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Service Company

Service Company of the 442nd RCT. Camp Shelby, Mississippi. June 1943. Courtesy of the United States Army.

Service Company was responsible for providing the support needed to ensure that the regiment could effectively engage in combat. Its services were wide-ranging and essential to the daily operations of the regiment. They included everything from maintaining equipment to supplying ammunition, food, and clothing, to processing the regiment's mail, money orders, and pay vouchers. Service Company also handled the motor pool and dealt with personnel issues like the processing of awards.

On average, the company consisted of about 115 men, including both officers and enlisted. The company was organized into ten different sections, including Company Headquarters, Regimental Headquarters, Regimental Supply, Ammunition, Motor Pool Maintenance, Transportation, Postal, Personnel, Special Services (which handled leisure activities and the distribution of PX rations) and Public Relations.1

James N. Yamamoto (left) and Theodore T. Yamate (right), with the Headquarters' pet pigeon. France. October 12, 1944. Courtesy of the United States Army Signals Corps.

Technician Fifth Grade Charles M. Saiki, a Kauai native who volunteered to serve in the Army, remembers when he was first assigned to Service Company upon his arrival at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Initially he was baffled by his assignment, unsure of the role he was to fill. But then he came to understand Service Company as "like a management company... we take care of the supplies, mail, whatever we have to do to transport the people."2 Master Sergeant Theodore T. Yamate, another volunteer from Hawaii, described Service Company as the unit that "did the service to take care of the needs of all the rest of the regiment."3

Saiki first served as a truck driver for Service Company's motor pool, and learned to drive a 6x6, two-and-a-half ton truck, a far cry from the small truck he drove on his Kauai family farm "hauling coconuts and hauling rice."4 Overseas, he was assigned to the motor division, hauling ammunition in the mountainous region of Sospel, sometimes driving all night to travel back down into the valley where the enemy was entrenched and where the shelling was quite constant. Yet he also drove in less demanding conditions, taking troops to and from their R&R location in Paris.

Yamate's job placed him always at the rear of the regiment, working closely with the Regimental Headquarters Company, performing necessary administrative work. For example, he was responsible for compiling the daily bulletins and morning reports, which reflected the numbers of men active on the field. Such reports were used to determine the rations and other supplies needed.5

The performance of Service Company as a support unit of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team earned it the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque (later redesignated as the Meritorious Unit Service Commendation)6 and Combat Infantryman Badges.7

Footnotes

1Alexander Oka, "442nd Regimental Combat Team, Service Company," 1983, 442nd Regimental Combat Team 40th Anniversary Souvenir Booklet, reprinted by Club Chapters, 442nd Veterans Club, accessed February 23, 2015, http://www.442.us.com/clubchapters.html.

2Oral history interview with Charles Saiki, March 19, 2005, Hawaii, Tape #2, Hanashi Oral History Program, Go For Broke National Education Center, accessed on February 20, 2015, http://www.goforbroke.org/oral_histories/oral_histories_video_display_names_mp4.php?clip=54703.

3Oral history interview with Ted Yamate, March 18, 2005, Hawaii, Tape #3, Hanashi Oral History Program, Go For Broke National Education Center, accessed on February 22, 2015, http://www.goforbroke.org/oral_histories/oral_histories_video_display_names_mp4.php?clip=54503.

4Saiki.

5Yamate.

6Oka.

7Dorothy Matsuo, From Boyhood to War: History and Anecdotes of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (Honolulu, HI: Mutual Publishing, 1992), p. 153.


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