time are all dim memories. Herein are names mentioned both living and dead and many others not mentioned but have shared with me these events. I hopefully wish to the readers bring back those memories.
When E Company joined the battalion at the front lines the first casualties within the company was Harold T. Higashi and Lt. Kurt Schemel. Near the vicinity of Alife my life was spared for at the insistence of Sgt. K. Furukido, I joined him in the gully rather than remaining on the roadside under a tree. There was
a shell burst and under the shade of the tree in the gully, Toshio Kabutan and Masa Morita were wounded and checking later my position where I might have been, my gun and pack were all shattered.
So far up to this point I have not seen an enemy near or far until one day up in the hills. One day when I looked down the slope I saw one behind the stone wall and so I cautioned the men and some of them like me never seen one, came the cry, where-where, but soon ducked when a burst of gun fired in our direction.
In the month of November, E Company reinforced C Company in the hills where later the French-Morrocan Division relieved us. Prior to that event on a scouting mission to check whether the enemy was still on the top of the hill and spotting that they were still there and on a withdrawal order we were spotted, and by enemy gun fire K. Jinnohara was killed.
Seichi Tomita was wounded during one of the mortar bombardments and at the C.P., M. Uyeda became a casualty. With orders not to shoot R. Yoshioka and I went for second look and still they were at the top.
Going into the month of January, prior to Monte Cassino, climbing the hills amidst cold and snow during one of the breaks, Lt. Kenneth Eaton standing near me, said “Soldier, I am getting sick and tired of this war” and popped the question when I would think the war will be over. I replied “Sir, only God knows.” Later in the attack of the hills where M. Takeba was killed, Tatsuo Horikawa and I found Lt. Eaton dead. We held the position for any counter attack but later pulled back.
Lt. Harold Ethridge and Gary Hisaoka were our platoon officer and sergeant at Anzio. Both of them were later killed in action. No far from our quarters a rooster used to crow every morning. One night on a patrol and back I entered the farmhouse in pitch darkness and sensing that I could never spot the rooster and so taking the chance I lighted a match and over my head on a bar was the rooster.
You can imagine what kind of hekka it turned out to be with the usual hekka ingredients back home in Hawaii.
The tough French Campaign started in the Vosges Mountains near Bruyeres. While going into the forest area during one of the shell bursts B. Ishibashi and T. Mine were wounded. Later in the attack for the hills Lt. M. Otake, our platoon leader, was killed and I was wounded by a mortar shell.
After release from the hospital and back at Bruyeres waiting to join the outfit at the French Riviera Coast I revisited the site where Lt. Otake was killed. Takao Kubota and Mike Tokunaga and rest of C. Co. 2nd Platoon will remember this.
After joining the outfit and in defensive position up in the hills on the border overlooking Italy what a life we had. We had to come down and lug back our water supply. It was a struggle for many of us but I have seen M. Asato lug the full 5 gallon can with ease.
I became ill and was hospitalized in Cannes. I was recalssified[sic] and with many others spent some time in Nice like G.I. tourists in a hotel where meals were served.
On a jeep mortorcade[sic] we travelled north to join the rear echleon[sic] outfits where we were assigned. Seiso Kamishita and few other names I cannot recall and I joined the Quartermaster supply outfit, a labor battalion in Nancy, France.
Later in Metz I had the chance of going into the Maginot fortification. VE Day was declared and through the going home by point system, I was one of the few to leave by boat via Le Havre at Camp Patrick Henry at Norfold, Virginia I was happy to see Stan T. Hamai. At Camp Beal, Marysville California there again, Nichi Miyao, T. Kaiser. and Y. Kurokawa are some of the men I remember meeting. After Camp Beal, spent a few days at Vancouver Barracks, Washington and departed for home by ship via Seattle. On board ship S. Daida a fellow Kauaian I could remember. VJ Day was the news headline when the ship docked in Honolulu. After some time in Fort Kamehameha I was discharged in October 1945 and thus ended my army career.