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Japanese Soldier in Korea (article)

 
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gwsiii



Joined: Aug 21 2003
Posts: 2208
Location: Hayden, AL

PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Japanese Soldier in Korea (article) Reply with quote

this is reprinted/posted with permission from the editor of TMCA news and the author, article is from the TMCA News, March 2008 issue.


A Tribute To Bravery
By Lee Reynolds


A fellow Marine, Harry W. Robertson, now deceased, game me the following account of a memorable incident which occurred during the Inchon landing on Korea, Sept 15, 1950. Here is Robertson's story as he told it to me:

My Marine company, platoon by platoon, trudged up the road to Seoul. We divided into squads. Wilson was point man, I carried a B.A.R. We were under sporadic artillery and rifle fire the entire time.

Without warning, a lone figure confronted us in the road and tried to bar our path. He was Japanese, about 35, clad in an immaculate WW2 Japanese officer's brown uniform. He wore the brown frame cap with black visor and wide, red band with gold star. Around his body he wore a red and white banzai or battle flag. He waved a South Korean flag in one hand, and a black Nambu pistol in the other.

"BACKU! BACKU!" he shouted over and over, vehemently motioning for us to halt. When we did not "Backu" he shot point man Wilson through the chest. Wilson, mortally wounded, sank to his knees and drilled one crisp, clean shot directly through the center of the Japanese soldier's neck. The Japanese soldier fell backwards and lay still.

While a medic tried to attend to Wilson, we plodded past the Japanese soldier's body. One of our people seized the Nambu pistol, I grabbed the Korean and the meatball flag. The red and white flag was still warm from the soldier's body.

"What's a Japanese soldier doing defending Seoul?", somebody remarked.

"He's out of uniform, that's for sure," replied another with a chuckle. "Last War's over,..."remarked another weary, plodding Marine, referring to the dead man's out-of-date uniform. "We're workin' on a new 'un now."

A hundred yards up the road we discovered the reason why the Japanese officer had tried to stop us. A Korean orphanage lay directly in our path. The Japanese had been its civilian director. In trying to stop our advance, he believed he was protecting his kids. Inside his office, on his unmarked desk, sat a recent framed photo of him and his wife, both smiling happily and wearing civilian clothes. On the wall behind his desk hung an older photo of the man in his Army uniform.

In an adjacent room, behind overturned tables and chairs, and in corners, huddled 35-40 frightened Korean children. Their ages ranged from about 7 months to perhaps 13 years. By gestures and smiles we made it known to the frightened youngsters that we meant them no harm and that our prime concern was for their safety.

Several older children spoke halting English: "Mr. Yabutu(?) told us to run into the woods behind the building and hide. He said he was going to hold you back so we could escape."

We Marines silently looked at each other. Nobody said anything. A few of us shuffled our feet and looked at the floor. We had just witnessed an act of unparalleled bravery and self-sacrifice and hadn't realized it until now. This orphanage director, aware of our advance and believing his children to be in danger, had donned his old Army uniform and battle flag and gone forth to face the enemy one last time. He died a brave warrior defending his children.

Our Captain Davenport arrived accompanied by a radio operator. He hurriedly radioed for Amtracs to try to break through and evacuate the wailing kids. Artillery shells-both ours and theirs-were bunting closer with each passing moment. We infantrymen took positions in nearby dugouts. Half an hour later the orphanage building took a series of direct hits and disappeared in explosions of fire and smoke. By then the rescuing Amtracs had arrived and departed safely.

Robertson ended his story, We both sat silently. "I survived the war," Robertson finally said, "but that lone face down by the orphanage director still haunts me. If he's got people in Japan, they ought to know about his bravery in saving his kids." Then he shrugged, "I suppose that if anybody knew, they're forgotten by now."

I replied, "Maybe so, maybe not, but one thing's for certain: those Korean kids haven't!"

Marine Harry Robertson died of war wounds and hard living at age 53 in 1984. Before he died, he sent me his 20 year Marine Corps memorabilia. The two flags shown here were among it.
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Last edited by gwsiii on Fri Sep 18, 2009 5:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
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gwsiii



Joined: Aug 21 2003
Posts: 2208
Location: Hayden, AL

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 8:00 am    Post subject: update Reply with quote

I guess I never got around to updating this article. The flag with kanji is just a souvenir flag and not named to Mr. Robertson:
Nippon / Yokohama
USS Intrepio
Walter Dezhieski (unsure> of spell)
Nov. 29, 1945

USS Intrepid
Walter Dejaski
November 29th 1945
Yokohama, Japan

Mr. Reynolds mentioned that there were several flags in Mr. Robertson's treasures, and the he just assumed it was the one with the katakana.

I've reached a dead end researching the story. My Grandad fought in WWII against the Japanese, and what I've observed from he and the other Vets that I've been around is that most if not all, feel guilt for something related to their experiences; why they survived and buddies didn't, something they did that they would have done differently, something they did not do that they should have, and ultimately something they wished they'd never seen or done. Not a one of them would 'make up a story' to make them feel more guilt for something they didn't do. If anyone finds anything out, please let me know. Trey
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Jareth



Joined: Sep 21 2003
Posts: 65
Location: Queens, New York

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 7:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trey, it would seem this story is not legit. I hope you can read this link http://www.wehrmacht-awards.com/forums/showthread.php?t=354183
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gwsiii



Joined: Aug 21 2003
Posts: 2208
Location: Hayden, AL

PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2009 8:42 pm    Post subject: update Reply with quote

Jareth, appreciate it. That's part of what took me so long to add the translations from Takehito and Gunnar. I finally decided to put what I knew, and my 2% on the subject. Its one of those things that just make you go hhhmmmm....
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