Henry Hideo "Hank" Kuwabara

Sexo Male
Birth date 1919-4-21
Local de nascimento Malad ID, U.S.A.
Inducted 1942-11-1, Rivers AZ
Tipo de alistamento Volunteer
Ramo das Forças Armadas Army
Tipo de serviço War
Tipo de Unidade Support
Unidades onde serviu WWII Nov 43 - Apr 44:
Southeast Asia Translation and Interrogation Center (SEATIC), New Delhi, India. Center provided translation and interrogation services to Allied headquarters, primarily U.S. and British and, to a lesser degree, Chinese Nationalists. Military personnel assigned to center included American, British, Indian, Australian and New Zealanders. Center was also the American 'pool' for U.S. linguists from which personnel were further assigned to field units and headquarters of American, British and Chinese units and headquarters in China, Burma and India.

May - Nov 44:
Forward Headquarters, U.S. Army Northern Combat Area Command in north Burma. This headquarters, headed personally by Lieutenant General Joseph Stilwell, controlled varying numbers of Nationalist Chinese divisions; the U.S. Army 5307 Composite Unit informally known as Merrills Marauders which was a regimental combat team; Detachment 101 of Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency; Mars Task Force, a division-size American combat unit; and , for a brief few months in 1944, brigade-size elements of the 3rd Indian Division, a cover name for a British division-size commando unit that operated behind Japanese lines in north Burma. During my assignment to the Forward Headquarters, I was sent on temporary duty with the following combat units: Chinese 22nd Infantry Division and British 36 Infantry Division.

New Delhi, India. Dec 44 - Nov 45:
Assigned to SEATIC. During this assignment, I was ordered on temporary duty with the following units: Detachment 101, OSS, in north Burma; Detachment 505, OSS, in Calcutta, India. At Detachment 505, my main duty concerned the interrogation of Japanese POWs, translation of captured Japanese documents and the preparation of covert and non-covert propaganda leaflets directed at both Japanese troops in Burma and the Burmese civilian populace.

Promotions - During my World War II service (Nov 42-Aug 45), I was promoted only two times. While a student at MISLS at Camp Savage, after four months, all Japanese American privates were promoted to Technician Fifth Grade (T/5) with pay equivalent to corporal. In Nov 43, when I was assigned to a linguist team of 10 enlisted men and one Caucasian officer graduate, six of the T/5s were promoted to Technician Fourth Grade (T/4) including myself. My next promotion did not come until a month after the war ended in August 1945.
In September, I and the other T/4s on our ten man team were promoted to Technician Third Grade (T/3) and the other three T/5s were promoted one rank. Thus, for the Nisei members of our team, we were not promoted during the nearly two years that we had been overseas during the war.
On the other hand, our team officer, a Caucasian captain, was promoted to major during the course of the war.

Apr - Nov 46: Assigned to MISLS at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
Sept 46. Five Nisei language instructors, most of them master sergeants, and myself, were interviewed by a Board of Officers to determine our qualifications for direct commissions as second lieutenants. All six of us were approved and a short time later came the big day when we were sworn in as brand new second lieutenants.
Dec 46 - Feb 47. Assigned to Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS), General Headquarters, in Tokyo.
Feb 47 - Jun 50. Assigned to Headquarters 25th Infantry Division then stationed in Osaka, Japan. My initial duty was Commanding Officer, 170th Language Detachment. The detachment consisted of some 14 Nisei linguists and provided linguist and related services for the G-2 (intelligence) Section.
April 1948. Promoted to First Lieutenant.
Jul 50 - Mar 51. Our 25th Division was rushed to South Korea shortly after the North Korean attach on June 26, 1950. In Korea, initially I was assigned to the division's 27th Infantry Regiment and worked with the S-2 (Intelligence) officer concerning interrogations of prisoners and examination of captured enemy documents. Later I was reassigned back to division headquarters' G-2 Section.
Sep 50. Promoted to captain.
Apr 51 - Nov 54. Assigned to ATIS, GHQ, Tokyo. Principal duty assignments included following: Deputy Chief, Central Interrogation Center. The center conducted long-range, strategic interrogations of selected Japanese POWs returned by the Soviet from Siberia POW camps. Chief, Captured Documents Subsection which translated North Korean and Chinese documents captured in Korea.
Dec 54 - May 55. Assigned as student to The Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. Attended and graduated Associate Advance Infantry Officers Course.
May 55 - Nov 58. Assigned to 525 Military Intelligence Group, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Principal duty assignments included: Commanding Officer, 140 Military Intelligence Platoon; Commanding Officer, 165 Military Intelligence Company; and Assistant S-3 (Training and Operations), 519 Military Intelligence Battalion.
Nov 58 - Nov 61. Assigned to 532 Military Intelligence Battalion, West Germany. Principal duties included: Officer-in-Charge, Munich Field Office. The office conducted semi-covert debriefings of refugees from Communist-block countries of East Europe for strategic intelligence information about the Soviets. Commanding Officer, 24 Military Detachment, 24 Infantry Division. Detachment provided combat intelligence and counterintelligence support to the division's mission as part of the NATO forces overall mission of the security of West Europe.
Nov 61 - Dec 62. Assigned to Headquarters, Third United States Army, Fort McPherson, Georgia. Principal duty as Chief, Plans and Training Section, G-2 Section.
July 62. Promoted to lieutenant colonel.
Dec 62. Retired upon completion of over 20 years of active service.

