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“We were scared but had no time to think about it—just to get the hell out of the water and on to the shore… we were able to seize important documents at the enemy command post, and these proved to be of assistance to our forces in the campaign.”

- Roy T. Uyehata

Iwo Jima
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“I was in on the start and the finish. I saw the planes coming through Kole Kole pass on December 7th, and on Okinawa I saw more Japanese planes, those special planes—with the green crosses on them that were taking the Japanese surrender party to Manila.”

- Hoichi Kubo,
Yankee Samurai

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“Seiyu Higashi, Leslie Higa, and Jiro Arakaki all found relatives on Okinawa. Higashi found his father whom he hadn’t seen in a dozen years, in the Naga mountains. Higa found aunts, uncles and cousins, while Jiro Arakaki finally located his father and nephews in a refugee camp just before the war ended.”

- from Yankee Samurai








Pacific Theater Overview
Alaskan Defense Command
South Pacific Command
South West Pacific Command
South East Asia/China-Burma-India
Central Pacific Command
European Command
Continental US Command
Occupied Japan

Alaskan Defense Command Okinawa Iwo Jima Pearl Harbor Saipan Marshall Islands Gilbert Islands

Central Pacific Command

Headquartered in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz of the Navy commanded Central Pacific Command. In battle, linguists accompanied amphibious marine assaults on most islands in the Central Pacific.

Joint Intelligence, Center Pacific Ocean Area (JICPOA):

Pearl Harbor—Although the Nisei MIS linguists were cleared by Navy intelligence, Navy officials banned them from the base unless escorted by a Caucasian officer. In their off-base office, they translated and evaluated all documents received. Aboard ships, they translated intercepted radio broadcasts.

Gilbert and Marshall Islands:

In November 1943, the assault on the Gilbert Islands began on Tarawa and Makin. The marines suffered heavy casualties on these amphibious landings. MIS linguists participated in these attacks, helping to gather intelligence through interrogations and translations.

On the taking of Marshall Islands: “The first thing he (Mike Sakamoto) did was cry at seeing so many bodies and pieces of bodies of Japanese everywhere. Mike tried to sing a Japanese song in their memory.” (Yankee Samurai, p. 182–3).


After capturing the Gilbert and Marshall Islands, Allied troops moved west to capture Saipan, one of Japan’s strategic strongholds. Japanese troops numbered about 30,000, and over 80% of the 24,000 civilians living on Saipan were Japanese.

After U.S. troops secured the island, MIS linguists risked their lives by walking into the caves unarmed to convince hiding soldiers and civilians to surrender.

After securing Saipan, the U.S. sent B-29 bombers on nearby Tinian Island on raids to Japan.

Iwo Jima:

This island, even closer to Japan, had another important airstrip of strategic importance. Over 50 MIS linguists accompanied the marines on the initial landing. The battle lasted 26 days with a high number of casualties on both sides. Allied forces took few POWs.

After fighting ended, Japanese soldiers hid in caves fearing American brutality. MIS Nisei linguists convinced many to surrender.


The Allies decided to attack Okinawa, Japan’s last military stronghold, before attempting an invasion of Japan. Kamikaze planes constantly threatened, and Japanese soldiers used civilians to flush out Allied positions.

Two captured documents translated by MIS Nisei were invaluable: 1. The Japanese defense plan for Okinawa, including a signal codebook. 2. A chart showing the artillery and heavy mortar positions of the Japanese defense line.

A small team of MIS Okinawan Americans participated in the campaign. Some found family members who had survived the war.

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© 2003 Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California