L-R: (front) Royce Higa, Hidenobu Hiyane, George Oide, Clinton Shiraishi, Koichi Tokushige, Paul Watanabe. (Standing) Catherine Delfino, Guillaume Maman, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, Governor Ige and Mrs. Ige. Photo by Morita.
Jeff Morita, Historian
Honolulu, Hawai'i. On June 1, 2019 a prestigious ceremony at the Hawai'i Convention Center conferred to six 100th and 442nd World War II Veterans the Chevalier (Knight) of the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest order of merit. Hawai’i Governor David Y. Ige, wife Dawn Amano-Ige, members of the Consular Corps of Hawaii and 150 family and friends of the veterans witnessed the historic knighthood. Consul General of France in San Francisco, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, presented individual medals to:
- Royce Eiko Higa; A “Able” Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion/442nd RCT
- Hidenobu Hiyane; Headquarters Company, 100th Infantry Battalion
- George Kenichi Oide; Headquarters Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 442nd RCT
- Clinton Ikuzo Shiraishi; Headquarters Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, 442nd RCT
- Koichi Harry Tokushige; A “Able” Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion/442nd RCT
- Paul Sanji Watanabe; 232nd Engineer Company/442nd RCT
Kevin Morita, Choir Director at Kapolei Middle School and the son of Jeff Morita, played soothing ukulele prelude music. The 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Infantry Color Guard presented and retired the colors. Sandy Tsukiyama provided beautiful acapella renditions of Le Marseillaise, The Star Spangle Banner, and Hawai’i Pono'i. Members of the US Army Pacific (USARPAC) provided military escorts for the Honorees. Honorary Consul of France in Hawai’i Guillaume Maman provided the welcome address; Governor Ige and Consul General Lebrun-Damiens commended the honorees. Theresa Tilley Maman, wife of Honorary Consul Maman, served as emcee. Joint Planning Committee Members included Lynn Heirakuji (Chairperson), Mae Isonaga, Grace Tsubata Fujii, Theresa Tilley Maman, Jeff Morita and community volunteers.
Since 2014, Morita, a retired US Army Sergeant First Class and GG-13, Department of the Army Civilian (40-years total service), has completed and submitted 43 application forms for 100th/442nd Veterans to receive the Légion d'honneur. To date, the Government of France has awarded this prestigious decoration to 23 veterans Morita has assisted. Morita (email@example.com) welcomes any request for assistance.
Jeff Morita (L) and Awardee Clinton Shiraishi. Photo by Morita.