Author: Kent Nakamura
Puka Puka Parades, September 1960, vol. 13 no. 9
Short anecdote of how Shigeichi “Chicken” Kawaoka talked his way into being a medic and the reasons why.
During the days of the campaign in southern France, an ambulance squad made up of non-100th personnel, was attached to the Battalion Aid Station. There came a day when a litter squad led by Captain Kometani returned from a trip up front. I was sitting outside the station door.
A harried-looking G.I., a participant in the evacuation action, flicked his thumb in the direction Doc had gone and asked, “Is he really a dentist?”
“Yup”, I nodded.
“You mean he can stay back in the rear area fooling around with teeth and he comes up here?”
“Well, there’re not too many teeth in a battalion, and I figger the Captain gets tired of polishing bicuspids, so he is up here to be useful.”
“Man, oh man,” the G.I. groans, “I gotta be with a guy who doesn’t have to be here. And worse, I gotta go with him.”
All of a sudden, I began not to like the fellow and was getting ideas about how much more not to like him, but I managed a “Please explain.”
Noting that my last words had the warmth of a good Martini, the G.I. hastily went on, “You got me wrong. The Captain’s a darn good man, but you know, when you’re out there, you want to hurry. The Captain –he never hurries; he just won’t or can’t move faster.”
I understood. I had to chuckle, and I had to agree that Doc was no speed demon.
Addendum: Now, fifteen or so years after this previously mentioned episode, I kinda think “Kome” wasn’t as slow as all that.
Kent Y. Nakamura