97 More Japanese Arrive Here; CIO Group Hears Talk
Second large group of returning Japanese to the Pajaro valley arrived Friday morning with 97 men, women and children leaving the train at Watsonville Junction, Fred Rhodes, local WRA official, announced.
With the exception of 10 or 15 Japanese going to Monterey, the remainder will stay here. Sixty of them will be housed, at least temporarily, in the hostel established in the Buddhist temple; the remainder have their own homes, Rhodes said.
The new arrivals bring the valley's Japanese population to nearly 250. WRA estimates show that 900 of the 2300 evacuated Japanese are expected to return eventually from relocation camps.
Thursday night, over 50 members of the CIO Agricultural Workers' union met at their hall, 115 Van Ness Ave., to hear Lt. Roger Smith, who fought with the Japanese-Americans of the 442nd combat team in Italy and France, relate his experiences. He was introduced by Earl Watters, ex-marine veteran of three years' South Pacific warfare and who is now with the WRA. Lt. Smith's appearance was arranged by Rhodes.
Lt. Smith, after explaining he volunteered for the assignment to speak in behalf of the American soldiers of Japanese descent of whose loyalty he is absolutely convinced, said he was proud to have served with the 442nd regiment and that "the Japanese-American troops proved themselves loyal at all times. According to the war department records and the appraisal of the outfits alongside of which they fought, they were the most outstanding combat team in the European theater of operations."
He called attention, also, to the 3000 to 5000 nisei soldiers in the Pacific area, "many of them in combat or performing hazardous jobs. Through the information they gained from the enemy and their efforts in persuading large numbers of Japanese to surrender, they shortened the war in the Pacific immeasurably," he said."