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Japanese American Military Experience Database

Herbert Seijin Ginoza

Birth date
Place of birth
Kahaluu, Oahu HI, U.S.A.
1943-4-10, Ft. Sheridan IL
Enlistment type
Service branch
Service type
Unit type
Units served
815th Bomb Squadron, 483rd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force
Military specialty
Waist-tail Gunner on B-17 Bomber
Various Air Bases in USA.
Sterparone, Italy
Santa Ana Army Air Base CA
Unit responsibility
Bombing of military targets in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Personal responsibility
To protect Bomb Group from being attacked by German fighter pilots during bomb runs.
Major battles (if served in a war zone)
Bombing oil refineries, ball bearing factories, aircraft factories, marshalling yards and other important military installations in Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit)
Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Presidential Unit Citation
The Greek Commemorative Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Prisoner-of-War Medal
Living conditions
Home was a tent with sleeping bags and cots for 6 enlisted men.
Restroom was 2 blocks away and showers were always cold.
Breakfast was the usual dehydrated eggs, coffee or milk out of dry skim powder.
For recreation, a good softball field was available and the pool-tables were always occupied. Also, checkers, chess and card games were entertaining.
Most vivid memory of military experience
Seeing my second cousin, Kotoku Nakata, from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the same prison camp (Stalag 7A) in Mooseburg, Germany. It was the last place I expected to see him.
Missed most whilst in the military
Family, friends and continuation of college education.
Most important thing, personally, to come from military experience?
Even though I was a Japanese, my bomber crew members treated me with real respect and understanding. For this, I was grateful. Even after 60 years, we are still very close friends.

Be proud of your ancestral heritage. If possible, try to maintain or keep viable some of the old customs and traditions of our forebearers.

Additional information
Shortly after being drafted, I requested a transfer to the 100th Battalion and later to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Being a Japanese, I was sure that my request would be granted. Unexpectedly, I ended up in the Army Air Corp as a gunner on a B-17 bomber.

On a bombing mission to an oil refinery plant in Vienna, Austria, on 20 February 1945, our B-17 bomber was heavily damaged by anti-aircraft fire. The plane was shuddering and out of control. It started straight down, and then gained control at 14,000 feet. At 10,000 feet they were able to hold their altitude for awhile. Everything possible was jettisoned. By the time they reached the Russian lines, or so they thought, they were down to 3,000 feet and they began to bail out. We were forced to bail out near the German-Soviet front line near Lake Balaton, Hungary. Ginoza landed in German territory and was captured. All others landed on the Russian side of the line. One died when his parachute did not open.

I was captured immediately upon landing by four Hungarian civilians. They took me to a small village hospital for treatment of wounds received from small arms fire during descent. After five days they took me to a German field interrogation center in Papa, Hungary.

From the 28th of February until 20th of March, we (six airmen) journeyed through Bratislava, Pilsen and numerous small town in Czechoslovakia (walking and short truck rides) on our way to Stalag 13D in Nuremberg, Germany. After only two weeks at this location, the entire group of prison-inmates were force marched to another prison camp (Stalag 7A) in Moosburg, Germany. During our first day of marching, the column of prisoners was strafed by American P-47 Thunderbolts. I was fortunate and had time to make a dive into a road parallel ditch. We were liberated May 10, 1945 and sent to South Hampton, England. Returned to the US in August and finally discharged in December 1945.

For a more detailed account of the exploits of this flight crew, please request the librarian to see a short recollection titled 'Harlin G. Neuman Crew 815th Squadron'.

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