Bill Abe served as a Sergeant in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 442nd RCT. He was born in 1925 in Santa Cruz County, California. He was one of nine children of Yasukuchi and Harumi (Yoshimoto) Abe who had immigrated in 1907 and 1915, respectively. In the 1930 Federal Census, all of the children were listed by their Japanese names, and Bill was listed as Kujashi, age 5.
After high school in Watsonville, where he was a member of the Future Farmers of America and was known as Bill, he moved to New York City where he signed two WWII Draft Registration cards within a few months. The Draft Board realized this and on each card the other card was cross-referenced.
On March 2, 1943, Bill signed his first draft card with the following information: born February 24, 1925, Santa Cruz, California, point of contact Betty Omori in Chicago (one of his sisters), employed temporarily as a cook at a sandwich shop, 5’5-1/2”, 127 lbs., scar under left elbow.
On July 1, 1943, he signed his second draft card: born July 1, 1925, in Santa Cruz, 5’6”, 126 lbs., scar under left elbow, employed at Terminal Recreation Center (Grand Central Station), point of contact Bill Litchfield, Valverde Ranch, Watsonville, California. From the dates, it appears that Bill signed the card in February before his 18th birthday, and the card in July on what he said was his 18th birthday.
Abe’s parents and siblings were interned at Tule Lake WRA Internment Camp on July 12, 1942. His siblings were released at separate times to different locations; and his parents were released on January 11, 1946, to return to Santa Cruz County.
Abe enlisted as a Private in the U.S. Army on June 7, 1944, at Fort Dix, New Jersey. At the time his residence was New York City and he was a cook. After training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, he would have been sent to join the 442nd probably during the Champagne Campaign as a replacement. By that time due to battle casualties there was an ongoing need for fresh soldiers to be sent from basic training to the battlefields of France. He participated in the Po Valley Campaign when the 442nd was sent back to Italy.
Abe was awarded two medals: Distinguished Unit Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge.
After the war, he returned to the U.S. and in 1951 he married Misako Hamada in Cook County, Illinois. She was originally from Los Angeles. They were living in Chicago in the 1990s. His death or burial record has not been found, although he died in the late 1990s according to siblings’ obituaries.
Three of his brothers served in the 442nd: George Yasuaki in Company A; Thomas Tomotsu and Toshiaki in Company G.