Yoneo Hamada

Yoneo Hamada, Private First Class, Company H, 2nd Battalion, 442nd RCT

Yoneo Hamada was born on July 8, 1917 in Vacaville, Solano County, California.  He was the son of Tanekichi and Yao (Yukikira) Hamada who arrived from Hiroshima Prefecture in 1891 and 1906, respectively.  He had one brother, Isamu, and one sister, Yome.

Hamada signed his WWII Draft Registration card on October 16, 1940, Local Board 66 in Alameda County.  His point of contact was his employer, Mr. Yokomizo, and they both lived at 3640 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, the site of Moss Cleaners where he worked.  He was 5’7”, 160 lbs.

On September 28, 1942, he was incarcerated, with no accompanying family, at the Central Utah WRA internment camp (also known as Topaz), arriving from Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, California.  At the time his home was in Oakland.

On February 12, 1943, Hamada was released for employment (no location given), and on July 2, 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Salt Lake City, Utah.  His induction date was July 16.  He was assigned to the 442nd RCT and sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, for training as a Private in H Company.

He served in all the campaigns of the 442nd:  Rome-Arno in Italy, Vosges in France and possibly the Maritime Alps in France, and Po Valley back in Italy.  His name appeared on a list of 363 wounded soldiers of the 442nd that was published in Pacific Citizen, Salt Lake City, on January 20, 1945, with the notation that the next of kin (his brother Isamu) had been notified and it could have occurred in the Vosges Campaign.  The nature of the wound was not given.  Hamada was discharged from the U.S. Army on January 23, 1946.

For his service in World War II, Yoneo earned the following decorations:  Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.

In October 1946, he signed on at Fort Mason in San Francisco as a crew member working in the laundry on the troop transport ship USAT Gen. H.F. Hodges operating in the Pacific.  By 1948, he was living in San Francisco where he was employed at a dental technician.

He soon married Mary Hisako Kurihara of Sacramento and they lived in San Francisco.  Over the years they raised two sons and two daughters.  Yoneo was a member of the VFW and the Hiroshima Kenjin-Kai, an organization for descendants of Hiroshima Prefecture.  His name appears on the Go For Broke Memorial in Los Angeles, Panel 8a, Row 22, indicating that he or his family donated to the monument’s creation.

Yoneo Hamada died in San Francisco on December 9, 1996, and he was buried in the Japanese Cemetery in Colma, San Mateo County.  Survivors included his wife, two sons, and three grandchildren.  His wife Mary died in 2011 and is buried next to him.

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