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Stories of SSgt Seiji Nakahara, I Company

Stories of SSgt Seiji Nakahara, I Company

By First Sgt Keith Nakahara

SSgt Seiji Nakahara, I Co.

SSgt Seiji Nakahara, I Co.

My Father was in “I” company, he got shot the day before they rescued the “Lost Battalion.”  He got shot in the chest, but luckily, it hit his binoculars and wallet first, then penetrated into his chest and went out through his side, he had a big scar from it. He thought that was his ticket home, but was patched up and sent back into the front lines with the rest of the 442nd, they told him it didn’t hit any vitals, lol.

He fought from Italy, France to inside somewhere in Germany, I saw his discharge papers or maybe it was his DD214. He was wounded 3 times and got the Bronze Star of Valor. I am very proud of my Father and the men of the 442nd and the 100th BN, that they fought not only the enemy, but prejudice, discrimination, racism and ignorance in our own country. Giving all Japanese Americans a better life, and for our children’s future. Their Legacy will go on, and will be remembered.

My Father never talked about the war, but sometimes I could get some pieces of it when we sometimes watched army movies, I’d ask him what kind of weapon he had, and he told me at first, he had a M-1, then after his squad leader got hit, he took his weapon which was a Thompson machine gun or “tommy gun.” He said, going up the hill to rescue the “Lost Battalion”, they ran out of food and water. Supplies couldn’t keep up with them, they were moving fast. They also talked on the radio to HQ, in broken Japanese and Pidgin language. lol. The Germans couldn’t understand what they were saying, lol. When the movie “The Holocaust” played on TV long time ago, he cried, I’ll never forget that. I know now why he cried, he must have passed through some extermination camps in Germany.

I just wanted to say, you and the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd, are doing great things!

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Stories From My Grandpa

Stories From My Grandpa
By Kristen Nemoto Jay

Sgt. Wilbert “Sandy” Holck, 442nd RCT Cannon Co.

photo of Sgt. Wilbert “Sandy” Holck, 442nd RCT Cannon Co.

I don’t remember my grandfather. Not personally, anyway. The only memories I have of him consist of a bleak image of a large J.F.K. velvet painting that he loved, which greeted (or scared) folks who’d walk through the front door of my grandmother’s house. That house was burglarized more times than I can remember growing up but not a single one thought to steal Jr. from the wall. I’d like to think it’s because they knew Grandpa would hunt them down, which—from what I also heard growing up—wouldn’t have been too far off from the truth.

No, sadly, I didn’t know him. There were stories about his time spent fighting in WWII and the Purple Heart he received from serving in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. But what especially stuck were tales of his parenting style, and the consensus was: strict. His kids—my mother, her three sisters and two brothers—would reference the Von Trapp family a lot; well before they were singing in the mountains with Maria. But because my grandparents had divorced before I was born, and he remarried to have another life in Arizona soon after, I never got the chance to get to know what he was really like.

It wasn’t until he was on his deathbed in 1999, during my freshman year in high school, when I finally found the courage to write him a letter. I don’t remember what I’d written, but according to my mother, when she flew up to see him and say her goodbyes, Grandpa couldn’t stop crying. “He was very touched,” my mom said to me, and I felt bad that my last and only contact with him made him grieve even more.

After his death, years passed on as if — for me anyway — he didn’t exist. I moved on to college in California, then on to grad school soon after in Chicago. And in the beginning of 2013, I’d landed my dream job as a writer in Honolulu. Coincidentally that same year I pitched and wrote a story about an upcoming trip that my family and I were about to embark on: Honolulu to Bruyères 2013 Tour Sister Cities. A trip that would retrace all the steps that Grandpa, and thousands of other Nisei soldiers, took when they were just young adults themselves.

To be quite honest, when I originally signed up to go, I was more excited for the trip to Europe than to learn about a grandfather I hardly knew. Of course I had some interest to try and comprehend what he and so many young men had to go through during a time of great turmoil, but truthfully, I was in it for the rumored endless supply of wine and buttery Croissants.

But after digging deeper into Grandpa’s particular role in Hawai‘i’s connection to the city of Bruyères, I was intrigued to find that he created the initial bond between the two unlikely friendships. I found out that years after the war, he returned to the city and became friends with resident Gerard Deschaseaux. That handshake would then be the first step in creating a close friendship that would last well into my generation.

