JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION

The Japanese American Veterans' Association, Inc. (JAVA), is a fraternal and educational organization with many purposes: Preserving and strengthening comradeship among its members;  Perpetuating the memory and history of our departed comrades;  Educating the American public on the Japanese American experience during WWII; and Striving to obtain for veterans the full benefit of their entitlements as veterans.
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ABOUT US.

President's New Year Message 


Thank you for your support in re-electing me as JAVA President for another two-year term.  I congratulate Howard High, Kay Izumihara, and Michael Katahara on their election as JAVA Vice-President, Secretary, and Treasurer. I am pleased that Mark Nakagawa, Cynthia Macri, Jason Kuroiwa, Marty Herbert, Dawn Ellenberger, and Lynn Mariano have agreed to continue carrying out their assigned responsibilities on the Executive Council. 

I am also announcing four new appointments that have been approved by the Executive Council.  We have two new members of the Executive Council. COL Danielle Ngo, USA, and LTC Robert Vokac, USA (Ret), have accepted appointments to serve on the Executive Council. They are great additions to our already well-oiled governing team. 

EC Member Marty Herbert has agreed to serve as Chair of the JAVA Awards Committee. He replaces George Ishikata, who sadly passed away last year. 

The Executive Council has approved the appointment of Neet Ford as JAVA Executive Director in recognition of her invaluable service to JAVA. Over the past four years, Neet has greatly helped to organize our programs and administrative matters in her capacity as JAVA Administrator. We look forward to continue working with her.

JAVA is adding two special programs for its members this year.  On June 9, JAVA will be co-sponsoring a photo exhibit with the Japan Information and Culture Center and the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance. The photo exhibit will be held at the JICC, June 9 thru July 22. The photo exhibit will feature photos taken by photographer Shane Sato over a 20 year period of Japanese American soldiers who served during World War II. Admission is free.

Exhibit Poster, The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits from 1999-2022. Photo of Terry Shima, 442nd RCT by Shane Sato. Poster by Kenny Yamada.

On July 16, JAVA will host an evening program and dinner at the US Army National Museum. Guests who attend the dinner will have free access to tour the museum during the day before the evening dinner. There will be a cost for the dinner. As we work out the details of this event, we will share them with you.

The July 16th dinner will be held the day after our Day of Affirmation ceremony at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. For this year’s ceremony, LTC Robert Vokac (USA Ret) will serve as the wreath escort. He is a grandson of COL Virgil Miller, who was the commanding officer of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team starting with the battle to save the Texas Lost Battalion. One of the two wreath bearers will be Sandra Tanamachi, whose uncle, Saburo Tanamachi, was killed in action while serving with the 442nd RCT in its efforts to save the Texas Lost Battalion and is the first Japanese American to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The other wreath bearer will be Missy Higgins Abrunzo, whose father, Marty Higgins, was the commanding officer of the Texas Lost Battalion at the time the 442nd RCT rescued it. This year’s program will again be virtual and will be held on July 15 at 12 noon.

JAVA will continue to sponsor its annual events – Freedom Walk, Memorial Day Service, Scholarship Presentation, and Veterans Day Program.

Lastly, I want to sincerely thank all of you who answered our call to donate to our annual fundraising campaign. I am pleased that we exceeded our goal, and your generous donations allow us to continue offering JAVA membership to war veteran members with no dues.

With your continued support, the Executive Council and I look to having another great year for JAVA.


Gerald Yamada

JAVA President

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NARA Archivist locates Documentation for “Most Highly Decorated"


July 13, 1946 Press Release, "Secretary of War Patterson Praises 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team." Credit: National Archives and Records Administration.

JAVA Research Team (JRT)

Washington, DC. When speaking about the 100th Infantry Battalion, initially comprised of 1,400 Nisei draftees from Hawaii, and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of 4,000 volunteers from Hawaii and the Mainland, speakers, writers, officials, press, and the public have referred to them as the most highly or one of the most highly decorated units in the United States Army. By its use, almost everyone, even the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, accepted this statement as fact. No one is known to have questioned its authenticity. JAVA speakers and writers have refrained, up to now, to make this statement because they did not want to face a questioner for documentation.

For the past ten years, JRT has searched for the official origin of this “most highly decorated” statement at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Army Public Relations Offices, U.S. Army Center for Military History, Library of Congress, Pacific Citizen, historians, and others with an absence of results.

While not completely solved, the issue was virtually solved on August 16, 2021. Dr. Eric S. Van Slander, an archivist of NARA, College Park, MD, located a War Department Public Relations Division press release dated July 2, 1946, which said: “. . . 469 (442nd returnees for the Presidential review) have seen combat duty in an outfit that is one of the most highly decorated in the US Army”. While this citation is in a press release pertaining to preparations for the July 15, 1946, Presidential review of the 442nd, the statement confirms that it is owned by the War Department. JRT continues its search for a stand-alone statement and requests readers to advise the JAVA editor if such a document is located.

