Richard Yasuo Miyamoto
442nd Regimental Combat Team
3rd Battalion, I Company
Yasuo Miyamoto was born on October 25, 1921, in Pahoa, Hawaii Island, Territory of Hawaii. He was the son of Masajiro and Yachiyo (Kurisu) Miyamoto. His father and mother emigrated from Japan in 1898 and 1915, respectively. In the 1910 Federal Census, Masajiro was single and working as a field hand for a Kau District sugar plantation. They were married on July 23, 1915, in Honolulu, as soon as Yachiyo arrived.
In 1918, Masajiro was employed as a sugar drier at the Pahala sugar mill. In 1930, he held the position of oiler at the Pahala sugar mill. By 1940, their father had died and the children lived with their widowed mother in the Pahala plantation camp. The eldest three were employed by the sugar company: Masato as a painter, Noboru as a clerk in the retail store, and Yasuo as a road worker. Other children in the home were sisters Takeko and Yasuko, and brothers Norio and Toshio.
Yasuo was educated at Pahala High and Elementary School and Hilo High School. Before entering the service, he was active in the Pahala Community Athletic Association senior baseball league.
Richard Yasuo Miyamoto registered for the draft on February 16, 1942, at Local Board No. 6, Pahala, Hawaii Island. He was 5’3” tall and weighed 134 lbs. He was living with his family in House No. 59, Mill Camp in Pahala; his point of contact was his mother; and he was employed as a truck driver by the Hawaiian Agricultural Company in Pahala.
Yasuo Miyamoto enlisted in the Army at Hilo on March 18, 1943. His civilian occupation was given as “Semiskilled construction occupations.” He was sent by inter-island steamer to Oahu and then on to the “tent city” at Schofield Barracks with the other recruits. They were given a farewell aloha ceremony by the community on March 28 at Iolani Palace. On April 4, the new soldiers left on the S.S. Lurline for San Francisco enroute to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. After basic training, Yasuo was assigned to 3rd Battalion, I Company.
Following over a year of training, Yasuo left Camp Shelby with the 442nd on April 22, 1944, for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. They shipped out to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations from Hampton Roads in a large convoy of troop ships on May 2 and arrived in Naples, Italy, the end of the month to join in the Rome-Arno Campaign.
After a few days at a staging area in nearby Bagnoli, they left on June 6 on LSTs for the overnight trip to Anzio, where they marched about five miles to a bivouac outside the city. On June 9, they moved out to convoy through the recently liberated city of Rome to a large bivouac area in Civitavecchia, finally arriving two days later. The next task was to physically prepare the men for their first combat mission. From June 11 to 12, the Combat Team brushed up on marksmanship and tactics, and underwent strenuous conditioning – which included long marches over mountainous terrain.
They moved to a staging area near Grossetto before dawn on June 22, where some last-minute advice was given to the men before battle. On June 24, the Combat Team moved to another bivouac area near Gravasanno, stayed overnight, and on June 25,marched thirteen miles to their final assembly area behind the lines.
They entered combat on June 26, near Suvereto. The 3rd Battalion moved into the lines before dawn, relieving the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment. They encountered fierce fighting from the Germans, but Suvereto and Belvedere were taken by the end of the day. On June 27, the 100th and 3rd Battalions were tasked to take Sassetta, about six miles north of Belvedere. While the 100th made a frontal assault on the town, the 3rd Battalion made a wide flanking movement around the west side of town and seized the high ground north of Sassetta.
It was during this battle on June 27, 1944, that Private Yasuo Miyamoto was killed. The hospital admission card stated that he was hit by a bullet to the side of his body and died as a battle casualty.
Private Yasuo Miyamoto was interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Tarquinia, Italy, Plot C, Row 9, No. 387.
For his military service, Private Yasuo Miyamoto was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantryman adge. 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.
On May 30, 1947, a Memorial Day ceremony sponsored by the Pahala Community Service Club was held at the site of the planned Memorial Playground in honor of the eight Pahala soldiers who died in World War II. Approximately 200 people attended. The service was also a ground-breaking ceremony for the new playground and featured Lawrence Mizuguchi playing Taps, the Roll Call of the deceased soldiers by Asaji Sato, and a Prayer of Remembrance by Rev. Kenneth Doctor. It concluded with the sixth grade students leading the audience in singing America.
In 1948, the remains of Americans buried overseas began slowly to return to the US, if the family so wished. As a result, on April 21, 1949, Pvt. Yasuo Miyamoto arrived home. The USAT Sergeant Jack J. Pendleton brought back 134 men, arriving at Honolulu Harbor’s Kapalama Basin. There were hundreds of family and friends present to attend the dockside service. The Secretary of Hawaii, Oren E. Long, officiated, the 264th Army Band played, and military Chaplains participated. One of the Chaplains was Hiro Higuchi, who had served in the 442nd with the men who were returning home that day. The caskets were stored in the Army mausoleum at Schofield Barracks on Oahu pending funeral arrangements. There were fifteen Hawaii Island men among the arrivals.
On July 19, 1949, the LST 857 arrived in Hilo bearing the remains of two local war dead who recently were returned from Italy. Private Yasuo Miyamoto’s remains were aboard this ship and were transferred to Dodo Mortuary pending his burial.
On July 23, 1949, his family held his funeral service at the Pahala Hongwanji Mission at 12:00 p.m. Pallbearers were members of the American Legion Kau Post No. 7: Howard Russell; escort Takeo Kunehiro; Tateto Takata, George Ota, Tsugio Kitsuki, Solomon Keaweamahi, Seigi Tarakuro, Kujoto Aoki, and Charles Teramoto. Yasuo was survived by his mother, four brothers: Masato, Nobuo, Norio, and Toshio; and two sisters: Takeko and Yasuko. Following the service, Private Miyamoto was interred with military honors at the Hawaii Veterans Cemetery at Homelani in Hilo. His mother signed the application for his flat granite marker the day of the burial.
Yasuo’s brother, Nobuo Miyamoto, served in the 3rd Battalion, I Company.
Researched and written by the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd RCT in 2021.