Last Letters of Second Lieutenant Tadaaki Abe to His Family
In the early evening of May 24, 1945, Second Lieutenant Tadaaki Abe took off from Kengun Airfield in
Kumamoto Prefecture and died in a special (suicide) attack
at the age of 22. He was a member of the Giretsu Airborne Unit that carried
commandos in twelve Type 97 Heavy Bombers (Allied code name of Sally). Eight
aircraft headed toward Okinawa's Yomitan (Yontan) Airfield, and the destination
for four aircraft was Kadena Airfield. The entire operation included 136
commandos and 32 pilots and other aircraft crewmen from the 3rd Dokuritsu
Hikōtai (Independent Air Squadron). Four aircraft had to return and make forced landings due to engine
trouble or other reasons. Only five of the remaining planes reached Yomitan, and
only one of these successfully landed with the others crashing. The commandos in
this one plane destroyed American planes and supplies at Yomitan Airfield until
they were killed. After Abe's death in a special
attack, he received a promotion to Captain. He was from
Miyazaki Prefecture and was a member of the 10th Class
of the Army's Officer Cadet (Shikan Kōhosei) training program.
Abe wrote the following final letter. It appears to be to his parents based
on the contents.
1. My duty is heavy, and death is light.
2. Please forgive my improper lack of filial piety.
3. Give my best regards to Ritsu and Takabō.
4. Give my regards also to Grandfather and Grandmother.
5. Give my regards also to other persons.
1. There are no personal money loans
2. There is no relation at all with a woman.
Please rest assured.
He wrote the following separate letter to his younger sister:
I ask that you give my best regards to Father, Mother, and Takabō.
Although I might say to you please be a wife as soon as possible.
I am sorry for not being able to do anything.
Take care of yourself, and work steadily.
From Older Brother
Letter translated by Bill Gordon
The letter and biographical information on this page come from Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō
Kai (2005, 130, 216) and Osuo (2005, 209).
Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai (Chiran Special Attack
Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyū rikugun tokubetsu
kōgekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special
Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima
Prefecture: Chiran Tokkō Irei Kenshō Kai.
Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kōgekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen)
(Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tōkyō: Kōjinsha.