With relation to this find, JRT wishes to present remarks made by then-MG Alfred M. Gruenther, U.S. Army, and share a letter from the U.S. Secretary of War to the 442nd commander, both of which support the most highly decorated statement. MG Alfred M. Gruenther, Commandant of the National War College and previously Chief of Staff of the U.S. Fifth Army, serving as the official representative of Secretary Patterson at the official welcome home ceremony at Camp Kilmer, NJ on June 11, 1946, told the returning 442nd men, including the 100th, "It was a great honor for me to be able to salute such a distinguished outfit. ...the 442nd's outstanding record of major decorations was unsurpassed by any other unit of comparable size." He enumerated the decorations and awards the unit had won and said that they are "the best evidence of your superb fighting qualities." The other is a letter from Secretary Patterson to LTC Alfred A. Purcell, 442nd Commander, dated July 11, 1946.

Scans of the two press releases and other related documents can be read here.

[EdNote: JAVA appreciates Dr. Van Slander, and the National Archives and Records Administration, for their continuing and exhaustive research.]



July 2, 1946 Press Release, "442nd Regimental Combat Team to Parade on White House Grounds" notes in the last paragraph "one of the most highly decorated in the Army." Credit: National Archives and Records Administration

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Upcoming events

    • 09 Jun 2022
    • 9:00 AM
    • 22 Jul 2022
    • 5:00 PM

    The Go For Broke Spirit

    Portraits by Shane Sato

    Japan Information and Culture Center

    1150 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

    9:00 am to 5:00 pm

    Monday-Friday

    Co-Sponsors: JAVA, JICC, and Veterans Memorial Court Alliance


    The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) will co-sponsor a photo exhibit, The Go For Broke Spirit, featuring images of Japanese American veterans who served during World War II by Shane Sato, a photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. The exhibit will be shown at the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC), located at 1150 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, starting on June 9, 2022. The event will be sponsored by JAVA, JICC, the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance through a grant from the Japanese American Community Foundation, and Mr. Shane Sato.

    The JICC will have special gallery hours from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm on Saturday, June 11, 2022, and invite the public to hear Shane Sato speak at 1:00 pm about his work and the specific portraits on view. The program will be free, but a ticket to enter the program will be required. Because of limited seating, reservations will be required. Information about how to reserve tickets for the June 11th program will be made available as we get closer to June. 

    From June 9 to June 11, Mr. Sato will be at the JICC to sign his books.  If interested, you will have to pre-purchase the books on his website https://www.thegoforbrokespirit.com/store  and pick them up at the book signing.

    For more information about Shane Sato’s work, please visit: https://www.thegoforbrokespirit.com/ or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/goforbrokespirit/.

    For more information, please visit our sponsors’ websites:

    Japanese American Veterans Association at https://www.java-us.org/. JAVA’s point of contact is Neet Ford, Executive Director, at javapotomac@gmail.com.  

    Veterans Memorial Court Alliance website is https://www.memorialcourtalliance.org/.

    Japan Information & Culture Center, Embassy of Japan website is https://www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/jicc/index.html


    • 15 Jul 2022
    • 12:00 PM - 12:30 PM
    • Price of Freedom Wall, National WWII Memorial, Washington DC

    Day of Affirmation

    Friday, July 15, 2022

    National World War II Memorial

    Noon-12:30 pm (ET)

    Wreath Bearers:

    Sandra Tanamachi, niece of Saburo Tanamachi, who was killed in action while serving with the 442nd RCT

    Missy Higgins Abrunzo, daughter of  Marty Higgins, who was the commanding officer of the Texas Lost Battalion at the time the 442nd RCT rescued it. 

    Wreath Escort:

    LTC Robert Vokac, USA (Ret)


    We hope you can join us virtually by watching a livestream of the Day of Affirmation on JAVA's Facebook page which will capture the wreath-laying ceremony at the Price of Freedom Wall, National World War II Memorial on Friday, July 15, 2021, at 12 noon (ET). 

    For this year’s ceremony, LTC Robert Vokac, USA (Ret), will serve as the wreath escort. He is a grandson of COL Virgil Miller, who was the commanding officer of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team starting with the battle to save the Texas Lost Battalion. One of the two wreath bearers will be Sandra Tanamachi, whose uncle, Saburo Tanamachi, was killed in action while serving with the 442nd RCT in its efforts to save the Texas Lost Battalion and is the first Japanese American to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The other wreath bearer will be Missy Higgins Abrunzo, whose father, Marty Higgins, was the commanding officer of the Texas Lost Battalion at the time the 442nd RCT rescued it. 

    National WWII Memorial Address: 1750 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC. There is no convenient parking near the WWII Memorial. 

