Min Hara, MIS
Written by Min Hara July 31, 1990
I am a native of Terminal Island, California. The morning of Sunday, December 7 th 1941, I was listening to the radio while still in bed when suddenly I heard the noise of bombs exploding and the newscaster shouting that this is the real thing. I knew right away that we were in a shooting war. I felt sick to the stomach when I read the list of dead published in Life Magazine. My San Pedro High School classmates were among them. I continued going to school until we got the evacuation notice, but it sure was a trying time since some of the teachers just didnít care to have us in their classes. I still cannot forget the day a Marine corporal came knocking on our door , pointing an automatic 45 (which wasnít necessary) and saying "You people of Japanese ancestry have 48 hours to get off this island". We were evacuated to Poston , Arizona in May of 1942.
During late summer of "42, there were rumors of Army recruiters coming to look for volunteers for Military Intelligence School. Sgts Jerry Shibata and Paul Uno showed up so I went to sign up. I heard about 60 signed up, but only 8 showed up on the day they came to ask us to enlist. The reason for this small turnout from Americaís largest concentration camp was that the entire Poston Camp #3 was on strike. The strike demand was for better pay, food and a clothing allowance. I donít think they ever got any of their demands. The Camp was so large it was divided into 3 sections, 2 miles apart. I hitchhiked to Camp #2 one morning , but due to the extreme desert afternoon heat (125-133 degrees F), I couldnít walk back. I volunteered for Camp Savage, Minnesota on that very day and left that night with seven others.
I served with the 6th Infantry Division, which consisted of the 1st, 20th and 53rd Infantry Regiments. During combat, we alternated going to the front lines about once a month so we all served with the three regiments at one time or another. We prepared for combat , training at Milne Bay, British New Guinea and participated in three landings-
Sami-Wakde, Maffin Bay and Cape Sansepor, Dutch New Guinea campaign. Our whole team was awarded the Combat Infantrymanís Badge while we were in Dutch New Guinea.
Our Division fought all over Northern Luzon, Philippines, so I still remember all the towns where we had a rough time. During the battle of Munoz, our forces wiped out a regiment of the Japanese 2nd Armored Division and there was an urgent call from the front, asking us AJAs (Niseis) to volunteer. They claimed they had the commanding officer surrounded in a huge bunker so they wanted to take him alive. I crawled about 25 yards to the entrance , but our infantrymen kept on lobbing smoke grenades so not one enemy was alive by the time I had a chance to call out. Our infantrymen advanced beyond this bunker. The next thing I heard was "fix bayonets". What a spine tingling order. I was supposed to entice a Japanese colonel to surrender and suddenly Iím involved in a bayonet fight. The Japanese forces never had enough ammo to fire at will , so now they were prepared to engage us with their bayonets. Fortunately we had an ample supply of ammo , so we started to fire our rifles from the hip and we mowed them down with massive fire power.
Our final campaign was the landing at Lingayan Gulf, Luzon, Philippines on January 9, 1945 . It was there that I saw my first massive naval bombardment by our battleships , cruisers and destroyers before we hit the beaches. Japanese Zeroes and bombs started to attack our Task Force so the anti-aircraft barrages blackened the sky. It really was a frightening sight, making daylight (7 AM) turning pitch black. Fighting was so fierce we never captured an officer beyond the rank of lst Lieutenant throughout the war.
During the final months of the war, we lost our Commanding General Edwin D. Patrick and George Nakamura to enemy sniper fire and the war came to a sudden stop in the northern Cagayan Valley.
NOTE: Min HARA, born on 24 October 1922, Terminal Island, California; died on December 2, 2000 in Bronx.Awards: Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat Infantryman Badge, Asiatic-Pacific Medal with Bronze Arrowhead and 2 Bronze Service Stars, American Campaign Medal, Philippines Liberation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal with Japan Clasp. Overseas Service: Served with 6th Infantry Division in British New Guinea, Dutch New Guinea, Philippines. |Served with 8th Infantry Division with Army of Occupation, South Korea. Served with Japan Army of Occupation, GHQ, ATIS , Tokyo.