Then, by day two of the tour in Europe—when I met up with 50-plus Hawai‘i people who were a part of the tour—I realized this trip was already meaning more than I could possibly imagine. For in the short span of nine days, I had gained memories and lessons that would last a lifetime. These experiences included a tour of the grounds of the Dachau Concentration Camp where our Nisei grandfathers once fought off Nazis soldiers; a meet and greet with families whose fathers and grandfathers helped save those who couldn’t pronounce their own last names and vice versa. I met an elder man in Bruyères who broke down into tears after learning that I was a descendant of a Nisei soldier. I made friends with every French person on the tour bus without knowing a smidgen of their language. I watched our American flag rise proudly within the forest of Biffontaine, where nearby in the Vosges Mountains, 800 Nisei soldiers once fought and died (Editor’s note: this figure is for all 100th/442nd soldiers killed during the war) to save the Lost Battalion of 275 trapped soldiers. I paid my respects to the soldiers who didn’t make it home from the war at the Epinal American Cemetery. And I cried as French children sang, with perfect pronunciation, Hawai‘i’s state song of “Hawai‘i Pono‘i.”

Image of American Cemetery

Image of American Cemetery

After the trip, I’ve been blessed to see a whole new meaning and profound appreciation for my life. My grandfather and his Nisei brothers are the reasons why I’m able to have the life that I live today. The very reason why I was able to go to school and have opportunities to succeed. It’s as if they knew, when they were all fighting in the cold mountains of France, so far from home, that their service would mean so much more than themselves one day. That their sacrifice for freedom and proven loyalty will carry on and be remembered by their children’s children’s children.

The Holck family on the Honolulu to Bruyeres 2013 Tour

The Holck family on the Honolulu to Bruyeres 2013 Tour

Although it’s a bit late in my life, I’m happy to have learned more about my grandpa. And even though I may not have known him personally, I feel as if he has always been with me. His legacy lives on: I just have to pay a bit more attention. During our trip to Bruyères, I did see him. I saw his bravery in the cold cells of the Dachau Concentration Camp. I felt his compassion for the elder man who cried tears of joy for saving his family from Nazi persecution. I saw his love for his family and country in the American flag that rose high within the forest of Biffontaine. I saw his deep sorrow and pain within the thousands of unmarked graves of his brothers who didn’t make it home. I felt his pride when I heard those children sing our state anthem. I even felt his sense of humor in The Sound of Music tour while we were in Austria (my family insisted we attend); and his love for life within our French hosts whom did indeed pour us all endless glasses of French wine throughout our entire nine-day tour. Although my grandfather and I haven’t been formally introduced, I know he has been and always will be with me.
And with that, I want to say this to him:
Thank you, Grandpa. And until we meet again, I’ll always remember you.
Love,
Kristen
(Granddaughter of Sgt. Wilbert “Sandy” Holck)

photo of author, Kristen Nemoto Jay

photo of author, Kristen Nemoto Jay

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522nd “Unlikely Liberators” display at Schofield Barracks until May 20, 2017

522nd Field Artillery Battery Display at Sergeant Rodney J. Yano Library, Schofield Barracks Hawaii (on till May 20, 2017)

The 522nd of the 442nd RCT was their artillery unit known for speed and accuracy during the war.  After the Po Valley campaign and the breaking of the German Gothic Line, the 522nd was ordered to separate from the rest of the 442nd and to enter Germany.  The 522nd advanced with speed and were in front of U.S. infantry units, which is something as usually the artillery unit brings up the rear.  This is how the 522nd came across the Jewish prisoners at Dachau subcamps and others who were part of the death march away from the camps.

image of exhibit panel

 

 

 

Members of the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT along with sponsor organization Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL) members volunteered on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the Sgt. Rodney J. Yano Library at Schofield Barracks on Oahu.  Eight Sons & Daughters & NVL members and nine military volunteers and spouses and the Yano Library head librarian worked on the display, with help from the delivery crew. S&D member Bill Wright was the lead in organizing work and making sure we had tools and supplies.  He also gave a brief background on the 522nd and some of the significance of the display.

the volunteers

 

522nd Biggie Nakakura and Boyan Higa and wife

 

The 522 FAB were represented at the opening ceremony for the display by Masaru “Biggie” Nakakura and Masayuki “Boyan” Higa and his wife Nancy.  The Garrison Commander made a nice speech and the library staff treated the veterans like superstars and the honored guests the were.

