Tom Yamada oral history interview, part 3 of 5, October 3, 2004


Dublin Core


Yamada discusses his experience on the Mainland and going overseas. Yamada is not at Camp McCoy for very long. Only a few months for infantry training for the 100th Infantry Battalion. Later he volunteers for Military Intelligence Service.

In Hawaii there is mainly Americans of Japanese ancestry; therefore, did not associate with mix races much. On the mainland, Yamada has no problems interacting with others of mix race. After passing an exam, Yamada goes to Camp Savage. He recalls the weather being cold and lives in barracks. At Camp Savage he studies language, geography, and history for eight hours a day. In the evening, lights are out at 8pm. The only place that has lights is in the latrine and he studies in there. Yamada is at Camp Savage for 1/2 year and then is transfer to Camp Snelling. He is at For Snelling for a few months before shipping out.

Yamada goes overseas on a troopship for 29 days to Australia. On the ship, the soldiers have two meals a day. He is assign to Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) and got along with mainland soldiers. In New Guinea, his assignment is to translate and interrogate Prisoners of War (POWs).

A memorable story during basic training is hearing about the Mainland soldiers' family being interned and their decision to serve for America.






Spatial Coverage



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1914 Aug 21

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service




Yamada, Tom: narrator et al., “Tom Yamada oral history interview, part 3 of 5, October 3, 2004,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed May 20, 2024,