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.
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.
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…
Thank you to Judge Thomas K. Kaulukukui, Jr. for allowing us to post the speech he gave at the 100th Infantry Battalion’s 70th Anniversary Banquet on July 8, 2012 at the Honolulu Country Club.
Good Morning to All.
I humbly offer all honor and respect to the Great Spirit who has made this day and who has given us a humble part in it; and to the sands of your birth, wherever that may be; to the memory of our ancestors; to the elders who are present; and to the leaders and other guests in attendance; and most of all, I bow in respect to the veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, and to their descendants and other family members here today, on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the 100th Battalion.
I was invited to offer my thoughts on the contributions of the 100th Battalion to the community. I was born in 1945, so I am a member of the “baby boomer” generation—the generation after the 100th Battalion veterans. This is the vantage point of my perspective. Most of you already know the specifics of some or most of the contributions of these veterans, but I humbly offer my own brief but broad perspectives on this topic. I have entitled my remarks “The Essence (S-sense) of the 100th Battalion’s Contributions to the Community.” I say “S-sense” because I will speak of 3 Ss. Read more »
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.
“Thanks For The Memories” was this year’s theme for the veterans of the 100th as they celebrated their 69th Anniversary Banquet. The event was held on Saturday, July 2, 2011, at the Honolulu Country Club. Approximately 300 veterans, family members and friends participated in the event. The program featured a video presentation on the history of the Club 100 Clubhouse and past memories from the younger generation growing up with the veterans. Dr. Cass Nakasone, a grandson, gave the keynote address.
Congratulations to the 100th’s Banquet Committee for a job well done!
Sons, daughters and friends have refreshed the “Honoring the Legacy” Exhibit at Central Pacific Bank in downtown Honolulu.
The AJA Veterans Exhibit Committee include sons, daughters and friends of the veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion (100th), the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (442nd), and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). The Exhibit Committee creates exhibits on the four principal AJA units – the 100th, the 442nd, the MIS, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion (1399th). Alvin Yoshitomi and Eileen Sakai are the 442nd Sons & Daughters on the Exhibit Committee.
There was a special screening of the documentary film, “Live with Honor, Die with Dignity”, in Honolulu on September 10, 2010. Over 350 veterans, family and friends showed up for the event, sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. A special guest appearance was made by famed actor George Takei to introduce the film. Jake Shimabukuro, composed and played the song, “Go For Broke” on his ukulele via a video presentation at the beginning of the event.
Here are photos of the event, captured by Ann Kabasawa, Clyde Sugimoto, Wayne Iha and Pat Thompson.
The 5th Annual Joint Memorial Services was held on Sunday, September 26, 2010, at the National Cemetery of the Pacific. This event is coordinated each year by the Oahu AJA Veterans Council to commemorate the four AJA military units of WWII: the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd RCT, the Military Intelligence Service, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.
Click below to view photos of the event.
Photographers: Wayne Iha, Clyde Sugimoto, Pat Thompson and Gary Saito. Read more »
The Oahu AJA Veterans Council’s fifth annual Joint Memorial Service will be held at 9:00 a.m. Sunday, September 26, 2010, at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.
The keynote speaker will be Maj. Gen. Robert G.F. Lee, adjutant general for the state of Hawaii since January 2003. Maj. Gen. Lee, a University of Hawaii graduate, was commissioned in May 1971. His career included command of the Army Reserve’s 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry from September 1988 to March 1991. Now, as state adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Lee directs the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard, State Civil Defense and the state Office of Veterans Services. Read more »
In 1943, under Executive Order 9066, the US Army constructed the Honouliuli Internment Camp near Ewa, Oahu, for the detention of approximately 300 Hawai’i residents, most of whom were American citizens of Japanese ancestry, during WWII.
The Sons and Daughters of the 442 RCT hosted an audio-visual presentation about the Honouliuli Internment Camp experience, presented by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Resource Center. The Sons and Daughters of the 100th, MIS, and 1399 were invited to this social event.
When: August 5, 2010, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Kapiolani Community College, Naio Building Lab
Photos provided by Clyde Sugimoto & Wayne Iha. Click to view photos of the event…. Read more »
August 8, 2010
The sons, daughters and friends who helped create the Honoring the Legacy exhibit at Central Pacific Bank are working with the National Park Service on an exhibit about World War II AJAs that will be part of the new USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center. Read more »
The Joint Memorial Service (JMS) organized by the Oahu AJA Veterans Council was held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on Sunday, November 27, 2009. The JMS honors those who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.
Photos provided by Clyde Sugimoto & Wayne Iha. Click to view photos of the event…