Being scared during combat

Growing up in segregated schools Feeling prejudice while looking for jobs Joining the army Generosity of the Italians Animosity between the Hawaiians and the mainlanders Being scared during combat Never feared that he wouldn’t come back home On saving the Lost Battalion Coming home to his mother after the war Getting a PhD under the G.I. Bill Invited to teach at Harvard by his boss Feeling at peace with himself

Transcripts available in the following languages:

There were times when I was — must confess — scared shit-less. For instance, when you hear a German machine gun who had ambushed us in our advance. It was so dense forest that you couldn’t see them, but you could hear them. He would say, “Hands up! Hands up!” and we look around at each other, are we gonna surrender to these guys? No way, no way. I didn’t have a rifle — I just had a pistol in my hand — and what to do under these circumstances? We weren’t face-to-face. We were just with voice contact. But I felt that we’re going to survive this intact, and as it turned out, unlike today’s war, when it gets dark everybody just digs a hole as deep as you can and crawl in it to avoid tree burst shells that come running down. And in the morning the fighting doesn’t start till dawn again.

Date: January 3, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: Lily Anne Y. Welty Tamai
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

army combat military veteran World War II

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