Far from home

June 9, 2010
By brant cheeley BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
brant cheeley BRONZE, Portland, Oregon
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It’s not much that you hear the story of a Japanese solider in World War two, but this story could change a lot of that. It was a stormy night when the 12th regiment (Japanese infantry) rolled into our little base. It’s been three month since seen a different face in this base but soon I’ll regret even seeing those new men. When I heard the sound of a truck engine I ran to my tent door and quickly looked out. It was a major from the 3rd tank battalion. He had three trucks with him and two were clearly full of ammunition and food. The third one though was full of soldiers. They all looked like fresh recruits. I walked over to the major and saluted him. He quickly saluted back and then walked with general Cho. I quickly introduced myself to the new recruits by saying “Hello, my name is Lee Chang, but you will all address me as sergeant Chang”

I got a whole bunch of “Yes, sirs.” Quickly I made the hand signal to move out and we walked up and down White beach, Peleliu island. Word of American naval fleets was spreading quickly and every zero bomber squad we sent out doesn’t report back. As my fresh recruits and I walked up the beach we saw a little black dot on the sea moving toward us. Right as we looked the alarm went off and a mortar shell hit the back of my line of recruits my men were in. I quickly yelled to get to the bunkers and man the machine guns.

The fight to protect our bunkers took close to six days and on the sixth day it all went down hill. When our general heard we were down to rifles he called for a quick retreat. As the word got to me and my platoon, I quickly got all my stuff together. We all got together at the exit of the bunker and waited for the sound of retreat. My men and I were very nervous and some even started crying. The morale of my men was very low and I hoped retreat would somewhat fix that. Then it went off. My men jumped to there feet and practically ran each other over to get out. It took five minutes to get all of them out. The men sprinted out into the open, but as soon as they did they were plowed down by fighter planes machine gun fire. I couldn’t believe what happened but I ran away as fast as I could. I couldn’t stand hearing the cries of my men. Two men and me made it to the village we were heading for, but as we got there the other two men were shot down by snipers and I was shot in the leg. I screamed in agony and cried for help. I heard foot steps come near me and then I passed out. I awoke many hours later in a tent. A white American medic came and checked on me. I didn’t move, because I knew where I was. I was in an American outpost and I am now a prisoner. Its not as bad as the general said it was though. I was feed and taken care of and learned English. Then they told me that after the war id be moving to America if I was good. I waited three years and when the word of war ended I was overjoyed with excitement. They gave me American money and sent me off. When I arrived in America everybody was nice which was funny, because we had killed a lot of there people in the war. They must be more forgiving then we are. After about a year of living in America I met a nice American lady and married her. We now have three boys and a daughter. Life in America is great I just wish my friends I fought beside would be where I’m at too. I miss those guys, but they gave it there all at least.

Lee Chang lived on to be sixty-five before he died of a stroke. His family name was carried on for many generations and is still here today. Lee was a Great War hero and risked him self many times for the sake of his people. May god be with his weary soul.

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