A Country Stolen: The Story of the VVV

The story of the Varsity Victory Volunteers was published in the Hawaii Herald on March 17, 1995.  It was contributed by Bill Thompson and based on Army records and interviews. 

VVV Statue

It was about 3:00 a.m. in the morning. A shout went through the barracks at the shooting range for the men to wake up and assemble outside. The soldiers sleepily fell into line to hear the orders. What emergency had taken place for the men to get up at this un-godly hour? The orders were then read. The men were shocked! Disbelief ran through the minds of the assembled personnel. The orders bluntly stated that all men of Japanese ancestry, the Nisei, were immediately dismissed from the Hawaii Territorial Guard!

Short hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the University of Hawaii ROTC had been called to duty. Later that day, they were mobilized into the Hawaii Territorial Guard (HTG) by orders of the Governor of Hawaii. For six weeks these young University students, now soldiers, guarded Installations throughout Honolulu, Then came the bombshell on that early morning hour dismissing them from service; they were booted out merely for being of Japanese ancestry. This was, of course, part of the hysteria that followed the bombing of Pearl Harbor. In describing the humiliation inflicted upon the Nisei, Nolle Smith, former UH sports star and a commanding officer in the HTG, would say 50 years later at a UH banquet honoring the VVV: ‘We all cried when we heard those orders’.

A few days later, some of those discharged from the HTG gathered on the University campus under the shade of a shower tree near University Avenue discussing their plight. Classes were well underway and it was too late for many to return and finish their semester. From across the street in Atherton House, Hung Wai Ching, the YMCA secretary, saw the group. He walked over to talk to these former ex-ROTC cadets and, now, ex-HTG soldiers. In essence, what he told the dejected Nisei was simply that they could continue to feel sorry for themselves or to do something about it.

To read what happened, click here to the link to JAVA web site.

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