Past Events

442nd Veterans and the National Museum of the U.S. Army

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.

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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.

Thanks
Lynn Heirakuji
Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT, Member
Nisei Veterans Legacy, Board Member

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Third Annual Wahiawa War Memorial Ceremony July 16, 2017

The Third Annual Wahiawa War Memorial Ceremony will be held on July 16 to commemorate the 21 Wahiawa veterans who gave their lives during World War II, and recognize their families for the sacrifices they made during the war. The event, which will begin at 4 p.m. at Wahiawa District Park in the Hale Okipa building, is free and open to the public. The history of the soldiers and community members who worked to build the first city swimming pool in 1949 also will be shared.

The Wahiawa veterans killed in action were:
Masaharu Endo
Chester Fukunaga
Robert Han
Harry Hayakawa
Himeo Hiratani
Kikuichiro Ikehara
William Irwin
Kumao Iwahiro
Robert Johnson
Kiichi Koda
Mitsuharu Kuboyama
Daniel Lim
Robert McEldowney
Weldon Simpson
Richard D. Suwa
Wesley B. Swain
Robert Sweet
Yoshio Tagami
Mitsuo Tanji
Kazuo Yamashita and
Jerry Yamauchi.

The ceremony will open with the Kapolei High School Marine Corps JROTC opening color guard, Ryugen Taiko Group and a special 21-gun salute. Guest speakers include representatives from veterans’ organizations and community groups to pay tribute to veterans from the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The event also will feature a performance by the Royal Hawaiian Band. The sponsoring Wahiawa Lions Club will have a wreath and the Wahiawa Rainbow Seniors will make lei for the families to present during the ceremony. Community organizations such as the Wahiawa Community and Business Association, the Wahiawa Nikkei Civic Association, the Wahiawa-­Whitmore Neighborhood Board and Wahiawa elected officials also will present lei during the ceremony. Members of the S&D of the 442nd RCT and of the 100th Infantry Battalion Descendants will be attending the ceremony and also will present lei.

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522nd “Unlikely Liberators” display at Schofield Barracks until May 20, 2017

522nd Field Artillery Battery Display at Sergeant Rodney J. Yano Library, Schofield Barracks Hawaii (on till May 20, 2017)

The 522nd of the 442nd RCT was their artillery unit known for speed and accuracy during the war.  After the Po Valley campaign and the breaking of the German Gothic Line, the 522nd was ordered to separate from the rest of the 442nd and to enter Germany.  The 522nd advanced with speed and were in front of U.S. infantry units, which is something as usually the artillery unit brings up the rear.  This is how the 522nd came across the Jewish prisoners at Dachau subcamps and others who were part of the death march away from the camps.

image of exhibit panel

 

 

 

Members of the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT along with sponsor organization Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVL) members volunteered on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the Sgt. Rodney J. Yano Library at Schofield Barracks on Oahu.  Eight Sons & Daughters & NVL members and nine military volunteers and spouses and the Yano Library head librarian worked on the display, with help from the delivery crew. S&D member Bill Wright was the lead in organizing work and making sure we had tools and supplies.  He also gave a brief background on the 522nd and some of the significance of the display.

the volunteers

 

522nd Biggie Nakakura and Boyan Higa and wife

 

The 522 FAB were represented at the opening ceremony for the display by Masaru “Biggie” Nakakura and Masayuki “Boyan” Higa and his wife Nancy.  The Garrison Commander made a nice speech and the library staff treated the veterans like superstars and the honored guests the were.

According to S&D member Byrnes Yamashita, the Higas really enjoyed themselves and were glad that they attended the ceremony.  And the cake was ono.

cake at ceremony
The display at Schofield will be up until the 20th of May.  Many of the pictures have post-it notes on them as people who have seen the display recognized someone and added a name to the picture.  The pictures are very touching and really make you think about the atrocities committed during the war by the Nazi regime.

