Keiji G. "K.G." Okano, Dr.

性別 Male
生年月日 1925-11-30
出生地 Rock Springs WY, U.S.A.
入隊した年 1944-8-1, Denver CO
入隊のタイプ Draftee
所属・部署 Army
兵役のタイプ War
所属部隊のタイプ Combat
所属部隊 MISLS (Graduated Snelling, July 1945)
CIC - Unassigned
特殊技能 Military Intelligence
Heavy Weapons Crewman
Unattached OSS
最終目標 USA: Ft. Snelling, MN; Camp Blanding, FL; Fort George Meade, MD; Camp Richie, MD; Camp Bullis, TX
除隊した年 Lackland Air Force Base TX
所属部隊の役割 Mostly schooling
Judo Instructor Aid
Machine Gunner, 81 MM Mortars, First and Second Gunner and Observer Training
Up-grade cadre for Philippine Commissioned officers, OCS Candidates, MP's, Medical personnel.
所属部隊での個人的役割 Advanced infantry training
Aided Judo instructor
Attend school, wasn't able to tell anyone what we were doing, not even our parents about the CIC school.
主な戦闘(交戦地帯へ従軍した場合) Closest activity was to protect property during a labor dispute in Galveston.
勲章・褒章(個人又は所属部隊) None that we were recognized or awarded.
生活状況 We lived in five man huts, platoon size barracks, and in slit trenches during bivouacs.
Sometimes we took spit baths with cold water in our helmets, otherwise, we had nice warm centralized showers.
Even the C-rations tasted good, otherwise, the food was wholesome and tasty, except the way the cooks prepared mutton.
Mostly movies, USO shows and socials, swimming, sight seeing tours, and letter writing.
軍隊生活で最も記憶に残っている出来事 A University Dean and his family invited a friend and me to a Christmas dinner and entertained us. Their daughter was a Sophomore, I remember her as a beautiful older woman.

While we were attending a movie, we heard a mortar shell go off. A trainee had brought a high-explosive 81mm shell to his hut and was trying to screw the head off and it detonated, killing the tinkerer, wounding two of his hut mates and demolishing their hut.

軍隊にいる間、最も懐かしかったもの Steamed rice, soy sauce, green tea, and qucha ni.
個人的に軍隊経験から学んだ最も重要なこと Besides being called a 'Jap', or we can win the war without you Japs by off-duty non-coms, my tolerance level rose to a new high., and I swore to teach the ignorant young people about America. I became a teacher, the first Japanese-American to do so in a Class A secondary school in Wyoming. Then became the first JA to become a consultant, Director, Supervisor in the Wyoming State Department of Education.
その他の情報 Besides receiving the benefits of the GI bill, I feel the Army helped me learn about being cooperative, working with all kinds of personalities because my life was dependent upon a team, good leadership and communications. I still have life long comrades from my short, but memorable tenure. Learning to cope with the fear of the unknown, which combat would bring, was a daily experience in itself.

Dr. Keiji Okano attended Teacher's College, taught in secondary school, worked in the Wyoming State Department of Education and retired after 35 years in the education field. He earned and was awarded a doctorate degree.

He was proud of the JA men who served in WW II and felt honored that he was a part of that point in history.

After retiring he wrote about the experiences of Asians that came to Wyoming, their background in the mother countries, why they came, their tumultuous journey leaving home, across the ocean, working their way across a third of the continent, and working in the coal mines and railroads.

From southwestern Wyoming, there were nearly 100 JA soldiers that served with distinction during WW II in the Pacific as interpreters, scattered areas as engineers and signal corp, and in Europe as infantrymen. The young men were born and reared in Wyoming and entered the military from 1941 until 1946. Fortunately, all returned home, however, many were wounded more than once in the jungles of the Philippines and Burma, the landing and invasion of Okinawa, and battles in Europe. All three Okano brothers came home by 1946, married, and pursued prosperous and happy lives..

The oldest, Staff Sergeant George, was with the 100th Battalion in Company B, and for a time was the company first sergeant. He led his section of light weapons from Anzio through northern Italy, a platoon and company through the Vosges mountains of France, and received four recorded wounds.

The youngest, Private Keiji Okano, had finished infantry training in Camp Blanding, FL and was in Fort Meade, MD, when the war in Europe ended. He was sent inland to a Counter Intelligence Corps training center at Camp Ritchie, MD, to prepare for the invasion of Japan in October of 1945. With the dropping of the atomic bomb and the unconditional surrender of Japan, he finished his tour in the continental US.

The middle brother, Corporal Jiro, finished his rifleman training in Dec 1944 at Camp Blanding, FL, and was shipped to England then to France to join his brother in the maritime Alps and was asigned to K Company, 442nd RCT. During the Po Valley Campaign, his BAR team was credited with silencing three well-entrenched machine gun emplacements.

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