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.
The 232nd Engineer company was a very unique outfit. This company was the only company in the 442 Regimental Combat Team that was comprised of 100% Nisei members. All the other companies had white officers in command positions.
Our company commander told us that he was given permission by the commander of the 442nd that he could pick and choose whoever he wanted from the Regiment’s roster to form this company.
The Bruyeres to Honolulu 2011 Committee will be holding a golf tournament to raise funds to help support the visit to Hawaii by the citizens of Bruyeres. For more information about the visit and this golf tournament, please contact Willard and Geralyn Holck: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story of the Varsity Victory Volunteers was published in the Hawaii Herald on March 17, 1995. It was contributed by Bill Thompson and based on Army records and interviews.
It was about 3:00 a.m. in the morning. A shout went through the barracks at the shooting range for the men to wake up and assemble outside. The soldiers sleepily fell into line to hear the orders. What emergency had taken place for the men to get up at this un-godly hour? The orders were then read. The men were shocked! Disbelief ran through the minds of the assembled personnel. The orders bluntly stated that all men of Japanese ancestry, the Nisei, were immediately dismissed from the Hawaii Territorial Guard!
Short hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the University of Hawaii ROTC had been called to duty. Later that day, they were mobilized into the Hawaii Territorial Guard (HTG) by orders of the Governor of Hawaii. For six weeks these young University students, now soldiers, guarded Installations throughout Honolulu, Then came the bombshell on that early morning hour dismissing them from service; they were booted out merely for being of Japanese ancestry. This was, of course, part of the hysteria that followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In describing the humiliation inflicted upon the Nisei, Nolle Smith, former UH sports star and a commanding officer in the HTG, would say 50 years later at a UH banquet honoring the VVV: ‘We all cried when we heard those orders’.
A few days later, some of those discharged from the HTG gathered on the University campus under the shade of a shower tree near University Avenue discussing their plight. Classes were well underway and it was too late for many to return and finish their semester. From across the street in Atherton House, Hung Wai Ching, the YMCA secretary, saw the group. He walked over to talk to these former ex-ROTC cadets and, now, ex-HTG soldiers. In essence, what he told the dejected Nisei was simply that they could continue to feel sorry for themselves or to do something about it.
To read what happened, click here to the link to JAVA web site.
“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!
On Sunday, June 26, 2011, the Kona Japanese Civic Association held its annual general membership meeting in Kealakekua, Kona. The all day affair featured various cultural exhibits as well as lots of food to eat. Over 400 gathered for this festive event. This year, the KJCA paid tribute to the World War II veterans living in Kona. The exhibits included a display regarding the Congressional Gold Medal Award. Several of the veterans participated in the event.
Here are the names of the remaining WWII veterans living in Kona:
Sunao Kadooka, 100th Infantry Battalion (4th from left in photo above)
Mitsuo Oura, 100th Infantry Battalion (3rd from left in photo above)
Yasunori Deguchi, 442nd RCT (2nd from left in photo above)
Katsutoshi Matsumura, 442nd RCT (1st from left in photo above)
Takeshi Kudo, 442nd RCT
Fumikichi Matsuoka, 442nd RCT
Herbert Okano, 442nd RCT
Hidetaka Sato, 442nd RCT
Mitsugi Inaba, MIS
Sumio Nakashima, MIS
Francis Sogi, MIS
The Washington Post recently printed images of the design finalists, with the final design to be determined later this summer by the US Mint.
In May, the proposed medal designs were reviewed by both the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizen Coinage Advisory Commission. After giving the opportunity to present the two obverse and two reverse design preferences of the NVN, the committee members individually responded to the proposed designs. All were very respectful and many spoke about how special and emotional this medal award is since it will eternally tell the story of a group of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who overcame adversity and prejudice to prove their loyalty and patriotism to America.
Both commissions recommended a design to the U.S. Mint that was the preferred design of more than ninety percent of 100th, 442nd and MIS veterans nationwide. Their recommendation is as follows:
Obverse design: Color Guards in front, soldiers lined together in front of the American flag. Inscriptions include, “Nisei Soldiers of World War II” and “Go For Broke”.
Reverse design: Three insignias with a ribbon around it that spells out the MIS, 100th, and 442nd, with the inscription of the years of services, “1941-1946”.
This final medal design will be submitted to the Secretary of Treasury this month for approval. When approved, production of the Congressional Gold Medal will begin. For the latest news and information on how families can order their Congressional Gold Medal replica, please visit the National Veterans Network website at www.nationalveteransnetwork.com.
The 23rd Annual Observance of Memorial Day at the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium was held on May 29, 2011. 442nd Veteran Ron Oba was one of the guest speakers. Ron received a standing ovation. 442nd Veterans Chilly Sasaki and George Nakasato were also in attendance.
This service will be rebroadcast on Olelo Channel 52 on June 21 at 1:00 p.m., on June 22 at 10:00 a.m., June 23 at 5:00 p.m. and on June 24 on Channel 49 at 8:00 p.m.
Technical Sergeant Shinyei Rocky Matayoshi, 442nd RCT, Company G, was awarded today the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross at the Hall of Heroes, Pentagon. This is the 29th DSC awarded to the 100th Battalion/442nd RCT.
In addition to the DSC, Matayoshi’s awards include the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Purple Heart Medal, the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.