Japanese-American Soldier Recalls World War 2 | Memoirs Of WWII #19

Japanese-American Soldier Recalls World War 2 | Memoirs Of WWII #19


See, our parents are very strict about being
American. “You are American. You were born here. This is your country. You defend your country, even if you have
to die for your country.” By the end of 1939, much of the Eastern Hemisphere
was engulfed in war. But for those in the United States, including
Noboru Seki of Honolulu Hawaii, life continued on as usual. Still, as the U.S. military proceeded to take
precautionary measures against potential attacks, Noboru viewed this as an opportunity to escape
the workforce. I was working as a laborer during that period. Hard, dirty work. I was glad to join the Army. See, I was working for the Corps of Engineers
along the north shore, digging trenches and fortifications for machine
gun nest, ready for defense. Late in 1941, Noboru’s parents made the decision
to move back to Japan, their country of origin. But, for reasons he could not explain, Noboru
decided not to go with them. December 4th, 1941, they decided to go back
to Japan for good. Somehow, I didn’t want to go with them to
Japan. I wanted to stay locally. Boy, that was the greatest decision I ever
made. If I went with them, I’d be in their service. I’d be your enemy. But at the time, Noboru had no way of knowing just how greatly his decision to stay in the
U.S. would affect the course of his life. And it all started just three days after he
bid farewell to his parents. December 7th, 1941, a date which will live
in infamy, Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing
in the American island of Oahu. Japan has therefore undertaken a surprise
offensive, extending throughout the Pacific area Oh, devastating. We felt real bad, because they attacked us
– same race. But, if they attack, we’ll fight. No matter who they are. But, in spite of this sentiment ringing true
for virtually all Japanese-Americans, the United States government feared that their
loyalty could not be depended upon as the U.S. went to war against Japan. In February of 1942, over 100,000 people of
Japanese descent – most of them, American citizens – were relocated to internment camps in the
western United States. They were taken away and they were sent to
the mainland camps. Nothing wrong with them. They were good citizens. Yeah, it’s a sad situation. Having been spared relocation to the interment
camps, Noboru continued his duties on the shores
of Honolulu until January of 1943 when he was given the opportunity to join
the 442nd Infantry Regiment, a unit comprised almost entirely of Japanese-American
soldiers. They were looking for volunteers. I joined right away. I didn’t want to work – no more pick and shovel. When we went to Mississippi, they never saw
us kind of people down there, so we had a problem. They said, “You are not black. You are not white. But you go where the white men go. Don’t you ever go to the black area.” But we went, in spite. We didn’t care. Human beings, you know? In Hawaii we have six or seven different races
getting together fine. In spite of segregation, racial inequality, and many people like himself detained in internment
camps, Noboru was eager to prove his patriotism in
battle overseas. I love my country, I’ll defend my country,
whatever. We took a ship all the way to North Africa
and into Italy. Naples, Anzio, and north of Rome. The Germans started shooting. See, they had all the advantage. We’re below, they’re up in the hill. We had to advance up the hill. The 88 is devastating. Fast firing. And their machine guns were fast firing too. Kind of demoralizing, you know? My lieutenant, the first night he got killed. The poor thing. A good lieutenant. The first night. He got shot in the head. But as the 442nd made their way north, through
Italy they showed themselves, again and again, to
be a relentless unit, tenacious in battle, and an honorable representation
of their country. From north of Rome all the way to Florence,
we got the Germans running. We’re small but – small but mighty. We were bonded together. We fight together. If one guy engages, we all join in. Go for broke. Never fear. Go all out. Go for broke. Heading into western France in October of
1944, the 442nd was tasked with locating and rescuing
an American battalion that was cut off and surrounded by the German
Army. Three other battalions had already attempted
a rescue, each one hurled back by the German forces. Now it was the 442nd’s turn to try. They were trapped. 200 men in a heavy pine forest. Dark, rainy, slush, muddy. A miserable place. They told us to get them out. So with I Company on the left and K Company
on the right, I and K attacked. They got the Texas battalion saved. But they lost quite a few men there. The 442nd succeeded in rescuing over 200 soldiers
of the lost battalion, but it came at a heavy price. More than 800 men were either wounded, captured,
or killed in action. Onward we went, on top of the ridge all the
way to a place called Biffontaine. That night, we were on a reconnaissance – about
six of us. We crept and crawled, looking for the enemy
position. All of a sudden – machine gun fire – not knowing
where the fire came from. I got caught by machine gun fire. It took my arm off. That was the end of my combat career. After saying goodbye to his brothers in the
442nd, Noboru was being sent back to the United States where he would spend the rest of the war recovering
in a military hospital. Over the course of the Second World War, the
442nd Infantry Regiment would become one of the most decorated units
in U.S. military history, earning over 18,000 awards, ranging from Bronze
Stars to Medals of Honor. In spite of discrimination and racial inequality, they had gone above and beyond in proving
their loyalty to their country, a country that – in spite of its flaws – Noboru
continues to hold dear to this day. We were treated like the enemy, but after
the war they treated us like local people. ‘Cause, we fought good. They know we fought good. See, our parents are very strict about being
American. “You are American. You were born here. This is your country. You defend your country, even if you have
to die for your country.” At my “Go For Broke” educational center, we
have a memorial there. Every Saturday, we have students come over. We explain about the War. I say, “You were born in this country. No matter what happens, you have to defend
your country. Go for broke.”

