Victor Hiroshi "Vic" Abe

Sexo Male
Fecha de Nacimiento 1920-5-4
Lugar de Nacimiento Los Angeles CA, U.S.A.
Inducted 1942-2-25, Fort MacArthur CA
Tipo de Alistamiento Draftee
Afiliación Militar Army
Tipo de servicio prestado War
Tipo de unidad militar Combat
Unidades a las que sirvió Graduated Savage, Dec. 1942
Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS), 8th Army Hq.
158th Regimental Combat Team
Especialidad militar Translator
Asignado USA: Camp Robinson, AR; Fort Warren, WY, Camp Savage, MN
Other Countries: Brisbane, Australia; Hollandia, New Guinea; Leyte, Philippines; Mindanao, Philippines.
Retirado Camp Beale CA
Responsabilidad en la unidad To gather information from the enemy.
Responsabilidad individual To translate captured military documents.
Batallas principales (si sirvió en una zona de guerra) Invasion of Leyte
Landing at Mindanao.
Reconocimientos, medallas, menciones (individuales o de la unidad) Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal
Philippine Liberation Ribbon w/ 1 Bronze Star
Distinguished Unit Citation w/ 2 Oak Leaf Clusters (awarded at ATIS)
Condiciones de Vida In Australia and New Guinea, we lived in tents and slept on canvas cots.

In the Philippines, we lived in 2 men and 6 men tents and we slept on the ground. We had make shift showers but when we were in a combat zone, we were given only a helmet full of water for bathing.

Meals were powdered eggs and milk for breakfast; for lunch and dinner we had hot stew and similar meals. When on the move we had 'C' or 'K' rations - an individualized cold meal with a can of eggs and bacon, or a can of Spam.

There was no entertainment except at Army Hq where USO troops came to put on a show.

Recuerdo más vívido de la experiencia militar My most vivid memory was during the landing at Leyte (D + 10) when we had to go over the side of the troopship with full field pack and carbine and clamber down via cargo nets. When we reached the landing craft below, it was difficult to board because it was bobbing up and down.

Also I can remember the first night in the Philippines. This was during the monsoon season and we didn't have time to pitch a tent, and I had to sleep in a sitting position with my back resting against a coconut palm. Even though I had a poncho, I was soaking wet and could hardly sleep a wink.

Lo que más extraño durante su tiempo en las fuerzas armadas Japanese food, American movies.
¿En lo personal, qué obtuvo de su experiencia militar? One of the most important things from my war experience was that I had the opportunity to go to interesting places throughout the world. And I am very thankful that even though we were exposed to various tropical diseases, I was very fortunate to be able to keep healthy during that time.
Información adicional I feel that the Nisei soldier contributed greatly to the successful outcome of the war in the Pacific.

At Cal during Pearl Harbor had mixed feeling of shame, treachery, etc.

Tried to volunteer into the Air Force and become a meteorologist, but the Air Force was not accepting Niseis.

Tried to join the paratroopers w/ a couple of high school acquaintances but denied entry due to race.

Inducted at Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro. Burgess Meredith, Jefferey Payne, a couple of Hollywood types, were inducted at same time. Bombing raid - American artillery shot down a U.S. plane due to misidentification.

Sent to Camp Robinson, AR for infantry basic. Because of the war, we were given a shortened session of 13 weeks. I was in a tent with a bunch of recruits from Colorado and Texas.

After basic, shipped out to Fort Warren, WY with several Nisei soldiers. The Army didn't know what to do with us. Some of us were sent to the motorpool, to the maintenance yard to work as gardeners. Because I had a couple of years of civil engineering, another fellow and I were assigned to the Post Engineers to work as engineering draftsmen.

After several months of this we were called into a room with some officers from the Military Intelligence School. We were interviewed and several weeks later, were shipped to Camp Savage, MN. I arrived in Minnesota just before Christmas and that winter I experienced the coldest winter of my life (32 below zero).

At Camp Savage, we were taught to read and understand Japanese military terms. We studied 5 days a week, from 8 to 5 with time out for lunch. After dinner, we studied in the classroom for a couple of hours.

After about 6 months of intensive training, we were ready to ship out as translators and interpreters. Those that were strong in the spoken language were used as interpreters. The rest of us who were able to read with the use of 'Rose-Innes' dictionary, translated written documents picked up in the field.

From these documents, we were able to determine what outfit we were fighting, the strength of the unit, the C.O. and table of organization, etc. The Japanese were very fanatical in writing all the info on their unit and we were able to discover all the info we needed from diaries, post-cards, and letters.

After Camp Savage, a bunch of us were sent to the West Coast by military train to Oakland and then by boat to Angel Island. We stayed there several weeks and then we were sent to Pittsburgh, CA, our port of embarkation.

We boarded a troop ship there and then sailed thru the Golden Gate bound for Australia. We were not in a convoy, but we traveled with all lights extinguished -'the smoking lamp was out.'

After about two and a half weeks, we arrived in Auckland, N.Z. for fuel and provisions. We were not allowed off the ship.