According to S&D member Byrnes Yamashita, the Higas really enjoyed themselves and were glad that they attended the ceremony.  And the cake was ono.

cake at ceremony
The display at Schofield will be up until the 20th of May.  Many of the pictures have post-it notes on them as people who have seen the display recognized someone and added a name to the picture.  The pictures are very touching and really make you think about the atrocities committed during the war by the Nazi regime.

If you have the chance to get to Schofield Barracks Hawaii, stop by and see the display.  You will need to enter through Lyman Gate (second gate off Kunia Road) to get a visitor pass if you do not have a Dept. of Defense or military ID.  Everyone in the car must show an official ID with picture.  Plan on taking at least 10 minutes to enter (sometimes longer), as you must open all doors, trunk and hood of car as well as have all visitors step outside the car as it is inspected.  It’s worth the drive to Central Oahu! Hours of Operation:

Mon, Tues 11am – 8pm
Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm
Closed Sundays & Federal Holidays

1565 Kolekole Avenue, Bldg. 560
Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
Phone:  808/655-8002

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Hawaii History Day State Fair competition (2017)

Hawaii History Day State Fair competition

Sixth-grader Victoria (Tori) Yamashita and her panel display on the 442nd RCT, titled ‘Go for Broke’.”
Sixth-grader Victoria (Tori) Yamashita and her panel display on the 442nd RCT, titled ‘Go for Broke’.” (from Byrnes Yamashita)

 

 

The legacy of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team is alive and well as represented by several entries in the State Finals of the Hawaii History Day State Fair, held on April 15, 2017 at the Windward Community College on Oahu.

Sons and Daughters members Grace Fujii, Byrnes Yamashita and Jonathan Ego attended the Hawaii History Day State Fair finals at Windward Community College campus and enjoyed the competition and awards ceremony. Jonathan’s father, Kenji Ego, a 442nd RCT veteran, was also in attendance.

Angelee Marshall, a 7th grade student from Kahuku Intermediate and High School, came in second for her 442nd RCT documentary and qualified for the National History Day competition at the University of Maryland, College Park in mid-June. She will share the final version of her documentary so that it can be posted on the S&D website. Stay tuned.

Byrnes’ two nieces, Tori and Katie Yamashita, qualified for the State finals from the Leeward District in the junior and senior categories, respectively. Tori produced a tri-fold display (photo above) on the history of the 100th/442nd RCT titled “Go for Broke.” Katie, along with partner Esther Park, produced a documentary video on the 442nd called “442nd RCT: Japanese American Soldiers Fighting on Two Fronts.” Their project also qualified for the National History Day competition.

There were two entries featuring the 100th/442nd RCT from Maui students that also qualified for the National competition. It was heartwarming to see that students across the State are helping to perpetuate the legacy of the Nisei soldiers of World War II.

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Support the “How Hawaii Changed America” project

Support the How Hawaii Changed America project

Aloha S&D members:

In our monthly meeting of 4 May, the members voted to support the work of Tom Coffman to publish a new book on the Hawaii AJA experience in WW2. Tom is the acclaimed author of deeply researched and powerfully written books on AJA history, particularly focused on pre- and post-WW2 Hawaii. This includes Catch a Wave (required reading in many high school and college courses), I Respectfully Dissent, a biography of Edward H. Nakamura, and How Hawaii Changed America, The Movement for Racial Equality 1939-1942.

Photo of Volume 1 courtesy of Tom Coffman

Photo courtesy of Tom Coffman

This latter book was intended as Volume 1, with Volume 2 to cover 1942 thru 1945. However, Duke University Press wants the new book to combine the full time period of the Hawaii AJA experience in WW2 (1939-1945) in one single book, along with a brief summation of the resulting impacts, such as statehood for Hawaii, expanded thinking on civil rights, immigration, etc.

Because Duke is a nationally prestigious press, this opens the door to spreading knowledge across the Nation of the profound impact Hawaii and our Nisei veterans have had on improving America for all its diverse citizens. Tom is dedicating the next twelve months to get it researched, written and delivered to Duke for publication and distribution.