100 comments

  1. Now this what I like to see. I found these videos through recommend videos a year ago and can’t stop. these videos are just awesome! I have a few veterans I know from my place of work and would like to know how to be able to get into contact with you guys! A German and an American soldier! Thank you to all men and women!

  2. I would like to know what happened to his parents. Did they survive the war? It would be interesting to hear their story.

  3. During WW-II American Japanese were suspected of spying for Japan. As it turned out the spy who passed on information to Japan via the Japanese Consulate was a white guy, a British citizen who spied for money.

  4. This channel is so important for the preservation of history. These WWII guys aren’t going to be around forever and most have pretty interesting stories.
    My grandpa was an exception. He was stationed at Pearl Harbor after the attack. He wrote in his journals about how all he did was hang out with his buddies, go surfing and drink beer. I got the impression he was secretly bummed when the war ended.

  5. Go for broke. I was born in this country and i defended this country. Semper Fidelis and hats off to you sir. Nothing will ever shake the pride that i have for this nation and the sacrifices you endured along with the family members that shed blood as well. Been there standin point for over a hundered years and a hundred more.

  6. The funny thing is, Koreans were also considered as Japanese and were also segregated. Oh boy if they ever knew how much Koreans were eager to fight the Japanese

  7. Wow! Such a fighter! Thank you Sir, deepest gratitude to you. You look amazingly young too. God gave you much strength and courage ❤️

  8. what happened to his parents? did they make it to japan? or were they interned? if they made it to japan how were they treated? did they survive?

  9. Of course we talk about the bravery of these men but we forget the war crimes committed by the allies in italy as well as in japan and mainland europe… its sad how history is written by the winners and all done wrong is forgotter or forgiven… we have to remeber also those crimes committed by the allies although it is a hard

  10. My great-grandmother (a Japanese American) was out on house arrest during world war two. She was spared from internment camps because she was married to an American service member.

  11. That opening line. Man that is what we are missing in the West. All of this immigration talk would be over if more were like this chap's parents.What a very fine chap. Thank you.

  12. Many thanks for bringing us another very significant story from WWII, highlighting an exemplary American citizen and serviceman . People with the patriotism, courage, resolve, and tenacity of the men who made up the 442nd are very scarce in today's America, and such people are desperately needed. Snowflakes will not contribute to America's exceptionalism, or to its survival.

  13. These stories are very important. You get more immersed by a veteran telling their stories than by reading it on paper. Thank you for this vid

  14. I had no idea about the 442nd, thanks for informing me. A true American soldier, I hope his parents were all right. Also wonder how the Japanese Americans were treated in those camps.

  15. Great video. Great man.
    I recommend anyone who found this interesting to read the book called Infamy by Richard Reeves.

  16. That creates a really mind-blowing mental picture for me.  A bunch of white American soldiers trapped by German soldiers in the European theater when all of a sudden both begin to hear a Banzai charge advancing toward them.

