Larry Takashi Hashimoto, Private First Class, Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 442nd RCT
Larry Takashi Hashimoto was born November 29, 1924, in Waihee, Maui, T.H. He was the third of the four sons and one daughter of Jizaburo and Tsue (Omura) Hashimoto. His parents had each arrived in Hawaii from Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, to work on a sugar plantation.
Larry attended Waihee Elementary School and Maui High School. Like his older brothers Jack and Counsel and younger brother Hito, Larry was an athlete. He loved playing baseball, football, basketball, and golf. His dream in high school was to be able to play football. However, at a thin but muscular 5’6”, his dream was denied. So, baseball became his sport.
He was his father’s helper in the small truck farm that the family ran after leaving the sugar plantation. This entailed many early mornings and late evenings planting and caring for produce, picking the produce, and getting it ready for selling the next day. Larry often said that he did it to get out of going to Japanese language school, which he hated. But in later years he often said that he wished he had not jumped out the school window and run away, since those language skills would have proven useful in understanding the samurai movies and TV shows that he dearly loved.
December 7, 1941, brought many changes to Larry’s family and the families of Hawaii. His father, who was the head of the local Japanese language school in Waihee, was taken away by the U.S. military. The family would later learn that he was held at Sand Island in Honolulu and eventually was sent to internment camps on the mainland. Without its head, the Hashimoto family faced many decisions about its future. As Larry had just finished high school and did not yet have a full-time job, he enlisted with a group of this friends in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Larry signed his World War II Draft Registration card in Wailuku, Local Board No. 2, on December 26, 1942. At the time he was living in Waihee, he was employed by the U.S. Engineer’s Department in Wailuku, his point-of-contact was his mother, and he was 5’6”, 135 lbs. He enlisted on March 24, 1943, and was sent to Schofield Barracks on Oahu for training.
Hashimoto was among the hundreds of young inductees given a community farewell at Iolani Palace on March 28, 1943. They were shipped to the mainland on April 4 on the SS Lurline, arriving in Oakland a few days later. After a cross-country train trip to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, he went through months of training. His military occupational specialty (MOS) and number were “cannoneer 610.”
After arriving in Italy in June 1944, Larry Hashimoto served in all the campaigns of the 442nd: Rome-Arno, Vosges, Maritime Alps, and Northern Apennines-Po Valley. The decorations that he earned during his wartime service are: Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge; Distinguished Unit Badge; Good Conduct Medal; World War II Victory Medal; American Campaign Service Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal; and Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal.
Hashimoto arrived home to Hawaii on December 17, 1945, one of hundreds of returning veterans on the troop ship USAT Aconcagua to dock at Pier 26 in Honolulu. He was discharged from the U.S. Army at a separation center on Oahu on January 23, 1946. After returning to Maui, Larry found to his regret that while he was gone, his father had died.
With the help of the GI Bill, Larry attended trade school and trained as an electrician. He met Florence Shirai at her family’s grocery and liquor store, Nuuanu Cash & Carry, at 1280 Nuuanu Avenue, Honolulu, in 1950. They married on April 12, 1953, and settled in Kaimuki. Over the years he worked for a brief time as an electrician with the U.S. Navy, followed by jobs at the City & County of Honolulu, and finally at the State of Hawaii DAGS, retiring after 29 years.
Baseball became his sport, spending many Sundays at Ala Moana Beach Park and Moiliili Baseball Field eventually playing in the Makule Softball Leagues. In his later years, golf became a passion. Pali Golf Course was the home course, but favorite memories were a hole-in-one at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course and golf tournaments sponsored by California Hotel and Casino.
Larry T. Hashimoto died on June 25, 2006, in Kaneohe, Hawaii. He was survived by his wife Florence, two daughters, and three grandchildren. His funeral service was held at Hawaiian Memorial Park and a private inurnment followed.
One of his daughters supplied most of the information for this bio and she, her daughter, and her husband are members of the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT.