Roychi Roy Adachi

Roychi Roy Adachi
Staff Sergeant
442nd Regimental Combat Team
522nd Field Artillery Battalion, B Battery

Roychi Adachi was born on March 18, 1917, in Watsonville, California.  His parents, Frank Jukichi and Mio (Uyeno) Adachi, emigrated from Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.  Frank arrived at Seattle, Washington, on May 9, 1905, on the RMS Empress of India.  He was from the village of Amino-machi.  Mia arrived at San Francisco on May 25, 1915, on the Tenyo Maru, and she was from the village of Maetsuro.  They were married two days after her arrival.  There were five children in the family:  sons Roychi and Shigeichi Robert, and daughters Yayoi Dorothy (“Lee”), Chitose Betty, and Fusaye Rose.

In 1930, the family lived in 111 South Fremont Street in San Mateo and Jukichi was a gardener.  Mother Mio Adachi died in 1938, and she was buried in the Japanese Cemetery in Colma.

Roy, as Roychi was known, attended San Mateo High School, where he was a guard on the basketball team and outfielder on the baseball team.  He graduated in 1937 and was honored with a Gold Seal on his diploma indicating that he had earned Lifetime Membership in the California Scholarship Federation.  After graduating, he continued to live at home and was in the gardening business with his father and brother.

In 1940, the family lived at 11 North Fremont Street.  His widowed father, brother Bob, and he were gardeners.  Roy signed his draft registration card on October 10, 1940, Local Board No. 105, San Mateo City Hall.  He was self-employed.  His point of contact was his father Frank Jukichi Adachi of the same address.  He was 5’8” tall and weighed 150 pounds.

Adachi enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 5, 1941, at the draft office in San Francisco City Hall.  His civilian occupation was given as “gardener/groundskeeper of parks, cemeteries, etc.”  He was in the third group of San Mateo men to be drafted, which included nine who were volunteers and six of Japanese ancestry.  There were 27 men in the first two groups of inductees, and a fourth group of 30 men would be sent between March 17 to 30 for a total from San Mateo of 123 men.

The evening before, on March 4, the 62 men in Adachi’s group were given a sendoff dinner at the Ben Franklin Hotel by local civic groups – VFW, American Legion, Chamber of Commerce, Junior Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club, and the Elks Club, who gave each man a small, silk American flag.  There were 120 people in attendance and the program included talks by local businessmen on the evils of the Nazis who were then at war in Europe.  They pledged to help all the conscriptees find work after their one year of military training.  The next morning the young men were transported by train to the San Francisco draft office at City Hall to receive their induction papers.  They were then sent to a military camp – likely near San Luis Obispo – to begin their training.

Roy spent the next year in the Army – and he rose to the rank of Sergeant.  Information on where he was stationed has not been found.  During this year, the attack on Pearl Harbor occurred on December 7, 1941.  The Adachi family in San Mateo was evacuated to the Tanforan WCCA Assembly Center in the spring of 1942.  On September 17 they were incarcerated at Topaz, the Central Utah WRA Relocation Center near Delta, Utah.  Father Frank and sisters Betty and Rose were assigned to Unit 5-7-D.  Betty married Eiichi Paul Koizumi six months later while at Topaz.

As soon as the 442nd RCT was activated on February 1, 1943, Sgt. Roy Adachi was transferred to it and sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi.  Upon arrival – likely in late April/early May in one of the small groups of men from around the US – Sgt. Adachi was assigned to B Battery of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. During combat in the Theater of War, Adachi served as Chief of Section for the 2nd Gun Section and 4th Gun Section at various times.  These Gun Sections named their 105mm howitzers “Kuuipo” (“Sweetheart” in Hawaiian) and “Pohaku” (“Rock” in Hawaiian), respectively.

Basic training lasted from May 10 to August 23.  Unit training followed during the fall.  During these months, men were also given passes to visit large cities such as New Orleans, Chicago, New York, and Washington DC – or to visit family to settle affairs.  Along with two other 442nd men from Camp Shelby, he visited his family at the Central Utah WRA Relocation Center in late November, as reported in the Topaz Times newspaper on November 20.

