Personal Recall

Author: Tad Hashimoto, D Company
Title: Personal Recall
Source: Puka Puka Parades, May-June 1982, vol. 36 no. 3

I was drafted into the army on January 7, 1942 one month after Pearl Harbor. I was among the last group of Japanese Americans to be drafted. Was in the service when all of the West Coast Japanese were put in concentration camps. My family was interned in Rohwer, Arkansas.

I received basic training in Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming (Quartermaster). We were lined up receiving our final orders to ship overseas (Pacific, our whole outfit left except for about nine of us Japanese Americans left standing within a block apart. When our orders finally came, we were sent to where there were thousands of women, Fort Des Moines, Iowa W.A.C. (Women Army Corps) Center.

Once there, out duties were regular work hours of “Fatigue” duties. Making cinder paths, planting trees, gardening, cutting the parade grounds grass and other landscaping duties.

We thought we were lucky we didn’t have to pull guard duty, but only realized after the war that technically we were prisoners in U.S. Army uniforms, under observation, and no guns were issued to us because the Army didn’t trust us.

So for over a year we did “detail” work.

When 100th Bn. was formed and sent overseas, then they realized we were Americans, gathered Japanese Americans from all over the U.S. in similar situations, sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, given combat training and the rest is history.