Ray Nosaka
100th Infantry Battalion, B Company

Wounded at Hill 600

At Hill 600 (Santa Maria Oliveto), artillery hits Ray's right thigh. Unable to walk, he crawls 20 yards into a cave. A dog wanders by and keeps him warm though the night.

Medics locate Ray the next day and move him to a nearby farmhouse that temporarily shelters others awaiting medical treatment. In a makeshift operating area, the wounded are treated. Ray notes, "No more sanitation, nothing . . . And yet, we're alive."

He is hospitalized for a month.

Thoughts on Fighting

Well, you know, the feeling is, if you don't do something, they're going to kill you. So anytime you see - you think you should fire, just fire anything like that. The feeling is, either you get killed or you kill a guy. Because anytime you fire something, you got to - for the intent to kill the guy. Likewise, they're doing the same thing to us, yeah. Because that's what a rifle is for, not for just tease you. They really fire, to kill somebody.

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And when I was wounded, I crawled in a cave. And Nakasone and I - just happened to be he was there, and I couldn't walk, so I crawled to the cave. And then, just about evening time, just a coincidence, a dog came. Oh, I was so happy, I call the dog and the dog came and kept me warm all till the next day. And then I thought of how I used to treat the dogs [on Cat Island]. And here, [this dog] just kept me warm. And then after that, he disappeared.

Wounded at Hill 600

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[W]e always go marching down like this and then when we see bullets come, we go down. But hard to find them because they're on the up - you know Italy's always like this. So they're always looking down on us, so they know exactly what we're doing. So they fire, we cannot even fire, look at them, we don't know where they are until we skirmish this way and then go this way. See, by that time, they run away already and they shoot.

Wounded soldier, Sicily

You know, what happened is we advanced. So this medic guys, they go and search all over. They come in the jeep, they look all around and they find you and they get a stretcher, take you on the jeep and take you away. That's how all these guys met in the farmhouse, all lying down.

Medical Treatment

[I was wounded at] Hill 600. Those days, of course, the name is - they call it 600, but it's [Santa] Maria Oliveto, that's the town name. That's where - you know when we get wounded - the next day they come with a stretcher and take us to a farmhouse. We're all lined up -lying down like this.

Slopes up to Santa Maria Oliveto, 1943

That's the time this guy [Yoshinao "Turtle"] Omiya, came after - I was lying down - I could hear him say, "Eh, Omiya going to get blind." That's where Sparky Matsunaga, too, he came in afterwards, just about the same time Dr. [Richard] Kainuma got hit, Dr. [Isaac] Kawasaki got hit. Just about the same time, all we lined up in the farmhouse with the stretchers, all lined up.

Yoshinao Omiya and Audrey, his seeing eye dog

And then when we go to the place to operate, it's a tent like this and all of us lying right down on the ground. And they give us hypo or something to relieve us a little bit. And right on the side like this, there's a room. They operate you right there. And then you got to line up.

And there's a big bucket like this where they cut the leg off of one, they throw 'em right inside there. No more sanitation, nothing, you know. And yet, we're alive. If down here, everything got to be clean, wash your hands, regular. Not that kind over there.

After that, they took me to Naples hospital and they operated again. But you look at that hospital and you look at the one they operated. It's so different because this side, you get more clean. . .this side is all ground.

“I still have shrapnel in my thigh from my injury at Hill 600. The shrapnel sets off metal detectors.”

- Ray Nosaka, July 2006

But when I think of that, how did we survive? Even over here, you go to a clinic, everything is sanitation. That all, no such thing as sanitation. They just carry you over there. Lie down and just do what they want. But there's nobody who got poisoned or anything.

Even when I had my teeth - Dr. Kometani was our dentist over there - with this kind pump kind. Not the kind, you know, electric kind with the pump foot over here. And it hurt so much. They don't inject or anything. At least he fix one tooth, anyway.

I would say [I was in the hospital] about a month.

Ray Nosaka on leave, Italy

And they're so courteous. They send a telegram that how I'm doing. [Aki] kept the telegram. I say, "Why are they so nice to" - get thousands of soldiers getting wounded but she got a personal letter from the - that I was doing well and whatever. That's why Americans, sometimes, they're too good. Not like the enemy kind.

Yet, the German enemies, they were well fed. They get the best beer and everything. When you capture them, you get a lot of good stuff. But us, we don't have that.

German Prisoners of War

When I was in the cave the next day, they had about eight prisoners they were taking down. German prisoners. And I was just about so mad, I was going to fire at the guy. Nakasone push the rifle, "No, no, don't do that." Because if I did that to them, I'd be court martialed. Because they are prisoners, you're not supposed to fire. But I felt that what the heck, they killed us, we got to kill them, too. I was so mad about it. But I'm glad that that Nakasone pushed my rifle away.

Ray Nosaka's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Ray Nosaka, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Digital Archives, U.S. Army Center of Military History, and U.S. Army Signal Corps.

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