Jimmie Masaharu Matsumura

Gender Male
Birth date 1917-6-8
Place of birth Los Angeles CA, U.S.A.
Inducted 1941-4-1, Ft. MacArthur, San Pedro CA
Enlistment type Draftee
Service branch Army
Service type War
Unit type Support
Units served 161st Infantry Regt.
41st Div.
4th Army Military Intelligence School, Presidio, San Francisco (Graduated Nov. 1941)
Intelligence School Instructor, Camp Savage, MN.
Far Eastern Div. G-2, Pentagon, Washington D.C.
GHQ, Tokyo, Japan
Military specialty Infantry - Machine gunner, Anti-tank gunner
Military Intelligence School Instructor
Stationed USA: Presidio of San Francisco, CA; Camp Savage, MN; Washington, D.C.
Other Countries: Guam Island; Central Pacific; Japan
Separated Zama, Kanagawa Pref. JP
Unit responsibility To train qualified language personnel for vital overseas combat intelligence duty.
Personal responsibility To investigate and confiscate any pertinent document from various ministries of the Japanese government including the Office of Privy Council (on the Imperial Palace grounds) in order to carry out the smooth operation of the Allied occupation policy.

Also performed duty as a court monitor as well as an investigator for the A, B, C, D classes of the Far East Military Tribunal to see to it that court interpretations were being carried out correctly. I frequently left for field investigation to the Sugamo Prison and rural areas whenever it was necessary to get documentary evidence.

Major battles (if served in a war zone) None
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit) Legion of Merit (for Meritorious Service)
Army Commendation Medal (for Meritorious Achievement)
Good Conduct Medal with Clasp (maintained excellence and efficiency ratings for three years)
American Defense Service Medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
Japan...The eight commendations were received from Maj. Gen. Karl Truesdell, Commandant of the Command and General Staff School, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Brig. Gen. P.E. Peabody, Chief of the Military Intelligence Service of the War Dept. and Colonels connected with various Intelligence Agencies for my intelligence assignments and for giving lectures to 600 Allied officers regarding 'Prisoners of War' and 'Enemy Documents at the Command and General Staff School.'
Living conditions Living conditions were terrible immediately after the end of the war. We stayed at the NYK Building in Tokyo. There was no heating system, therefore no hot water whatsoever. It was not uncomfortable to take cold showers in summer, but it was rough in winter. We would run into the cold shower just to get wet and run out in a few seconds to rub our bodies vigorously with a towel to keep warm. Food was not bad, but it was always inadequate. 35mm movies were shown once in a while for entertainment.
Most vivid memory of military experience Among my many memories, one that stands out the most was the confusion caused by the Pearl Harbor bombings on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. Being Sunday, I was about to leave on a weekend pass for the city of San Francisco. About 8:00 A.M., Col. Weckerling and his staff officers arrived and immediately assembled all of us students in a classroom where he told us of the unfortunate incident. He wanted to know everyone's decision and allegiance. He related his personal bitter experience at the outbreak of WWI shortly after graduating from the West Point Military Academy due to his German-American lineage. Our terrible confusion was beyond expression.
Missed most whilst in the military First, despite several promises of promotion to Commission rank, I was never given that opportunity. (War Dept. policy had prohibited commissioning Nisei at the beginning of the war.)

Secondly, I was constantly concerned about the well-being of my parents and brother confined at the cold Heart Mountain internment camp in Northern Wyoming.

Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience? Resolve problems among the various races and cultures in a peaceful manner; try to understand each other better and instill trust and friendship in our interactions. Also, promote teamwork and extend aid to others.
Additional information When I was an Army instructor at Camp Savage, Minn., I had four white officer, classes of 8-10 students each and five Nisei classes of 20-25 students each in my charge. A white colonel from New York, whose name I do not remember, was not able to keep up with his classwork and was under the influece of alcohol most of the time. He always pulled rank on me whenever I returned his exam paper with a failing grade and went as far as to threaten to court martial me for insubordination to a superior officer.

Although I was a master sergeant (top non-commissioned rank), I kept my cool and told him that I represented Col. Kai E. Rasmussen, the school Commandant, and carried out his direction. He started to use vulgar words and said that we Niseis started the war against the United States and sided with Japan.

I left the classroom immediately and reported the incident to the Commandant and Maj. John F. Aiso, Director of Academic Training. Col. Rasmussen called the alcoholic officer to his office and after listening to both sides, he severely reprimanded him for his unofficer-like behavior and warned him of possible demotion. On Commandant's insistence, the officer apologized and shook hands with me and that was the end of it. Without Maj. Aiso's legal efforts, I know this would not have settled peacefully. I am very grateful to John, even to this day, over fifty years later. I grieve John's untimely death, and I miss him a great deal.

I would like to say that the promotion system of the U.S. Army was very discriminatory and unfair. A few white privates whom I failed in my class were later commissioned and out-ranked me upon their graduation from the Camp Savage Intelligence School. Although they were division chiefs of the G-2 Section, Pentagon, when I was assigned there, they were not qualified to serve in that capacity because we Niseis had to help perform their duties. As I was a top ranking non-commissioned officer, I had to help them especially on Japanese SOSHO writing and translation.



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