James Hideo Miyamoto
442nd Regimental Combat Team
3rd Battalion, K Company
James Hideo Miyamoto was born in Pepeekeo, Hawaii island, Territory of Hawaii, on May 14, 1921. He was the second son of Tomokichi and Toyono (Nakayama) Miyamoto. His siblings were: brothers Hichiro, Hataro, Hiroshi, Yoshito, Yokichi, and Hichiro; and sister Tokuko.
Both parents emigrated from Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, in 1898 and 1915, respectively. Tomokichi initially worked on the Honoma Plantation on the Big Island. By 1940, the family had moved to Oahu, where Hideo was educated at Waialae School and McKinley High School.
In 1940, the family lived at 4215 Waialae Avenue on grandfather Senkichi Miyamoto’s poultry farm, where his parents worked on the farm. Before entering the service, Hideo was employed as a salesman in the dry goods division at Theo. H. Davies & Co., Ltd., at Bishop and Merchant Streets in Honolulu.
He registered for the draft on February 14, 1942, at Local Board No. 2 in Honolulu. His point of contact was his brother, George. They lived with their family at 4215 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu. James was 5’6” tall and weighed 138 pounds.
James enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 24, 1943, at Schofield Barracks, Oahu. He was sent to the “tent city,” known as Boom Town, at Schofield Barracks with the other recruits. They were given a farewell aloha ceremony by the community on March 28 at Iolani Palace. On April 4, the new soldiers left on the S.S. Lurline for San Francisco enroute to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. James was assigned to 3rd Battalion, K Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
After months of training, the 442nd left Camp Shelby for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, on April 22, 1944. They shipped out to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in a large convoy of troop ships on May 2 from nearby Hampton Roads. They arrived at Naples, Italy, on May 28.
James participated in the Rome-Arno Campaign in Italy, entering combat on June 26 near Suvereto. After pushing the Germans north to the Arno River, the 442nd was sent to France to join in the Rhineland-Vosges Campaign. He was in the battles that liberated the towns of Bruyères, Belmont, and Biffontaine. He was also in the battle for the rescue of the “Lost Battalion,” the 141st (Texas) Infantry that had advanced beyond the lines and was surrounded on three sides by the enemy. Following the Vosges, James was with the Combat Team for the Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaign in southern France from November 21, 1944, until March 1945.
In March 1945, the 442nd RCT was transferred back to Italy to Lt General Lucian K Truscott’s Fifth Army and participation in the Po Valley Campaign. They arrived at the Peninsular Base Section Staging Area at Pisa on March 25, 1945. On March 28, they left for San Martino, near the walled city of Lucca, where they bivouacked. New equipment had been acquired in Pisa, and the men spent hours adjusting their new weapons to the greatest possible accuracy. All units utilized their time for training, working small-unit problems with their platoons and squads late into the night.
The regiment’s mission was to create a diversionary attack on the western anchor of the German’s Gothic Line, an elaborate system of fortifications hewn out of solid rock and reinforced with concrete. The enemy’s positions were built for all-around protection and observation.
On April 3, the 442nd moved into position under the cover of nightfall to hide from the Germans, who had good sight lines from their location on the mountains. The next day the 442nd waited. At 5:00 a.m. the following morning, they were ready to strike at Mt. Folgorito. After climbing the 3,000-foot mountain face with full fighting gear, they were able to surprise the German defense that had withstood five months of Allied assault.
On April 6, 3rd Battalion moved to the three “Ohio” peaks and Mt. Cerretta. They wiped out a force of Germans that had been infiltrating from the Colle Piano spur on the Combat Team’s western flank on Mt. Folgorito.
Sgt. James Hideo Miyamoto was killed in action on April 6, 1945, on the second day of the final drive in the Po Valley Campaign during the attack on the Nazi Gothic Line at Mt. Folgorito.
Sergeant James Hideo Miyamoto was interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Castelfiorentino, Italy, Plot T, Row 56, Grave 2687.
For his military service, Sergeant James Hideo Miyamoto was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, and Distinguished Unit Badge. James 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.
In 1948, the Army began the process of closing the smaller military cemeteries in Italy and offering the family the choice of reburial at the large U.S. Military Cemetery in Florence, or returning home. Sergeant Miyamoto’s family chose to have his remains returned.
James arrived home to Hawaii on December 24, 1948, on the USAT Sinnett at Dock M-3 at Pearl Harbor with 121 other of Hawaii’s war dead. Over 700 family and friends were waiting on the pier where the 265th Army Band played Aloha Oe as the ship docked at 8:30 a.m. They were eulogized in a shipside service by the Secretary of Hawaii, Oren E. Long, who said, “We are proud to have had such sons. These men stood the test of action and added a new chapter of American heroism to our history.” The caskets were taken to the Army mausoleum at Schofield Barracks awaiting burial arrangements.
On July 28, 1949, Sergeant James Hideo Miyamoto was reinterred in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl in Honolulu, Section D, Site 374.
Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2021.