    • 16 Jul 2022
    • 4:30 PM - 9:00 PM
    • National Museum of the U.S. Army, Fort Belvoir, Virginia
    Register

    Day of Affirmation Dinner

    Saturday, July 16, 2022

    National Museum of the U.S. Army

    Fort Belvoir, Virginia 

    Saturday, July 16, 2022

    5:00*  - 9:00 PM

    Keynote Speaker: LTC Robert Vokac, USA (Ret)

    Will Share Memories from his Grandfather Colonel Virgil R. Miller of Commanding the 442nd RCT


    The evening dinner program will begin at 5:00 pm in Veterans Hall.  *All guests are asked to arrive by 4:30 pm to clear security before museum admission stops at 4:45 pm (no late arrivals, please). Attendees will be on a guest list and allowed to visit and tour the museum at any time that day at no extra charge. 

    Day of Affirmation Activities

    Day of Affirmation Ceremony - Friday, July 15 at 12:00 o'clock, noon, at the National WWII Memorial on the Mall. JAVA will commemorate the 1946 triumphant return of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team from the battlefields in Europe to Washington, DC where they were received by President Harry Truman and presented the seventh presidential unit citation.  

    For this year’s ceremony, LTC Robert Vokac, USA (Ret), will serve as the wreath escort. He is a grandson of COL Virgil Miller, who was the commanding officer of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team beginning with the battle to save the Texas Lost Battalion. One of the two wreath bearers will be Sandra Tanamachi, whose uncle, Saburo Tanamachi, was killed in action while serving with the 442nd RCT in its efforts to save the Texas Lost Battalion and is the first Japanese American to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. COL Miller was one of the pallbearers at Saburo Tanamachi's service at Arlington. The other wreath bearer will be Missy Higgins Abrunzo, whose father, Marty Higgins, was the commanding officer of the Texas Lost Battalion at the time the 442nd RCT rescued it. Later, Higgins helped to lobby Congress for passage of the Immigration Act of 1952 which granted citizenship to the Issei or Japan-born parents of the Japanese Americans.

    All are welcome to attend this year’s program in person; the program will also be livestreamed.

    The Go For Broke Spirit  Photo Exhibit - Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at the Japan Information and Culture Center (JICC), 1150 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Exhibit features images of Japanese American veterans who served during World War II by Shane Sato, a photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. The exhibit runs from June 9-July 22, Monday-Friday, with Saturday hours on June 11.

    National Museum of U.S. Army - Saturday, May 16 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, all dinner attendees will be on an guest list for admission on Saturday, May 16. For more information about the museum collection or for tickets to visit on a different day see the website www.thenmusa.org



    Nearby Hotels

    Hotel Near National Museum of U.S. Army

    Embassy Suites by Hilton, Springfield, VA

    8100 Loisdale Road, Springfield VA, 22150   571-339-2000


    Hotel Near Japanese Information and Cultural Center

    Club Quarters, Washington DC - White House

    839 17th St NW, Washington, DC 20006     202-463-6400


    Directions to the Museum

    National Museum of the United States Army

    1775 Liberty Drive, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060

    GPS coordinates are 38.7242806/-77.177874

    IMPORTANT NOTE: not all GPS systems recognize the Museum’s street address “1775 Liberty Drive, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060”. When using GPS, please confirm your GPS directions match the driving directions below.

    Please see museum website for map: https://www.thenmusa.org/visit/directions-parking/


    • 23 Jul 2022
    • 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
    • Virtual

    Virtual JAVA Memorial Scholarship Presentation

    The hour long ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, July 23rd at 3 pm (EDT) / 12 noon (PDT) / 9 am (HST). We will also livestream the program on JAVA’s Facebook page so that all can watch! 

    Details to follow!

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Nisei Role as America’s “Eyes and Ears” Against Japan During War II and as a “Bridge” Between the Two Nations During the Occupation

Visit JAVA Research Archive to read New Article on Role of MIS in WWII by Clicking Here.

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 JAVA Member and 442nd Veteran, Terry Shima Speaks about the Japanese American Experience During World War II

Recently the Keese School Lecture Series featured former JAVA Executive Director and JAVA Terry Shima as a speaker at their continuing education series. By way of introduction it was noted that Terry was born and raised in Hawaii. He was drafted in to Army in 1944 and served in the 442nd RCT. After the war, Terry attended and graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and enjoyed a 30-year career in the Foreign Service with postings in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. In 2012, President Obama awarded Terry the Presidential Citizens Medal.  After leaving his official post as Executive Director of JAVA, he has continued to support the research and publication of the Advocate and e-Advocate. In the video Terry explains the origins of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and MIS and highlights examples of Japanese American soldiers bravery and valor in an effort to prove their loyalty to the U.S.  Click here to watch or watch below.

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