Kenneth Hagino
1399th Engineer Construction Battalion

December 7, 1941

Kenneth is in Hilo when Pearl Harbor is attacked.

Martial law is instituted in the Territory of Hawaii.

When Kenneth goes to work, he is informed that the Hilo Chamber of Commerce is closed. He is without a job.

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I was in Hilo.

In Hilo, it's not like being in Honolulu. Actually, it was quiet. You know, you just hear that Pearl Harbor was attacked by Japan, this and that. And living in Wainaku, that's about a mile from Hilo, there wasn't too much of, well, the speculation that everybody gets excited when there's a war. But in our area, it was really quiet.

Japanese attack on three U.S. battleships, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

I didn't know [of any hostilities taking place].

Actually, I wouldn't say any reaction [to the attack]. No surprise, because we were, at least, listening to the radio and what happened, this and that. And being in a quiet area, no reaction.

Chamber of Commerce Closes

When the war came, military government took over and they abolished the Chamber of Commerce. So I was without a job.

They just closed and we got orders from our president. We closed, there's no work already.

December 7 was Sunday, so I would say Monday then. That's when we go to work. Sunday, we don't work.

I don't think I had any reaction. Just I'm without a job now.

I just took that in stride. And after that, well, without a job, I figured, this was December. So January, February, I was deciding what to do. So on February they had the regular draft, fifth draft. And that's when I volunteered.

Kenneth Hagino's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photograph courtesy of Franklin D. Roosevelt Digital Archives.

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