Patrick Mitsuru Tokushima
100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)
Patrick Mitsuru Tokushima was born on May 28, 1920, in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii. He was the second eldest of five sons of Masafude and Misao Tokushima. His brothers were Harry, Roy R., Richard R., and Stanley M. Tokushima. Masafude emigrated from Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, arriving in Honolulu on January 14, 1910, on the China Maru. He went to work in a retail market on Kauai, and on December 10, 1914, he married his cousin, Misao Tokushima, at Kealia, Kauai. Misao was born on Kauai.
Patrick attended Royal School, Central Intermediate School, and McKinley High School where he graduated in 1938. In his early 20s, Tokushima was employed by American Factors at Queen and Fort Streets. He also worked as a grocery filler and clerk at the Tokushima Store, a family-run business located at Fort and School Streets. He registered for the draft on July 1, 1941, at Local Board No. 5, 212 Tax Office Building, Honolulu. He was 5’7” tall and weighed 135 pounds. He listed his point of contact as Chew Kam Tom, his next-door neighbor.
Patrick was inducted into the Army on November 15, 1941, at Schofield Barracks. After basic training, Patrick was assigned to the 298th Infantry Regiment. He was serving on active duty at Schofield Barracks when the Japanese attack on Oahu occurred on December 7, 1941.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, in May 1942, the Nisei of the 298th Infantry Regiment (men from Oahu) were merged with the Nisei of the 299th Infantry Regiment (men from the other islands), into a new unit redesignated the Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion.
On June 5, 1942, the battalion boarded the U.S. Army transport ship, USAT Maui, and departed Honolulu in a convoy to the mainland. After a week at sea, they sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and docked in Oakland, California. The unit was given a new designation – the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate). The unit traveled to their new duty station by three separate trains, which took three separate routes to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin.
After training at Camp McCoy and then at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, on August 11, 1943, Matsuei was among the 100th soldiers who left for Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, the staging area for transport on the S.S. James Parker for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. They traveled by train to Brooklyn, New York, and ferried to Staten Island, where their ship sailed at dusk on August 21 in a convoy of troop ships.
The 100th arrived in Oran, Algeria, on September 2, 1944, and was assigned to the already battle-tested 133rd Infantry Regiment of the 34th (Red Bull) Division. They took the place of the 133rd’s 2nd Battalion. After 18 days of service in Oran, Algeria, they departed for Italy to serve in the Naples-Foggia Campaign during the Allied drive to Rome.
On September 19, 1943, the 100th boarded the landing craft Frederick Funston and arrived offshore of the beach at Salerno, in southern Italy, at 8:00 a.m. on September 22. The unit entered combat on September 27, 1943, near Salerno. In late October, the 100th was ordered west. Patrick participated in the Naples-Foggia Campaign actions against the enemy in Italy, including St. Angelo, St. Angelo d’Alife, and Santa Maria Olivetto from September 30 to November 5, 1943. The men crossed the Volturno River twice on their way to capturing several critical hills that were part of the German’s Winter Line of Defense. La Croce was the site of another fierce battle, with the 100th fighting continuously for control of hills against well-entrenched Germans. Casualties mounted, reducing the 100th to almost half its original strength. On December 12, French troops relieved the division, and the 133rd Regiment, including the 100th, withdrew for 19 days of respite from battle.
By mid-January 1944, the 100th was fighting with the 34th Division in the first and second attempts to capture Monte Cassino, which controlled the main highway to Rome. The devastating battle for Monte Cassino marked the end of the original 100th Infantry Battalion. The battalion had landed in Italy with 1,300 men, and five months later only 521 remained fit to fight. An example was C Company. It had started with 170 men, and after Cassino only 23 remained. By this time, war correspondents were referring to the 100th as the “Purple Heart Battalion.”
With so many losses, the 100th was in need of reinforcements. Help came in the form of waves of replacements from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team that had been formed a year earlier as an all-volunteer unit of Nisei from Hawaii and the US mainland. The first two groups of replacements joined the 100th in the spring of 1944, bringing the battalion strength up to 1,095.
On March 26, the 100th Battalion landed at Anzio Harbor, about 35 miles south of Rome. Enemy resistance kept the 34th Division and the 100th Battalion pinned down on the beachhead at Anzio. Through April and into May, the Germans and the Allies fenced and sparred, sending out patrols and raiding parties looking for prisoners and information. The enemy kept the Allies on the Anzio beachhead constantly under fire, causing many casualties. On May 23, the Allies were finally able to begin their breakout from the beachhead.
After Anzio, the 100th quickly moved north. In June 1944, the 100th, along with five heavy weapons units, was assigned to clear out German troops holding Hill 435 near Lanuvio, the last enemy stronghold on the road to Rome. Earlier attempts by two battalions to break through had failed. The 100th accomplished the task on June 3, with three days of fierce fighting. At Hill 435 near the town of Lanuvio, Patrick Mitsuru Tokushima was killed on June 2 – one day before Lanuvio fell to the Allies.
Private Patrick Mitsuru Tokushima was interred in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Nettuno, Italy, within the Anzio/Nettuno beachhead and about 30 miles south of where he was killed.
For his military service, Private Tokushima was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, American Defense Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on October 5, 2010, along with the other members of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. This is the highest Congressional Civilian Medal.
In 1948, many war dead were returned home from military cemeteries in Europe. On September 1, Patrick was among 78 soldiers whose remains arrived in Honolulu from San Francisco on the USAT Dalton Victory at Pier 40 at 1:00 p.m. This was the first of the ships bearing Hawaii’s fallen sons to return home.
Earlier that morning in waters off Diamond Head, the Coast Guard cutter Iroquois and the Navy destroyer escort George circled the choppy seas to meet the Dalton Victory. Four 442nd veterans were aboard the Iroquois and each dropped a giant orchid, rose, and anthurium wreath into the ocean next to the Dalton. As the ship entered the harbor, a 21-gun salute was fired from Fort Armstrong, and Army, Navy, and Marine planes flew overhead. As the ship docked at Pier 40, church bells tolled throughout Honolulu.
Hundreds of family and friends were there to greet the ship. George Miki, President of the 442nd Veterans Club, and Earl Finch of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, were on the dock to welcome the soldiers home and talk to the parents who were awaiting the arrival of the ship. The flag-draped caskets were taken off the ship and held at the Army mausoleum at Schofield Barracks pending burial arrangements.
The following day there was a memorial processional with the caskets of two anonymous soldiers carried on caissons through downtown Honolulu to a service at Iolani Palace, where they later lay in state in the Throne Room.
On August 10, 1949, Private Patrick Mitsuru Tokushima was interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, Section D, Site 297.
Patrick’s brother, Pfc. Roy R Tokushima, also served in the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), C Company
Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2020, and updated 2021.