442 RCT/Nisei Veteran Events

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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Mini-Reunion in Las Vegas October 2017

100TH INF BN/442nd RCT/MIS/1399 VETERANS, & FRIENDS & FAMILY OF NISEI VETERANS (FFNV)
LAS VEGAS MINI REUNION 2017

Yes, there will be another Mini-Reunion in Las Vegas on October 15 – October 20, 2017 at the California Hotel. A copy of the registration form is provided below, copies are at the clubhouse or you can call Ann Kabasawa at 781-8540 or e-mail at diverseinnov@gmail.com to get the form. As usual everyone has lots of fun, food and comraderie. We of course will have our own Hospitality Room with onolicious food!! There will be a welcome banquet on Monday Night at the Sports Club Room on the Main Street side and a farewell banquet luncheon on Wednesday at California’s Ohana Room. We will have several slot tournaments, shopping excursions and of course all the gambling you want. We hope that all of you can make it. You’ll get to talk story with 100th, 442nd and MIS veterans!!! All are welcome!!!

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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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Nisei Veterans Legacy fundraiser on March 2, 2017

The Nisei Veterans Legacy is holding a fundraising event on Thursday, March 2, 2017.  Please help the NVL continue its efforts to preserve and promulgate the legacy of the Nisei soldiers of World War II by attending and/or making a donation.

The theme of the Nisei Veterans Legacy fundraiser is “Preserving the Past, Inspiring the Future”.  The event will be at the Pomaika‘i Ballroom, Dole Cannery Iwilei on Thursday, March 2, 2017 from 5:30-8:30 pm starting with a silent auction.  The keynote speaker will be former Governor George Ariyoshi.  Cost is $75 per person which includes complimentary heavy pupus and one drink.  To sign up, please contact Shirley Igarashi at skigarashi@gmail.com.  The deadline for registration is Feb.20, contact Shirley prior to this date.

Governor George Ariyoshi and family at his 88th birthday party

Governor George Ariyoshi and family at his 88th birthday party

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Fighting Two Wars AJA Veterans Tribute

Nisei Veterans gathered for official photo at AJA tribute luncheonBy 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.  photo of slide show

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!

photo of one of the group pictures

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.

Pearl Harbor 75th Fighting Two Wars luncheon-Dec5-inside photo

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11th Annual Joint Memorial Service

Distinguished guests and Barbara Tanabe, mistress of ceremony for this year's JMS

Distinguished guests and Barbara Tanabe, mistress of ceremony for this year’s JMS

11th Annual Joint Memorial Service – sponsored by the Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVLC)
The 11th Annual Joint Memorial Service (JMS) was held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

The JMS honors the soldiers who served in World War II in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. It is held annually on the last Sunday of September to commemorate September 29, 1943, the day that Shigeo “Joe” Takata of the 100th Infantry Battalion became the first AJA killed in action in World War II. This year’s service adopted the theme of the 75th anniversary commemoration of the bombing of Pearl Harbor: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future.

The keynote speaker was attorney and former State Senator Matt Matsunaga, son of the late U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga who served in both the 100th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service. Matt described his father’s long-time efforts to establish the U.S. Institute of Peace, which was inspired primarily from his wartime experience.

Lynn Heirakuji, whose father Walter Heirakuji served in K Company of the 442nd RCT, was the event Chairperson and Barbara Tanabe, whose father Frank Tanabe served with the MIS, was the emcee. Mahalo to all the hardworking volunteers who made this event possible.

Next year’s JMS will be held on Sunday, September 24 and the NVLC is seeking a chairperson or co-chairpersons. Please contact Wes Deguchi at 722-4728 if you are able to serve and help continue this important legacy event to honor the Nisei soldiers of WWII.

The attendees at the JMS, including Gov. and Mrs. Ige and Admiral Harry Harris.

The attendees at the JMS, including Gov. and Mrs. Ige and Admiral Harry Harris.

To Watch the JMS on Oceanic Ch. 53

The 11th Annual JMS was filmed and will be shown on Oceanic Ch. 53 on these dates.
11/6/2016 at 6:30 pm
11/7/2016 at 08:00 am
11/9/2016 at 10:30 pm
11/13/2016 at 2:30 pm

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Nov. 5, 2016 Deadline for the Dec. 5 WWII Nisei Veterans Tribute Luncheon

Aloha,
Deadline to Register & Pay for December 5, WWII AJA Veterans Tribute Luncheon is November 5, next week Saturday. This is part of the Pearl Harbor 75th Anniversary commemoration events.

To attend the December 5, Monday WWII Nisei Veterans Tribute Luncheon at the Hawaii Convention Center and to sit with other Sons and Daughters, please send payment of $75.00 for each person, payable to:

Sons and Daughters of 442 RCT
Attn: Shirley
933 Wiliwili Street
Honolulu, HI 96826

If you wish to sit with your father’s/grandfather’s chapter, please call Claire Mitani, 442 Veterans Club secretary at (808) 949-7997 to register with the 442nd Veterans Club and mail your $75 per person check payable to:

442nd Veterans Club
933 Wiliwili Street
Honolulu, HI 96826

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11th Annual Joint Memorial Service, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016

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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Photos from Memorial Day services, 2016

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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522nd Field Artillery Battalion

522 Exhibit-flyer-081015

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Veterans Day onboard the USS Missouri

USS Tsukiyama

November 11, 2013 – Honolulu, Hawaii. The Battleship Missouri Memorial hosted a ceremony to recognize the 70th Anniversary of the Nisei Veterans of World War II. The event was held on deck of the Missouri and was attended by veterans, families and friends.