After nearly a year of basic, specialized, and combat training and maneuvers, Adachi left by train with the 442nd for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia, on April 22, 1944.  The Combat Team sailed on May 2 for the Theater of War from nearby Hampton Roads in a convoy of about 100 ships.  The 522nd was on the troop transport S.S. Johns Hopkins and landed on the east coast of Italy at Brindisi and Bari.  On May 28, they were sent on the 2-day trip by rail boxcars to Naples where the rest of the 442nd had also arrived on the 28th.

The Battalion was at Staging Area No. 4 in Bagnoli, a bivouac near Naples, until June 6, when they sailed on LST 526 for the overnight trip to Anzio.  Upon arrival, they climbed over the side and down on rope nets to the heaving swells below.  From Anzio, on June 9 they were sent in a midnight truck convoy around the newly liberated city of Rome to a large bivouac at Civitavecchia.

While at Civitavecchia, Maj. Gen. Charles W. Ryder visited on June 15 for an inspection.  The stellar training reputation of the 522nd had preceded them to Italy and, as commander of the 34th Division to whom the 442nd was assigned, Ryder wanted a demonstration.  B Battery began the demonstration – which was disastrous, as the first round landed near where the General and his party were standing.  The second round was even closer, causing them to hit the ground to avoid being shelled.

Capt. Ivan Johnson of B Battery was so angry that he ordered all four Gun Sections of B Battery to do the “cannoneers’ hop” three times a day for the next week.  This was a procedure where all the motions to fire were done without firing:  uncoupling the howitzer from the truck, setting it up, loading it, and then reversing the steps.  It was noted that Sgt. Adachi was “spitting mad” at this punishment, as his gun had not even been involved.

It was also revealed that Gen. Ryder told Lt. Col. Baya Harrison, the 522nd commander, to take the 522nd back to the US for further training as they were not combat-ready.  Fortunately, Harrison convinced him to relent and to give the men another chance.  At that second demonstration, things went so smoothly that Ryder gave the unit a commendation.  Note – it was later revealed that new gunner sights received after Camp Shelby were at fault in the first demonstration for Gen. Ryder.

On June 11, the 522nd left the rest of the Combat Team and went to a bivouac near Tarquinia, 15 miles north.  For the next week, the men were issued day passes to Rome.  On June 21, as the Combat Team was preparing to move to the front lines, the 522nd moved 60 miles north to a forward assembly area near Grosseto, and two days later to yet another forward area 20 miles north at Gavarrano.  On June 24, the 522nd men sighted their first enemy plane and began digging foxholes for protection.  On June 25, the 522nd relieved elements of the 36th Infantry Division near Follonica.  This action was described as “grinding its way up narrow, winding mountain roads and occupying positions in the vicinity of Suvereto at 0420 hours on June 26.”

The 442nd RCT entered combat near Suvereto, about 60 miles north of Rome, on June 26, in the Rome-Arno Campaign.  The 522nd fought in support of the infantry, notably at Rosignano, Castellina, Hill 140, and the crossing of the Cecina River.  Their effectiveness in their “time fire” delivery of artillery (shells set to explode in air above the target) was especially notable at Hill 140, where 4,544 rounds were fired in a 24-hour period.

Below:  Sgt. Edward Nakahara (left) and S/Sgt Adachi (right) in Italy with one of their 105mm howitzers

After driving the enemy north to the Arno River, on September 6 the 442nd was pulled from the lines and sent south to the port of Piombino, 14 miles from Suvereto.  From Piombino they sailed to Naples on September 11.  The 522nd sailed in the U.S.S. Richard K. Call, while the vehicles of the 522nd were driven to Naples by motor convoy.  On September 27, they sailed on the U.S.S. Thurston from Naples to France.  Upon arrival near Marseilles, they were transferred to LSIs (similar to LSTs) and landed on the beach in high seas, rain, wind, and mud.  The next day, they were sent by rail boxcars and motor convoy to Battalion Area No. 51, a bivouac near Septèmes.  During the 10-day stay in their bivouac, day passes to Marseilles were issued and men also helped unload cargo at the port.

The 522nd fought in support of the 442nd during the Rhineland-Vosges Campaign in northeast France.  They left Septèmes by motor convoy on October 9 for the nearly 500-mile trip north to the Vosges Mountains.  After two overnight halts, they arrived at the Seventh Army assembly area near Pouxeux on October 11.  After going to two more assembly areas closer to the front, the attack began in the vicinity of Bruyères on October 14.