As many of you know, Tom is an independent researcher/writer and documentary film producer who approaches history from the grassroots up. His work is distinguished by both depth and innovation. If we the S&D are to preserve and protect the 442nd legacy, we need to support the development of such in-depth history. For this purpose we have initiated a new special project, the “How Hawaii Changed America” project to conduct and manage fund-raising efforts to support the research, writing and publication of this book. The MIS Club and Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL) have also agreed to support a fund-raising effort in their respective memberships.

Why should the S&D support this effort?
1. This book will contribute in a very big way to perpetuating the legacy of the 442nd RCT. It will tell the story of how the many ethnic divisions of Hawaii, and in particular the AJA community, responded to the crushing challenges they faced during the war years. In Tom’s own words:

This new book will breathe with the tensions and possibilities that swelled up through the war. The resulting transformation of Hawai’i from an overseas colony, ruled by a select few, to a robust multiracial state, takes on heightened meaning with the passage of time. Hawai’i has contributed to the passage of national civil rights legislation, liberalization of immigration laws, strengthening of the institutional safeguards of liberty, the increase of East-West exchange, the spread of democracy in Asia, and a general improvement of relationship between East and West, ironically between Japan and the United States.
For a time these developments merely seemed to be inevitable aspects of a great wave of progressive change. Today they stand out as signal lights against the rising storm of global tribalization, intolerance and fanaticism.

2. This story is only sketchily known in Hawaii and is unknown to our fellow Americans on the Mainland. We believe this will change the way history is understood. This is not an academic exercise. We cannot ignore the disquieting signs of a rising tide of intolerance eroding away the hard fought gains in racial equality, else the legacy of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles will cease to have meaning. Supporting the completion and publication of this book is a small task on our part, but with large benefits to preserving and protecting the legacy of the 442nd veterans and all Nisei veterans.

3. Fund-raising to support the research and writing of How Hawaii Changed America is in direct support of the following purposes of our new S&D nonprofit corporation:
• To further historical research into the contributions by the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and their descendants to our Nation, our Freedoms, and the indivisible unity of our People
• To educate the public concerning all aspects of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team

How much money do we need to raise, and how will it be spent?
• Tom has estimated that $35,000 will be needed for the costs of travel and research in archives on the Mainland, and monthly expenses during the next 12 months.
• The MIS Club and NVL will be assisting us in this fund-raising effort.
• Publication costs are not part of this fund-raising project. These costs will be handled by Duke University Press itself.

How can I help?
• You can send a donation by check to the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd RCT, and note on the check that it is for the How Hawaii Changed America fund. (You will be provided with a letter of appreciation and notification that your donation should be deductible as a charitable contribution on your income tax return for 2017.)
• Please mail your donation to:
Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT
Attn: Shirley Igarashi
933 Wiliwili St.
Honolulu, HI 96826
• The S&D will match your donation up to $200 per S&D member, adding more “bang for your buck,” up to a total of $5,000 of member donations.
• It would be most appreciated if you could send your donation by the end of this month (31 May).
• Please pass the word — tell your relatives and friends about this new book and the story it will tell of the Hawaii AJA WW2 experience and their contribution to a better America. Please encourage them to donate also.

Thank you.

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This Time in 442nd History (May 2017)

This Time in 442nd RCT History
Start of Life at Camp Shelby for the 442nd RCT: our Fathers, Uncles, Grandfathers

E Co. at Camp Shelby
E Company, 2nd Battalion of the 442nd RCT, Camp Shelby, Mississippi. May 13, 1943. (National Archives and Records Administration.)

 

After the activation of the 442nd RCT in February and formation by March 1943, our men from Hawaii and the mainland went to train at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Most arrived in April, though some AJAs who were already in the U.S. Army and who were assigned to the 442nd got to Camp Shelby earlier.

The 442nd started training at about the time that the 100th Infantry Battalion, who had come to Camp Shelby from Camp McCoy in Wisconsin, was wrapping up theirs and readying for departure to fight in Europe. For the 442nd there are well known accounts of the fighting between men from Hawaii and men from the mainland. By the account in the following link, there were fights if a different type as well.

From the Hawaii Nisei Story project, you may remember Katsugo Miho’s telling of some of the details of life at Camp Shelby. Or read it for the first time.