  17. Absolutely inspirational. I currently attend the United states military academy preparatory school and my platoon's name is Anzio company, the same beachhead the 442nd fought in Italy. Real Americans, fighting for their country despite the ravism and injustice they received at home. Mad respect!

  18. A shameful past was the use of those internment camps. This man is a true patriot for still choosing to pick up arms and fight for a country that discriminated against him.

  19. you guys should check out the old 1940's film based off theses guy! It Had the some actual veterans in the film! It was called GO FOR BROKE!

  20. Thankyou for bringing his story and the story of the Nisei Division. Wish I could support you more on Patreon. But if every viewer who sees your work would contribute just a dollar a month, we could be saving a tremendous number of these mens' (and women's) stories. Before it's too late.

  21. This man is as hardcore American as I've ever seen, extreme gratitude goes his way for defending this country. Thank you for your service, sir.

  22. Thanks for the vid Josh! God bless you for your service! Shame on you who discriminate other human beings because of race! We are all humans and we are all the same inside.

  23. I said it before, I'll say it again "Josh, this is an honorable thing your doing", I would hope that the younger generation learns from our history, and my hat is off for these heroes. Thank you Josh !!!

  24. If you haven't, can you guys try to get in touch with Charles Coolidge? He's the last Army soldier from ww2 to receive the medal of honor. 2 died this year (Robert Maxwell and Francis Currey). Only Hershel and Charles are the last remaining WW2 MOH recipients.

  25. I sent a message recommending a 442nd vet and you guys told me one is on the way. I am extremely happy to see this video. Thank you. A lot of my relatives served in the 442nd and to many died.

  26. Internment…. More racism brought to the American people by the party of HATE…. Franklyn Roosevelt & the democratic party …….

  27. My grandpa rescued the danish Jews and got thousands of thank you notes up to his death in 2017 I love you grandpa

  28. We are lucky he didn’t move back to Japan with his parents because this man would’ve no doubt been a High Ranking member of the military. He chose correctly 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  29. This guy was treated like shit simply for being Japanese in the US and say the most hipocritical side of the US. Yet here he is telling us to FIGHT FOR YOUR COUNTRY NO MATTER WHAT! ya the imperial Japanese had the same mentality and look where that got them. I respect the man for his bravery but he is clearly a good brainwashed American citizen.

  30. These videos make me want to go out and hug and thank everyone I see wearing a WWII Veteran hat.  Sadly that is becoming a very rare thing these days.  I'll see maybe only one or two a year.

  31. Good thing the inerment camps were well kept and of good quality, at the time the risk was far too high for the US to take the chance, especially after a surprise attack of such measures. what a great story.

  32. I sometimes wish I could have been born during this time where I could have fought alongside these national treasures! Despite the rampant racism, they fought and fought with distinction. A great friend I knew fought in Libya during WWII. He was an aircraft mechanic on the P-40. He loved that aircraft and would delight when I would ask him some technical question on the aircraft. He knew it all. He passed away about five years ago and I so wish I would have known about this channel. God speed Sargent Hal. You are sorely missed.

  33. Truly the greatest generation. Not to say our boys today aren't good, but I think if we were to fight ww2 today… we would lose.

  34. German American families were interned in both World Wars and they have never received an acknowledgement, much less an apology.

  35. So is there any proof that the Japanese were loyal? Especially given how racial the Japanese Empire was and society was at the time?

  36. Veterans and patriots like him are the bedrock of this country. Every day, do not ever forget the price that has been paid for us to live comfortably

  37. Wow. What a man! My hair was standing on it's ends with every word he spoke. Thank you for your service sir. I am a Englishman who has tried to fight for my country with the RAF and Army but unfortunately I did not pass the medical as have had cancer as a child and only have 1 kidney. I hope we don't ever have another world war but if we do il be first in line to sign up.

  38. Hmm… born in america, speaks English fairly well as far as I can tell. So why does he have subtitles but the narrator does not?

  39. Please save all these videos you make of these WWII Memoirs Incase youtube ever disappears for whatever reason. We can not loose these stories.
    You never know what could happen.

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