Teruo Goma

Teruo Goma
Technician 4th Grade
442nd Regimental Combat Team
100th Battalion, Medical Detachment

Teruo Goma was born on September 22, 1918, in Waimea (also known as Kamuela), Hawaii island, Territory of Hawaii.  He was the son of Kiyosaku and Ikuko (Kisa) Goma who emigrated from the village of Furusato, Kawachi District, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan.  Kiyosaku arrived on December 6, 1907, as a married man on the S.S. Siberia.  Ikuko arrived on May 27, 1912, on the Chiyo Maru.  Other children in the Goma family were daughters Yoshiko (born 1913), Fusako, and Tsuako.

His mother, Ikuko Goma, died eight days after Teruo’s birth.  In 1920, father Kiyosaku was a widowed farmer living in Waimea with his four children.  In 1930, Teruo was living with Kiyosaku and eldest sister Fusako, and his father was a corn farmer.  At the same time, Teruo was living with the family of Miyamatsu and Sato (Morishige) Yoshikami in Honokaa.

On March 18, 1932, 56-year-old Kiyosaku Goma and his eldest daughter left Hawaii for Japan on the Taiyo Maru.  Teruo remained with the Yoshikami family and became Sato’s ward.  He was raised in the Miyamatsu and Sato Yoshikami family as their child.  Sato also raised another boy as her ward:  Charles Shinichi Kohara, born 1900 in Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.

Teruo Goma’s Yoshikami siblings were:  Egen Iwasaburo (born 1907), Francis Musashi (born 1908), Shoji (born 1914), and Marco Matsuo (born 1918).  Another sister, Masako, died at the age of two months in 1911 when the family was living in Wailea, Hakalau.

Miyamatsu emigrated in 1899 from Hiroshima Prefecture and was a fisherman. Sato arrived on the Nippon Maru on November 26, 1901, from Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan.

In 1940, Teruo lived in Honokaa next door to his brother Matsuo and his wife and two children.  Matsuo owned Honokaa Bakery and was the baker with Teruo working as the bookkeeper.  Next door was mother Sato, now a widow, with a lodger who worked as assistant baker.  Brother Shoji and his wife and children lived close by and he was also a baker at the bakery.

Teruo was active in the Honokaa Young Buddhist Association (YBA) for many years.

Goma signed his draft registration card on October 26, 1940, Local Board No. 3, Honokaa District Court.  He was living in Honokaa and employed as a deliveryman for Honokaa Bakery.  He was 5’3” tall and weighed 134 pounds.  His point of contact was his brother Francis Musashi Yoshikami, who was also his employer in Honokaa.

He was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 23, 1941.  At the time Teruo had completed two years of high school.  His occupation was listed as “Unskilled occupations in production of bakery products.”

Goma was among the 112 inductees who gathered at the Hilo Armory on March 26, 1941, for a farewell ceremony prior to leaving Hilo by inter-island steamer for a “year’s training under the early preparedness program” at Schofield Barracks.  Prior to his departure, he was honored at a dinner given by friends at the Honokaa Shingon Mission.  Once at Schofield Barracks, he was assigned to the 299th Infantry, Hawaii Division.  On June 24 he was assigned duties at the Company D Reception Center in Hilo.

The date of Goma’s departure for training on the Mainland is not known, nor is the date of his arrival in the Theater of War.

Goma was reported as wounded in the Mediterranean area in the Hawaii Herald-Tribune onFebruary 25, 1944, in a War Department list.  At that time, the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was in Italy and fighting in the Naples-Foggia Campaign.  On April 17, 1944, Corporal Goma was listed by Army authorities in the Hawaii Herald-Tribune as “recovering” in the Mediterranean area and was returned to duty.

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team arrived in Italy on May 28, 1944, and went into battle with the 100th as its 1st Battalion on June 26.  The 100th became part of the 442nd RCT officially on August 14, 1944.  On September 27, the 100th/442nd RCT left Italy for France to fight in the Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps Campaigns.  As of March 25, 1945, they were back in Italy for the final push to defeat the enemy in the Po Valley Campaign.  After the surrender of German forces in Italy on May 2, 1945, the 100th/442nd remained during the occupation of Italy.  Soldiers were able to return to the US on a point system, depending on factors such as length of service in the war zone and having been wounded in battle.

By June 1945, a month after the surrender of the Germans, Goma had left Italy and was reported as being at Camp Beale, California, a standard waystation for returning Hawaii soldiers.  He was admitted to the station hospital with acute tonsilitis during June and discharged the same month.  Further dates of his service in the European/Mediterranean Theater of War are unknown.

In the post-war history of 100th/442nd men compiled by Major Orville C. Shirey during the occupation in Italy, Tec/4 Teruo Goma was listed as a member of the 442nd Medical Detachment who earned the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster and the Combat Medical Badge.

For his military service during World War II, Tec/4 Teruo Goma was awarded the:  Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one (possibly more) bronze star, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, and Combat Medical Badge.  He 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.

After the war, Teruo returned to Honokaa and the family bakery.  He was a member of the Honokaa American Legion Post 33.  In 1949, he served as Second Vice President, in 1950 as Historian, and in 1952 as Adjutant.

In 1956, he went to Honolulu to attend barber school.  It was noted in the 100th Battalion news column in the July 14 Honolulu Advertiser that former Medic Goma was in town and that he used to cut Lt. Col. Farrant L. Turner’s hair “back in the day.”  Turner, a Hilo native, was Executive Officer of the 298th Infantry at Schofield Barracks, and then commander of the 100th from its inception until about a month after its arrival in Italy in September 1943.

The following year, on February 1, 1957, he opened his Uptown Barber Shop in Honokaa, the business that Teruo Goma operated until his retirement.  He married Hayame Nakamoto and over the years they raised two sons and one daughter.  He was also active in all the various activities of the Honokaa Hongwanji Mission.

On June 9, 1958, Farrant L. Turner, a Hilo native, was guest speaker at the Honokaa High School graduation exercises.  As the former commander of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), he was honored just before the ceremony at a dinner at the Honokaa Club.  Teruo Goma was among the 100th veterans who were there to honor their former commander.

Teruo Goma died on March 2, 2012, at the Hale Hoola Hamakua Care Facility.  His funeral was on March 24 at Honokaa Hongwangi Mission, followed by inurnment in Niche 62 at the Mission Columbarium.  He was survived by his wife, three children, two grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews. 

Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2021, and updated in 2023.

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