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  • 28 Dec 2015 10:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Denver, Colorado. George Joe Sakato, Medal of Honor recipient and Honorary Chairman of JAVA, passed away peacefully on December 2, 2015 at his home in Denver, Colorado. He was 95.

    In his remarks to open the National WW II Memorial at Washington, DC on April 29, 2004, President George Bush singled out Sakato’s heroism from the 16 million Americans who served during WW II. Bush said Army Private Joe Sakato, “in heavy fighting in France, saw a good friend killed, and charged up a hill, determined to shoot the ones who did it. Private Sakato ran straight into enemy fire, killing 12, wounding 2, capturing 4, and inspiring his whole unit to take the hill and destroy the enemy. Looking back on it 55 years later, Joe Sakato said, “I’m not a hero. Nowadays they call what I did road rage.” This man’s conduct that day gained him the Medal of Honor, one of 464 awarded for actions in WW II,” the President concluded.

    George Joe Sakato

    George Joe Sakato

    Sakato was born in Colton, California and moved with his family to Arizona to avoid being placed in an internment camp. When enlistments reopened for Nisei in 1943, Sakato volunteered for duty at Glendale, Arizona thinking he was joining the Army Air Corps. While being disappointed about this, he trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi and was shipped to Italy with the 442nd in June 1944. In September 1944, the 442nd was ordered to move from Italy to the southern front of France to engage the Germans in a two front war. The 442nd was assigned to the 36th (Texas) Division, whose mission was to clear the German fortress in the Vosges forests, where the enemy built a fortress to prevent the Americans from entering the German homeland. History had told the Germans that since the days of the Holy Roman Empire no invading force was able to defeat the force that occupied the Vosges forests. The 442nd’ mission was to neutralize the Vosges forests thereby allowing the Americans to invade Germany.

    The 442nd had a two-fold mission in the battle that Sakato was awarded the Medal of Honor. He helped smash the German forces that had trapped a battalion of the 36th (Texas) Division. When the Germans retreated from the Vosges forests on October 30, 1944, 211 Texans walked out and this allowed the 7th Army to pursue the Germans to and across the German border. Sakato’s citation said he “distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 October 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the enemy fire, Private Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission. Private Sakato’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.”

    See also:


  • 06 Sep 2015 11:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE: September 6, 2015 – Vol. 10, No. 5

    Ben Kuroki Passes

    Camarillo, California. Ben Kuroki, legendary aerial gunner during World War II and JAVA Life Member, passed away on September 1, 2015, in Camarillo, California. He was 98. Kuroki was the first Nisei to enlist in the US Armed Forces during the war and was the only Nisei to serve as aerial gunner in the Asia Pacific Theater of the five Nisei aerial gunners during WW II. Kuroki flew bombing runs in Northwest Europe, Northwest Africa, East Mediterranean (Balkans), and Central Pacific. He received three Distinguished Flying Cross medals, the second highest medal for heroism in air combat, for flying 25 combat missions against Germany, the Ploesti air raid, and 28 missions in the Pacific. When he was asked for his reaction to serve in the Army Air Corps, which institutionally wanted to keep the Nisei out, Kuroki said, “I had to fight like hell for the right to fight for my own country.”

    President George Bush returning Ben Kuroki's salute on May 1, 2008 in the East Room of the White House. When the President extolled Kuroki's patriotism and heroism in aerial combat in Europe and the Pacific, Kuroki stood and offered his hand salute. Kuroki, 442nd and MIS veterans, seated front row and center, were invited as special guests. The President also recognized the 442nd and MIS veterans for their courage in combat in Europe and the Pacific, respectively. The occasion was the celebration of Asia Pacific Americans Heritage Month. White House photo.

    President George Bush returning Ben Kuroki’s salute on May 1, 2008 in the East Room of the White House. When the President extolled Kuroki’s patriotism and heroism in aerial combat in Europe and the Pacific, Kuroki stood and offered his hand salute. Kuroki, 442nd and MIS veterans, seated front row and center, were invited as special guests. The President also recognized the 442nd and MIS veterans for their courage in combat in Europe and the Pacific, respectively. The occasion was the celebration of Asia Pacific Americans Heritage Month. White House photo.

    Kuroki was born in Gaithersburg, Nebraska, of immigrant Japanese farmers and raised in Hershey, Nebraska, near North Platte. He learned of Japan’s attack of Pearl Harbor at the JACL meeting held at North Platte, when two men in business suits entered the meeting hall, whispered to Mike Masaoka, National JACL Secretary, who was chairing the organizational meeting, and took him away. When Kuroki returned home, his immigrant father told Ben and his brother Fred “this is your country, go ahead and fight for it.” Ben and Fred immediately went to the closest recruiting office at North Platte, signed up, received their physicals and waited to be called. They waited, but were never called and were told to go home. About two weeks later Kuroki heard on the radio that the Army Air Corps recruiting station at Grand Island was seeking recruits. He telephoned the recruiter to ask if race was a disqualifier. The response was “Hell no, I get two bucks for every recruit, so c’mon on down.” In January 1942, Ben and Fred drove 150 miles to North Platte, signed up, and were told to report to Sheppard Field, Texas for clerical training followed by assignment to the 93rd Bomber Group at Barksdale, Louisiana, where the Group was being formed. The recruiter was apparently unaware that on January 5, 1942 the government had placed a ban on Nisei enlistments by classifying them 4-C (Alien not currently liable for military service).

    Kuroki, who trained as a clerk and sensing that the Corps was trying to expel him, kept a low profile and did everything assigned him, including continuous days of KP duty. While the 93rd was being moved to Fort Myers, Florida, the last post before shipment to England, Kuroki successfully resisted another effort to get him transferred. When the 93rd was being readied for deployment to England, Kuroki discovered his name was not on the roster to go. He pleaded with the Squadron Adjutant, Lieutenant Charles Brannan, who placed Kuroki’s name on the roster. He went to England as a clerk, but he aspired to be a gunner. The early bombing missions sustained huge casualties. The operational life of an aerial gunner was 10 missions and there was a short supply of gunners. Kuroki applied for the job, was approved, and was sent to a two-week British gunnery school which did not fire a shot. Kuroki received on the job training and made his maiden flight on December 13, 1942.

    Ben’s flight crew protected Kuroki from sneers and abuse by fellow Americans in the Corps. Kuroki was pleased to be fighting the enemy and no longer fighting to stay in the Corps. After his 25th mission, which qualified him to rotate back to the US, Kuroki volunteered for five more missions, including the raid of Ploesti, located 45 miles north of Bucharest, Rumania, Germany’s oil refinery on August 1, 1943. On his 30th mission over Munster, Germany, German flak hit Kuroki’s plexiglass turret and he was nearly killed. Following this mission in early 1944, Kuroki was sent to California, the Corps rest center, one of the first ethnic Japanese allowed to be in Pacific war zone. The Army used Ben to visit internment camps to persuade Nisei to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team that was being formed. He was also assigned to speak to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on February 4, 1944. Prior to this date local newspapers and radios carried critical stories with such headlines as “Jap to Address S.F. Club.” Kuroki visualized a hostile audience and an equally hostile press and asked his Army escort if he could cancel his participation in the event. The escort said it was too late.

    When Kuroki saw the audience of 700, the elite of the intellectual and business of northern California, in the elegant meeting hall which has hosted every president since Abraham Lincoln, he was so nervous his knees buckled. He recalled that he felt he would have preferred to be on a bombing mission. The audience listened intently, interrupted Kuroki countless times with applause, had him return to the podium twice, and in the end, gave him a 10 minute standing ovation. Kuroki spoke of racial intolerance, his experience in trying to stay in the Corps, and patriotism. He told the audience he wanted to get in combat in the worst way to prove his loyalty. “When you live with men under combat conditions for 15 months, you begin to understand what equality, brotherhood, tolerance and unselfishness really mean.” His speech was carried over the radio and the press, including the Hearst newspapers, which praised Kuroki. Kuroki realized the impact of his speech when he received a letter from the Club doyen, Monroe Deutsch, Vice President of the University of California at Berkeley, who said Kuroki’s remarks made a huge difference in tempering anti-Japanese American sentiment.

