Robert Tsuyoshi Endo
Private First Class
442nd Regimental Combat Team
3rd Battalion, K Company
Robert Tsuyoshi Endo was born on June 3, 1921, in Seattle, Washington, to Noichi Jim and Kameko (Mawate) Endo. Robert was the second of four children, including Jean Toshio, William Katsuyuki, and Wataru Watson. Both parents emigrated from Japan. Noichi arrived through Vancouver, British Columbia on the S.S. Kumeric, arriving on August 3, 1907, from Okayama Prefecture, Japan. Kameko arrived in 1917. In 1930, Noichi was a fruit truck driver, and in 1940 , a mattress factory driver. In 1940, he also worked for a laundry as a presser and in a drug store.
Robert Endo registered for the draft on February 15, 1942, at Local Board No. 10 in Seattle. At the time, he was 5’10” tall and weighed 140 pounds.
In late April 1942, the family was evacuated to the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) Assembly Center at the Puyallup Fairgrounds. On May 6, 1942, they were incarcerated at the WRA Relocation Center at Minidoka, Jerome County, Idaho. His sister Jean was released on December 21, 1942, for employment in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Robert volunteered for military service while at Minidoka. He was released from camp on May 6, 1943, and went to Fort Douglas, Utah for processing and enlistment into the Army. Later in May, his brother William was released for employment in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And on different dates in June, his parents and brother Watson, were released to Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, respectively, for employment.
In the summer of 1943, Robert was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, to join the 442nd RCT. Following basic training, he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, K Company.
Robert shipped out to Europe with the 442nd on May 2, 1944, from Hampton Roads, Virginia, in a convoy of over 100 ships. After arriving in Naples and entering combat near Suvereto on June 26, he served in the Rome-Arno Campaign. The Combat Team was sent to Marseilles, France, the end of September for participation in the Rhineland-Vosges Campaign.
From Marseilles, they traveled 500 miles north to the front lines in northeast France. At some point in October, he was admitted to the field hospital for “urticaria,” otherwise known as hives. Their first objective was to liberate the important road junction of Bruyères in the Vosges Mountains. The intense battles to liberate Bruyères and neighboring Biffontaine lasted 9 days, October 16-24. The Combat Team was then put into reserve in Belmont for a brief rest. He was treated and returned to duty. After two days, on the afternoon of October 26, they were ordered to the front lines again to aid in the rescue of the Lost Battalion – the 1st Battalion of the 141st (Texas) Infantry Regiment. This battalion had gotten ahead of the lines and was surrounded on three sides by the enemy. Attempts by the 141st and other units to free it had been unsuccessful, so the 442nd was called in.
The initial objective of the Texas “lost” battalion had been to clear the Germans from the entire long, densely forested ridge where it had become surrounded. After the 442nd had been successful in the rescue, 3rd Battalion was then ordered to push on down to the end of this ridge. Two days after the Lost Battalion Rescue, Private First Class Robert T. Endo was killed by intense artillery fire on November 2, 1944.
The fighting would go on until November 9. The German line was completely shattered, but 442nd losses were so great that the Combat Team was temporarily ineffective as a fighting force.
Pfc. Endo was interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery in Epinal, France, about 20 miles from where he died.
For his military service, Private First Class Robert Tsuyoshi Endo was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. Robert 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.
On May 25, 1947, in Salt Lake City where his parents and sister were living, the Service Men’s Family League dedicated a stone shaft in the City Cemetery to the memory of 18 Nisei servicemen from Utah. A bronze plaque on the 16-foot shaft was inscribed with the names of the fallen soldiers. Speakers included Glen E. Thompson, Commander of the Atomic Post, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and B.Y. Kaneko, President of the Service Men’s Family League. Mr. Kaneko pointed out in his address that the sacrifice of these 18 men should be an example to American-born Japanese to revere the democracy and the ideals for which they gave their lives. Mr. Thompson lauded the loyalty and bravery of the Japanese American servicemen who died in the war.
In 1948, the remains of Americans buried overseas began slowly to return to the US, if the family so wished. Private First Class Robert Tsuyoshi Endo was brought home and was reinterred at the Evergreen-Washelli Cemetery in Seattle.
Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2021.