Tokio Ajitomi, Private First Class, Company C, 100/442nd RCT, was born January 9, 1917, in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii. He was the son of Matsusuke and Kame (Ikehara) Ajitomi, who had immigrated from Okinawa in 1906 and 1914, respectively. Tokio and his older brother Matsuei were taken by their parents in 1921 to live with their grandfather U. Ajitomi and attend school in Kinbumura, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. While there, a daughter was born. Their mother Kame died the following year. The brothers arrived back in Lahaina in 1930.
Tokio signed his WWII Draft Registration card in Lahaina on October 26, 1940. At the time he lived at Hirai Camp; employed by Pioneer Mill Company; his point of contact was his uncle Kamaro Ajitomi of Hirai Camp; and he was 5’4”, 115 lbs. He lived with his brothers Matsuei and Yoshio, and Matsuei was the head of the household. They were employed as irrigators at the sugar plantation. No record of their father in 1940 has been located, although his tombstone indicates he died in 1941.
Ajitomi enlisted in Lahaina on November 13, 1941. He was stationed at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, with the 299th Infantry Regiment for basic training. Afterwards, he was transferred to the 100th Infantry Battalion and sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, for training. After more training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, he was among those 100th soldiers who left for Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, the staging area for transport on the troop ship S.S. James Parker for the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. After 18 days of service in Oran, Algeria, the 100th arrived in Salerno, Italy, on September 22, 1943.
A month later his brother Matsuei Ajitomi was killed in action on October 23, 1943, in the vicinity of Alife, during the Allied drive toward Rome.
Tokio served throughout the Rome-Arno Campaign – in the battles for Cassino, Rome, Anzio, and onward toward Livorno (known in English as Leghorn).
Tokio was with the 100th as they were sent to France, arriving on September 30, 1944. He fought in the Rhineland-Vosges Campaign. He was killed in action on October 17, 1944, during the several days’ battle to liberate the important road and rail junction of Bruyères. He was buried at the U.S. Military Cemetery in nearby Epinal.
Ajitomi was awarded the Purple Heart, Distinguished Unit Badge with Oak Leaf Cluster, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
After the war, families were given the choice to have their soldier’s remains shipped to a permanent military cemetery in Italy or France, or repatriated. Tokio and Matsuei Ajitomi’s remains were sent to the United States at the request of their family.
On April 21, 1949, Tokio’s and Matsuei’s remains were among those of 134 war dead to arrive in Honolulu aboard the U.S. Army Transport hip Sergeant Jack Pendleton. There was a large ceremony at Pier 40-A to welcome them back home. Their brother Yoshio was listed as their next-of-kin. The caskets were held at the U.S. Army Mausoleum until burial arrangements were finalized. They were buried next to each other at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl on August 4, 1949, Section D, Sites 290 and 291, respectively.
For more information, please click on the links below.
https://www.memorialcourtalliance.org/ajitomi-brothers (this site includes his photo)