Veteran Ted Tsukiyama, 442nd RCT and MIS, gave the following speech:

ANSWERING THE CALL

Pearl Harbor Attack

            7:55 a.m., December 7, 1941, that fateful moment in history when the first Japanese bombs rained down upon Pearl Harbor and drastically transformed the lives of everyone in Hawaii, and most particularly those of Japanese ancestry. No one who was here can ever forget that day. I remember it well.

I couldn’t sleep that unforgettable Sunday morning by the constant rumbling of thunder that would not cease. The sky above Pearl Harbor was black with smoke, punctuated by puffs of white aerial bursts. “They’re sure making this maneuver look real,” I thought. Turning on the radio, I heard the KGU announcer screaming, “Take cover! Get off the streets! We are being attacked by Japanese enemy planes. This is the real McCoy! Take cover!  Those words pierced my very core like a piece of shrapnel.

I heard but could not comprehend. I was assailed by swirling succession of feelings and passions. First I was stunned by utter surprise and shock. I was benumbed with disbelief and then denial….”this is just a bad dream, it can’t be really happening.” There was indignant condemnation…..”You stupid damned fools, don’t you know who you are attacking?”  Then strangely, there was a twinge of guilt and shame for being the same race as the enemy but quickly supplanted by a dark foreboding and concern for innocent people like my parents who had nothing to do with the bombing and for the suffering that was sure to follow. But the final and lasting emotion was anger, outrage and hatred for our attackers and a vow that “I’m going to get you bastards!”, feelings that would last and would not diminish for the rest of the war.

Meanwhile the radio announcer Webley Edwards was frantically calling for all soldiers, sailors and marines to report to their battle stations, when suddenly I heard him say “All members of the University ROTC, report to your campus unit immediately.” I jumped into my ROTC uniform and rushed up to the ROTC armory at the UH campus within the first hour of the attack. The several hundred ROTC cadets arriving on campus were greeted with the sight of ROTC staff Sgt. Ward and Sgt. Hogan feverishly inserting firing pins in the World War I vintage Springfield .03 caliber rifles and issuing us a clip of five bullets. It should be noted that 60% to 75% of the ROTC corps was made up of cadets of Japanese ancestry, yet throughout it all there was no registration or signups, no swearing in nor any kind of formality. No one questioned us. There was absolutely no hesitancy, doubts or distrust in mustering us in. We were ordinary ROTC cadets responding to the call to defend our country, just like any other American soldier or sailor reporting to their battle stations in time of war. I reported to my ROTC unit, Company B, lst Battalion commanded by Captain Nolle Smith, for which I served as First Sergeant.

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Ceremony At Biffontaine

October 19, 2013 – Biffontaine, France

Over 300 gathered, including sons and daughters, family and friends of the 442, to celebrate the 69th anniversary of the liberation of the town of Biffontaine. The ceremony took place in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains, at the place call Terminal 6, where the battle of the Lost Battalion took place.

Mr. Valentin, Deputy Mayor of Biffontaine, gave the follow speech:

Dear officials,  Ladies and Gentlemen, My dear friends,

Today, the town of BIFFONTAINE, surrounded with the committee of Terminal No. 6,  is honored by your visit and thank you warmly. At the dawn of the 70th anniversary of the liberation, we are here to prove that forgetting does not exist between our two countries.

In this little area in the Vosges, humble as we are in front of that stone monument, we all bow before our heroes’ courage, in respect and silence.

Today we’re thinking of those young people who came from a beautiful faraway country and who gave their youth and life to our country. They sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Remembering that shows to their families and to you all, my friends, that their supreme sacrifice was not vain.

That sacrifice gave France back its place in the world and helped to fight against the murderous madness of Nazism.

In front of that monument, erected on a site where fierce fightings occurred, we must remember that Freedom is never fully achieved. It is still fragile and it is our duty, to all of us, from the youngest to the eldest, to ensure that freedom and peace remain.

Those thousands of dead people, whose memory will remain etched in our hearts, must be recognized as they should be and that memory must hang over our forests.

In order that our descendants can remember, it is up to us to pass on the History and to preach again and again for a lasting peace between all peoples.

A country must remember the past to build the future.

Before we temporarily leave each other, I’d like to pay my last respect to Jean BIANCHETTI who died on August 10th. He was, with George HENRY, the founder of the monument Terminal No. 6. I wish to express here my gratitude to his family.

I wish you all a great day in BIFFONTAINE.

 

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Oahu AJA Veterans Council 8th Annual Joint Memorial Service

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The Oahu AJA Veterans Council 8th Annual Joint Memorial Service was held on Sunday, September 29, 2013 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  Barbara J. Tanabe served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event.  The program included Col. Gene Castagnetti, USMC, Ret. Superintendent, NMCP who gave the “Welcome” and Brigadier General James T. Hirai, U.S. Army, Ret. was the Keynote Speaker.  Veterans from the numerous veterans groups were in attendance.

We would like to thank Chairman Byrnes Yamashita for his superb coordination of this event, it was a great success.  Our mahalo to all who assisted in this service.

Click below to view photos of the event…

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2011 Joint Memorial Service

The sixth annual Joint Memorial Service was held on Sunday, September 25, 2011, at the National Memorial Cemetery fo the Pacific. The annual event is sponsored by the AJA Veterans Council. It recognizes and honors all four World War II nisei veteran units: The 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. The program was highlighted by Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, who gave the memorial address to a crowd of over 400. 

Click below to view photos taken by Wayne Iha, Clyde Sugimoto, Pat Thompson and Gary Saito.

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Bruyeres + Honolulu Event

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