| 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