Barney Hajiro oral history interview, part 1 of 2, January 17, 2010


Dublin Core


Barney Hajiro was born on September 16, 1916. He was the second oldest of his siblings. He grew up on a plantation in Maui, Hawaii, during the Great Depression.

During Barney's school years, he attended first through eighth grade. He did not have transportation to go to high school. Therefore, after the eighth grade, Barney worked on the plantation weeding the grass and irrigating the sugar crops.

Barney worked hard and never complained while working on the plantation. Later, he moved to Honolulu looking for a stevedore position but worked as a dishwasher instead. There were no opportunities for Asians to work as a stevedore.

In February 1942, Barney joined the Army and did not receive weapons training. Therefore he did not go overseas with the 100th. Barney stayed behind at Schofield and was part of the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion. He left the 1399 to volunteer for the 442nd. Barney went to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for basic training. At Shelby, he was assigned to Company M, heavy weapons, as a runner and later transferred to Company I.

Barney fought in the Bruyeres and Biffontaine battles and later participated in the Lost Battalion rescue. He also fought in the Vosges Mountains against the German soldiers. He recalls his friends Fred Kameda and Shiro Kashino who were killed in action and that they were good soldiers.

Post-war, Barney returned to the plantation and worked as a supervisor. However, in 1946, there was a strike, and no one showed up for work. Later Barney goes back to Honolulu but could not find a job. The only positions available were stevedore or janitorial. Barney found work as a dishwasher because it was easier than plantation work.

Barney received the Medal of Honor for his service during World War Two but said the medal was not for himself but everyone in I Company.



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1916 Sep 16

Location of Birth

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service


Hajiro, Barney: narrator, Wasserman, Steven: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Barney Hajiro oral history interview, part 1 of 2, January 17, 2010,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed May 23, 2024,