John Egelhof sent in a letter written by his father, PFC Joe Egelhof, while recovering from frozen feet in a field hospital during the Battle of the Bulge. PFC Egelhof was a BAR rifleman and paratrooper with Co. D, 517th Parachute Infantry Regimental Combat Team. In it, he speaks highly of the 442nd RCT. We present it here in abridged form. Thank you, John, for sending it in!
France, Jan. 29, 1945
Dear Win: Just a short letter as I am all “written out” from that book I wrote you last nite. Ate one breakfast, two dinners and two suppers today. I certainly have a lot of fun swapping stories with the other boys here at the hospital. They are from armored, mechanized cavalry, line infantry, artillery and every other branch of the service, and many of us took part in the same missions…
…The esprit de corps among the parachute infantry troops is terrific. It goes without question that once a trooper gets into a fight all present must join in. Nevertheless, the fine art of bitching is also cultivated to an unbelievable degree, and it is commonplace to hear the most vicious of arguments going on between neighboring foxholes about an error in the division of 10 in 1 rations while the rest of the platoon cringes in anticipation of renewal of enemy mortar fire…
Everyone believes that he is being persecuted by everyone else and goes around with a perpetual look of pouting discontent. In order to keep the esprit de corps from developing into an overbearing attitude, we are continually reminded that the only difference between us and the regular infantry is that we go into battle via parachute. Nevertheless some of the boys have a determined attitude that there is something wrong with anyone who doesn’t jump out of a plane, which is a most inconvenient and perilous attitude as the disparity in numbers between the parachute troops and the rest of the world indicates.
However, they will conceive passionate adorations for other units which happen to impress them favorably. Our favorite outfit at this time is a certain armored division – I wish I could tell you its number because it is the best in the world. Before that we admired one of the all-Japanese outfits, who in addition to being the finest soldiers in the army are also the friendliest and most generous to stranded troops of other outfits.
Well, they just brought in some hot chocolate to drink now so I guess I will quit to enjoy it. What a place! I wish the other fellows could have a few days apiece here –
Love – Joe
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La Légion d’honneur medal conferment ceremony by the French government for six American Japanese veterans of World War II on June 1, 2019 was trés magnifique! The audience, Governor David Ige, Mrs. Dawn Amano-Ige, both, whose fathers served with the 100th Infantry Battalion, many members of the Consular Corps of Hawaii and a large contingent of family and friends of the veterans, was very pleased to witness the rare historic knighthood and medal pinning, by Consul General Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens of San Francisco, bestowed on our six courageous heroes seated on stage.
The new Chevaliers are: Mr. Royce Eiko Higa, 98, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, A Battery, Mr. Hidenobu Hiyane, 100, Headquarters Company, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), Mr. George Kenichi Oide, 96, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Headquarters Battery, Mr. Clinton Ikuzo Shiraishi, 98, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Headquarters Battery, Mr. Koichi Harry Tokushige, 95, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, A Battery, Mr. Paul Sanji Watanabe, 97, 232nd Combat Engineer Company.
We are very grateful for their good health and longevity!
Inspiring speeches from Honorary Consul Guillaume Maman in Hawaii, Governor Ige and Consul General Lebrun-Damiens, highlighted the valor, sacrifice and honor of the six Chevaliers.
With their superb organizational skills the following have made the celebration memorable, heartwarming and possible ~ Theresa Tilley Maman, emcee and lovely wife of Honorary Consul Maman, Lynn Heirakuji, committee chairwoman and retired Pentagon deputy assistant secretary, daughter of the late Walter Heirakuji, 442nd RCT veteran and Jeff Morita, retired US Army Sergeant First Class and GG-13 Department of the Army Civilian and a nephew of James Morita, 442nd RCT, F Company veteran. Jeff has personally taken up the mission to research, verify and submit nominations to the French government for veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442 Regimental Combat Team who were “boots on the ground” combat experienced in France to be awarded this coveted medal, which is France’s highest order of merit for military and civil service, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. Mae Isonaga and Grace Tsubata Fujii were also committee planners.
