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 Home > History > Tokyo Rose > A Letter from Robert "Bob" White, 65th SQ

A letter from Robert W. "Bob" White, 65th SQ,
to Aerial Gunners Association Magazine

Dear Jim,

In 1949, Mrs Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino was convicted of treason, sentenced to ten years in jail, and fined $10,000. She was paroled in 1956 for good behavior.

Mrs. D'Aquino was born in Los Angeles on the fourth of July, 1916 of native born Japanese. Her mother died in a relocation camp in Arizona in 1942.

Just before Pearl Harbor, Mrs. D'Aquino went to Japan to visit an aunt. The war started and the Japanese would not let her out of Japan to go home. Her lawyer, during the trial, said that she was kicked out of her relatives' house because she spoke only English and the family feared the neighbors might think her an American spy. While she did the "Zero Hour" programs for the Japanese government, she was considered an enemy of the state and was under constant surveillance.

Mrs. Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino was better known to thousands of G.I.s as Tokyo Rose.

On February 21, 1944 we cracked up the B-24 on take-off. I was an armorer gunner and flew in the tail turret. Number one engine ran away and the brakes went out. We hit a 6 foot banking at about 100 miles per hour. We finally stopped -- only a few cuts and bruises. They hauled the ship away for spare parts.

That night, a few of us went back and relocated the Halicrafter radio. Every night, half of the squadron would come down and listen to Tokyo Rose on the "Zero Hour".

I remember many happy nights in our tent in New Guinea listening to the "Zero Hour". Tokyo Rose would start by saying, "Hi, boys, this is your old friend, Orphan Annie. I've got some swell records just in from the states. You'd better listen to them while you can, because late tonight our flyers are coming over to bomb the 43rd group when you are all asleep. So listen while you are still alive."

Almost without fail, the Jap bombers would come over. She was a better air raid system than our own. We used to wonder where she got those latest records. The rumor was that the boys in the C.B.I. Theater dropped them in Japanese occupied China.

It's been a long time since Tokyo Rose made her last broadcast but the memory is still there. Our flight surgeon told us that if you could listen to her and enjoy the music, laugh at her news broadcasts and her comments about '4-Fs' running around with your wives and sweethearts back home, you are in no danger of cracking up. And how about when she played -- Lilli Marlene!!!

Tokyo Rose was caught in Japan at the beginning of the war. Kicked out of her parents home* and considered an enemy of the state even while broadcasting the Zero Hour program. I'm not defending the crime of which she was convicted, but she sure gave us many happy hours in New Guinea.

*I think Mr. White meant to say "kicked out of her relatives' home in Japan"

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