Here in moving pictures (of poor video quality but the narration is clear) is an 11 minute film produced by the War Relocation Authority. It is public relations but gives a look at some of the training activities of the 442nd at Camp Shelby. (accessed 4/28/2017)

And finally, a story from the Los Angeles Times about veterans who returned to Camp Shelby in 1995. (accessed 4/28/2017)

Camp Shelby still serves as a training site to this day. It served as the training location for our men of the 442nd RCT.

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet 2017 (3 of 3)

last set of photos of attendees per table

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The 442nd RCT 74th Anniversary Banquet

NDF_0078 (800x492)

By Lynn Heirakuji, S&D member

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team 74th Anniversary Banquet was held at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The 442nd Veterans Club sponsored the annual affair, which was attended by about 440 people – 49 Nisei veterans also signed up for the event.

Ken Inouye, son of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, served as the Master of Ceremonies and Governor David Y. Ige rendered the moving keynote address. The Governor, son of a 100th Infantry Battalion veteran, reminded the audience of the climate of racial hysteria that gripped the Nation in the aftermath of the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. This fear and prejudice led the U.S. President to issue Executive Order 9066, which directed the forced internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens. He described how despite this, over 14,000 Nisei went on to serve and perform with incredible valor in the U.S. Army during WWII. The Governor noted that the 442nd story is what inspired him to have the State of Hawaii file the recent suit which resulted in the blocking of the current U.S. President’s Executive Order banning travel into America based on nationality and, in effect, religion.

232nd veteran Hiroshi Arisumi and some of his family

232nd veteran Hiroshi Arisumi and some of his family

One of those attending the banquet was 96-year old Nisei veteran Hiroshi Arisumi, who hails from Kula, Maui. Hiroshi served with the 232nd Engineer Combat Company of the 442nd RCT and performed highly dangerous duties including mine clearing. Upon returning from the battlefields of Italy and France, he established the Arisumi Brothers construction company, building residential homes. He also stayed extra busy by serving as President of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Maui for over 20 years. Hiroshi has passed on the story of the 442nd to his children and grandchildren. For fun he grows kaki (persimmon) and cherimoya, the latter which he describes as one of the top three most delicious fruits.

On display at the banquet was an exhibit called the, “Pearl Harbor Students’ Reflections – 442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity.” The exhibit contained letters from Honolulu Community College (HCC) students in which they shared their reactions to a documentary on the 442nd story. Sharleen Nakamoto Levine who attended the banquet is the HCC instructor who developed the curriculum and brought the exhibit to the banquet. The exhibit was a great example of the many ways in which the 442nd story can be passed on to future generations.

The banquet program also included Mayor Caldwell’s proclamation presentation, a musical tribute sung by Reverend Takamasa Yamamura, an invocation by Bishop Eric Matsumoto, remarks by William Thompson, 442nd Veterans Club President, and the singing of the “Go For Broke” fight song.

Even though there are fewer Veterans attending the banquet each year, the Sons & Daughters are always strong supporters of the event and hope to see it continue as a legacy marker for future generations.

See photos from the banquet.

Photos 3 of 3
Photos 2.5 of 3
Photos 2 of 3
Photos 1 of 3

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet 2017 (2.5 of 3)

Candid shots from the banquet

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet, 2017 (2 of 3)

Scenes from the 2017 74th 442nd Anniversary Banquet at the Sheraton Waikiki

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet, 2017 (1 of 3)

Photos of the 442nd veterans that attended this year’s banquet

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The Way Ahead for the Sons & Daughters

The Way Ahead for the Sons & Daughters Part II and Supporting the Legacy of the 442nd RCT
By S&D officers, July 2017

In the March 2017 issue of the E-Newsletter we informed our members of the relationship of our chapter to our parent 442nd Veterans Club and the decision to form a non-profit Sons & Daughters organization in the event the Veterans Club was to fold and the chapter would also cease as an organization. This is a short summary of some key events since March.

First, after communications sent to all S&D members via email; two telephone conferences; and discussions at the April and May monthly meetings, the S&D chapter formed a separate, non-profit organization with the same name (only with the addition of “Inc.”) by adopting bylaws for the organization, filing articles of incorporation with the State of Hawaii, and applying for tax-exempt status to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Tax-exempt status has since been granted by the IRS to our organization via letter dated June 2, 2017.

