War Story: Rabaul - Sample
Kenda stands at attention before Captain Suchiru.
Suchiru: “Do you know why I have summoned you?”
Kenda: “No, sir; I don’t.”
Suchiru: “As you can see, I have all my sentai commanders here in this room with me. And some of my staff officers. We all want to talk to you today.”
Kenda frowns; not sure of what is coming.
Suchiru: “Specifically, I want to talk to you about yesterday.”
Kenda waits; says nothing.
Suchiru: “It has been submitted by your Operations Officer that your sentai shot down seventeen American planes yesterday and suffered no losses.”
Kenda: “That’s right, sir.”
Suchiru: “I don’t believe it.”
Kenda continues to frown. He wants to say something, but he decides not to speak.
Suchiru: “You want to tell me how you achieved such an unbelievable record in the two days you have been here? Are you some kind of magician that makes airplanes fall from the sky with a wave of your hand?”
Kenda thinks about the recent decision that his chutai commander made. He has not been relieved of duty. He decides to press the issue.
Kenda: “Sir, may I speak freely?”
Suchiru: “Within reason.”
Kenda: “My men shot down those airplanes yesterday. We submitted our report in accordance with instructions from your headquarters. I have no part in whether or not you believe it.”
Suchiru: “You are an insulant bastard! How dare you speak to me that way?”
Kenda: “I complied with your orders, sir. Nothing more.”
Suchiru: “You have a peculiar knack for insulting me and making it seem like you are not. I am really developing a dislike for you.”
Kenda: “Is that all the captain wished to see me about?”
Suchiru: “You hold your tongue and wait until I’m finished with you, Commander!”
Kenda: “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”
Suchiru: “I want you to explain to all of us here… just how you managed to make such an impact yesterday.”
Kenda: “Sir, I developed a way to counter the American’s tactics and use their own speed and aggression against them.”
Suchiru: “That sounds like Bushido to me. I thought you hated Bushido.”
Kenda continues. “Using three of my airplanes for bait, I put them in a position to be attacked by the American Corsairs, diving from a superior altitude. But with proper warning from a reconnaissance aircraft at higher altitude, the bait aircraft made a swift move at the right time to avoid being hit.
Then, I had other flights positioned to follow the attackers into their dive and be ready to attack when the Corsairs pulled out. It seemed to work quite well. We shot down ten Corsairs on that first encounter.”
Suchiru: “Gentlemen, I’d like you all to leave the room now. I have some words for the commander in private. I will expect a written evaluation from each of you in two hours.”
The staff officers and sentai commanders stand and bow. They file out of the captain’s office. Only Commander Ito remains. He has a note pad and pencil. Kenda remains at attention before the captain.
Suchiru: “Kenda, I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that your sentai shot down all those planes.”
Kenda focuses directly on the captain’s eyes. “We did.”
Suchiru: “Hm. Then, if I believe that; it would be in my best interest to have you teach that tactic to all the sentai everywhere. Then we could have the whole American military completely destroyed in a couple of weeks.”
Kenda waits for more.
Suchiru: “The problem is that I don’t believe it. It’s just not possible! The statistics we have been getting from Intel and Operations have been two to three. We shoot down two, we lose three in the process. Now you come along and claim seventeen to zero? It can’t be possible! You must be lying.”
Kenda shakes his head. “Sir, if you knew me at all, you would retract that statement.”
Suchiru: “All I know is that no one can do what you claim to have done. In two days? You can see how impossible that sounds! Do you know why you have only six experienced pilots in the 13th?”
Kenda: “Because the rest were killed.”
Suchiru: “Exactly right. They were killed while totaling a kill ratio of only one to one. And I was lucky to have that.”
Kenda: “Sir, do you want to interview all the men in my sentai?”
Suchiru: “What good would that do? They would tell the same lies as you.”
Kenda breaks his position of attention and leans forward to engage his commander. “Sir…” He speaks very slowly and deliberately. “…I don’t lie.”
Suchiru looks Kenda in the eyes. “Very convincing. But I still don’t believe it. I am going to hold any judgement for another week. We’ll see what happens.
Beyond that, I have another matter to discuss with you. I received a message put out by Martial Admiral Yamate’s staff. It went out to all commanders in the Rabaul area.
It said that we should pay strict attention to the recent increase in crimes here; with particular emphasis on any allegations of rape. It seems that the admiral has taken up the same cause that you brought to me yesterday. Now… I have to ask myself how that happened with such perfect timing. Why don’t you tell me? Go ahead.”
Kenda: “I went to Lakunai yesterday and spoke with the admiral’s aide, Captain Chonai. I mentioned it to him.”
Suchiru (yelling): “What the hell are you doing, going over my head like that? Who do you think you are?”
Kenda: “I think I am a concerned sentai commander.”
Suchiru: “You are a trouble maker; that’s what you are! You know it is not proper to bypass the chain of command! You are an academy graduate! What the hell is wrong with you?”
Kenda: “Sir, some things need to be fixed.”
Suchiru: “I know that! But I have been here over a year. You have been here two fucking days! You think you can tell me what needs to be fixed? You know nothing about what goes on here.”
Kenda: “Sir, with all due respect, it is you that does not know what is going on around here.”
Suchiru (yelling): “You ambitious little shit! You… you…” Suchiru practically turns red faced with anger. Then, he stops; sits back and tries to collect his bearings.
He breathes through his mouth. “Kenda, get out! Just get away from me before I run you through with my sword. Get out.”
Kenda bows quickly. “Always a pleasure speaking with you, Captain.”
Suchiru reaches for his sword. Kenda turns and leaves before he can remove it from the scabbard.
Suchiru turns to his training officer, Commander Ito. “I am getting really fed up with him.”
Ito puts down his pencil. “I can see that. But… I have to admit; stranger things have happened.”
Suchiru: “You mean you believe him?”
Ito: “I want to believe him. But… those numbers are pretty far out there. I just don’t know…”
Suchiru: “How can we verify his claims?”
Ito: “Only the pilots that were up there can verify all that. The Americans aren’t going to call us with any statistics.”
Suchiru: “It’s just… not possible.”
Ito: “I do have one other observation though.”
Suchiru: “What’s that?”
Ito: “What does he have to gain by lying?”
Suchiru: “Oh, you know the answer to that. Men always exaggerate to make themselves look better.”
Ito: “But he is not doing that. And if he was going to lie, wouldn’t he tell a lie that was more believable? I mean… like saying that his sentai shot down three Corsairs and two P-38s? That would be a great victory; worthy of our praise. And… it would not be too outrageous for us to believe. But he is not saying that. Do you see my meaning?”
Suchiru: “Hm. Interesting point. I guess we will see in the next week.”
Ito: “Yes. I think we will.”