Mitsuyoshi “Mits” Fukuda

Mitsuyoshi “Mits” Fukuda was born in Waialua, Oahu, on January 15, 1917 to Kunizo and Matsu Fukuda. He was the eldest of 5 children. When Mits was three years old, there was a strike at the sugar plantation where his family lived and worked, and his father decided to move the family to Honolulu. They had to walk and hitchhike all the way from Waialua.

Mits grew up in the McCully area and he attended Washington Intermediate School, then McKinley High School. After graduating high school, he attended the University of Hawaii and graduated with a degree in agriculture and a teaching certificate. He enlisted in the Army Reserve and received a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. On the morning of December 7, 1941, he was stationed at the Hilo Airport with the 299th Hawaii National Guard’s Company F. As the unit was merged with the 298th and sent to the mainland, he became one of the few Nisei officers. He became a platoon leader before they shipped out to North Africa, then made Captain by January 1944, in time for the Battle of Monte Cassino.

Mits fought with the 100th for the duration of the war, and became the first Japanese-American to command a battalion. He was the last member of the 100th to leave Europe, yet was one of the few members of the 100th who was never wounded.

After the war, he continued breaking barriers by becoming the manager, and later the vice president, of industrial relations at Castle & Cooke, something that would not have been possible before the war. He retired from there after 36 years.

Mits married his wife Toshiko just a month after the Pearl Harbor attack, on January 8, 1942. They had three sons and a daughter. He passed away on March 13, 1988.

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