Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
3rd Battalion, Headquarters Company
Mamoru “Mummy” Kinoshita was born on January 13, 1923, in Stockton, California to Ichijiro and Moto (Nakashima) Kinoshita. He was the eldest sibling, followed by Yutaka, Leonard, and Betty. He attended Winton Grammar School and graduated from Livingston High School in Livingston, California. He looked forward to a career involving social sciences. Mamoru was a member of the Boy Scouts. He was strong academically in language and history. Also, he enjoyed manual arts creativity.
His father, Ichijiro, came to Hawaii in 1916, returned to Japan and immigrated to the mainland. He arrived in Seattle in September 1918, on the Suwa Maru. He located to Stockton, California where he worked on a farm.
Mamoru Kinoshita registered for the draft on June 30, 1942 at Local Board No. 115, Merced, California. He was employed by the WCCA Merced Assembly Center.
When the War broke out, Mamoru’s family was sent to the Relocation Camp in Amache, Colorado. The family entered the camp on Sep 18, 1942, and were released on Oct 21, 1942. Mamoru left the camp and went to Brighton, Colorado where he farmed for Mr. Nelson; from there he went to New York. He was inducted in the Army on May 12, 1944, at Camp Upton Yaphank, New York.
Mamoru received his basic training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and served during the Po Valley Campaign in Italy with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 3rd Battalion, Headquarters Company. He was attached to I Company as a communication detailee. Private First Class Mamoru Kinoshita was killed by a shrapnel wound on April 21, 1945, when I Company’s Command Post was shelled by artillery. This was just days before the War ended in Europe.
T/Sgt. Jim J. Yamashita, 442nd RCT, I Company, wrote to Mamoru’s brother Leonard:
“ . . . I was on line when I Company’s CP (Command Post) was shelled. To this day we are not sure whether it was a short round of artillery shell, mortar or even shell from naval ships in the Leghorn Harbor. Whatever it was, it was devastating and damage was compounded by the confined area of a mine shaft. Your brother, Mamoru, was with 3rd Battalion Headquarters Company but was attached to I Company as a communication detail . . . Even though I was never acquainted with your brother, I had the unpleasant task of supervising the removal of the bodies the next morning after the shelling. Besides your brother there were four others, including a Caucasian officer, who died. There were a number of wounded that were evacuated that night. I remember it was getting dark when the CP got hit, and there was chaos as we had just moved into that position. What I remember about the removal detail was that several Italians came up with mules. After giving them instructions and seeing their bodies, I recall getting sick to my stomach and had to sit down on a bank while the Italians would come to me for further instructions. I usually don’t go into this much detail, but this is the first time I am able to talk to the next of kin of someone who died in the incident. It is with this passion that we are endeavoring to preserve the memories of those who died . . . .”
For his military service, Private First Class Mamoru Kinoshita was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star, WWII Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.
Mamoru 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.
Mamoru Kinoshita was originally interred at the U.S. Army Cemetery at Castelfiorentino, Italy. His remains were returned home from Italy in 1948, and he was re-interred on December 3, 1948; at Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, California, Section C, Site 482-A.
Katherine Baishiki/Leonard Kinoshita/Jim Yamashita
11/24/01 (revised 5/1/03)
Original Biography prepared by Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Memorial Alliance, and provided courtesy of Japanese American Living Legacy (http://www.jalivinglegacy.org)