By Sgt. Dale Kramer

THE PHILIPPINES—Nagio Kuisho gave a final polish to his shoes. When he stood up, his fresh-laundered uniform set nattily to his small body. He took off his horn-rimmed glasses and rubbed them to a careful brilliance with a handkerchief. Finally, with thumb and forefinger, he tucked his lips back until he had added a full quarter-inch expansion to his great white teeth, envy of the regiment.

An inscrutable smile spread slowly over the saffron features of Nagio Kuisho as he approached the orderly room. His hour was at hand. When his girl back in Yokohama, a babe named Putzy Nogo, heard the story of the events about to transpire she would once more open her arms, which had been closed at the time he busted out of OCS.

japanese army soldiers china nagio

Japanese Soldiers on the move in China

“Yessy sir, Honorable CO,” Nagio Kuisho said smartly, using the Hollywood language lately adapted by crack units of the Japanese Army.

The CO looked Nagio closely up and down, his face falling slightly at finding no excuse for eating Nagio out. From the drawer of his desk the CO took an object about the size and shape of a large taw.

It was the turn of Nagio’s face to fall. “Honorable sir,” he said, trying to keep the disappointment out of his voice, “understanding me having big bomb.”

The CO beamed. He happily ate Nagio for a while, inquiring who the hell he thought he was to decide whether he was to have a big bomb or a little bomb. Anyhow, the brass was getting suspicious of big bombs. Too many men were blowing themselves up just for the hell of it.

After the CO had dismissed him, Nagio traveled many days, at first on foot and finally by swimming on a log. Sometimes he had nothing for dinner but a grain of rice. Mostly he sustained himself on thoughts of luscious, officer-loving Putzy Nogo.

At last the day came when Nagio Kuisho approached his destination, a large encampment of American troops. Nagio recognized the shed-like tropical buildings by the foot-high letters “AG” near the door.

Slowly he rose until he could see over the flimsy half wall. The CQ was engrossed in a copy of True Comics and, being only half way through, would certainly be engaged for another hour. Nagio’s head and shoulders loomed above the wall. He gripped the miniature grenade in a sweating hand. The target was in sight. A vision of the soft form of Putzy Nogo rose before him as his arm swing snake-like over his head.

Nagio had not pitched for the Hirohito Street All-Stars for nothing. It was a direct hit. He hugged the ground, inwardly cussing the CO’s niggardliness. But it was a reasonably large blast, forceful enough to carry a scrap of wreckage over the wall. Nagio scooped it up as he retreated. It was the handle, or crank, of some sort of machine.

At first the dastardly act caused little excitement in the encampment. As a matter of fact, Nagio received no credit. A tech sergeant remembered that a T-5 named Thomas H. Moore Jr. had left a can of paint near the mimeograph machine. Since many of the hopelessly mangled parts were splashed with paint, it was assumed that the can had exploded.

The first sign of trouble, no bigger than a man’s hand, appeared on the horizon shortly afterward when the adjutant, a Maj. Goodwork, suggested in a carrying voice that T-5 Thomas H. Moore Jr. be placed at his proper level of service. Shortly thereafter an anemic second lieutenant tapped on the major’s desk. “Beg to report, sir,” he said, “Your wishes concerning T-5 Thomas H. Moore Jr. will be carried out.”

Maj. Goodwork looked at the lieutenant with the ancient sarcasm of Old Army men. “Lieutenant, you mean Private Thomas H. Moore Jr. don’t you?”

“Beg to report that we will be unable to publish the order for some little time, sir,” the lieutenant replied in a voice of a man on whom it is dawning that a crisis is at hand. “If you recall, sir, the mimeograph machine blew up a few hours ago.”

That was the beginning. By afternoon:

1st Lt. O.L. Obolo, acting CO of C Company, had placed his enlisted personnel, including first-three-graders, on KP in the course of a tantrum bought on by the knowledge that his expected promotion to captain was delayed indefinitely.

Garbage was piling up in the company streets for want of an official SOP on its disposal.

Maj. Goodwork had suffered apoplexy upon seeing T-5 stripes on the arm of Thomas H. Moore Jr.

The entire camp was uneasy because nothing new on proper uniform or military courtesy had been published for more than 24 hours.

Nineteen men who were being transferred from A to H Company, 14 men who were being transferred from B to A Company, and 17 men who were being transferred from H to A Company were sitting in the streets on their barracks bags awaiting official orders.

The general’s aids were in conference deciding the best method of breaking the news to him. It happened that the general had expressed his intention of departing for the States shortly after his leave and travel orders were published. He was under the impression that they had been.

The rest of the story doubtless will not be revealed until peace. It is known, however, that one month later a famed military administrative wizard succeeded by unorthodox methods in getting four trucks of C rations to the camp. At present writing he has brought a degree of chaos out of the confusion by dissolving the organization and converting the entire camp into a casual depot.

For More Reading Check Out:

Bread and Rice: An American Woman’s Fight to Survive in the Jungles and Prison Camps of the WWII Philippines

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II’s Greatest Rescue Mission

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