Pfc. Bud Jaderholm acted his way through the occupation in Japan shortly after WW II
“I tried to enlist in the Army, Navy, Air Corps and the Coast Guard near the end of World War II, but they all turned me down because of my eyes,” Bud Jaderholm of Oyster Creek Subdivision in Englewood, Fla. recalled. “Then for some reason the Air Corps drafted me and sent me to Wichita Falls, Texas for two weeks of basic.
“From there I went to Williams Field in Arizona and trained to be a radio operator. But when I took a Kaiser ship and sailed for Japan as part of the occupation force they made me an M.P.,” the 89-year-old local resident said.
“Our ship docked in Yokohama, Japan in November 1945 and we took Army trucks to Fukuoka, a city on the southern most main island. It was our job to be the perimeter guard at Ashiya Air Field near Fukuoka,” Jaderholm said.
What really impressed him during his tour of duty with the Army Air Corps in Japan was Gen. Douglas Mac Arthur. He became the supreme commander of all Allied forces there after the Second World War.
“Anything Mac Arthur wanted the people of Japan to do he ran it by the emperor. Then the emperor would announce to his subjects what the general wanted accomplished and they did it immediately,” he said. “Mac Arthur was a very smart man.
“I often saw the general coming down the main drag in Tokyo back from meeting at the palace with the emperor. His three-car entourage would pull up in front of the Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company Building where the general returned to his office. It was one of the few major structures that hadn’t been bombed flat by the Army Air Corps during the war.
“During a leave I took to Tokyo I ran into Phil Malby, a guy I first met when we were both getting processed back at Fort Sheridan, Ill. ‘What do you do?’ I asked him.”
“‘I’m a stage hand with the Ernie Powell Theater Company. It’s a wonderful assignment,’ he told me. “‘You ought to try and go to work for them too.”
“‘How do I do that?’ I asked him.
“‘You have to be one of the actors in the play.’ The theater company was staging ‘The Male Animal,’ a play on Broadway at the time.” he explained.
“The Male Animal” was a 1940 comedy written by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent. The ’42 Warner Brothers film stared Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland and Joan Leslie. It tells the story of an English teacher (Henry Fonda) who is a professor at a football-crazed Midwestern University.
“I went down and auditioned for a part in ‘The Male Animal’ and got it. I was Wally in the play, a football player,” Jaderholm said. “I became an actor. It was the first time I was ever on stage. As a member of the cast I toured Japan and South Korea with the cast in a couple of big railroad cars that also carried our back drops.
“During our travels around Japan we stopped the train at what was left of Hiroshima about six months after the Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city. There was almost nothing left,” he said. “While walking around the bombed-out city I picked up what was left of a green glass Coke bottle. It was twisted into a glass blob. I’ve still got it on a shelf in the other room.
“When we weren’t touring the cast stayed in the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo. This is where we bivouacked. You can summarize my time in Japan in two words. It was very educational for me as a 19-year-old kid,” he said.
“By the time we had shown the play for nine months throughout both countries my overseas tour was up. I finished touring with the theatre group and had just enough time to join my M.P. outfit and fly home.
“Before I left Japan I had 5,000 yen in my pocket from selling the liquor allotment the Air Corps provided each man. I didn’t drink back then. I got some beautiful Japanese Christmas presents for my family by shopping at stores along Leganza Street in Tokyo. It was the equivalent of State Street in Chicago, except the stores over there were wooden shacks because their original stores had been destroyed in the war.
“We boarded a C-54 transport plane and flew from Japan to Hickam Field in Hawaii. From there we flew on to Kemp Field in California where I was discharged. I had relatives in California and spent Christmas with them.
“I took the G.I. Bill and started college in 1946, but that only lasted a few months. I went back home to Chicago and married Lois, my girlfriend. We got engaged on Christmas Day 1947 and married in June of ’48.”
By then Jaderholm was working for Illinois Bell as a phone installer. He retired 39 years later as a manager.
The couple, who has been married for 67 years, has five children: Linda, Debra, Lauri, Joan and Paul.
Name: Robert C. Jaderholm
D.O.B: 15 March 1927
Currently: Englewood, Fla.
Entered Service: 13 Jan 1945
Discharged: 21 Dec 1946
Rank: Private 1st Class
Unit: Military Policeman 677, 58th Air Service Group
Commendations: Army of Occupation Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal
This story was first published in the Charlotte Sun newspaper, Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, November 7, 2016 and is republished with permission.
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This is very well written. I’ve interviewed 140 WWII vets and have never heard of this type of experience. Each story is an adventure and should be preserved for others to appreciate. Thanks for sharing!
Mr. Jaderhom’s story marks 900 interviews published on this website. Thank you for your kind words and especially thank you for reading War Tales. Are you sending your interviews to the Veterans History Project?