Part II Sports Recreation and Incidents
Authors: Yasuo Takata and Raymond Nosaka, B Company
Source: Puka Puka Parades, March-April 1980
Raymond Nosaka and Yasuo Takata speak of leisure time they had while conducting the Secret Mission on Cat Island.
Of course we have to mention the most sensational one first. Practically every night we had an “up-up” game going and all night since we didn’t have to go to work until 9 o’clock, that is, if one didn’t want any breakfast. The winners bought cases of beer for the rest of the gang and the serenaders and Ray with his guitar, had a bunch with him drinking beer with “pulehu” fish and oysters on the half shell for pupu.
They, Ray and his gang, sounded good at our Christmas Party. Kihara was the hit, though, with his hula. He danced with a hula skirt made from a type of “pili” grass. The main dish was the roast pig which had been faithfully fed and fattened from the day we had arrived on Ship Island. I didn’t see Herbert Ishii kill the pig, but I heard that someone went over to the Coast Guard to borrow some 30 calibre shells. We all had our rifles, but no ammo. “Auwe, de no trust us Buddaheads.” I almost forgot the bucketful of shrimp which we got for half a buck. The Colonel, Lts. Marzano and Tanaka enjoyed the tempura style fried
shrimps and didn’t think anything about it until the CIA and Secret Service came to investigate the reports of strange soldiers stationed on Ship Island. After a thorough investigation, though, they found out only that two Hawaiians had rowed out to a shrimp boat to buy shrimp! Ono and Takata couldn’t tell them we were Buddaheads training dogs, so we told them we were Hawaiians, naturally. The secrecy was so rigid that all the letters written could not mention “islands,” “dogs,” or anything sounding like it. Lt. Tanaka being the censor, practically spent all his afternoons censoring letters. Too bad he didn’t understand Latin, for when I came home, I found out that he had blacked out a Latin phrase. Tokushima, Iwashita, and Takashige really kept the censor busy. He must have enjoyed it, though. I could hear him chuckling while reading.
The best sport was fishing. There were fish galore like old Hawaii. “When the boat no come no mo kau kau, you get the bamboo pole, catch some Fiddler crabs for bait, go down the pier and catch fish for kau kau.” There were a couple of nights when all the gang, even the up-up gang, went fishing. “The white trout–dey run like hell.” No nuff poles for everybody, so dey take turns with the bamboos. No need bait, too. You just put white
cloth on the hook. About 2 bags dey catch. But dey no forget da boys in Camp McCoy. Dey work hard to clean and dry 2 boxes of fish. Da dry fish pass the censor OK and on to Wisconsin.”
There were plenty of muliet [mullet], too, but they weren’t biting. We used a 3-prong stick hook for awhile, but the fish got wise and wouldn’t come close to shore. Then Slim borrowed a net from the Coast Guard, and caught the mullet by the bags. “Den one day, he see snake in da mullet pond. Pau, no mo fishing in da pond. But the good days no pau, yet.” Komatsu, Tanaka and Kanemura found an oyster bed and brought some back. The oysters didn’t have a chance to get to the kitchen. A fire was made immediately and the oysters were eaten on the half shell. “Numba one pupu, dem! Just go slurp, slurp, slurp.”
When the bed in Ship Island was cleaned out, they found more oysters beds on Cat Island. “Brudda, dem buddaheads tink they get the Hawaiian Luau feet, but one time on the oysters beds, pau. Auwe, the Luau feet all cut up. The next time dem bruddas all got GI shoes on!”
With the wide blue Gulf of Mexico all around us, we transplanted Hawaiians naturally went swimming. The water was rather cold, but invigorating. The haoles thought we were “pupule.” They warned us about Stingarees, but we never saw one. We looked for “tako” (squid) nary a one. The Coast Guardsmen told us there were flounders, but we couldn’t find any either. Maybe we missed them because we didn’t know what we were looking for–a fish with two eyes on the top and usually lying in the sand. Maybe if we had a torch, we could have found them! But, we were not permitted to do that.
We had a “little Pearl Harbor” at Ft. Massachusetts when we first launched the boats to go rowing. One by one the boats sank. Sabotage! Thanks to our master ship-fitters or boat fitters, Komatsu, Ono and Tanaka, the boats were fixed to remain afloat. But, there always was a gallon can in the boat for bailing, just in case! Not that we didn’t trust the workmanship of our ship fitters, but the materials they scrounged to caulk the boats with were in doubt!
The first thing we did when we landed on Ship Island was to explore the old fort. Although my memory fails me, I believe the “Man without a Country” was imprisoned in the dungeon first, until taken on the ship. There were stories about treasure that the old pirates buried there, but no one was interested. However, we did explore the fort and dug around a little and came across a small ditch running underground. We were puzzled by it, but finally concluded that it was their sewage system!
We had electricity most of the time from a Diesel engine generator, except when it broke down and our ace diesel mechanic, Hirasuna, took it all apart. But when it came time to
put it back, “Pau Kahana.” No can do. We had to call Gulfport for a repairman to fix it.
The highlight of the dog training session came when we were given tickets to the Sugar Bowl game at New Orleans. They were good seats. The game was won by the Tennessee “Vols” over the Tulsa “Hurricanes.”
The game was good, but the chop suey we ate before the game was “mo betta.” On the way to the stadium, we spotted a Chop Suey joint, so we made the truck driver stop. When we went in, Ishii took over. He made the haole waitresses join tables to make one big one. Then, he told them to call the number one Pake boss-man. When the boss came, Ishii told him to make us a family style Chinese dinner, never mind the cost. “Da boss alee samee
‘Lau Yee Chai’ say me fixie numba one Chinee dinner.” I don’t remember how many courses came out, but we sure whacked a meal. The haole waitresses and the other patrons watched with big round eyes ready to pop out of the sockets! The waitresses said they never served that kind of dishes before and didn’t know how to charge us. But, no sweat, Number one boss he fixed us up and it was very reasonable.
There were many more incidents that happened, but time and space prohibits mentioning any more at this time.
MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?? We heard that there were many dogs used in the Pacific Theater of War. Whether the dogs we trained with were sent over, we were never told. –End