Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Fred Shiosaki Interview
Narrator: Fred Shiosaki
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Spokane, Washington
Date: April 26 & 27, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-sfred-01-0031

FS: So you pack up, and I tell you, it's, you're in the woods in the wintertime, days are short, and it's blacker than the inside of a wolf. Can't see a damn thing, and all you hear is, "Hey, we're moving out," and so basically you hang onto the guy in front of you, you can't see.

TI: So literally you're, you're holding onto the person in front of you.

FS: Oh, yeah. Yeah, other, it's like putting a bucket over your head. You can't see anything, there's just absolutely nothing. You walk along, you stumble, you bump into the guy in front of you, the guy behind you bumps into you, but you're moving and it's pitch dark, and light doesn't come for a few hours. Gradually, I, and the engineers had corduroyed the road, logs across it for some distance, and then it just got muddy. Along, along about daylight -- and daylight probably didn't come 'til seven o'clock -- we hear a firefight going on ahead of us. And, and we, we move up, move up, and finally the whole column stops. And so when the column stops like that, you dig in. We were, we were on a trail along the ridge, and you dig in and you, just a little slit trench or something, but just gets you off the ground. The fire, firefight gets intense, intense, intense, usually the thing, the firefight ends and you move up a little bit more, geez, we didn't move at all. This firefight kept going and going. And the next morning, we were, I'm still in there. I think, I think I'm still in the same trench, or somewhere another ten yards up, and we're stuck there; the platoon is stuck there. This general comes marching, walking alongside us.

TI: This is General Dahlquist?

FS: I learned later it was General Dahlquist. And with him is, is his aide de camp and some other officers. And up ahead he meets our battalion commander, Colonel Purcell, and they're talking. And it's very apparent that the general is agitated about something.

TI: So this is, you can actually see this.

FS: Yeah, I could see part of it, if you looked. And what he was saying is, obviously was saying, "I want you to rescue my lost battalion up there."


FS: Finally that, finally after the fourth day, fifth day, we started to move and move and move. And the general isn't up there, and the colonel is pushing us up, and this terrible firefight is taking place. And the, finally we, the path goes this way and then we curve up to, to hit, finally, the German strongpoint. And just, artillery coming in, and rifle fire, small arms fire, and God, as I started up that slope, I see this kid I was friends with, with a bullet in his head. Jesus, I don't know... finally, we were all moving up, the colonel, we'd been ordered to move, and so we're moving, and the firefight is going on. And a shell hits the tree above me and I get knocked down, and Jesus... I said, "God, I'm hit." And one of the guys comes over to me and says, "Are you," pulls the sweater up, and there's a big piece of shrapnel in my side, and I'm, I'm not bleeding a hell of a lot, but I'm bleeding. And the medic patches it up, puts something on it, that's it, so we keep going. But as we cleared... the ridge is like this, and the ridgeline drops over here, and the main, main attack is up this side of the ridge, and there's Colonel Purcell, big as, big as God, six-feet-six, standing there and waving us on: "Come on, you guys, let's go, let's go." And I'm sure that that finally just did it. Everybody just moved, and suddenly in combat, you know the battle is over when the firearms stop, and it just quit, it just, whump, and it was quiet. And all you heard, all you heard then was artillery fire off in the distance, and, "My God, it's done." I don't know, there was just hardly anybody left.

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