If you have the chance to get to Schofield Barracks Hawaii, stop by and see the display.  You will need to enter through Lyman Gate (second gate off Kunia Road) to get a visitor pass if you do not have a Dept. of Defense or military ID.  Everyone in the car must show an official ID with picture.  Plan on taking at least 10 minutes to enter (sometimes longer), as you must open all doors, trunk and hood of car as well as have all visitors step outside the car as it is inspected.  It’s worth the drive to Central Oahu! Hours of Operation:

Mon, Tues 11am – 8pm
Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm
Closed Sundays & Federal Holidays

1565 Kolekole Avenue, Bldg. 560
Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
Phone:  808/655-8002

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet 2017 (3 of 3)

last set of photos of attendees per table

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The 442nd RCT 74th Anniversary Banquet

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By Lynn Heirakuji, S&D member

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team 74th Anniversary Banquet was held at the Sheraton-Waikiki Hotel on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The 442nd Veterans Club sponsored the annual affair, which was attended by about 440 people – 49 Nisei veterans also signed up for the event.

Ken Inouye, son of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, served as the Master of Ceremonies and Governor David Y. Ige rendered the moving keynote address. The Governor, son of a 100th Infantry Battalion veteran, reminded the audience of the climate of racial hysteria that gripped the Nation in the aftermath of the 1941 Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. This fear and prejudice led the U.S. President to issue Executive Order 9066, which directed the forced internment of over 110,000 Japanese Americans, most of whom were U.S. citizens. He described how despite this, over 14,000 Nisei went on to serve and perform with incredible valor in the U.S. Army during WWII. The Governor noted that the 442nd story is what inspired him to have the State of Hawaii file the recent suit which resulted in the blocking of the current U.S. President’s Executive Order banning travel into America based on nationality and, in effect, religion.

232nd veteran Hiroshi Arisumi and some of his family

232nd veteran Hiroshi Arisumi and some of his family

One of those attending the banquet was 96-year old Nisei veteran Hiroshi Arisumi, who hails from Kula, Maui. Hiroshi served with the 232nd Engineer Combat Company of the 442nd RCT and performed highly dangerous duties including mine clearing. Upon returning from the battlefields of Italy and France, he established the Arisumi Brothers construction company, building residential homes. He also stayed extra busy by serving as President of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Maui for over 20 years. Hiroshi has passed on the story of the 442nd to his children and grandchildren. For fun he grows kaki (persimmon) and cherimoya, the latter which he describes as one of the top three most delicious fruits.

On display at the banquet was an exhibit called the, “Pearl Harbor Students’ Reflections – 442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity.” The exhibit contained letters from Honolulu Community College (HCC) students in which they shared their reactions to a documentary on the 442nd story. Sharleen Nakamoto Levine who attended the banquet is the HCC instructor who developed the curriculum and brought the exhibit to the banquet. The exhibit was a great example of the many ways in which the 442nd story can be passed on to future generations.

The banquet program also included Mayor Caldwell’s proclamation presentation, a musical tribute sung by Reverend Takamasa Yamamura, an invocation by Bishop Eric Matsumoto, remarks by William Thompson, 442nd Veterans Club President, and the singing of the “Go For Broke” fight song.

Even though there are fewer Veterans attending the banquet each year, the Sons & Daughters are always strong supporters of the event and hope to see it continue as a legacy marker for future generations.

See photos from the banquet.

Photos 3 of 3
Photos 2.5 of 3
Photos 2 of 3
Photos 1 of 3

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet 2017 (2.5 of 3)

Candid shots from the banquet

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet, 2017 (2 of 3)

Scenes from the 2017 74th 442nd Anniversary Banquet at the Sheraton Waikiki

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Photos from the 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet, 2017 (1 of 3)

Photos of the 442nd veterans that attended this year’s banquet

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S&D members march in 2016 Veterans Day Parade

Some of the S&D marching group before the parade
Sons & Daughters members march in 2016 Veterans Day Parade

On November 11, 2016 a group of Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT members and others community members marched with a group of descendants from the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans (Rural Chapter) in the annual Veterans Day Parade in Wahiawa.

