WW2 Memories, Colli-Hill 920

WW2 Memories, Colli-Hill 920 by Tom Nagata

I returned to Colli after my Thanksgiving holiday in Naples rest camp. The next morning I accompanied Stanley Masumoto, mail clerk for D Company. He had bags of mail on a mule and went straight up the trail above Colli. We reached the crest of the hill in mid-morning when we met 2 teams of litter bearers carrying the wounded men of C Company. One of the wounded men had died and the other had to be taken down as soon as possible. I went down the trail with the litter bearers, taking my turn at relieving each man and we finally reached Colli just as the sun was setting, and the wounded man was rushed to the hospital in time. The next morning, I again followed Masumoto, but this time he had a string of mules laden with ammunition, water containers, and K rations for the Battalion, and instead of going up the hill, he skirted the hill on the right and went up on a longer and smoother trail. We reached the wooded area that F Company occupied and the supplies were dropped there. That night, under cover of darkness, men from the front lines came down the hills to gather their supplies and I followed the C Company men to Hill 920. The next morning, Sgt. Teruto Tanimoto and Shomatsu Kina were relieved and sent back to the aid station due to illness. Shortly after they left, the enemy shelled the trail with their 6-barreled Neblwerfer mortars (screaming meemies) and both perished there. Later in the morning I saw my Maui High School classmate, Sgt. Katsui Jinnohara, F Company, lead his men into battle on Hill 920. He was killed in action and fell near the body of another classmate, Staff Sgt. Yoji Yasui of C Company, who had died during the battle a day earlier.

Still another of my classmates, Hideo Nagata, who had sat next to me in Senior English classes had been killed in October near Alife. I was deeply saddened at the thought that three of my high school classmates had been killed in battles within a two-month period while fighting for our country. We were finally relieved and spent our first Christmas “overseas” near Alife in December 1943.