Second, the 442nd Veterans Club is still in existence, with a potential substantial change to come. By a vote at a special meeting called by the Board of Directors of the Club on June 26, 2017, the Club members, by majority vote, approved the transfer of substantially all or part of its assets and liabilities to the 442nd Legacy Center, subject to the approval of the Board of Directors of the 442nd Legacy Center. As noted in the March E-Newsletter, the sole purpose of the Legacy Center is to plan and build (and operate) a legacy center dedicated to the 442nd RCT.

Third, the S&D chapter had requested in writing a postponement of the Veterans Club June 26, 2017 special meeting and vote for various reasons, including questioning the limited information provided to Veterans Club members prior to the special meeting and vote as well as to provide time to ensure that all eligible Club members were contacted, including eligible S&D members who inherited Club membership from their 442nd fathers. The special meeting was not postponed and the vote resulted in approval of the transfer of the Veterans Club’s assets and liabilities.

Fourth and in summary, the S&D chapter and non-profit organization will continue to support the 442nd Veterans Club and the 442nd Legacy Center. It is our fathers who were the 442nd RCT. We can do no less. Other sections of this E-Newsletter will feature a few of the activities the S&D are currently engaged in to uphold the 442nd RCT legacy.

The Way Ahead for the Sons & Daughters
March 2017
The Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was established as a chapter under the 442nd Veterans Club of Honolulu in May 1993. Nearly 25 years have gone by and our chapter is thriving, still supporting our beloved Veterans. But with each passing year the number of Veterans dwindles; all too soon they will be gone. But their valor and sacrifices must not fade — and herein lies the future for the 442nd Sons & Daughters – assuring the enduring legacy of the men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

In the last two years the leadership of the Veterans Club has put into place a plan to transition to the coming era when Taps and a rifle volley have saluted the calling home of the last Veteran. Under this plan the Veterans Club has formed a new organization, the 442nd RCT Legacy Center, and announced that the 442nd Veterans Club will be retired and cease to exist. When this happens, all the chapters of the 442nd Veterans Club will also cease to exist, which includes our Sons & Daughters chapter.

But we each know in our heart and soul that the end of our current organization does not diminish, does not end, our responsibility, our obligation, our kuleana to keep the memory of our fathers, grandfathers, uncles . . . our ancestors, their legendary valor and valiant sacrifices shining bright, a beacon for the generations to come.

So after much discussion in the last few monthly meetings, we determined in February to work toward transitioning our Sons & Daughters chapter into an independent nonprofit Hawaii corporation. We will not disappear with the end of the 442nd Veterans Club, but will be reborn with the mission to preserve, perpetuate, and share the legacy of the men who served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in World War II and forever changed our lives for the better – Okage Sama De.

Very soon we will be sending the proposed Bylaws of our new organization to the S&D members for review and a vote, the specifics of which are in final preparation. Please keep up with this important matter via this e-newsletter and the S&D emails we will be sending to the members.

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Nisei Veterans Memorial Center (Maui) and Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (California)

Introducing/Reacquainting with the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center (NVMC) on Maui and the Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV) of California

Maui Nisei Veterans Memorial Center
The next time you visit Maui, please take a few minutes to visit the Education Center at the Maui Nisei Veterans Memorial Center. It is at One Go For Broke Road, which is accessed from Kahului Beach Road as you head from Kahului towards Wailuku along Kahului harbor. Look for the building complex on the hill on the left side. The Education Center is the first building on the left as you approach the complex. Visitor parking is available just in front of the building. Admission is free.
NVMC Wall of Honor
Before you enter the building, you can peruse the Wall of Honor which lists the names of all Maui Nisei soldiers that lost their lives in combat in Europe during World War II. If you know someone on the Wall of Honor, the Education Center may have information on the Veteran. The Center also has stories about the Nisei Veterans who returned to Hawaii and their lives after the war.

The Center shows exhibits from time to time to help educate the general public about the Nisei soldiers. The Military Intelligence Service exhibit that on display at the U.S. Army Museum at Fort DeRussy (Oahu) just completed a showing at the Center. The Center also shows a short video that features the Nisei soldiers from Maui.

Before you go to the NVMC, check out their website: http://www.nvmc.org/. The mission of the Maui NMVC is to ignite human potential by inspiring people to find the hero in themselves through the legacy of the Nisei Veterans. Inspiring stuff.

Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans of California
The Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV) mission is to preserve the proud accomplishments of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and to honor all veterans of the RCT. The FFNV activities include presentations by guest speakers on topics related to the RCT, Nisei veterans, and World War II; an annual membership meeting; periodic community events in the Alameda/Northern California area; etc. Their website can be found at ffnv.org and contact information is on the Contact Us link of the site for those wishing to learn more about the FFNV.

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History Day Project on 442nd RCT

History Day Project on the 442nd RCT

Ms. Angelee Marshall, a Kahuku High and Intermediate School 7th grader (Oahu), contacted the S&D of the 442 RCT chapter to request information on the regiment with a questionnaire for her History Day documentary entry.  The request was shared with the 442nd Veterans Club members. We are grateful for Angelee’s contribution to the annual National History Day competition and to veteran Mr. Kenji Ego and others for submitting their answers to her questionnaire.  Here is a link to Angelee’s draft video, which she said she will be editing to correct some errors, https://vimeo.com/205118187.

We congratulate Angelee on winning her School and Windward (Oahu) District competition and heartily convey our very best wishes to Angelee for the State competition! The State Competition will be held on April 15, Saturday, 7:30 – 3:30 pm at the Windward Community College. Some S&D members plan to attend the public viewing and competition run off. Please join us!  The schedule for the competition is:

2017 HAWAI‘I HISTORY DAY STATE FAIR ~ Windward Community College
APRIL 15 @ 7:30 AM – 3:30 PM

7:30 am – 8:30 am: Registration
8:30 am – 8:45 am: Orientation and Welcome
9:00 am to 12:00 pm: First round of judging will be held
12:00 pm – 12:30 pm:  Public viewing of Exhibits
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm: Run-offs will be held
2:00 pm – 2:30 pm: Announcements of State History Day Winners and Closing

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75th Anniversary Tour of France, July 2019

Plans for 75th Anniversary Tour of France, July 2019

Brian Yamamoto of Alaska will be leading and organizing stops on a 75th Anniversary Tour of France in July 2019. Brian and his wife Leslie were on the 2009 tour with Lawson Sakai of the 442nd RCT and Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans. Brian led a 2013 tour to Italy with 43 people and a 442nd veteran and also led a 2014 France tour with 65 people and two 442nd veterans. He is working with Nora Di Bievre on planning the 2019 trip. Nora was one of the guides for the 2014 France tour and also led the study group a year later with Stuart Hirai’s group.

Details for the 2019 tour are currently being worked out and the organizers expect an itinerary to be available in the first part of 2018. They are hoping to plan a “short 6 day tour” to encourage any veterans who may be thinking of joining. This shorter tour will only visit the Vosges and the celebrations there around Bastille Day, July 14, 2019. There will be a “long 13-14 day tour” which will visit Sospel and L’Escarene, eventually meeting up with the “short tour” in Bruyeres.

While in the Vosges, the group will visit all of the monuments which will include: 442nd RCT, Lost Battalion, Yohei Sagami Stele, Tomosu Hirahara Square, 3rd Infantry Division, 45th Infantry Division, Robert Booth, and the 405th FS. We will also visit the American Cemeteries at Epinal and Lorraine for wreath laying ceremonies. The group will place leis and flags at grave markers of the 100th/442nd soldiers buried there.

Sospel and L’Escarene are in the French Maritime Alps where the Nisei troops were after the bitter fighting in the Vosges. It became known as the “Champagne Campaign”. The long tour group will place a wreath at the plaque in Sospel where Larry Miura and Kenji Sugiwara were killed. We will spend a day in Sospel visiting with the locals during special ceremonies. The tour will spend a day in L’Escarene which is famous for the Christmas party the Nisei troops held for the children in 1944. When the tour visited in 2014, there were many adults who were children at that party.

The organizers will keep those interested informed of any developments for the tour periodically. They are expecting a large group for this historic occasion, so it would be a good idea to sign up early once the itinerary is available in 2018. There may be a limit for the tour of around 100 people.

If you have further questions, you can contact Brian Yamamoto at brianeyamamotodds@gmail.com or write him at: 2136 Airport Way #2 Fairbanks, AK 99701.

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