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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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.
Sneak Preview of the Go For Broke, A 442 Origins Story movie, Hawai’i Theater, October 8, 2017
By Gail Nishimura and Jon Ishihara
“442nd RCT Foundation Presents a Stacey Hayashi Production” was on the printed program for this special event to provide a preview of this movie long in the making on the 442nd RCT. In attendance at the Hawai’I Theatre in Honolulu were some 442nd veterans, many 100th/442nd family members and distinguished guests. The movie preview was attended by approximately 1400 people.
Opening the event was a group of dancers from Okinawa and Hawaii, with a lively presentation. Then Jake Shimabukuro played the national anthem on the ukulele and the 100th/442nd Reserves Guard posted the colors. Admiral Harry Harris, Commander U.S. Pacific Command, gave the keynote speech and then made a special presentation of the French Legion of Honor medal to veteran Mr. Masayoshi Nakamura. The text of Admiral Harris’s speech can be read here. Hawaii Governor David Ige then presented Stacey Hayashi with a proclamation making October 8, 2017 “Go For Broke” day.
This movie was dedicated to the late K. Mark Takai, U.S Representative from Hawai’I and a strong supporter of Stacey Hayashi and this movie. His daughter says “Go For Broke” in the movie. Stacey said Mark would leave copies of her book “Journey of Heroes” in his office for people visiting to read.
Former Senator Daniel Akaka attended and was in one of the scenes of the movie (look for him in the funeral scene.) Our own S&D member Anita Nihei was an extra and you can see and hear her a couple of times during the scene at Iolani Palace. S&D member Gwen Fujie and Anita’s son Gavin were also extras but the camera goes pretty fast at times and the crowd and recruits are big groups.
The movie itself moves quickly (90 minutes) and covers events just before and the year after Pearl Harbor. It tells of the Hawaii Territorial Guard and the formation of the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). It also introduces the 298th Infantry/100th Infantry Battalion. The movie closes with the famous picture taken at Iolani Palace of the men who were inducted into the 442nd RCT in April 1943. Very touching as we get a look into the daily lives of different people before, during and after the start of the war, scnes which are based on stories from 442nd veterans.
The Hawaii Film Festival showed the film on the 12th of November at Hawai’i Theater and other venues. It was also just shown on the Big Island and Kaua’i the weekend of 17-19 November. Here is the link to the film’s description via the Hawaii Film Festival: go_for_broke_a_442_origins_story_2017
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Aloha Hawaii 442nd RCT Veterans, Families, and Supporters
The U.S. Army plans to open a new National Museum of the U.S. Army (NMUSA) near Washington D.C. in 2019. NMUSA will include sections recognizing the WWII Nisei Soldiers of the 442nd RCT, 100th Infantry Battalion and Military Intelligence Service. It is seeking individual Nisei Soldier stories, as well as objects and artifacts that will be made part of the exhibit. See the NMUSA website at: thenmusa.org.
The Sons & Daughters Chapter is working with the National Veterans Network to coordinate the submission of 442nd Soldier stories for consideration for use in the museum. S&D member Lynn Heirakuji is the point of contact for this project and is providing detailed information on how interested parties can submit Soldier stories, as well as donated objects and artifacts, to be considered for inclusion in the NMUSA. Attached is an Information Sheet (below) on NMUSA along with two Attachments that explains NMUSA and what it is seeking to help create the Nisei Soldier sections of the new museum. The one-year deadline for bringing these sections to completion is very tight.
This is an extremely important and rare opportunity for the compelling story of the WWII Nisei Soldiers to be told at the national level and to a broad audience.
Please review the Information Sheet and support this effort by
nominating a WWII 442nd RCT Nisei Veteran for individual recognition
at NMUSA – the local submission deadline is October 1, 2017. If you have any related
objects or artifacts
that you would like to permanently donate to NMUSA, please consider doing so – submission deadline is September 30, 2017.
On behalf of the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT, Lynn is coordinating the submission of 442nd RCT Hawaii Nisei Soldier stories. Mark Matsunaga and Susan Muroshige will be coordinating the nominations for the MIS and 100th Infantry Battalion Soldiers, respectively.
Please email Lynn at LHeirakuji@gmail.com if you have any questions or need help with your nomination submission. Or you can call or text Lynn at 240 351-8656.
Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT, Member
Nisei Veterans Legacy, Board Member
Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit in Japan
By S&D member Byrnes Yamashita
The Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit at the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum, Yokohama, Japan.
Photo courtesy of Philbert Ono.
An exhibit highlighting the Japanese-American experience in Hawaii from the initial waves of immigration through World War II and the post-war period with photographs and narrative text in English and Japanese opened in Yokohama this past June. Included are photos of Nisei soldiers from the 100th, 442nd, 1399th and MIS who fought in World War II to prove their loyalty to the United States. The exhibit also includes a section on prefectural roots that identifies prominent Japanese Americans from Hawaii whose ancestors were part of the flow of contract workers (kanyaku imin) who came to Hawaii beginning in 1885 to work on the sugar plantations.
