Technician Fifth Grade Charles M. Saiki, a Kauai native who volunteered to serve in the Army, remembers when he was first assigned to Service Company upon his arrival at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Initially he was baffled by his assignment, unsure of the role he was to fill. But then he came to understand Service Company as “like a management company… we take care of the supplies, mail, whatever we have to do to transport the people.”2 Master Sergeant Theodore T. Yamate, another volunteer from Hawai’i, described Service Company as the unit that “did the service to take care of the needs of all the rest of the regiment.”3
Saiki first served as a truck driver for Service Company’s motor pool, and learned to drive a 6×6, two-and-a-half ton truck, a far cry from the small truck he drove on his Kauai family farm “hauling coconuts and hauling rice.”4 Overseas, he was assigned to the motor division, hauling ammunition in the mountainous region of Sospel, sometimes driving all night to travel back down into the valley where the enemy was entrenched and where the shelling was quite constant. Yet he also drove in less demanding conditions, taking troops to and from their R&R location in Paris.
- 1Alexander Oka, “442nd Regimental Combat Team, Service Company,” 1983, 442nd Regimental Combat Team 40th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet, reprinted by Club Chapters, 442nd Veterans Club, http://www.442.us.com/clubchapters.html accessed February 23, 2015,
- 2Oral history interview with Charles Saiki, March 19, 2005, Hawai’i, Tape #2, Hanashi Oral History Program, Go For Broke National Education Center, accessed on February 20, 2015,
- 3Oral history interview with Ted Yamate, March 18, 2005, Hawaii, Tape #3, Hanashi Oral History Program, Go For Broke National Education Center, accessed on February 22, 2015,
- 7Dorothy Matsuo, From Boyhood to War: History and Anecdotes of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Honolulu, HI: Mutual Publishing, 1992), p. 153.