Kenneth Hagino
1399th Engineer Construction Battalion

Reflections and Observations

I like to bring out what the 370th Engineers went through.

Video Icon
You hear about the 100th, you hear about 442nd, MIS. But a lot of the public doesn't know what we did.

And after all, we did quite a bit. When I say "quite a bit," we built the half-million gallon tank in Wahiawa, now upper Wahiawa, which still stands now. When I say "still stands," it's supplying water to the air force personnel in Wahiawa.

Besides that, we built roads. I used to operate bulldozer, we used to build the roads back of Schofield. In Wahiawa, build whatever roads, bunkers and things like that. Warehouses, you can name it. More or less, what we did.

News about us didn't come out publicly. Very few knew about us. That's why, even when we used to go out on passes, we used to be ridiculed by the public, Hey, what you folks doing, just taking it easy? Look at the 100th, 442nd, fighting in Europe, getting killed, and here you folks just taking it easy down here.

Now, you'd be surprised whatever stories went to Washington D.C., too. In fact, we were supposed to go with General [Douglas] MacArthur invasion of Philippines. Until the Hawaii command they said no, we would be mistaken for the Japanese from Japan. So that was disapproved.

Even to the landing of Okinawa, we were called to go there. That was disapproved, too. I mean things like that. So at least the Washington people knew about us, whether the government or the army.

Even later on when the Vietnam war came about, one of the CO's, well, he's retired, was leaving here, got word that if the army goes to Vietnam, can they use some of the things that we did over here, in Vietnam. For instance, like using bamboo in place of steel to build certain things like that. So that was kind of interesting, when we get words like that coming from Washington, now.

I think was what we were doing at least worthy of recognition.

At least we did our share in World War II. It's not like the 100th, 442nd, MIS, they going to the front and naturally, it's a dangerous thing getting killed. But the thing is, we back home, at least we haven't stayed idly. We did whatever we could do to actually support them or any combat troops.

Kenneth Hagino, Center for Oral History

Kenneth Hagino's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photograph courtesy of the Center for Oral History.

All rights to the reproduction or use of content in the Hawaii Nisei web site are retained by the individual holding institutions or individuals.

Please view the Hawaii Nisei Rights Management page for more information.