Fred Takeji Furumizo

Fred Takeji Furumizo
Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Service Battery

Takeji Furumizo was born on November 7, 1919, in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii.  He was the eldest of three children born to Buhachi and Hanayo (Konno) Furumizo.  His siblings were Raymond Iwao and Florence (“Flower”) Tamie Furumizo.  Buhachi emigrated from Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, arriving in Honolulu on December 30, 1906.  Hanayo emigrated from Hamano-mura, Fukushima Prefecture, arriving on the Shinyo Maru in Honolulu on August 5, 1914.  They were married on August 8, 1914, in Honolulu.  Buhachi started a tailor shop in Wahiawa very soon after he arrived.  The Central Furumizo Tailor Shop was located on Wahiawa Avenue and he owned the shop until he retired.

Furumizo graduated from Leilehua High School in 1938, where he was on the Sentinel staff in his junior year.  As a senior, he was a Junior Police Officer on the Student Police force and a member of the Allied Youth organization.

Right:  Takeji’s Senior Class photo

In 1940, he was working as an attendant in a gas station in Wahiawa.  He registered for the draft on July 1, 1941, at Local Board No. 10 in Wahiawa.  He listed his father as the point of contact; they lived on Wahiawa Avenue.  He was employed by Hawaiian Constructors as a carpenter’s helper at Wheeler Army Air Field.  He was 5’5” tall and weighed 125 pounds.

On November 3, 1941, he and Ethel Yuriko Imamura of Wahiawa filed for a marriage license in Honolulu.  They divorced in August 1942.

On August 6, 1942, his name was officially changed to Fred Takeji Furumizo, after filing an application with the Office of the Governor of the Territory of Hawaii.

On March 23, 1943, Fred Takeji Furumizo enlisted in the Army at Schofield Barracks.  His enlistment record shows the following:  Source:  National Guard in Federal Service, after three months of discharge.

He was sent to Boom Town, the “tent city” at Schofield Barracks where all the recent volunteers were housed.  On March 28, they were given an aloha farewell ceremony by the community at Iolani Palace.  On April 4, they left on the S.S. Lurline for San Francisco.  After arriving on the mainland, Jerry and the rest of the new soldiers were sent by train to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for training.  Following basic training, Fred was assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Service Battery, of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

Following a year of unit training, the Combat Team left Camp Shelby on April 22, 1944, for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia.  On May 2, they departed from nearby Hampton Roads in a convoy of over 100 ships enroute to Europe.  The 522nd was aboard the transport ship John Hopkins, which arrived at the east coast of Italy.  The main body of the Battalion disembarked at Brindisi and the remainder at Bari.  The rest of the 442nd had landed in Naples on the west coast on May 28.  After debarking, the 522nd soldiers loaded into “40 and 8” railroad boxcars from WWI, and traveled to Bagnoli, near Naples, where their howitzers, vehicles, and other equipment had been delivered.  They got down to the task of getting prepared for combat.  A week later they were ready, and on June 6, they boarded the US LST 526 at Port Nisidra and sailed to the Anzio beachhead.  From there to June 11, the Battalion continued to move north, conducting training enroute, and rejoined the 442nd infantry battalions near Civitavecchia.

On June 26, the first artillery rounds were fired against the Germans near Suvereto in support of  the 442nd RCT.  The 522nd’s howitzers continued their fire support of the advance of the RCT infantry battalions as they pushed the Germans north.  On September 11, the Battalion was moved from Pisa back to Naples aboard the USS Richard K. Call; then, on September 27 boarded the USS Thurston and shipped to Marseilles for the battles through France.  Fred participated in all the battles of the Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaigns in France.

In February 1945, the 522nd was reassigned to the Seventh Army to add its firepower to the assault on the Siegfried Line in the German homeland.  Often the lead element in the chase across Germany, the 522nd made 52 displacements, firing 15,019 rounds, from March 12 to the end of the war on May 9, 1945.  In the last week of April, elements of the Battalion stumbled into the horrifying death camps of the Dachau Concentration Complex, and are credited with liberating at least one of the subcamps and rescuing thousands of prisoners from the “Dachau Death March.” Additionally, they liberated French Army prisoners from another prison camp.  When the war ended, the Battalion was assigned security missions around Donauworth, 72 miles northwest of Munich.  Fred also fought in this Central Europe Campaign.

Below:  Service Battery at Baumenheim during the occupation; Furumizo is on the 4th row, behind and just to the right of the 522 FA BN sign

Fred Furumizo arrived back home on January 23, 1946, on the USAT U.S. Grant with 177 other returning veterans.  The ship docked at Pier 40-B in Honolulu Harbor.  Throngs of family and friends, lei vendors, and – for the first time – the Royal Hawaiian Band were there to greet them.  Also for the first time and on short notice, a refreshment stand provided by the USO was set up.  A table covered with a “tablecloth” of ti leaves held cookies and a punchbowl of pineapple juice.  He was discharged from the Army the next day on January 24, 1946, at an Army Separation Center on Oahu.

For his military service, Private First Class Fred Takeji Furumizo was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal.  Fred was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on October 5, 2010, along with the other servicemen of the 100th/442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team.  This is the highest Congressional Civilian Medal.

His mother, Hanayo, of 76 Wilikina Drive in Wahiawa, died on November 16, 1948.

On December 3, 1948, he left Honolulu on Pan American Airways and landed in San Francisco, enroute to school.  Fred attended the Spartan Aeronautical School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and obtained his pilot’s license.  In 1951, he was living at 1509b East Spruce Street in Seattle and employed by BA Company.  He enrolled in the University of Washington in 1956.

During the following summer, he worked as a crop duster pilot.  On August 17, 1957, near Gould, Arkansas, he was working for E.E. Mizell, dusting cotton in his plantation.  His aircraft hit a power line during a low pass over a field, causing the plane to crash  Fred died shortly after arriving at the hospital.  He was survived by his father, Buhachi, brother, Raymond, and sister Florence.

The National Cemetery Interment Control Form for his burial shows him as a World War II veteran, but give his current military unit as Company G, 315th Infantry Regiment, 79th Infantry Division, USA.

A memorial service was held on October 27, 1957, at the Nuuanu Congregational Church in Honolulu.  Fred was buried in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), Section G, Site 790.

Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2021.

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