Friday, November 11, 2016 was a bright and sunny day, resulting in our umbrellas being unnecessary and left in our cars. Sun screen, hats and dark glasses were more in order for the day. About a dozen members of the Sons and Daughters chapter walked in the annual Veterans Day parade up California Avenue, the main drag in the former plantation town of Wahiawa. We joined a group of descendants from the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans (Rural Chapter) at the invitation of president Stephen Saito, the Yonsei grandson of a Nisei veteran, Masaharu “Bull” Saito.

The Sons & Daughters group was coordinated by Grace Fujii, S&D Chapter President, and consisted of Bill Wright, Juanita Wright Allen, Laura Hirayama, Anita Nihei, her son Gavin and his friend Brant, Susan Yoshitomi, Laughlin Tanaka, Gail Nishimura and Byrnes Yamashita. Jeannie Ishikawa stopped by just before the start of the parade to say hello and to give us encouragement before heading off to march with her Neighborhood Board group.

We proudly carried the huge banner of the Sons & Daughters of the 442 RCT and a large poster created by S&D member Ron Takamoto, depicting the famous 442 RCT Liberty Torch with the words “GO FOR BROKE!” The tagline on the banner read “The Legacy Lives On.” Grace had a frame made of PVC pipe which made the banner very easy to carry. Our combined group was given the honor of being the 10th marching group and we gamely fell in line behind the Veterans of Foreign Wars caravan. The parade route was just a little over a mile long and slightly uphill in places. The street was lined with many people who cheered us on in a spirit of patriotism and gratitude for all of the veterans that have served our country over the years.

Besides its deep plantation roots, Wahiawa is also strongly influenced by nearby Schofield Barracks and there was a lot of spirited support for the marchers. Several members commented on how nice it was to meet the 100th Infantry Battalion descendants and expressed the desire to have more joint activities with them. Stay tuned for news of any upcoming joint activities.
Our combined marching group at Wahiawa District Park after the parade

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UPDATE 2 to 74th 442nd RCT Anniversary Banquet

UPDATE 2 – Assistance Needed

• ALL S&D members and families attending the banquet
Assistance is needed on banquet day:
1) Drivers may be needed to pick up veterans/wives and elder guests and bring to the Sheraton.
2) Help may be needed to escort veterans from drop-off at the Sheraton drive way (by valet service) to the ballroom, before and after the event. Wheelchairs will be available for those who need to use one. Arrival time for volunteers, 8:45 please.
3) Helpers to place favors and centerpieces on tables. Arrival time 8:00.

Please email Mae Isonaga, maeisonaga@mac.com if you can help with any of these duties.

• Come Early! The banquet committee will show a 23 minute documentary, “Senator Inouye: As Told By His Son”, by Gloria Borland. The planned time slot will be approx. 1000, after the picture taking of veterans at 0930.

• Note on menu: There has been a small change to the meat entree, which will now feature chicken only instead of chicken and short ribs. The vegetarian option for those who selected this with your registration will feature portobello ravioli.

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Fighting Two Wars AJA Veterans Tribute

Nisei Veterans gathered for official photo at AJA tribute luncheonBy Gail Nishimura, S&D

It was a very interesting afternoon.  To see and talk to many veterans and their families was really something that I will remember for a long time. There were so many people who came out to honor the veterans and the slide show that was playing in the background was an additional highlight.  It was nice to see my uncle’s picture when it popped up.  photo of slide show

Most of the veterans posed for the official picture, I think this was a big challenge for the photographers.  But the photo came out really nice!

photo of one of the group pictures

The mistress of ceremonies, Leslie Wilcox, kept the program moving smoothly. I was really impressed with the speakers, starting with Governor David Ige, followed by former Governor George Ariyoshi, and our keynote speaker Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. When I first heard that Gov. Ariyoshi was with the MIS, I was really surprised.  Thought he was too young to be in the war! (Although he didn’t go into the service until 1944 and is about four years younger than my uncle, who was also in the MIS).

I enjoyed the speakers and each brought a slightly different perspective to how the war affected their families and their own lives.  Gov. Ige’s father was part of the 100th Infantry Battalion, already noted was Gov. Ariyoshi’s service in the MIS, and Admiral Harris’ mother was from Japan & he was raised in Tennessee. Seems that Gov. Ariyoshi and my uncle had the similar “notice” from Uncle Sam…one day my uncle was in 522B at Camp Shelby and the next day he was headed to Fort Snelling in Minnesota! Gov. Ariyoshi thought he was getting out of the service but was sent to Fort Snelling instead.  (Note: my uncle now lives in Tennessee!)

