Roy Hiroshi Mayeda

Gender Male
Birth date 1929-8-6
Place of birth Santa Maria CA, U.S.A.
Inducted 1948-8-13, Watsonville CA
Enlistment type Volunteer
Service branch Army
Service type War,peacetime
Unit type Combat
Units served 69th Chem Smoke Gen Co. (Spec Combat Unit, Korea). Unit was attached to 1st Marine Div. in Korea. Our small spec. unit provided smoke screening at Inchon Landing, crossing Han River, etc.
Military specialty 1. Squad leader, 2. Motor pool sgt. (later) (Responsible for all unit's rolling stock.)
Stationed U.S.A. - Kentucky, CA, Maryland; Japan; Korea (combat)
Separated Ft. Ord CA
Unit responsibility Korea 1950 - Our special unit provided smoke screen cover - amphibious assault, Inchon 1st Marine Division - crossing Han River. Airfield, ammo dumps, etc.
Major battles (if served in a war zone) I was involved in five major battles (Korea 1950 - 51). Most notable: amphibious landing at Inchon - 1950 , Seoul and retreat from North Korea (Chosin Reservoir area to Hungnam).
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit) Five Bronze Battle Stars ; Meritorious Unit Citation; Good Conduct Medal; Honorable Discharge.
Living conditions In North Korea - conditions were absolutely horrible. I didn't get to shower once in 3 months. The weather, the cold was so severe - guys were crying it hurt so bad. Canned food froze. Sleeping was almost impossible - too cold (outdoors).
Most vivid memory of military experience (Deep in North Korea - 1950) Our worst nightmare happened when the Chinese Communists had us surrounded. (We heard 300,000 of them). The weather was a severe factor already, frigid killing cold - minus 30 degrees plus Siberian wind. It was just about the worst predicament a man can be in. We all knew we were not going to see home again, and that this might be the very worst place to die. (I'm not sure) But I believe we were near Chinghung-ni (North Korea) at the time. The 1st Marine - 1st battalion was along the hill and the 155 howitzers were in the river bed. About this time our unit was told to hurry back to Hungnam. (We knew what was up). We had to provide smoke screen cover for the troops getting off the beach on to ships. Morale was bad. We knew we might be the last to leave the beach. All of a sudden orders came down, again, to hurry to a strategic airfield in South Korea. We loaded up on C-119's and got out. Thank God, that was real close. We almost bought the farm.
Missed most whilst in the military The four years I served, every unit I was in, I was always the only oriental. I missed the compaionship of a Nisei guy and also Japanese food. I was real homesick.
Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience? I know that for Japanese Americans, life in this country has been far from ideal. You could do everything right but still be accepted as third class citizen. Volunteering into the service did not change this, but down deep I do feel good that (I) served my country honorably.
Additional information (As corny as this might sound, but it's true) I volunteered into the service of this country because I wanted to show and prove to the United States that I am as good American as anyone. You would think being in the same uniform would eliminate some prejudices against Japanese-Americans. Unfortunately, this was not true. Being the only Japanese-American in all the units I served, I experienced blatant prejudices. In promotion, citations, put on very dangerous assignments, etc. etc.

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