Military Intelligence Service
Reflections and Observations
Dick is grateful to be able to share his wartime experiences and feelings.
He says, “Life is a gamble and a challenge. One must get involved, you just cannot sit back and say, ‘I’m not going to do it.’ You’ve got to give yourself.”
Life is a gamble and a challenge. One must get involved, you just cannot sit back and just say, “I’m not going to do it.” You’ve got to give yourself. This opportunity for me to be able to convey this in an audio recording, I think is a great thing. It can also become a lesson for the students. They can compare themselves with what we did in time of emergency or in need. I’m really thankful [for the] opportunity to be able to portray what I felt going through this situation. Wonderful.
OSS Radio Operators, OSS-Detachment 101 at a Washington, DC nightclub. l-r: Jim Irmiter, Bob Wagner, Dick Hamada, Bob Kneal, Joe Ciezadlo and Bob Murphy. Heading home.
Writing a Book
You remember about five, six years back when [U.S. Senator] Daniel Akaka had passed a bill [Public Law #104-106] to recognize military people who were under-compensated for their activity? It was at the JCCH [Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii] that we gathered and our group of OSS members were awarded and given additional recognition for the activities. I was awarded the Bronze Star medal.
When this particular group met, we brought up the subject of recording something that we’ve done because nothing was written before that. So, Calvin Tottori volunteered to gather all the material and write the book, which he did start. But then, old father time took over and he got sick and he passed away. So, I was asked if I would volunteer to compile and finish the book [The OSS Niseis in the China-Burma-India Theater], which is this result.
It was written by individuals that were on Detachment 101. I was able to add a few things like meeting the Doolittle flyers that our team rescued, some fifty-five years later. It is a contribution of a group of people. It’s a wonderful thing to have all this recorded because then people can look at it and say, “Oh wow, they did that?” I’m glad I was able to contribute even though it was just a little bit.
At least we have it, our record. Our future students, friends, can read it and say, “Wow, this happened.”
Dick Hamada's interview courtesy of the Center for Oral History. Photographs courtesy of Dick Hamada.