    Following his missions against Germany, Kuroki decided to serve in the Asia Pacific theater. However, there was a ban on Japanese American serving in the air. His requests through military channels were repeatedly denied. When some leaders of the Commonwealth Club heard of Kuroki’s difficulties, they sent telegrams to the War Department. Secretary of War Stimson waived the ban for Kuroki, saying in a November 16, 1944, letter to Deutsch “… by reason of his splendid record, it has been decided to except Sergeant Kuroki from the provisions of the policy to which I earlier referred … ”

    Federal agents twice attempted to prevent Kuroki from going to the Pacific with the 48th Squadron, 505th Bombardment Group, 20th US Army Air Corps. First at Kearney Air Base in Nebraska, and then at Mather Field, California, armed federal agents demanded the pilot, Lieutenant Jim Jenkins, delay his flight. Jenkins recognized the attempted delay as harassment, ignored the request, started the B-29 Superfortress engines, and took off for the Pacific. Kuroki’s crew members provided him protection and support. When walking to the mess hall, he was positioned in the center of the crew members. Kuroki said he felt safer on flying missions than being on the ground. Their base was Tinian Island, where their plane was co-located with Enola Gay, which was carrying the A-Bomb. Kuroki flew 28 missions in Asia, most of them bombing targets in Japan. After completing his last flight, a drunken GI called Kuroki a “dirty Jap” which triggered retaliation by Kuroki. The GI wielded a knife that cut Kuroki’s head that landed him in the hospital for a few days. After his return, Kuroki embarked on his 59th mission to fight racism, prejudice and discrimination. He spoke to civic group and to schools. He was invited to the New York Herald Tribune annual forum, which was attended by many dignitaries. Kuroki was given a seat between General Stilwell and General Marshall.

    Following his discharge, Kuroki got married and attended the University of Nebraska, where he majored in journalism. After he graduated, he published a newspaper and later worked as editor for newspapers in Michigan and, finally, in California where he retired in 1984 as the news editor of Ventura Star-Free Press. In 2005 Kuroki was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for his combat and speaking roles; the Nebraska Press Association presented its highest honor, the “President’s Award;” the University of Nebraska conferred an honorary doctorate, and he was the subject of a Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) documentary, The Most Honorable Son: Ben Kuroki’s Amazing War Story.” In 2006, Kuroki was invited to the White House twice, once to attend the dinner for Japan Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. The other was to attend the Asia Pacific Heritage Month Program, when President George Bush recognized him for his air combat role and his fight against racism on the home front. Kuroki was particularly proud to receive the 2010 American Veterans Center Audie Murphy Award because this linked him with the members of the famed Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

    Kuroki took his golf seriously. Well into his 90’s he walked the 18 holes. He also enjoyed taking his grandchildren trout fishing.

    Kuroki is survived by his wife, Shige, of Tyhee, located 6 miles from Pocatello, Idaho, daughters, Kerry (Williams), Kristyn, and Julie, 4 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

    The Kuroki family appreciates the affection of Ben’s many colleagues and friends and requests that in lieu of flowers tax-exempt donations be made to the Ben Kuroki Scholarship Fund, Japanese American Veterans Association, 9455 Park Hunt Court, Springfield, VA 22153.



  • 16 Apr 2015 12:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE: February 26, 2015

    Press release provided by the Military Intelligence Service Veterans Club of Hawaii

    Dick S. Hamada. Photo courtesy of the Hamada family.

    Dick S. Hamada.
    Photo courtesy of the Hamada family.

    The late Dick S. Hamada of Honolulu has been accepted for induction into the Army’s Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

    Hamada, who died in May 2014 at the age of 92, will be inducted in ceremonies in June, according to a letter from Maj. Gen. Robert P. Ashley, commanding general of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence.

    Hamada was one of about 6,000 Japanese Americans – Nisei – who served in the Military Intelligence Service in World War II against their ancestral homeland. Hamada was among a handful of MIS Nisei assigned to Detachment 101 of the Office of Strategic Services, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency. They spent months deep behind enemy lines in Northern Burma conducting clandestine operations, leading native and Allied troops in guerilla raids, gathering intelligence and rescuing downed Allied aviators. Deep in Burma’s jungles, their only supply line consisted of air drops. Hamada was hospitalized twice with malaria and dysentery, encountered tigers, learned how to deal with leeches.

    In early 1945, Hamada singlehandedly saved his battalion from being wiped out at the village of Ke Hsi Mansam. Made up primarily of native Kachin troops, the battalion was in the third day of fighting, and Hamada was leading a platoon of Nationalist Chinese troops protecting its left flank. Under intense, concentrated Japanese attack, Hamada’s troops began faltering. He went from foxhole to foxhole, exposed to direct enemy fire, exhorting and rallying his men and manning a machine gun himself. The platoon held and the enemy attack was repulsed. Hamada’s commanding officer, an American, commended his leadership and credited Hamada with saving the entire battalion from “total defeat.”

