Hichiro Matsumoto
232nd Combat Engineer Company

Life After the War

As a World War II veteran, Hichiro finds employment at Fort Shafter: initially in the supply department, later in firefighting.

When he is laid off, he returns to carpentry for private contractors.

He marries Janet Segawa in 1947. Keith is born in 1948 and Coleen in 1952.

From 1952 to the time of his retirement in 1979, Hichiro works for the U.S. Navy at Barber's Point and the Public Works Center.

When I came home and I was discharged the latter part of December of [19]45. In 1946 I worked January, and February, I went back work, look for work already. So I wasn’t loafing for long.

Firefighter

The first thing what I did was, since being a veteran, I went to work Fort Shafter as a supply department. You know, those things like that. Only a few months of that and then they had an opening for a firefighter at Shafter. So, we went. What made us apply for the job was, every other day you’re off.

From Fort Shafter, I got laid off, being a low-pointer. So I went back to my old trade, carpenter. Working for the contractors.

Marriage (1947)

[After I got married to Janet in 1947, we lived at Halawa.] Halawa Housing we went to was former navy station, where the sailors used to live. They had a barracks-type building. We stayed there for about two-years, I think.

And then I built this place. So we came here in December of 1950.

All my friends were in the service together. Because somehow I lost contact with my Kalihi friends. Because like the old folks, hanashi ga awan [nothing in common to talk about] with the old [friends], you know.

Barber’s Point (1952)

Used to get one young guy [next door], about my age. He was working at the shipyard, Pearl Harbor [Naval Shipyard]. So he told me, “Hey, Hichi, where you working?” I told him, “Oh, contractor.” Private contractor. He said, “Go apply shipyard, they’re hiring a lot of carpenters.”

And shipyard is good because it’s civil service, you get [paid] vacation, you get sick leave and all that. So I applied and I got the job. And it’s a good place to work for. Get vacation time and all that. So I stayed, I worked for the navy until I retired in [1979 or] 1980.

Hichiro Matsumoto's interview reprinted courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Hichiro Matsumoto.

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