Kevin Morita, choir director at Kapolei Middle School, son of Jeff Morita, performed beautiful ukulele prelude music. The 100th/442 Color Guard presented the colors. Sandy Tsukiyama, daughter of the late Ted Tsukiyama, 522nd FAB/MIS veteran, performed a magnificent acapella rendition of the three anthems of La Marseillaise, The Star Spangled Banner and Hawai‘i Pono‘ï. The Hawaii Convention Center was a beautiful blessed venue! The hosted reception was delicious and perfect!
Volunteer greeters, escorts and guides, mostly 100/442 descendants, were Phyllis Hironaka, Barbara Uno-Harada, Gayle (Nagata) Kawahakui, Jeanne Omaye, Byrnes Yamashita, Karl Okemura, Dane Sakaida, Laurie (Ishida) Oue, Mary Ann (Katahara) Tanabe, Bill Tam and 5 members of the US Army Pacific Command. Photographers were Ann (Nosaka) Kabasawa, Clyde Sugimoto, Pat Thomson and Mari Hughes, who recorded the event for the veterans, families and publication.
Guillaume and Theresa Maman are an amazing team! It’s always joyful to be in their company! Assisting them is fun, rewarding and not work at all. If they ever said, “Stand in the middle of the street,” I’d have no questions.
To Monsieur Lebrun-Damiens et Monsieur Maman, we are looking forward to another celebratory La Légion d’honneur medal conferment ceremony in anticipation of the next Nisei Chevalier approvals from France! Vive La France et Merci Beaucoup!
Proud to be a descendant and supporter of the WWII AJA Veterans Grace Tsubata Fujii Sons and Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Tea m
A new app that shows a virtual tour of Fort DeRussy is available in the Apple App Store. Designed by LCDR Bradshaw, the app shows various landmarks within Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, including the Brothers in Valor Memorial. This monument honors the members of the 4 Japanese-American military units in WWII – 100th Battalion, 442nd RCT, MIS, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. For now, it is only available for iPhone users. Click here to go to the app store or simply search the app store for “derussy”.
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To All 442nd RCT Veterans’ Families (updated 4 May 2019)
S&D member Jeff Morita of Mililani is generously assisting any surviving veteran of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd RCT who served in France prior to May 8, 1945 to apply for the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military & civil decoration. Jeff’s public service applies to not only Hawaii, but to any surviving World War II AJA veteran located on the US Mainland, Alaska, overseas, and those who may have served with the same France criteria in other military units as well. The decoration is presented to those still living, although once the application has been received by the French government and French Knighthood is approved the decoration may be presented to the veteran’s immediate family should the veteran pass away.
