George Haruyoshi Ishihara

George Haruyoshi Ishihara
Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
522nd Field Artillery Battalion, B Battery

George Haruyoshi Ishihara was born on February 22, 1921, in Puyallup, Washington, the son of Kameki George and Toyo (Tashiro) Ishihara.  Kameki emigrated to America in 1898 from Japan.  Toyo emigrated from Morikawa-mura, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, arriving on January 30, 1908, on the S.S. Mongolia in San Francisco.  Kameki and Toyo were married in February 1909 in San Francisco.  George Haruyoshi had three sisters – Helen, Chieko Frances, and Florence Toshie

By 1910, father Kameki was running a boarding house in Seattle.  In 1920, he was a shipping clerk for a wholesale fruit company.  In 1940, the family was still living in Seattle, and father Kameki was a fireman at a saw mill.

George registered for the draft on February 14, 1942, at Local Board No. 9 in Seattle.  He lived at 1213 Weller Street and was unemployed.  His point of contact was his sister, Florence; he was 5’4” tall and weighed 140 pounds.

The family was evacuated in the spring of 1942 to the Puyallup WCCA Assembly Center located on the Puyallup County Fairgrounds.  They were then incarcerated at Minidoka WRA Relocation Camp, located in Idaho near Twin Falls.  They arrived on September 2, 1942.  He departed on May 21, 1943, to Fort Douglas near Salt Lake City, Utah, where he enlisted the next day, May 22, 1943.  He had completed high school and was listed as being a semi-skilled chauffeur and driver.

He was initially sent to Fort Logan, Utah; then, on to Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  Following basic training, he was assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, B Battery.  He was a cook’s helper in the Mess Section.

Once at Camp Shelby, the new 442nd Regimental Combat Team went through basic training from May 1 to August 23, and then specialized training depending on their unit.  As George had been assigned to B Battery, he was with the 522nd from November 15, 1943, to January 1944, on winter field maneuvers in Louisiana.  They then returned to Camp Shelby, but later left to participate in the last three of the “D” Series maneuvers in the DeSoto National Forest in Mississippi.

After a year of training, on April 22, 1944, the unit left Camp Shelby by train to Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia.  On May 2, the 522nd left from nearby Hampton Roads on the USAT Johns Hopkins in a convoy of over 100 troop ships, arriving at Brindisi and Bari, Italy, on May 28.  They went by train to Naples, arriving on May 29, where they met up with the rest of the 442nd who had arrived there.  After a week in a bivouac area in the nearby town of Bagnoli, they left on the LST 526 for Anzio, arriving on June 7.

The 522nd went into battle with the rest of the 442nd on June 26 near Suvereto in the Rome-Arno Campaign, ultimately driving the German Army north of the Arno River.  George was present for all the action seen by the 442nd in Italy.

Then the 442nd was selected to join the battle in France.  On September 10, 1944, the 522nd Battalion left Rosignano, Italy, on the S.S. Richard K. Call for the overnight trip to Qualiano, where they were in another bivouac area until September 21.  Following six days in the staging area at Bagnoli near Naples, they left on the U.S.S. Thurston for France on September 27.

Once the Combat Team arrived in Marseilles, they were in a bivouac area in nearby Septèmes until October 9, when they were transported to the Vosges Mountains in northeast France to participate in the Rhineland-Vosges Campaign.  In October-November, the 522nd Field Artillery helped to liberate the important road junction of Bruyères, followed by Biffontaine, and the famous “Rescue of the Lost Battalion.”

Following the Vosges battles, George went with the 442nd to participate in the Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaign in southern France.  They were in the area of Nice, Menton, and Sospel beginning on November 21.

Right:  George in Europe during the War

On March 9, 1945, the 522nd Field Artillery was detached from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and attached to General Alexander Patch’s Seventh Army to add fire power for its assault on the Siegfried Line in Germany and the final battles to defeat the Nazis.

The 522nd Field Artillery left Menton, France, and convoyed north.  They crossed the Saar River into Germany at Kleinbittersdorf on March 12, 1945.  The fast-moving 522nd gave constant chase to the retreating enemy across southern Germany.  During its seven weeks of combat duty in Germany, the 522nd was assigned to general fire support missions of numerous units of the Seventh Army, driving the German forces toward the Austrian border.  They fired over 15,000 rounds of artillery fire, made 52 different displacements, and covered 617 miles.  The war ended with the unconditional surrender on May 8 of all Nazi forces while the 522nd was in Schaftlach, south of Munich.

The Battalion moved north from Schaftlach on May 9 to the area of Donauworth.  George was stationed in Donauworth performing the occupation duties the 522nd had been assigned – maintaining order, directing traffic, guard duty, and intercepting high-ranking Nazi officials who were trying to escape.  B Battery lived in tents on the outskirts of the town until July 20, when they moved into a four-story building in town.  The 522nd was deactivated on October 5, 1945, and men with more than 70 “points” began preparing for the long journey home.

George was in all the campaigns of the 522nd:  Rome-Arno in Italy, Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps in France, and Central Europe in Germany.  He volunteered for the MIS at end of war, and was sent to Ft Snelling, Minnesota, and discharged there on December 10, 1945.

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

Left: George and Chizuko

George spent the winter of 1945 in Chicago.  He then headed to California, where he married Chizuko Tochihara, his girlfriend from Minidoka, on June 24, 1947.

In 1950, they lived at 3431 12th Avenue in Los Angeles and George was a butcher at a retail meat market.  Over the years they raised a family of two sons and one daughter.  From 1957 until his death, they lived in Santa Monica, California.  Chizuko passed away on August 20, 1978.

At some point, George Ishihara obtained possession of the original 522nd Field Artillery Battalion flag.  He was an active member of the 522nd Chapter of the 442nd Veterans in the Los Angeles area and of the Go For Broke National Education Center.  He used the flag for events and ceremonies, and after his death the flag remained with the Veterans Club.

Above:  George with the 522nd Battalion flag

In 1994, George attended the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bruyères, France, with a contingent of other 442nd RCT veterans.

George married Sue Seiko Nakanishi on August 31, 1985, in Clark County, Nevada.  She died on May 3, 2004.

George Haruyoshi Ishihara passed away on March 17, 2009, in Los Angeles, California.  He was survived by his three children and eight grandchildren.

Right:  George in his later years

His funeral service was held at West Los Angeles Buddhist Temple, 2003 Corinth Avenue, at 5:30 p.m. on March 22.  George and Chizuko were inurned at Woodlawn Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

On February 5, 2017, the City of Santa Monica opened Ishihara Park (formerly known as Buffer Park) at 2909 Exposition Boulevard in George’s memory.   See the article at Ishihara Park Dedicated in Santa Monica – Rafu Shimpo.

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

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