Almost Shot by an Ally in Burma

By Frank T. Takao, T/3

In early 1945, along with other MIS linguists, Hiroshi Kajihara and Toshio Kamei, I was assigned to Colonel G.F. Blunda's expeditions in Burma. The Colonel commanded SEATIC (South East Asia Translation and Interrogation Command) in New Delhi, India.

Camp Savage, Minn. 1944
Frank Takao, T/3

Enroute to Rangoon, Burma, the Colonel and Kajihara were injured when their jeep overturned. Kamei, a British Officer and I rode in a jeep behind them. When we came upon the scene of the accident, Kamei and I were ordered to stay with the overturned jeep. The Colonel and Kajihara were transported to a hospital in our jeep, accompanied by the British Officer. In the rush and confusion, they left without giving us further orders. We had no idea where the hospital was or what to do until assistance came.

With the help of some Burmese, we turned the jeep upright and discovered it would operate. Kamei then drove in the general direction taken by the Colonel, but we had no idea where we were going. Darkness descended. Seeing a lighted tent, we decided to stop and ask for directions.

Without any second thought, I foolishly entered the tent with just a short "excuse me." Inside, pouring himself a cup of tea sat a British Major. I wore a crew cut and was dressed in fatigues. I stood at attention and saluted the major. Then I started explaining my situation very rapidly. The major reached for his side arm, but because I stood at attention and still saluted him, he did not draw his pistol. I continued to salute him and kept talking. Finally, the major said, "Whoa, hold it!" and asked me to explain again. I still stood at attention and repeated my problem--this time very slowly. The major got on the phone and confirmed my dilemma. Then I felt relaxed. The major was kind enough to offer me tea and a place to sleep in his tent. But when I told him there was another GI outside, he was flabbergasted and ordered his Gurkha guard to escort my friend to the tent. I am sure the guard later received a thorough verbal lashing from the major for allowing an unknown person to enter the tent without his permission, let alone an American GI who looked like an enemy Japanese soldier.

We slept there that night and were treated courteously. The next morning after tea and breakfast, we received directions to the hospital where we joined the Colonel and Kajihara. I'll always remember "the night I almost got shot by an ally."

(Courtesy of "Secret Valor" by Military Intelligence Service Veterans Club of Hawaii.)