One of my tablemates at the tribute was a Leilehua grad like me and we were impressed with the Leilehua High School Honors Chorus – nice to see our alma mater represented! Good job!

Overall, I enjoyed the day, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. The speeches were inspiring and makes me want to try and be a better person and live up to what my parents tried to teach me as a person of Japanese ancestry.

Pearl Harbor 75th Fighting Two Wars luncheon-Dec5-inside photo

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11th Annual Joint Memorial Service

Distinguished guests and Barbara Tanabe, mistress of ceremony for this year's JMS

Distinguished guests and Barbara Tanabe, mistress of ceremony for this year’s JMS

11th Annual Joint Memorial Service – sponsored by the Nisei Veterans Legacy (NVLC)
The 11th Annual Joint Memorial Service (JMS) was held at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Sunday, September 25, 2016.

The JMS honors the soldiers who served in World War II in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. It is held annually on the last Sunday of September to commemorate September 29, 1943, the day that Shigeo “Joe” Takata of the 100th Infantry Battalion became the first AJA killed in action in World War II. This year’s service adopted the theme of the 75th anniversary commemoration of the bombing of Pearl Harbor: Honoring the Past, Inspiring the Future.

The keynote speaker was attorney and former State Senator Matt Matsunaga, son of the late U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga who served in both the 100th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service. Matt described his father’s long-time efforts to establish the U.S. Institute of Peace, which was inspired primarily from his wartime experience.

Lynn Heirakuji, whose father Walter Heirakuji served in K Company of the 442nd RCT, was the event Chairperson and Barbara Tanabe, whose father Frank Tanabe served with the MIS, was the emcee. Mahalo to all the hardworking volunteers who made this event possible.

Next year’s JMS will be held on Sunday, September 24 and the NVLC is seeking a chairperson or co-chairpersons. Please contact Wes Deguchi at 722-4728 if you are able to serve and help continue this important legacy event to honor the Nisei soldiers of WWII.

The attendees at the JMS, including Gov. and Mrs. Ige and Admiral Harry Harris.

The attendees at the JMS, including Gov. and Mrs. Ige and Admiral Harry Harris.

To Watch the JMS on Oceanic Ch. 53

The 11th Annual JMS was filmed and will be shown on Oceanic Ch. 53 on these dates.
11/6/2016 at 6:30 pm
11/7/2016 at 08:00 am
11/9/2016 at 10:30 pm
11/13/2016 at 2:30 pm

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2016 S&D Family Christmas Party

2016 Sons and Daughters Family Christmas Party.
Photo of 442 veterans R. Kishinami, K. Ego and R. Nomura
The annual 442nd Sons & Daughters Family Christmas Party was held on Saturday, December 10, 2016 at the 100th Infantry Battalion Clubhouse with the attendance of a little over 100 individuals. It was an event filled with merriment and memories for all. We were honored by the presence of three 442nd RCT veterans – Kenji Ego, Robert Kishinami, and Richard Nomura. Ann Kabasawa continues to amaze everyone with her organizational skills in chairing this event for the past few decades. Her dedication and commitment to the organization should be applauded by us all.

Lunch included an array of dishes such as tossed salad, fruit salad, a variety of sushi, rice, noodles, spring rolls, curry stew, and sweet sour spareribs. Dessert was on display on another table, with a beautiful Christmas cake centerpiece surrounded by brownies, various kinds of mochi, cupcakes, and other home baked goodies.
the Christmas cake!

Following lunch, Gail Nishimura treated us with her challenging holiday games. I’m still figuring out whether I needed to pass the candy cane to the right or left? Next year, I need to remember to review my Christmas carols.

Santa made his grand appearance after the singing of songs with Ed Goto. Children were treated to candy sweets and Christmas gifts with a lot of “Ho Ho Hos”! It’s not Christmas without Santa and his elves (AKA Curtis Sakamoto and sons, Jason & Justin).

