Occupation of Japan


Aringey, Philippines to Wakayama Beach, Japan September 12, 1945

Just a few weeks ago we were preparing to invade Japan and now we are boarding, LSM’s and LST’s, Landing Craft, to occupy Japan. Once this mighty armada of ships, men and equipment was loaded we set sail to the South China Sea. I was on a LSM, a much larger boat than our LCM’s with good living quarters. Chow was good and served, bufateria style, on trays. Food was eaten by standing up at long narrow tables. Within a day the sea’s got choppy and the weather got colder. Orentation classes were held and familiarization hand books were given out. We were to occupy the Japanese territory that took in the cities of: Osaka, Tokyo and Kobe. There were many beaches designated for troop landings. My Company Headquarters was to land at Wakayama Beach. With the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect from the Japanese, we landed prepared. My regiment moved into what was once a steel mill but now a bombed out ruins. The Japanese put up no resistance and remained in their homes while we made camp.

Sergeant Day and I found a two story building that might be suitable to set up a shop for any electronic repairs. As we investigated the lower level, there were the sounds of clicking relays. Looking inside there were racks of led acid batteries. This was a telephone substation. We went up the stairs on the outside of the building, and found an open door. In the center of the room was a large wooden console. It was a telephone switch board. There were two rooms, one with an open door, the other closed. Not knowing what expect we had our carbines ready and opened the door. Much to our surprise a very frightened Japanese girl ran from the room and down the stairs. As we looked out the window we could see her walking fast down the street. She was dressed in the traditional kimono, white socks and flip flop shoes. Examining her room, it had a thick straw mat on the floor and had the appearance of her living quarters. We assumed that her job was to man the telephone switch board. Neither she nor anyone ever came back here again. That evening we set up our cot’s in the empty room. I set up my mosquito bar and net .I found a small table and emptied my pockets of tropical chocolate bars and a rosary the chaplain gave me, when leaving for Japan. During the night I thought I heard a rustling sound, but being exhausted from the long day I kept sleeping. The next morning I noticed that the candy bars were completely eaten and some beads missing from the rosary. Hey Sarg I said "We’ve been invaded by Japanese rodents!"

General MacArthur issued orders to all occupying troops to avoid contact with the Japanese, unless ordered to do so by command. The Emperor gave the orders to the Japanese people that, “the war was over and we should build a new and peaceful nation”. As time went by, we started to explore the countryside and learned more about the Japanese way of life. There were times when we took the train to Osaka and visited the shops to bring gifts home. I noticed that Osaka did not have the appearance of a bombed city. Perhaps our bombers concentrated on the industrial sites.



The days were turning colder and changes were taking place in the regiment. The Army initiated a point system that would allow the most qualified to go home. A married man with children would go home before a single man. Also, age and time of service came into play. As the weeks went by the company began to diminish. Once your name was posted you had little or no time to grab your duffle bag and go. I believe there was sadness for we all had lived and worked together for the past 3 years. By January 1946 the company remained with mostly the young. We no longer had our own Mess Hall, but went over to an Infantry Unit to eat. I and the other's that remained from the company, were offered to transfer to the 33 Infantry Division. I declined the offer.


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