Surprising interview

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by davparlr, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    I was having lunch with an elderly Asian gentleman who goes to our church. I asked him where he was from. He said Hawaii, Oahu. When did he leave, I asked. When he was 21, he said. Where did you live? North of Pearl Harbor, he replied. It turns out that he was near Schofield barracks when the Japanese attacked and he saw the aircraft fly overhead with their bombs. He was about 16 years old. What a treasure to meet a person who stood and watch one of the pivotal battles of history. I need to sit down and record his memories. The moral, reach out and talk to some of the elderly people you know and find their experiences. You may be surprised and provide a pearl of knowledge and they would probably enjoy the attention.
     
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  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    How cool is that!
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    What a great discovery! Must have made for a memorable lunch!

    When I lived in Trinity County (to the west of Redding, California), we had an older gentleman who was a regular customer at the hardware store. Neat guy always doing some sort of project and had a great sense of humor. Years later, when he passed away (in 2009) I found out it was James Swett, USMC MoH.

    You just never know what stories these folks have.
     
  4. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Damn! Keep us posted!

    saw a guy driving aroud my town with a Pearl Harbor Vet License Plate. Should have followed him home...
     
  5. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    yeah you do need to talk with him as much as possible and record it. when these men and women pass...history does too. i am a person who loves to hear the main stories but really love the incidental details...and those are the ones that fade into obscurity. stuff like: the rubber oxygen masks would rub raw spots on the faces of some of the guys during long missions. so to keep that from happening as much they wouldnt shave until after the mission was over....later on one of the crew chiefs made a small fortune sewing or somehow attaching a chamois strip around the outside of the masks. not a world beating detail but things like that facinate me. i am sure this gentle man has a lot of things to say that may not be important to him but is to others...good luck and keep us posted.
     
  6. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    I am interested in how was it to be a Japanese there if he was.
    Thanks for sharing, davparlr.
     
  7. boeing299

    boeing299 New Member

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    If he'll allow it, record the conversation. Prepare some questions in advance to get him started. Then donate a copy of the tape, with his permission of course, to your local historical society. Most love to get oral histories from residents. Some state historical commissions have oral history projects as well.
     
  8. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Good suggestion, thx.
     
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  9. nuuumannn

    nuuumannn Well-Known Member

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    Smart idea. Many years ago I was involved in an oral history project with a local museum and we interviewed many guys who had served locally in the armed forces. Some real great stories and memories came out that were able to be kept for posterity.
     
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  10. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    I recenlty had an interaction and wished I had pursued it further. I was in a local store, and saw a gentlemen with a "B-17 , 8th AF, WWII" hat. When I see folks like that , showing military service, I thank them often. I did thank him. On this day, I added "my grandfather flew with the 8th". He then said: "On my 24th mission I was shot down and spent the rest of the damn war in Stalag ??" I don't remember the number. I said sorry and thanked him again and he walked off. I don't think I upset him but not sure. I wished I could have talked to him for hours.
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    #11 GregP, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2014
    Had a very good friend who was Japanese American. Before the war, his father owned two square city blocks in San Fancisco.

    When the war came, they sent them to a camp despite his father appying as a worker on bombers, took the property and, when the war was over, got none of it back. The excuse was he was taking a Japanese magazine on gardening. He wound up as a Japanese gardner in San Francisco after the war and died not very well off. Was devastating ecnonomically, and was certainly a life changing thing. We don't always get it right, do we?

    My friend wound up dying of cancer at about age 42, and is is suspected it was because of the atomic bomb testing near the camp ... but cannot be proven legally.

    What a horrible fate through no fault of anyone's except ours. Unjust in the extreme.

    Before he died, we rode motorcycles together often.
     
  12. boeing299

    boeing299 New Member

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    I wouldn't think he should be upset. After all, he was wearing a hat that invited commentary.
     
  13. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    #13 Balljoint, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
    During the war I attended a parochial (private religious) grade school near Chicago. A Japanese family had been relocated to the school’s “custody”. The father, who worked as a custodian, had apparently been told to not interact with the students. There was a passive distancing from the community in general that included parental warnings, etc., but nothing overt.
    I surreptitiously got to know Mr. Suzuki by, for instance, studying his dexterity with chopsticks when removing gum from drinking fountains while in fact chatting with him. In any event, he was rather gregarious and told me –among many other now-forgotten topics- that he had previously been a landscaper in California. He was 63 years old with daughters in grade school and a very pleasant man. One of his daughters was in my class. I don’t recall that she ever spoke.
    At the time the consensus was that he was fortunate to have avoided the camps, but, in retrospect, though physically more grueling, the comradely of the camps would have better than the isolation at the school. At wars end, the Suzuki family disappeared. I hope for the better.

    In the context of the war, the injustice of Mr. Suzuki’s treatment is petty. But it was gratuitous and completely unnecessary.
     
  14. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Please let me pay my most respects, Balljoint, to your greatest ability for the calm observation and analysis about the Suzuki family.
    I have been awfully impressed with your true story.
    Thank you very much, sir!
     
  15. Vic Balshaw

    Vic Balshaw Well-Known Member

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    That would have been one awesome moment in your life, hope you are able to follow through.
     
  16. DVH

    DVH Member

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    #16 DVH, Jan 18, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
    My wife is Japanese, and informed me that her mothers brother was a pilot in WW2, he was assigned a. Kamikaze mission, and was all prepared to make the sacrifice, but his mission was cancelled on the morning of the operation. He lived to tell the tale, though he suffered from a drug problem all his life. The Japanese military were made more complient with the use of narcotics.
    Just as amazing is the revelation that my mother in law saw the mushroom cloud from the Nagasaki atomic bomb. She was living on a nearby island, and everyone rushed outside to look at the strange cloud. Many people commented on how beautiful it looked, not knowing what it was, and how much destruction they were witnessing.
     
  17. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for sharing awesome story, DVH.
    I have ever heard of the narcotics before too.
    Drug of Mercy.
     
  18. DVH

    DVH Member

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    I imagine drugs would have taken the edge of the terror of being involved in war. Plenty of countries experimented with this, i believe LSD was developed by the military.
     
  19. Vic Balshaw

    Vic Balshaw Well-Known Member

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    Some very interesting and enlightening comment.
     
  20. VBF-13

    VBF-13 Well-Known Member

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    And then you need to tell us. Definitely. Good luck. :thumbleft:
     
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