Yamakage Kufuku
Born - 1925
Surrendered - January 6, 1949

One of two IJN soldiers, machine gunners who with Matsudo Linsoki was discovered on Iwo Jima and surrender peacefully.  They had been living under the shadow of American forces and stealing supplies.

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Story sent by SMSgt Donald Cook, USAF Ret. Sgt. Cook was assigned to Iwo Jima from Guam a few days after Iwo was made a separate unit under the 20th Air Force with headquarters in Guam, which Sgt. Cook believes was around August 15, 1948. It was the 22nd of August before he arrived on Iwo, which also happen to be his 28th birthday. This delay in arriving on Iwo is probably why his name was not on the original transfer orders that made the 65th a ABU a separate unit. He was in the 65th ABU until the following September when it was assigned to the 5th Air Force with its' Headquarters in Japan, at which time he was transferred to the AACS unit on the island. Sgt Cook returned to the states the latter part of October of 1949.

Capture of Two Holdouts January 6, 1949
At the time I was the NCOIC of the 20th Air Force radio transmitter site on Iwo. It was located on the north end of the island about 200 yards from the carving of the flag raising on Suribachi. Due to it being located about four miles from our living quarters, it was necessary for us to have a jeep assigned to us 24 hours a day. My powerman, Corporal Ellis, had the task of renewing the jeeps trip ticket each day. This was usually accomplished around 0930 hours, as the motorpool required us to have this done not later than 1100 hours each day. On January 6th Cpl. Ellis and Cpl. Pete a transmitter attendant, drove to the motorpool to renew the trip ticket and other business at base headquarters. That morning near the road that turned off the main island loop road to the current Coast Guard site they picked up two pedestrians. They were orientals, dressed in army fatigues and wearing army field jackets about two sizes larger than necessary. Corporal Ellis did not think it was unusual as at the time there were Chinese Ships (old Navy LST's) off shore. At that time, China was removing abandoned vehicles and other wartime debris of the island. The two Air Force lads decided they were from the Chinese ships. The two pedestrians they picked up did not seem to understand
English and were uncommunicative. Then they arrived at the motor pool the two GI's went to the office and upon returning to the jeep found that the two hitch hikers were gone.

The Air Force men returned to the site and Cpl Pete remarked that they had picked up a couple of hitch hikers that apparently had decided to walk the island loop road. At noon when we returned to the main base for lunch, everyone was talking about our supply sergeant who had just captured two Japanese soldiers near our headquarters. As I understand it, the Japanese soldiers were standing near the base of the flagpole and seemed to be gazing at the flag. The sergeant approached them and recognized then as Japanese. He took them to the Island Commander, and then the process began of who they were, where they had came from, how they got there, and the story was unraveled. After a complete inquiry and a determination that they were not with the Chinese ship, it was decided that the two Japanese should show the authorities where they lived, which was in a cave off the loop road not too far from where they had been first picked up.

Upon examination of their cave a lot of mysteries were solved. Most of our canned ham we were to have for Christmas 1948 was found, most of the flashlight batteries (that we though our coworkers were taking), and many other small items. These were two professional pack rats as much trash from the family housing area abandoned earlier was found in the cave. They claimed this was their second cave they had lived in. The first was a large cave complex uphill from the 20th Air Force transmitters antenna farm. Kangoku rock could be seen from the main entrance to this cave. They had kept the GI cave explorers away by use of barbed wire entanglements in the entrances of those caves. The GI's were well aware of this warning.