Yoshio "Tad" Wakayama

Sexo Male
Birth date 1916-1-11
Local de nascimento San Jose CA, U.S.A.
Inducted 1941-3-17, Ft. MacArthur CA
Tipo de alistamento Volunteer
Ramo das Forças Armadas Army
Tipo de serviço War
Tipo de Unidade Combat
Unidades onde serviu 3rd Army
Military specialty Office/medical
Ambulance driver
Auto mechanic
Stationed USA: California, Washington, Missouri, Hawaii
Separated Ft. Logan CO
Unit responsibility Guard island of Okinawa
Personal responsibility Auto mechanic
Major battles (if served in a war zone) Battle of Okinawa
Living conditions Living conditions - lived in compound where guards stood watch so enemy couldn't come in. I was Sgt of Guards during the day and mechanic at night.
Slept in sleeping bags.
Don't recall how I bathed, perhaps a shower.
Meals were in a tent. Had some hot meals - spam, eggs, etc. Mostly rations. I hate spam - I have not eaten it since.
Entertainment - no such thing! War zone. No such luxury; just work, eat and sleep. Washed own clothes.
Working conditions: 155 mm shells were welded together to hold a tarp high enough to acccomodate 2 trucks. It provided protection from weather and allowed us to work on trucks for the next day's use. We had thirty teams of two people to work on trucks at night - 60 mechanics.
Most vivid memory of military experience On Sunday - walking around island about 5 - 6 Japanese Army men were out from the caves - just sleeping in the sun out in the open - no guards. But we never shot them.
Civilian women walking - when they see our jeep - they would jump into the tall weeds on the side of the road to hide. Nearby was the Okinawa Hospital where the women worked.
Only one building was standing in the capital city. Everything was knocked down or bombed out. I saw a woman looking for and digging up sweet potatoes. We saw two women who worked at the hospital where we stayed 3 - 4 months and they did our laundry for us. We were in Okinawa almost a year in 1945.
Jeep drivers takes enlisted men, officers to whatever destination. The Japanese soldiers would catch the officers by the neck with a wire and kill them.
Missed most whilst in the military Good food.
Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience? Since I knew mechanics work before I volunteered, the Army experience did not help me after discharge. Ben and I assembled 2-wheeled trailers in the hot sun and just had a lot of hard work tune-ups, etc. As trucks were being used during the day, we worked 3-4-5 hours at night to get trucks ready for next day's work.
Stay out of the Army!
Additional information I worked as a mechanic, after discharge, but skilled labor wages were not good so I ended up working for a beer distributor. Union wages were good. Joined the Teamsters Union and retired with a pension.

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