Military specialty As enlisted man: POW Interrogator, translator, interpreter.
As officer: POW interrogation officer, Military Intelligence Officer, General Staff Officer (Intelligence).
Stationed United States, India, Burma, Malaysia (including Singapore) Japan, South Korea, North Korea and West Germany.
Unit responsibility (Covered in 'Units Served in')
Personal responsibility (Covered in 'Units Served in')
Major battles (if served in a war zone) North Burma Campaign
Pusan perimeter in South Korea
Invasion of North Korea
Chinese Intervention Campaign
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit) Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in North Burma (Mar - Nov 44).
British Empire Medal awarded in the name of King George VIII of Great Britain for meritorious service with British 36 Infantry Division in north Burma (Aug-Sep 44).
Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in Korean War (Jul 50 - Mar 51).
Commendation Medal for meritorious service during intelligence processing of Allied POWs released in POW exchanges during Korean War (1953).
Commendation Medal for meritorious service during 20 years of active duty.
Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations (two) awarded to 27th Infantry Regiment for actions in Pusan Perimeter battles.
Living conditions It is said that for every infantryman on the front lines, it requires the backup and support of about eight other service person. Examples of backup services include: the recruiter recruiting volunteers, the drill sergeant conducting basic training, the engineers making and repairing bridges, the trucker hauling munitions to port for loading on ships destined for the combat zone, and even the sergeant running the Enlisted Men's Club.
The living conditions run from deadly frontline actions in steaming jungles to sun-baked deserts to working in pleasant air-conditioned offices in downtown Honolulu. What one faces is in the luck of the draw. I know one man whose ship, during WWII, berthed at Honolulu to take on additional supplies before transporting troops destined for bitter Pacific Island battles in 1943. My friend was ordered to leave the ship and report to a local army unit. There he was assigned as a company clerk and there it was that he served out the rest of the war in peace and comfort.
Another example of 'the luck of the draw' is my experience while in India and north Burma. While my case was not typical, neither was it uncommon. While assigned to the British 36 Division in Burma, life was very primitive. We had to put up with endless meals of canned corned beef and hard biscuits, all washed down with hot tea prepared with sugar and powdered milk. The constant monsoon rains, leaches, mosquitoes and other varied insects made life miserable. Still it was safer and more pleasant than what the poor infantryman faced on the front lines. On the other hand, my life in New Delhi was a paradise. All enlisted men could hire a private man servant for as little as $3.50 per month. The servant came early in the morning and stayed until after the evening meal. He didn't have much to do except for making up your bunk, shining boots, getting the laundry out and back and generally keeping things tidy. We had regular office hours and Sundays off. The army provided us bicycles to relieve us of the exertion of a half-mile walk to and from our offices. New Delhi had many fine restaurants, including some Chinese places. There were air-conditioned movie houses. The Red Cross operated a nicely furnished club for enlisted personnel and the staff included some real-to-goodness American girls. What a way to fight the war!
Most vivid memory of military experience There are many happenings that I experienced over the 20 years of military service and being stationed in various parts of the world. One of the most heart-rendering was watching the pitiful plight of hundreds of thousands of civilian refugees, mostly children, women and the elderly fleeing the on-rushing Chinese enemy in North Korea during the fateful and cruel winter of 1950-51. Those walking the longest routes faced over 200 miles of snow, ice and subzero temperatures. Mostly they were without clothing sufficient to ward off the stinging cold. Most had rubber slipper-like shoes and no stockings and frozen toes and feet were common. Of the hundreds of thousands who started out, the first deaths occurred in the first hours. Only a relative handful made it to the safety of the south. During the Korean War, some 54,000 Americans were killed or died. It is estimated that some 1 million North Korean civilians died during the war; many died or were maimed by Allied bombs and artillery.
Missed most whilst in the military No comment.
Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience? Perhaps the most important thing to come out of my military service was the inner satisfaction that volunteering and serving contributed to helping Japanese Americans being accepted back into the mainstream of America. What better proof of being a good American than serving in the military in the battles against common enemies?
Additional information 1. Linguist programs in U.S. Navy and Marine Corps-
Before and during WWII, and up to the end of 1949, the Navy and the Marines did not accept Japanese Americans into their ranks. During WWII, in order to help meet their needs for linguists, in the Japanese language, both branches established language training programs.
The Marines program was started in Hawaii in 1940. It was headed by Corporal Erskine who had lived in Japan and had a working knowledge of the language. The program never developed into a wide scope and only a handful were trained in the language.
On the other hand, the Navy program was larger in scale. In their program, selected personnel were given 12 months of intensive training in the language starting in 1941 at the University of California. In October of the same year, the program was moved to Boulder, Colorado. The student started with the rank of Yeoman Second Class. After 11 months, they were commissioned as Ensigns (equivalent to Army second lieutenant).
During the war, hundreds of Nikkei (Japanese Americans) MISLS graduates were assigned to the Navy and the Marines and participated in every major campaign. It is said that the Nisei, having overall a better language capability, 'did all the translating and most of the interrogations.' When Caucasian language officers conducted interrogations, they spoke in English and worked through Nisei interpreters. Some Nisei linguists complained 'that we did all the language work and the Caucasian language officers just signed the reports and got the credit.'

