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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1082/

525 Quartermaster Corps

They formed what they called the 525 Quartermaster Corp and I guess they had a lot of other problem...troublemakers you might say from the Americans of German descents, Italian descents and people like us of the Japanese. So they put us into this unit called 525 Quartermaster Corp which…just to put us together and function was, just like I say, digging a whole and filling it up [laughs], a do nothing outfit. And then later on, I believe, they found out that we were good soldiers so…whenever they asked us an opinion we’ll give it but…we were obedient, we worked hard.

So, then they formed us 1800 General Service…Engineer General Service Battalion. And it was a legitimate engineering outfit. We had all the heavy equipment, build our own camps, do major bridge building and all that, so we had all those facilities. But all of us in there were ineligible for – we were all busted to privates when we got in there, and…but we were all given responsible positions, people were driving the tractors the…all the heavy equipment – as privates. And myself, I was on a pick and shovel for a while then they put me as acting supply sergeant and acting motor pool sergeant and then they put me as a company clerk, acting company clerk. So there I’m able to interact with all the officers daily, on a daily basis. They were very sympathetic to us and they knew our plight.


1800th Engineer General Service Battalion 525 Quartermaster Corp armed forces military United States Army World War II

Date: March 25, 2005

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Sojin Kim

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Cedrick Shimo was born in 1919 and grew up in the diverse neighborhood of Boyle Heights. He was active in the Boy Scouts, kendo and the Cougars, a Japanese American athletic club. He received his draft notice the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor while he was at graduate school in Cal Berkeley so he joined the army and signed up for the Military Intelligence Service Language School. However, when he was denied furlough to visit his mother in Manzanar, he became outraged and refused to fight overseas and was placed in the 1800th Engineering Battalion – a segregated group of German, Italian, and Japanese Americans who were considered suspect. Their role was to repair damages to roads, bridges and fences caused by combat troops during training maneuvers. He returned to Boyle Heights after being honorably discharged from the 1800th and went on to become vice-president of the export division for Honda.

On November 20, 2008, Japan awarded him The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays for his efforts in promoting Japan-U.S. trade during a time of trade friction between the two countries while he was at Honda.

He passed away in April 2020 at age 100. (April 2020)

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