Tadashi Ayabe served as a Private First Class in Anti-Tank Company, 442nd RCT. He was born on October 10, 1922, in Lawai (Kalaheo), Kauai, Hawaii, one of three sons and two daughters of Shohachi and Kiku (Nagano) Ayabe. His parents had immigrated from Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, in 1907 and 1913, respectively. His father was a carpenter for the pineapple cannery.
In 1940 Tadashi was a 17-year-old apprentice carpenter living with the owner of a carpentry shop, Shimakichi Kumagae, and his family, on Martha Street in Honolulu.
Tadashi signed his World War II Draft Registration card at the Hanapepe Armory on Kauai on June 30, 1942. His point-of-contact was his father, Shohachi Ayabe; he was 5’5” and 130 lbs.; lived on Kalaheo Pineapple Company land; and was employed by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers 4th Field Area at Waimea.
Ayabe enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 12, 1943. The record says that he had one year of high school and his civilian occupation was “unskilled occupation canning and preserving of food.”
In 1944 the 442nd was in France during the Vosges Campaign, Ayabe was wounded at Bruyères. He was admitted in November to a U.S. Army hospital as a battle casualty, injured in the line of duty. The primary diagnosis was artillery shell wound to his femur shaft and the secondary diagnosis was pneumonia. He was released the following May. Ayabe was on a list of Hawaii when soldier casualties for the European theater of operations printed in the Honolulu Advertiser on January 24, 1944. His address was given as Kauai Pineapple Company, Kalaheo, Kauai.
He was among 17 hospital cases, and 135 returning veterans (mostly 442nd), who arrived at Pier 40-A in Honolulu on the USAT Marine Wolf on April 30, 1946.
He was awarded the Bronze Star, Glider Badge, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
After the war, Tadashi married Alice Akiko Kawakami on February 15, 1947, in Lawai. They moved to Honolulu where was employed as a clerk by the U.S. Army at Fort Shafter. At a dance sponsored by the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) at the Honolulu Armory on September 6, 1947, he was named as one of ten 442nd veterans who had lost a leg in the war and who participated in a jitterbug exhibition.
Ayabe was listed in a Honolulu Advertiser article printed on July 12, 1958, as one of five handicapped men employed in the maintenance shop at Fort Shafter. He was a member of the Leeward Chapter of the DAV. In the Honolulu Advertiser edition of October 17, 1961, it was reported that he received an award for a suggestion that saved the Federal Government $2,110 a year. He was employed at Fort Shafter as a motion picture sound transmission repairman and his suggestion recommended modifications to the front lens of a camera. He was awarded a check for $80 and a certificate.
As of this writing, November 2020, Tadashi Ayabe is alive and well. His daughter requested that this bio be written.
Tadashi’s brother Henry Keiso Ayabe served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II.