2. Army Language School for Caucasians-
The Army had a special language program for Caucasians at the University of Michigan. Called The Army Intensive Japanese Language School, the program included 12 months of intensive, full-time schooling. At the start of the course, the students were given the rank of Private First Class (PFC). Upon completion of the course, students were sent to an army base for two months of basic training. Upon completion of this training, they were promoted to Technician Fifth Grade (T/5) with pay equivalent to corporal. Following this, they were sent to MISLS for six to nine months of 'advanced' language schooling. Upon graduation they were commissioned as second lieutenants. Of the 525 Caucasians who graduated MISLS during the period early 1942 to June 1946, 400 were graduates of the program at Michigan University.

3. Nikkei Linguists 'Loaned' to British and Australian Forces -
British and Australian forces fighting the Japanese had only a very few linguists of their own. Thus, it came to pass that hundreds of Nikkei MISLS graduates were 'loaned' to our allies. The British, Australian and Canadian military eventually set up their own language training programs. However, of the three countries, only Canada had a large (23,000) Japanese Canadian population.
The Canadian program (Code Name S-20), was started in August 1943, but no Canadian Japanese were enrolled. It was not until March 1945 that the program was opened to Japanese Canadian volunteers. The S-20 program, over the period August 1943 to June 1946, graduated only 232 students. Among them were 48 Japanese Canadians. And it was not until September 1945, the month following the end of the war, that the first Japanese Canadians were assigned overseas, to Southeast Asia.

4. MISLS Linguists During and Postwar WWII -
According to my research, based mostly on the list of MISLS graduates as listed in the book 'John Aiso and the MIS' published in 1988 by the Military Intelligence Service Club of Southern California. During the above two periods, MISLS graduated a total of 6,016 students. Thus, during WWII, MISLS graduated 3,501 students of whom 3,169 were Nikkei and 332 or roughly 10 percent were Caucasians.
Over the years, the most frequently used figure of 'Nisei MISLS graduates who served overseas during the war' has been 'over 6,000.' In that the correct figure is more near 3,000, it appears that accuracy of numbers has been well off the mark.

5. My Post-Military Retirement Life -
I retired from active duty on December 31, 1962 after over 20 years of duty.
In January 1963 I went to Japan to be near my parents who had both retired and returned to their native prefecture of Yamanashi adjacent to Tokyo Prefecture.
A few months later I obtained employment with Japan's largest public relations firm in Tokyo. The work was very interesting and challenging, especially as it was a period of tremendous growth in Japan's economy and industrial capacities. On the down-side was the fact that the work was very taxing and the hours very long due to the Japanese penchant for being workaholics. Some months I put in more overtime hours than the regular 9-5 workdays of the six-day weeks. I was with the firm for almost 20 years and retired in 1983. In 1983 I returned to Los Angeles. My mother had returned there after our father died in 1972. She passed away in 1983.
From 1983 to the present (1995), I have lived in Culver City with my Japan-born wife, Nobuko. We do not have any children. My main diversion has been researching and writing a book manuscript based largely on my 20 years of military service and my living and working in Japan. In 1982, I had a book published in Tokyo, in Japanese.

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