Willie Tanamachi oral history interview, part 2 of 3, May 19, 2006


Dublin Core


According to Willie Tanamachi, there are two ways Japanese Americans joined the military. One way is being drafted before the war. Another way is enlisting. Willie’s brothers Goro, Saburo, Walter, and himself served in the military. Unfortunately, Saburo is killed serving in E Company, 2nd Battalion. Goro works in the motor crew and Walter serves his time in the military in Germany.

During World War II, like some Japanese American soldiers, Willie faces struggles with promotions within the military. The only option is to transfer to different units. At the time Battle of the Bulge starts, Willie is approved to transfer and joins 171st Infantry Separate.

Willie discusses his duties and departments within the military. He works in the personnel department and post-war in supplies. After the war, Willie stays with the military. His decision is based on the way he is treated as an equal by his colleagues. Although there are some racist individuals, there are more people who see past his ethnicity.

During Occupation in Germany, Willie stays there from 1945 to 1953. He describes the effects of war on the cities and how the cities start to rebuilding economically. He also mentions the Hermann Goring and Rudolph Hess’s trial and the German gang Werewolves.

In 1946, Willie works in a supply depot in Munich. There are two supply depots. One is called Indiana Supply Depot (food) and the other is called Alabama Supply Deport (clothing). When troop's dependents came over to Germany, the BMW factory becomes furniture storage for dependents. As the economy starts thriving, the BMW asked for their factory back to build cars. Besides working in the military, Willie finds himself lucky in love and marries a German woman. They have been married for 53 years.







Spatial Coverage



Oral History Item Type Metadata




Tanamachi, Willie: narrator, Horsting, Robert: interviewer , and Go For Broke National Education Center: publisher, “Willie Tanamachi oral history interview, part 2 of 3, May 19, 2006,” Japanese American Military History Collective, accessed March 3, 2024, https://ndajams.omeka.net/items/show/1058005.