Apropos Memorial Day I wanted to tell you all something about my Daddy.
He was a Field Artillery Battery Commander in France during the First World War, but they thought he was too old old for combat in the Second World War, so they put him in the Military Police. He didn't like that. He wanted to be in Artillery again.
I remember the sunny day in 1942 when he said goodbye to us on the front steps. He felt very invalidated about not being allowed to fight for his country like he had done just 23 years before. He told my mother, "For God's sake don't tell anyone I'm in the Military Police."
"What shall I tell them?"
"Just say I'm playing the piano in a whore house." And he got in his Ford and drove away to war.
They assigned him to inspecting all the restaurants in the VIIth Corps Area (San Antonio, Tx ) for being sanitary enough for military personnel, not knowing that he shared Howard Hughes' famous attitude about cleanliness.
After he pissed off most of the restaurateurs San Antonio, by putting their restaurants off limits for military personnel, they transferred him to the dreary job of commanding the Army team that was to interview all the Japanese Americans the politicians had put into internment camps and figuring out what to do to make them resent it a little less. They thought that would keep him from doing anything too alarming.
But what he found out was that nearly all the Japanese kids wanted to fight for their country ... this one. So he and his team interviewed all the adults but put a lot of time and effort into working out how to let them do that.
In this picture, shot by an Army photographer in 1943, here he is, recruiting some Nisei for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.