San Francisco, CA. Maj Richard Noboru Hamasaki, 99, died peacefully at his home on November 24, 2018. Born in Paauilo, Hawaii, Hamasaki attended McKinley High School, went to Japan with his parents and returned to Hawaii before the start of WW II. Drafted in March 1941, he was assigned to the 298th Infantry Regiment at Schofield Barracks, and subsequently the 100th Infantry Battalion. Like other 100th soldiers, he trained at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, and Camp Shelby, Mississippi. The 100th was then deployed to Salerno, Italy where they joined the 34th Infantry “Red Bull” Division.
Hamasaki served in all of 100th campaigns up to the invasion of Bruyeres, France in the Vosges campaign, where he was wounded, thus ending his service in Europe. By this point Hamasaki had received the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, four Purple Heart medals, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation. In addition, Hamasaki received a battlefield commission to 2nd Lieutenant. The commission influenced his decision to make the US Army his career choice. He also married Setsuko Nao, a student at the University of Minnesota. Hamasaki’s next assignment was at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and soon after moved to the counterintelligence corps in Yokohama, Japan.
When the Korean War broke out Hamasaki was assigned to the 5th Regimental Combat Team in Korea, where he was awarded his second Silver Star. Apparently, in an arrangement with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) he was transferred to CIA while still on active duty status and worked in Tokyo. In 1965 the CIA assigned Hamasaki to South Vietnam in an intelligence role.
In 1975, having served 20 years in the US Army and 14 years in civil service, with combat duty in WW II and the Korean War and intelligence duty in Vietnam, Hamasaki decided to retire with his wife in the San Francisco Bay Area. He pursued his hobbies of gardening and golf, the latter of which Hamasaki honed to a single digit handicap. He also worked part time as a salesman for noted golf professional, Bob McCaffery. His three children are in the education profession.