Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
2nd Battalion, G Company
Kazuo Goya was born on April 7, 1921, in Camp 6, Waiakea-uka, Hilo, Hawaii island, Territory of Hawaii. He was the oldest son of Kayei and Nabe (Arakaki) Goya. Kazuo had two brothers – Keiji and Stanley Yasuhiko; and four sisters – Masako, Kieko, Angela Hiroko, and Kimiko. Kayei emigrated from Okinawa Prefecture, Japan, arriving on the French steamer Amiral Exelmans on January 14, 1907. Nabe emigrated from Nakagusuku, Okinawa Prefecture, arriving Honolulu November 2, 1914, on the Siberia Maru. They were married in Honolulu on November 10, 1914. Kayei worked for the Waiakea sugar plantation on Hawaii island.
Kazuo attended Waiakea-uka School and in 1934, was among the many students throughout Hawaii who had a home vegetable garden as part of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper contest. Kazuo graduated from Hilo High School in 1940. By 1942, he had moved to Honolulu, where on February 15, he signed his draft registration card, Local Board No. 6 at the Kawananakoa School. At the time, he was living at 62 Kawananakoa Place, and his point of contact was Mrs. C. Miyashiro (his sister Masako) of the same address. Kazuo was employed by contractors at the Pacific Naval Air Base and he worked at the underground fuel storage tanks at Red Hill. He was 5’4” tall and weighed 130 pounds.
Kazuo enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 22, 1943, in Honolulu. At that time, he was employed as a welder for Hawaiian Tuna Packers and had attended one year of college. He was sent to Boom Town, the “tent city” at Schofield Barracks where other recent enlistees were. He was at the aloha farewell ceremony given by the community at Iolani Palace on March 28. On April 4, the new soldiers were sent to Oakland, California aboard the S.S. Lurline. After a train trip across country to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, he spent a year in basic and combat training. He was assigned to 2nd Battalion, G Company.
On April 22, 1944, Goya left Camp Shelby with the 442nd by train to Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. On May 2, they left from nearby Hampton Roads in a convoy of over 100 ships, and arrived at Naples, Italy, on May 28. Most of the 2nd Battalion companies were on a ship that left the convoy and entered port in Oran, Algeria. After offloading cargo, they rejoined the regiment on June 17 in Naples, Italy.
The Combat Team entered combat north of Rome at Suvereto on June 26, 1944. By July 3, they had pushed the enemy 62 miles to a point just north of the Cecina River. The main line of resistance was a hill that the Allies called “Hill 140.” The battle to take this position was so intense that it was nicknamed “Little Cassino,” in reference to the devastating battle of Monte Cassino south of Rome. The battle raged for five days, with many casualties. On July 5, furious firefights raged all through the day as both sides sparred for an advantage. On July 5, Companies E, F and G jumped off in line against Hill 140 and the long ridge that ran west from the summit toward the sea. By the end of July 7, the last German resistance was battered into submission. The next day, July 8, Private First Class Kazuo Goya was wounded in the vicinity of Hill 140.
Goya was admitted to a field hospital, where he died the same day. The hospital record stated the nature of his wounds: thorax/neck, bullet/missile. He was buried in the U.S. Military Cemetery at Follonica, Grossetto Province, southern Tuscany, Plot F, Row 58, grave 691.
In November 1944, his sister Masako Miyashiro was given Goya’s Purple Heart Medal in a private ceremony held at her home on Kawananakoa Street. The presentation was made by Lt. Col. Edward M. Blight, Assistant Executive Officer, G-1 Section, Central Pacific Base Command, on behalf of Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, Commander, U.S. Forces Pacific.
On Sunday, December 9, 1945, he was among 226 fallen soldiers of the 442nd who were honored at a memorial service held in Honolulu’s McKinley High School auditorium at 1:30 pm. The keynote speaker was Lt. Gen. Robert C. Richardson, commander of the U.S. Army in Hawaii. The event was under the direction of the veterans’ clubs of the 442nd, the Women’s War Service Association, and the Emergency Service Committee.
The Waiakea-uka Athletic Club dedicated a large stone memorial on May 3, 1946, to the five soldiers of the Waiakea-uka Camp who lost their lives in Europe. The memorial was placed in the small camp cemetery on the outskirts of Hilo. The soldiers memorialized were: Kazuo Goya, Nobuo John Takayama, Yoshito Jack Takayama, Hidetoshi Tokusato, and Yoshio Jacob Yoshimura.
In 1948, the Army began the process of closing the smaller military cemeteries in Italy, and offered families the choice of reburial of their loved one at the large U.S. Military Cemetery in Florence or returning him for reburial at a cemetery designated by the family. Pfc. Goya’s family requested his remains be sent home to Hawaii. The flag-draped casket arrived at Honolulu on the USAT Sinnet, 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 am. 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.” After the caskets were brought ashore, they were taken to the Army mausoleum at Schofield Barracks for storage prior to funeral arrangements.
The final leg of the journey was by the steamer Hualalai to Hilo on January 14, 1949.
Pfc. Goya’s military funeral was held at 4:00 pm on January 15, 1949, at the Hawaii Veterans Cemetery at Homelani in Hilo, along with four other soldiers who returned the previous day. The application for his military tombstone was submitted the following day by his sister, Masako Miyashiro.
His family printed a Card of Thanks in the Hilo Tribune-Herald on January 20, 1949, to recognize the many friends and family who offered kind expressions of sympathy, money, and floral offerings following his funeral. They especially thanked Chaplain Lovely, Waiakea Mill Plantation, Waiakea Young People’s Club, Waiakea Civic Association, Company G of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, AJA Veterans Council, Waiakea Veterans Group, Hilo Hongwanji, Post No. 3 of the American Legion, and the American Legion Auxiliary.
Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2021.