The idea for this exhibit was initially conceived in 2015 by Mrs. Michiko Shigeeda, wife of the then Consul General of Japan in Honolulu, Mr. Toyoei Shigeeda, who is currently Japan’s ambassador to Lithuania. Mrs. Shigeeda felt that the Japanese people who already have a strong affinity for Hawaii would be interested in learning about the history of the Japanese Americans in Hawaii. Bishop Ryokan Ara of the Tendai Educational Foundation, who was recently named a Living Treasure of Hawaii by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, was the spiritual inspiration for the project. Bishop Ara has worked for over 40 years to improve the understanding and relationships between the Japanese Americans in Hawaii and the Japanese people. Mr. Ryoji Koike of the Pacific Aviation Museum played a key role in coordinating with organizations and support groups in Japan.
An exhibit content committee, including three S&D members, collected photographs, wrote the narrative and designed the exhibit. The project was prepared completely through volunteer efforts with printing and other expenses funded by the Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL) and in-kind contributions.
Titled, “The Hawaii Nikkei Legacy,” the exhibit is co-sponsored by the NVL, the Japan America Society of Hawaii and the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. (“Nikkei” refers to Japanese who have migrated to various foreign countries.) The exhibit is currently open at the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum (JOMM) in Yokohama, Japan. The JOMM is operated by the Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA. The JICA is the rough equivalent of the USAID in the United States and one of its elements is the Association of Nikkei and Japanese Abroad, which serves as the host for the exhibit.
The exhibit is scheduled to be shown at the JOMM through September 3, 2017. It will also appear at the Hawaii Expo event at the Hikarie Building in Shibuya, Tokyo from July 15-17. Then it will be shown in Fukushima City from July 19-29 in conjunction with the City’s 110th anniversary celebration. Finally, it will be at the Imperial Bank Building in Hiroshima City from October 1-14. Anyone traveling to Japan during these time periods are encouraged to see the exhibit. The exhibit may also be shown in Hawaii in 2018 though no arrangements have been made to date.
Hawaiian music performance by Kuʽulei Mamo Park (daughter of a 100th Infantry Battalion veteran, at right in photo – corrected) and her band with hula dancers at the opening ceremony for the exhibit.
Photo courtesy of Philbert Ono.
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S&D Volunteer project with Hamilton Library at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa
The S&D has initiated a volunteer project with Hamilton Library at the University of Hawai’I at Manoa to digitize archival material that was previously given to the Library by the 442nd Veterans Club. Much of the material is only accessible currently by visiting the Manuscripts and Archives Department in person. S&D members have volunteered to digitize the material, which will allow Hamilton Library to provide the information online to provide access to many more who may be interested in the 442nd RCT.
The volunteers are to receive training beginning in late July and the hope is to start the project in August with the goal of completing much or all of the digitization by some time next year. The material that will be digitized includes copies of National Archives documents related to the activities of the 442nd RCT, 100th Infantry Battalion, MIS, 1399th Engineers and other Japanese Americans serving in World War II; and a set of material collected by the 442nd Veterans Club such as a copies of the memoirs of Chaplain Masao Yamada (3rd Battalion) and of the memoirs of members of Love Company.
Hamilton Library has these materials in the Japanese American Veterans Collection. By digitizing the material, the goal of the S&D and Hamilton Library is to increase access to these important resources.
At this time (July 2017) we have had good response from our S&D members and are not actively recruiting volunteers.
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Introducing/Reacquainting with the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center (NVMC) on Maui and the Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV) of California
Maui Nisei Veterans Memorial Center
The next time you visit Maui, please take a few minutes to visit the Education Center at the Maui Nisei Veterans Memorial Center. It is at One Go For Broke Road, which is accessed from Kahului Beach Road as you head from Kahului towards Wailuku along Kahului harbor. Look for the building complex on the hill on the left side. The Education Center is the first building on the left as you approach the complex. Visitor parking is available just in front of the building. Admission is free.
Before you enter the building, you can peruse the Wall of Honor which lists the names of all Maui Nisei soldiers that lost their lives in combat in Europe during World War II. If you know someone on the Wall of Honor, the Education Center may have information on the Veteran. The Center also has stories about the Nisei Veterans who returned to Hawaii and their lives after the war.
The Center shows exhibits from time to time to help educate the general public about the Nisei soldiers. The Military Intelligence Service exhibit that on display at the U.S. Army Museum at Fort DeRussy (Oahu) just completed a showing at the Center. The Center also shows a short video that features the Nisei soldiers from Maui.
Before you go to the NVMC, check out their website: http://www.nvmc.org/. The mission of the Maui NMVC is to ignite human potential by inspiring people to find the hero in themselves through the legacy of the Nisei Veterans. Inspiring stuff.
Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans of California
The Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV) mission is to preserve the proud accomplishments of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and to honor all veterans of the RCT. The FFNV activities include presentations by guest speakers on topics related to the RCT, Nisei veterans, and World War II; an annual membership meeting; periodic community events in the Alameda/Northern California area; etc. Their website can be found at ffnv.org and contact information is on the Contact Us link of the site for those wishing to learn more about the FFNV.