No one went home empty handed. During lunch and following our Santa visit, Ann called out everyone’s name to pick-up a grab bag gift, many generously donated by Carol and Mike Sullivan and much appreciated. In addition to the grab bag, several lucky people received donated gift cards before the ending of the event. If you want to join in the fun, plan to attend next year’s event. It will be posted on the 442nd Sons & Daughters website sometime in November 2017.
snowman drawing game
some of our Christmas party prize winners

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Quarterly 522nd FAB lunch meetings

Quarterly 522nd FAB Lunch Meetings
by Chapter President and S&D member Phyllis Hironaka

Photos of Ted Tsukiyama, Mits & Ellen Kunihiro; and of Biggie Nakakura & Harold Ueoka

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Boyan Higa and Joe Obayashi passed me the torch in 2015 – I got to watch them in action for about a year as Secretary. They schedule four meetings a year. Our next meeting is our Christmas party, complete with bingo, raffle, and Christmas carols.

About 20 people attend each meeting. The veteran attendees are usually:
Masayuki (“Boyan”) Higa (past Pres.) Masaru (“Biggie”) Nakakura, our Treasurer
Joe Obayashi (past Pres.) George (“Rocky”) Tanna
Ted Tsukiyama Mitsuru Kunihiro
Fred Hirayama Harold Ueoka
Roy Fujii Henry Urada
Flint Yonashiro

Several wives also attend: Nancy Higa, Jane Ueoka, Ellen Kunihiro; and widows Mildred (Mike) Hara, Chiyoko (Don) Shimazu, Laura (Katsugo) Miho, Nancy (Milton) Uchigakiuchi; Hilda (Stanley) Kaneshiro, and Sue (Melvin) Hamamoto. Several sons and daughters usually join in as well.

mildred-hara-hilda-thomas-millies-very-close-friend-nancy-higa-chiyo-shimazu
Photo: The “522 Ladies” Mildred Hara, Hilda Thomas (Millie’s very close friend), Nancy Higa, Chiyo Shimazu

 

 

Addendum by 522nd daughter, Juanita Wright Allen:
At our August 2016 meeting, we had a guest speaker, Dr. Tamar Hoffman. Her family fled Germany before the war and settled in Israel, where she was born. She has been a physician in Honolulu for the past 27 years. Dr. Hoffman had one reason for asking to address our meeting — she wanted to meet 522nd veterans in person, to thank them for their part in the liberation of one of the Dachau sub-camps and the rescue of Jewish survivors who were marched from the camp by the retreating Germans. In particular, she had read Light One Candle, the 1995 book by Solly Ganor, one of the survivors, who had been rescued by Clarence Matsumura (photo below) of Hq. Battery, 522nd Field Artillery. Solly was well known among all the veterans at the meeting and after Dr. Hoffman’s brief talk they started to reminisce about the end of the war when they were literally chasing the German army across the countryside and by accident came upon the concentration camp and its survivors. It made for a very interesting meeting and was a reminder of how precious our veterans are and how fortunate we are to have them with us still.

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11th Annual Joint Memorial Service, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016

Veterans, Sons & Daughters, Granddaughters and Grandsons and Family and Friends –

The 11th Annual Joint Memorial Service (JMS) which is open to the public was held on Sunday, September 25, 2016, at 10 am at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The JMS is held to honor the Japanese American Soldiers who served in WWII, specifically, those in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. Thirty-three thousand Japanese Americans served in the U.S. Armed Forces during WWII and 800 lost their lives fighting for this country, which had initially classified them as “enemy aliens.” The wartime service of the Nisei Veterans was instrumental in helping to shift the racial mood of the country toward Japanese Americans and lay the groundwork for the admission of Hawaii to the Union. Their exemplary service also opened the doors of social, economic and political opportunity for future generations.
Mr. Matt Matsunaga, son of the late Congressman and U.S. Senator, Spark Matsunaga, will be the keynote speaker at this event. The Royal Hawaiian Band will provide musical entertainment.

Thank you to All who joined Us on Sunday, September 25.

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