Right:  Closeup of Adachi

Adachi was in combat during the bitter fighting to liberate the important rail and road junction of Bruyères, neighboring Biffontaine and Belmont, and the “Rescue of the Lost Battalion,” the 1st Battalion, 141st (Texas) Infantry that had advanced beyond the lines and was surrounded on three sides by the enemy.  Prior to the rescue of the 141st, the 522nd “saved” them by correctly questioning the 36th Division commander on his firing orders.  The 522nd forward observers noted that the firing coordinates ordered by the General were in the middle of the Lost Battalion’s position – so the coordinates were changed.

The weather was cold, wet, snowy, and miserable, as the men fought in the heavily wooded forests still in their summer uniforms.  They were subjected to living in water-logged foxholes, and incoming artillery raining down on them in “tree bursts.”  Many 442nd soldiers contracted trench foot during these terrible weather conditions.

After the fierce fighting in the Vosges, the 442nd was at half-strength due to high casualties, and was sent to the south of France.  There, they could rebuild to full combat strength while fighting in the Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaign.  The 522nd left the lines on November 17 and moved to an assembly area near Cheniménil, eight miles southwest of Bruyères, and arrived near Nice on the Mediterranean coast on November 21.

The Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaign was mostly a defensive position guarding the French-Italian border from attack by the German army in Italy.  This was also called the “Champagne Campaign,” as the men were often given passes to Nice on the French Riviera.  While there, the 522nd was mostly stationed in Sospel and, later, Menton.  The drive to Sospel was 45 miles from the coast up steep, winding, and narrow mountain roads.

The time in France ended when the 442nd RCT was sent back to Italy on March 22-25, 1945, for combat in the Po Valley Campaign.  Commanders of the Fifth Army and the Seventh Army fought among themselves for the privilege of having the 522nd assigned to their commands in Italy or Germany.  As it turned out, the 522nd Battalion was detached and sent to Germany for combat with the Seventh Army in the Central Europe Campaign, adding firepower to its assault on the Siegfried Line.

The 522nd left Menton on March 9 and drove 500 miles north, arriving on March 12.  They crossed the Saar River into Germany at Kleinbittersdorf.  For the next two weeks, the Battalion supported a breakthrough of the Siegfried Line, captured a German 150mm howitzer and used it against the enemy, supported the 45th Infantry Division’s crossing of the Rhine River near Worms, and captured 21 prisoners.  The 522nd crossed the Rhine River in the middle of the night on March 27 and 28 on a treadway pontoon bridge.

Left:  S/Sgt. Adachi in France, 1944-45

The Battalion chased the retreating German army across the country, becoming a roving artillery unit known for its shooting speed, pinpoint accuracy, and quickness in setting up and taking down for movement to the next place.  During its time in Germany, the Battalion was attached to four different Divisions, made 52 displacements, and fired 15,219 rounds on the enemy.  In the line of attack towards the Austrian border, elements of the 522nd liberated a French prisoner of war camp and Holocaust victims at one of the sub-camps of the Dachau concentration camp and the “Dachau Death March.”

In the months after V-E Day in May 1945, Adachi was stationed during the occupation with other B Battery men in Mertingen, near Donauworth, Germany.  Roy Adachi was among the last of the 522nd men who returned to the US.  He was discharged from the Army on November 24, 1945.

For his World War II service, Staff Sergeant Roychi Adachi was awarded the following:  Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal.  On October 5, 2010, he and all the servicemen of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest Congressional Civilian Medal.

After the war, Roy Adachi returned to California.  In 1947, he married Rose Nishi, the daughter of Hisa and Shizu Nishi of Los Angeles.  By 1950 they lived with their son and daughter at 219¼ North Saratoga Street in Los Angeles.  Roy was a postal clerk with the U.S. Post Office.  On June 21, 1954, his father, Frank Jukichi, became a U.S. citizen at the District Court in San Francisco.

Roychi Adachi died at the age of 68 on March 7, 1986, in Gardena, California.  His funeral was held on March 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the North Gardena United Methodist Church.  He was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, on Cherry Blossom Lawn, Section 14, Lot 30043, Grave 3, Gate 10.  There is a U.S. government tombstone on his grave.  He was survived by his wife, two children, one grandchild, and sisters Dee Takahashi, Betty Koizumi, and Rose Miyahara.

His brother Private Shigeichi Robert Adachi served in Company E, 442nd RCT.

Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2024 with assistance from his son, who is a member of the Sons & Daughters.

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