The following veterans have been awarded their Légion d’honneur decorations:
FURUKAWA, Hayao George (G.Co/442); Honolulu — conferred April 19
NIKAIDO, Tsuyoshi Thomas (D.Co/100); Honolulu
The following veterans have been approved as French Chevaliers (Knights) as of April 3, 2019:
FUJITA, Yoshiyuki Joel (Hq.Co/442); Kaneohe
HANDA, Isao Ace (Hq.Co 3rd Bn/442); Fremont, California
HIGA, Royce Eiko (A.Btry/522); Honolulu
HIYANE, Hidenobu (Hq.Co/100); Pearl City
MURAOKA, Ikito (Med.Det/100); Lihue
OIDE, George Kenichi (Hq.Btry/522); Honolulu
SHIRAISHI, Clinton Ikuzo (Hq.Btry/522); Lihue
TOKUSHIGE, Koichi Harry (A.Btry/522); Honolulu
WATANABE, Paul Sanji (232nd Engr.Co/442); Honolulu
Currently, Jeff has submitted applications which are under review by the French government for the following veterans:
Takashi Aragaki, I Co., 442nd (owned Sputnik’s Restaurant in Hilo) Hiromi Fujimura, B Co, 100th & H Co, 442nd (corrected) Kenneth Ray Higashi (South Dakota), D Co., 100th/442nd Masatsu Kawamoto, I Co., 442nd (lives in Hawi) Don Matsuda, A Co., 100th (former Club 100 President) Stanley Toshiyuki Matsuura, L Co., 442nd Hajime Miyamoto, Med. Detachment, Hq., 442nd Hideo Nakayama, L Co., 442nd Seichi Joseph Oshiro, L Co., 442nd Shigeru Oshita, Hq. Co., 100th/442nd (passed away after application was filed) Kenny M. Shimabukuro, K Co., 442nd Takashi “Bolo” Shirakata, 206th AGFB/442nd Minoru Tamashiro, Hq. 3rd Bn, 442nd William Yoshio Thompson, Hq. 3rd Bn, 442nd Harold Watase, I Co., 442nd
Jeff is currently working on applications or awaiting information from family members of several veterans who are potential LoH nominees, including:
DOI, Jimmy (94) (G.Co/442); Decatur, Georgia NAKASONE, Harold Seisuke (98) (Cannon.Co/442); Honolulu NOMURA, Katsuto Richard (96) (Anti-Tank.Co/442); Waipahu
All those with a family member who has not received this prestigious award please contact Jeffrey directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our S&D chapter member Bill Wright at 425-922-9229.
The French Government approved the French Legion of Honor and French Knighthood for the following 442nd Veterans, and each veteran/family has been presented with the honors. CONGRATULATIONS to the Veterans and their Families.
Legion of Honor medals awarded in 2018: Charles Toyoji Ijima, 232nd Combat Engineer Co., 442nd (Oahu, HI) Norman Noboru Kamada, F Co., 442nd (Rocklin, CA) Kenneth Yoichi Sugai, G Co., 442nd (Oahu, HI)
Legion of Honor medals awarded in 2017: James Morita, F Co/2nd Bn, 442nd Masayoshi Nakamura, I Co/3rd Bn, 442nd Tetsuo Tateishi, A Co/100th Bn Harold Zenyei Afuso, H Co/3rd Bn, 442nd, and Futao Terashima, I Co/3rd Bn, 442nd
Photo above: Mr. Guillaume Maman, French Honorary Consul in Hawaii, decorating Mr. Kenneth Yoichi Sugai (97), G “George” Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team with the French Legion of Honor – Chevalier in June 2018 as his daughter Gwen looks on. Mr. Sugai was a Browning Automatic Rifleman (BAR) and wounded twice in the Vosges Mountains near Bruyeres, France during World War II. Jeff Morita who nominated Mr. Sugai offers his public service to any current surviving 100th/442nd veteran for this prestigious foreign honor. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Theresa Maman.
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Friends, family and the community celebrated the life of Mr. Ted Tsukiyama on March 23, 2019. He was born in Honolulu on December 13, 1920, then went with his mother and sister to his mother’s home of Kagawa, Japan at the age of 4 or 5, returning to Kaimuki about a year later.
He graduated from Roosevelt High School, then went to the University of Hawaii. At UH, he was an ROTC cadet until just after the Pearl Harbor attack, at which time Japanese-Americans were dismissed. He joined the Varsity Victory Volunteers, then the 442nd Regimental Combat Team when it was formed. He later transferred into the Military Intelligence Service, where he served as an interpreter in Burma.
After the war, he was the first Japanese-American to attend Yale Law School, and became an attorney in Honolulu. He played an important role in preserving the history of the 442nd RCT and recorded his memoirs in his book “My Life’s Journey: A Memoir.” He and his wife Fuku had 3 children – Sandy, Paul and Tim.
He was laid to rest at Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery on March 25, 2019. Videos of the celebration of life and inurnment are available on YouTube.