Paul Bannai oral history interview, part 3 of 8, September 15, 2002


Dublin Core


When Paul Takao Bannai hears the news of Pearl Harbor on December 7, his reaction is to help and defend the United States. Paul's parents support him and encourage him to defend America. By joining the 442nd and serving with the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), Paul shows his patriotism and loyalty to the United States.

After training, Paul goes overseas. In New Guinea, Paul and fifteen Nisei MP and set up a POW camp. His job is to interview the POWs. The next step for General MacArthur is to set up the next landing spot in the Philippines.

General MacArthur's next landing is Leyte Islands. Paul and the MP set up the POW camp for interrogation. Paul recalls the capture of a Japanese sergeant, and he gives the locations of the cannons fired at night. Besides the POWs intel, Paul's team gets the radio signal of the Japanese soldiers and hears their conversations. Paul recalls the Japanese Navy attack and saving the Japanese soldiers from the ship.

Later, Paul receives orders to go to Australia and join the Australian Army unit for translation. Paul and the Australian Army travel to Borneo because there are still many Japanese troops in that area. Paul remembers a case of interrogating a Japanese soldier in the hospital who is a Nisei drafted into the Japanese Army.

In Borneo, there are snipers, and Paul is assigned guards for protection. One of Paul's guards is shot by a sniper, and he tries to save him. Paul is awarded a medal from the Australian government. However, that medal is only awarded to Australian soldiers, and Paul returns the medal.

Paul stays in Borneo to assist with the surrendering ceremonies. After the surrender ceremonies, Paul goes to Manila, Philippines, but his unit leaves for Tokyo, Japan. Before going to Tokyo, Paul flies to Okinawa with other soldiers to help them with trade translations. In Tokyo, Paul learns he is promoted to second lieutenant if he serves during the occupation forces. However, Paul turns down his commission. Paul recalls visiting Kyoto to visit relatives.



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Date of Birth

1920 Jul 04

Location of Birth

Incarceration Facilities

War or Conflict

Branch of Service

Entrance into Service


Bannai, Paul: narrator, Nakaishi, Russell: interviewer, and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Paul Bannai oral history interview, part 3 of 8, September 15, 2002,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed March 2, 2024,