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 email@example.com or write him at: 2136 Airport Way #2 Fairbanks, AK 99701.
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UPDATE 2 – Assistance Needed
• ALL S&D members and families attending the banquet
Assistance is needed on banquet day:
1) Drivers may be needed to pick up veterans/wives and elder guests and bring to the Sheraton.
2) Help may be needed to escort veterans from drop-off at the Sheraton drive way (by valet service) to the ballroom, before and after the event. Wheelchairs will be available for those who need to use one. Arrival time for volunteers, 8:45 please.
3) Helpers to place favors and centerpieces on tables. Arrival time 8:00.
Please email Mae Isonaga, firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with any of these duties.
• Come Early! The banquet committee will show a 23 minute documentary, “Senator Inouye: As Told By His Son”, by Gloria Borland. The planned time slot will be approx. 1000, after the picture taking of veterans at 0930.
• Note on menu: There has been a small change to the meat entree, which will now feature chicken only instead of chicken and short ribs. The vegetarian option for those who selected this with your registration will feature portobello ravioli.
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By Gail Nishimura, S&D
It was a very interesting afternoon. To see and talk to many veterans and their families was really something that I will remember for a long time. There were so many people who came out to honor the veterans and the slide show that was playing in the background was an additional highlight. It was nice to see my uncle’s picture when it popped up.
Most of the veterans posed for the official picture, I think this was a big challenge for the photographers. But the photo came out really nice!
The mistress of ceremonies, Leslie Wilcox, kept the program moving smoothly. I was really impressed with the speakers, starting with Governor David Ige, followed by former Governor George Ariyoshi, and our keynote speaker Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. When I first heard that Gov. Ariyoshi was with the MIS, I was really surprised. Thought he was too young to be in the war! (Although he didn’t go into the service until 1944 and is about four years younger than my uncle, who was also in the MIS).
I enjoyed the speakers and each brought a slightly different perspective to how the war affected their families and their own lives. Gov. Ige’s father was part of the 100th Infantry Battalion, already noted was Gov. Ariyoshi’s service in the MIS, and Admiral Harris’ mother was from Japan & he was raised in Tennessee. Seems that Gov. Ariyoshi and my uncle had the similar “notice” from Uncle Sam…one day my uncle was in 522B at Camp Shelby and the next day he was headed to Fort Snelling in Minnesota! Gov. Ariyoshi thought he was getting out of the service but was sent to Fort Snelling instead. (Note: my uncle now lives in Tennessee!)
One of my tablemates at the tribute was a Leilehua grad like me and we were impressed with the Leilehua High School Honors Chorus – nice to see our alma mater represented! Good job!
Overall, I enjoyed the day, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The speeches were inspiring and makes me want to try and be a better person and live up to what my parents tried to teach me as a person of Japanese ancestry.
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Quarterly 522nd FAB Lunch Meetings
by Chapter President and S&D member Phyllis Hironaka
Photos of Ted Tsukiyama, Mits & Ellen Kunihiro; and of Biggie Nakakura & Harold Ueoka
Boyan Higa and Joe Obayashi passed me the torch in 2015 – I got to watch them in action for about a year as Secretary. They schedule four meetings a year. Our next meeting is our Christmas party, complete with bingo, raffle, and Christmas carols.
About 20 people attend each meeting. The veteran attendees are usually:
Masayuki (“Boyan”) Higa (past Pres.) Masaru (“Biggie”) Nakakura, our Treasurer
Joe Obayashi (past Pres.) George (“Rocky”) Tanna
Ted Tsukiyama Mitsuru Kunihiro
Fred Hirayama Harold Ueoka
Roy Fujii Henry Urada
Several wives also attend: Nancy Higa, Jane Ueoka, Ellen Kunihiro; and widows Mildred (Mike) Hara, Chiyoko (Don) Shimazu, Laura (Katsugo) Miho, Nancy (Milton) Uchigakiuchi; Hilda (Stanley) Kaneshiro, and Sue (Melvin) Hamamoto. Several sons and daughters usually join in as well.
Photo: The “522 Ladies” Mildred Hara, Hilda Thomas (Millie’s very close friend), Nancy Higa, Chiyo Shimazu
Addendum by 522nd daughter, Juanita Wright Allen:
At our August 2016 meeting, we had a guest speaker, Dr. Tamar Hoffman. Her family fled Germany before the war and settled in Israel, where she was born. She has been a physician in Honolulu for the past 27 years. Dr. Hoffman had one reason for asking to address our meeting — she wanted to meet 522nd veterans in person, to thank them for their part in the liberation of one of the Dachau sub-camps and the rescue of Jewish survivors who were marched from the camp by the retreating Germans. In particular, she had read Light One Candle, the 1995 book by Solly Ganor, one of the survivors, who had been rescued by Clarence Matsumura (photo below) of Hq. Battery, 522nd Field Artillery. Solly was well known among all the veterans at the meeting and after Dr. Hoffman’s brief talk they started to reminisce about the end of the war when they were literally chasing the German army across the countryside and by accident came upon the concentration camp and its survivors. It made for a very interesting meeting and was a reminder of how precious our veterans are and how fortunate we are to have them with us still.
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Joint Statement by the State of Hawaii and Counsel for Plantiffs Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto
HONOLULU, HAWAII (September 6, 2016) – As a result of meetings and discussions between Plaintiffs’ counsel, Jeffrey S. Portnoy and John P. Duchemin, and Defendants’ counsel, Deputy Attorneys General, Andrew L. Salenger, Dana A. Barbata and Caron M. Inagaki, Plaintiffs Noboru Kawamoto and Elaine Kawamoto have been reunited in his nursing care home pending determination by the Court of the constitutionality of certain Hawaii state statutes and administrative rules applicable to community care foster family homes.
Plaintiff Noboru Kawamoto is 95, a World War II veteran and member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and his wife, Plaintiff Elaine Kawamoto, is 89. This temporary accommodation is limited to these Plaintiffs and the impact of the laws as applied to them only. Counsel expect to file motions seeking summary adjudication of this lawsuit by United States District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to resolve this case.
Please note that there will be no further comment to the press at this time. Thank you.
Cades Schutte LLP
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Veterans, Sons & Daughters, Granddaughters and Grandsons and Family and Friends –
The 11th Annual Joint Memorial Service (JMS) which is open to the public was held on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at 10 am at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The JMS is held to honor the Japanese American Soldiers who served in WWII, specifically, those in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. Thirty-three thousand Japanese Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII and 800 lost their lives fighting for this country, which had initially classified them as “enemy aliens.” The wartime service of the Nisei Veterans was instrumental in helping to shift the racial mood of the country toward Japanese Americans and lay the groundwork for the admission of Hawaii to the Union. Their exemplary service also opened the doors of social, economic and political opportunity for future generations.
Mr. Matt Matsunaga, son of the late Congressman and U.S. Senator, Spark Matsunaga, will be the keynote speaker at this event. The Royal Hawaiian Band will provide musical entertainment.
Thank you to All who joined Us on Sunday, September 25.
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442nd RCT Veterans and Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT took part again this year in Memorial Day services to honor and remember those who sacrificed for our country.
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These are candids and a mix of the shots at this year’s banquet.
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These are group photos.
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