Several days later, we arrived in Australia. Can't remember where we landed - probably Brisbane. There was one man who was sick from the time he boarded ship to the time we arrived in Australia (19 days). The ironic part of the story was that he had to be sent back to the states after a short stay in a hospital in Australia.

We joined ATIS in Australia translating tons of captured documents and interrogating captured prisoners.With all this information gathered from the enemy, our strategic planners were able to assess the strength and weakness of the enemy.

Although this was a very important job gleaning information, it was a very tedious, time consuming and monotonous job. After several months of this boring work, several of us got tired of this type of work, so we decided to go against the cardinal axiom of the military and we volunteered for duty in New Guinea.

The three of us were assigned to different units. I was assigned to 8th Army HQ, S-2 section. We did the same thing, translating documents and interrogating prisoners.

In October, we boarded a transport in New Guinea and with a large convoy headed for Leyte in the Philippines. We landed near Tacloban on D + 10. We climbed down cargo nets, into bobbing landing craft and we went ashore without opposition. Our Navy provided bombardment to keep the enemy forces tied down.

After we landed we collected all our gear and assembled near a coconut plantation. That night we slept with our backs against a coconut palm, our ponchos on and tried to keep dry. It was a miserable night.

The next night a buddy and I got our tent halves together and we put up a pup tent. However, one fellow did not have a partner, so he came in with us. It must'ye been the rainy season because our blankets got wet and we spent miserable nights.

Every night after we landed, enemy recon planes flew over our lines about 9 o' clock. The amount of shells, etc. shot by the Navy every night was enough to light up a 4th of July fireworks for 50 years. No matter how many artillery shells were fired, the plane was never shot down and it was a nuisance flight by the enemy to harass our troops.

After the landing in Leyte, the 8th Army set up its headquarters near Tacloban. We worked closely with the photo intelligence unit and we got our info from captured documents. They were able to glean info from photographs taken by P.I. reconnaissance planes flying high over the enemy territory.

Several months later an RCT was formed and another fellow and I were assigned to it. The mission of this RCT was to land in Mindanao and fight the enemy there. The RCT had several large landing ships carrying troops, tanks, tracks, etc. escorted by a complement of destroyers and a small cruiser. Before we landed, the landing site was bombarded with shells from the Navy guns and by bombs from airplanes. So heavy was the shelling that our landing was unopposed.

After we disembarked from the LST, we carried our gear and marched several miles toward the hills. There we set up camp near the road. One humorous incident occured here. Lt. Reilly of N.Y. was the head of our group. He was a tall, lanky (6' 4', 150#) mama's boy and provided the humor.

We were told to dig fox-holes and dig in. We all carried our own trenching shovel so Bill and I started digging our own fox-hole. About an hour or so later we had dug our hole and laid our poncho, bedding, etc. to get ready for the night.

We looked over at Lt. Reilly's fox-hole and saw that he was having a tough time digging. Pretty soon we saw him staggering off to the medic's station to get first aid. He had punctured his blisters on his hand - he came back with both hands bandaged. So Bill and I ended up digging the rest of his fox-hole. That night I swear I saw him getting into his P.J.'s for the night.

We advanced several miles into the hills the next day and we ran into an obstacle. We came to a narrow pass where the high ground was occupied by the enemy. As I understand later, the enemy had captured artillery and shells, zeroed in on the pass and our advance was stymied.

We stayed back of the advancing U.S. troops. We could hear the artillery shells being fired and small arms fire. One day we had a truckload of replacement soldiers join our group. That night we had consistent firings near our perimeter from our young troops. They were firing at everything that moved and some things that weren't moving.

Our route chasing the enemy took us past the Del Monte pineapple plantation and the airfield which our transports took over. Here I had the best pineapple I ever had in my life. The tree ripened fruit was there for the picking. The war had interrupted the harvesting of the pineapples. The one I picked was almost orange in color and loaded with pineapple juice. Although it was not chilled, it was the juiciest and sweetest pineapple I have ever tasted. To this day, I hesitate to eat a pineapple because I know it'll never compare with the one in Mindanao.

The function of an intelligence unit is to gather information about the enemy's strength, location, what type of unit, arms, etc. This info is gathered in the field by the smallest unit - company, battalion, regiment, army and on up.

The important duty of the small unit is to pick up any info from the enemy. Even insignificant material may be very important - it may not seem important - however, it's like a jig-saw puzzle and that particular info may be the one that the rear echelon was looking for.

The intelligence unit not only gathers info, but digests it and disseminates the info to the front line units, where it may aid in the strategy. In WWlI, the importance of the MIS became known after the war. Major Gen. Chas. Willoughby, Intelligence Chief of MacArthur's Command stated, 'The Nisei saved millions of American lives and shortened the war by 2 years.'

Search the database

Consejos para realizar una búsqueda en la base de datos

Use Keyword to search for words and phrases occurring anywhere in the record other than in a personal name, for example: “ammo dump” “Lost Battalion” “Minidoka”.

Use Name to find the personal name of any veteran in the database.