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Plans for 75th Anniversary Tour of France, July 2019
Brian Yamamoto of Alaska will be leading and organizing stops on a 75th Anniversary Tour of France in July 2019. Brian and his wife Leslie were on the 2009 tour with Lawson Sakai of the 442nd RCT and Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans. Brian led a 2013 tour to Italy with 43 people and a 442nd veteran and also led a 2014 France tour with 65 people and two 442nd veterans. He is working with Nora Di Bievre on planning the 2019 trip. Nora was one of the guides for the 2014 France tour and also led the study group a year later with Stuart Hirai’s group.
Details for the 2019 tour are currently being worked out and the organizers expect an itinerary to be available in the first part of 2018. They are hoping to plan a “short 6 day tour” to encourage any veterans who may be thinking of joining. This shorter tour will only visit the Vosges and the celebrations there around Bastille Day, July 14, 2019. There will be a “long 13-14 day tour” which will visit Sospel and L’Escarene, eventually meeting up with the “short tour” in Bruyeres.
While in the Vosges, the group will visit all of the monuments which will include: 442nd RCT, Lost Battalion, Yohei Sagami Stele, Tomosu Hirahara Square, 3rd Infantry Division, 45th Infantry Division, Robert Booth, and the 405th FS. We will also visit the American Cemeteries at Epinal and Lorraine for wreath laying ceremonies. The group will place leis and flags at grave markers of the 100th/442nd soldiers buried there.
Sospel and L’Escarene are in the French Maritime Alps where the Nisei troops were after the bitter fighting in the Vosges. It became known as the “Champagne Campaign”. The long tour group will place a wreath at the plaque in Sospel where Larry Miura and Kenji Sugiwara were killed. We will spend a day in Sospel visiting with the locals during special ceremonies. The tour will spend a day in L’Escarene which is famous for the Christmas party the Nisei troops held for the children in 1944. When the tour visited in 2014, there were many adults who were children at that party.
The organizers will keep those interested informed of any developments for the tour periodically. They are expecting a large group for this historic occasion, so it would be a good idea to sign up early once the itinerary is available in 2018. There may be a limit for the tour of around 100 people.
If you have further questions, you can contact Brian Yamamoto at email@example.com or write him at: 2136 Airport Way #2 Fairbanks, AK 99701.
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Joint Statement by the State of Hawaii and Counsel for Plantiffs Noboru and Elaine Kawamoto
HONOLULU, HAWAII (September 6, 2016) – As a result of meetings and discussions between Plaintiffs’ counsel, Jeffrey S. Portnoy and John P. Duchemin, and Defendants’ counsel, Deputy Attorneys General, Andrew L. Salenger, Dana A. Barbata and Caron M. Inagaki, Plaintiffs Noboru Kawamoto and Elaine Kawamoto have been reunited in his nursing care home pending determination by the Court of the constitutionality of certain Hawaii state statutes and administrative rules applicable to community care foster family homes.
Plaintiff Noboru Kawamoto is 95, a World War II veteran and member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and his wife, Plaintiff Elaine Kawamoto, is 89. This temporary accommodation is limited to these Plaintiffs and the impact of the laws as applied to them only. Counsel expect to file motions seeking summary adjudication of this lawsuit by United States District Court Judge Leslie E. Kobayashi to resolve this case.
Please note that there will be no further comment to the press at this time. Thank you.
Cades Schutte LLP
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France honors veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd RCT in three separate ceremonies held on the Big Island, Maui and Oahu. Some 57 veterans received the French Legion of Honor decree, the highest decoration bestowed by France, in recognition of those who risked their lives during World War II to liberate France.
Daughter of 442nd RCT veteran, Ralph Tomei of M Company
We graduated from Farrington High School in 1971, during the era of the war in Vietnam. For some of the boys in our graduating class the future held the very real prospect of being drafted into the military.
When my friend, Milton Kaneshiro, was faced with the dilemma of a low lottery number and waiting for the inevitable draft notice, or, enlisting and choosing where he would be stationed, Milton chose to enlist and was guaranteed eighteen months at the Army base in Stuttgart, Germany. As the center for the European high command, Stuttgart Army Base had more than twenty generals.
Now, this 20 year old Kalihi boy was by no means a model soldier. By Milton’s own admission, he was a “rebel” in uniform and for that reason he wasn’t well-liked by his superiors. One of the sticking points was Milton’s refusal to take down a sign he posted at the entrance to the barracks he shared with three other soldiers. The sign read: “Please Remove Footwear Before Entering”
The roommate sharing half of the barracks with Milton complied with the sign, but Milton’s other two roommates and his superiors simply ignored it and labeled him a “troublemaker”. Although Milton’s superiors kept chiding him to take his sign down, he held his ground, saying that they were going to do whatever they wanted to do, regardless of the sign; he was only asking that they respect his Japanese culture; and, if they wanted it taken down, they would have to take it down themselves. For some reason no one bothered to take the sign down, and so it remained posted.