Toshio Richard Omori, Private First Class, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) & Military Intelligence Service
Toshio Richard Omori was born on October 1, 1919, in Laupahoehoe, Hawaii Island, T.H., the youngest of seven children (six sons and one daughter) of Shikataro and Iwano (Yamasaki) Omori. Shikataro and Iwano were both born in Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in 1874 and 1879, respectively. They married in Japan and later emigrated to Hawaii, Shikataro in 1902 and Iwano in 1913.
Toshio spent his first seven years in a mostly-Japanese plantation community in Laupahoehoe. At age 7, his family moved to Kalihi and then Kalihi Kai on the island of Oahu. He attended Kalihi Waena and Kalihi Kai Elementary Schools, Kalakaua Middle School, and McKinley High School in Honolulu.
On October 26, 1940, Toshio was a student at the University of Hawaii (UH) when he signed his WWII Draft Registration card, Local Board No. 7, at Farrington High School. His point of contact was his father, he lived with his family at 632 McNeill Street, and he was 5’3”, 110 lbs.
In November 1941, after three years at UH, he was inducted into the U.S. Army at the Training Center at Schofield Barracks. In January 1942, Toshio was a Rifleman (Private First Class) with G Company, 298th Infantry Regiment, Hawaii National Guard. In May 1942, he was shipped to the mainland on the SS Maui with others of the 298th and 299th for basic training. Upon arrival in San Francisco, they were designated the 100th Infantry Battalion.
Upon arrival at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where Omori was an Assistant Squad Leader with B Company, the unit was renamed the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).
In December 1942, Toshio was sent by the Army to MIS Language School at Camp Savage, Minnesota, for training as a Japanese language translator. He graduated in June 1943 and worked as a translator with the Military Intelligence Service. From October 1943 to September 1945, he was a Japanese language translator, assigned to Allied Translator and Interpreter Service (ATIS), Military Intelligence General Headquarters, translating medical documents.
After the war ended, Toshio returned to Honolulu and was discharged from the U.S. Army. He also returned to his studies at UH. He graduated in June 1947 with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological and Physical Sciences. On August 27, 1949, he married Betty Misono Kurasaki of Kapaa, Kauai, and they raised a family of five children. He reenlisted in the Army and throughout his career was stationed in Okinawa; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Holabird, Maryland; Japan; and Washington, DC.
After retiring from the U.S. Army with the rank of Major, Richard worked as a civilian employee research analyst in the Office of the Surgeon General – Medical Intelligence Office, and also at the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center, in Fort Detrick, Maryland. Upon his retirement from government service, he enjoyed visiting his grandchildren, bowling, and golfing. An avid bowler all his life, he bowled with the Fort Belvoir Seniors until the age of 96.
Omori passed away on February 18, 2017, in Annandale, Virginia. His wife Betty died a month later, on March 21, 2017. They are buried together at Arlington National Cemetery. As of this writing (2021), their descendants include five children, seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.