Shiroku "Whitey" Yamamoto
442nd Antitank Company

Thoughts on the 100th Infantry Battalion

For a time, the 442nd RCT and the 100th Infantry Battalion are both at Camp Shelby.

The 100th is deployed to Europe while the 442nd remains behind for further training.

The men of the 442nd track news from Europe closely, marking the progress of the 100th and checking casualty lists for names of friends.

100th Battalion soldier during mock maneuvers in Italy

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When we arrived in Camp Shelby, the 100th were transferred from Camp McCoy down to Camp Shelby and they were going through light maneuvers. And during the summer months, they were on the major maneuvers with other outfits, preparing to go overseas. So, when they left for overseas, it was kind of a sad feeling, that here, the boys are going overseas, and one of these days, we’ll be in that same position. So it was a mixed feeling.

100th Battalion BAR gunner during mock maneuvers in Italy

We thought and talked over very soberly that the day will come, and we have to be very well prepared and got good training. So, when they started off in Salerno, then we kept a close watch as to the casualty list, who that we might know. In fact, for that matter, as the 100th boys started to advance up north of Salerno, going through the battle, and our 442nd boys were called to be a replacement.

100th Battalion soldiers during mock maneuvers in Italy

And in my company, we had an officer by the name of Bun Takagi. He was part Irish, part Japanese. His mother was Irish and the father is Japanese, and he’s from Attica, New York. And he was one of the replacement officers, and he went overseas to be with the 100th. But within three months, he was killed by the snipers, the German snipers got him. So that was a sad thing for us, at that time. So when you come across somebody that you know very intimately, like Bun Takagi, it’s, you know, a really sobering experience that we went through, before we were shipped out. [W]hen we went through that basic training and maneuvers, it’s just like one big family that kind of gets you.

Yeah, we hear [about casualties], because I guess the headquarters in the regiment would get all the casualty list. And down through the---by word of mouth, it comes down to us, so we got the news that way. At least that way, they may have published the casualty list in the headquarters of the regiment, but I guess by word of mouth, we heard that.

100th Battalion soldiers in Valletri, Italy

Whitey Yamamoto's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of U.S. Army Signal Corps.

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