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The Battle of the Yamaha


Active Member
One of my neighbors was a Navy officer during World War II. He was in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, and commanded a couple of ships, one of which was hit by a kamikaze. He survived because he was wearing his helmet. The other day, I was talking to him, and I noticed he was missing part of a finger. I asked him if that injury was related to the kamikaze, and he said "Oh no, I got that one at the Battle of the Yamaha"; Yamaha being the company that manufactured his lawnmower.

He turned 97 last June, and is in better shape than a lot of people I know who are half his age.


Well-Known Member
Long story, kept moderately short.

My grandfather comes back from WW II ( VF 14 Navy Cross recipient ) and with his brother buys surplus airplanes and begins a flight school. The brother is killed in an accident and bowing to family pressure he sells out. Actually I think that the family pressure story was a reason to do what he wanted to do anyway, he never flew again, even as a passenger.

He eventually goes into business, opening a music business that eventually specializes in pianos. In the early 80's Yamaha becomes a world wide player in pianos and starts supplanting the domestic brands. For business reasons he feels he has to make to switch to becoming a Yamaha dealer. He has serious qualms about doing business with the Japanese but eventually feel like he must make the leap.

They go through the process, and the last step is to meet with the guys from Yamaha HQ to seal the deal. He refuses to go to Japan, not only is flying the only option, there is no love lost with the Japanese as a whole.

He and his youngest daughter drive to LA from Georgia and meet with the reps there, and after all the formalities are over they go out to dinner. Where drinks are had....

Of the three Yamaha guys, one can speak English and is translating the conversation which is going reasonable well. At some point, the question is asked, " have you ever been to Japan. " My aunt's heart stops, because she knows at this point nothing good can come of the answer. His answer is something to the effect of " It depends on what you mean, I've never set foot in Japan, but I've flown over it many times. I usually just dropped my bombs, or strafed people on the beach then flew back to the carrier. "

My aunt has visions of the entire deal going down the tubes, but apparently the English speaker did not accurately translate his message and the deal was done.