    Following the Burma campaign, Hamada and other Japanese Americans were assigned to OSS Detachment 202 in China. Emperor Hirohito’s August 15, 1945, announcement of Japan’s capitulation immediately raised concerns about the fate of thousands of U.S. and Allied prisoners – military and civilians – still held by the Japanese. Seven OSS teams, each including a Nisei interpreter, were dispatched to parachute into Japanese prison camps in China, Korea and French Indochina. Hamada was assigned to Operation Magpie, parachuting into Fengtai Prison in Peiping (today’s Beijing) on August 17. After a hostile reception and two days of negotiation, the Magpie team secured the liberation of several hundred prisoners, including four of the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders and the commander and other survivors of the Wake Island garrison.

     Brig Gen John Magruder, left, deputy director of the Office of Strategic Services, presents Dick Hamada the Soldier’s Medal on Jan. 3, 1946, in Washington, D.C., for Hamada’s role in Operation Magpie. Photo courtesy of the Hamada family.


    Brig Gen John Magruder, left, deputy director of the Office of Strategic Services, presents Dick Hamada the Soldier’s Medal on Jan. 3, 1946, in Washington, D.C., for Hamada’s role in Operation Magpie. Photo courtesy of the Hamada family.

    Following the war, Hamada returned to Hawaii and worked at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, retiring as a planner and estimator supervisor. He was also widely known around the Islands as a baseball and softball umpire.

    He was nominated for the Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame by retired Maj. Gen. Arthur Ishimoto, an MIS veteran of World War II who went on to become adjutant general of Hawaii.

    “Dick Hamada was a true American hero whose exploits were largely unnoticed during his lifetime. His induction into the Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame is long overdue and well-deserved,” said Ishimoto, who served in combat in the Philippines and in the occupation of Japan after the war.

    “The Nisei were recruited to use our knowledge of Japanese language and culture against the enemy,” said Ishimoto. “But we were soldiers first, as Dick Hamada and many others demonstrated.”

    Ishimoto has also initiated a review of Hamada’s role in the battle at Ke Hsi Mansam for a possible upgrade to the Bronze Star that Hamada was awarded.

    The two men only met a year before Hamada’s demise, when they spoke on a panel discussion about the MIS. It is no wonder that many MIS Nisei didn’t know each other. Many of them were deployed in 10-man teams attached to fighting units. Many others drew special, temporary assignments in small groups or as individuals. And military intelligence, both during and after the war, was cloaked in secrecy until some records were declassified many years later.


    ASSIGNMENT EDITORS NOTE: Dick Hamada is one of the veterans featured in the new MIS exhibit at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii. A grand opening of the exhibit will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 28, 2015, as part of the MIS Veterans National Reunion. For more information about the reunion, see the club website at www.misveteranshawaii.com or contact Annie Inouye, Tel: (808) 220-5347; E-mail: annienoa@hawaiiantel.net.

    Dick Hamada was a JAVA Life Member.

    CONTACT:

    MIS-logo

    Military Intelligence Service Veterans Club of Hawaii
    www.misveteranshawaii.com


  • 26 Feb 2015 12:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    PRESS RELEASE: February 26, 2015 – Vol. 11, No. 1

    Wade Ishimoto, JAVA President

    Richmond, Virginia. In a moving ceremony before the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia on February 24, 2015, the General Assembly presented a resolution to members of the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA). The resolution was agreed to by both the House of Delegates and the Commonwealth of Virginia Senate to commend Japanese American veterans of World War II. Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, a retired US Army Colonel, presented a framed copy of the resolution to JAVA’s president, Wade Ishimoto, who was accompanied by Colonel Dale Shirasago (USAF Ret), Colonel Derek Hirohata (USAF), and Lt Colonel Mark Nakagawa (USA Ret). Delegate Lingamfelter introduced the JAVA attendees and paid honor to Messrs. Terry Shima and Grant Ichikawa, both World War II veterans that were unable to attend the ceremony. Delegate Lingamfelter read the resolution and invited fellow veterans from the House of Delegates and the Senate to join in the presentation.

    Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, Col., USA, (Ret), center, at microphone, presents a resolution honoring Japanese-Americans who have served in the US military during a ceremony in the House of Delegates chamber at the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Four of the honorees are Col. Derek Hirohata, USAF, left, Capt. Wade Y. Ishimoto, US Army Special Forces, (Ret), 3rd from left, Lt. Col. Mark Nakagawa, USA, (Ret), 4th from left, and Col. Dale Shirasago, USAF, (Ret), just behind Lingamfelter, left. -- BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH

    Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, Col., USA, (Ret), center, at microphone, presents a resolution honoring Japanese-Americans who have served in the US military during a ceremony in the House of Delegates chamber at the State Capitol in Richmond, VA Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. Four of the honorees are Col. Derek Hirohata, USAF, left, Capt. Wade Y. Ishimoto, US Army Special Forces, (Ret), 3rd from left, Lt. Col. Mark Nakagawa, USA, (Ret), 4th from left, and Col. Dale Shirasago, USAF, (Ret), just behind Lingamfelter, left. — BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH

    The resolution follows:


    Agreed to by the House of Delegates, January 23, 2015
    Agreed to by the Senate, January 29, 2015

    Whereas, in response to the attacks on Pearl harbor in 1941, all people of Japanese ancestry were initially viewed as disloyal to the United States, their draft classification was changed to 4-C (alien, unfit for military duty) and 118,000 ethnic Japanese – two thirds of them United States citizens – were forcibly placed in internment camps under military guard; and

    Whereas, Americans of Japanese ancestry from the Hawaiian Provincial Infantry Battalion (the 100th infantry Battalion) were shipped from the Hawaiian islands to California, and through their demonstrated performance, helped convince the President and the War Department to reopen military service to 14,000 Nisei, many of whom were drafted into military service from internment camps where they and their families were incarcerated; and

    Whereas, the 100th infantry Battalion was eventually made an integral part of the 442 Regimental Combat Team (RCT) collectively became known as the Go for Broke Regiment and fought with distinction in Italy and France despite suffering extremely heavy combat and noncombat casualties; and

    Whereas, the members of the Go for Broke Regiment earned 21 Congressional Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, and one Distinguished Service Medal, over 350 Silver Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier Medals and more than 5,300 Bronze Stars and over 4000 Purple Hearts; and

    Whereas, the Nisei Military Intelligence Service (MIS) consisted of 4200 linguists who served in the Pacific Theater performing such duties as document translation and prisoner interrogation, and an additional 4000 linguists who served during the Occupation of Japan; and

    Whereas, the MIS was awarded numerous combat awards such as one Presidential Unit Citation, one Distinguished Service Cross, five Silver Stars, over 50 Bronze Stars, 20 Combat Infantryman Badges, 25 Purple Hearts, and such non-combat awards as two Legion of Merit Medals and one Soldier’s Medal; and

    Whereas President Truman, following his review of the 442nd RCT in 1946, affirmed Japanese-American loyalty by declaring “you fought not only the enemy by you fought prejudice and you have won”; and

    Whereas, in 2010 the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously approved a bill awarding the Congressional Gold medal to veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442 RCT, and the MIS, which was ultimately signed by President Obama on October 5, 2010; and

    Whereas, the combat performance of these soldiers contribute to the climate for the post World War II reforms, beginning with the desegregation of the Armed Forces, and helped level the playing field for minorities to compete for any job and rank; and

    Whereas competing with the best of the best Nisei have reached the highest ranks of the military, government, academia, and business, thereby confirming that the Japanese-American story speaks of the greatness of America; now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly hereby commend the service and sacrifice of Japanese American veterans of World War II; and be it

    Resolved further that the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to the Japanese American Veterans Association on behalf of those patriotic soldiers as an expression of the General Assembly’s gratitude for their service to the citizens of the Commonwealth, the Nation and the World.

    House patrons; Lingamfelter, Bell, R. P., Bloxom, Cole, Cox, Greason, Head, Hodges, Hugo, LaRock, LeMunyon, Marshall, D. W., O’Bannon, Orrock, Ramadan, Wilt, and Wright

    Senate patrons; Alexander, Barkerer, Black, Carrico, Chafin, Colgan, Cosgrove, Dance, Deeds, Ebbin, Edwards, Favola, Garrett, Hanger, Howell, Lewis, Locke, Lucas, Marsden, Martin, McDougle, McEachin, McWaters, Miller, Newman, Norman, Obenshain, Peterson, Puller, Reeves, Ruff, Saslaw, Smith, Stanley, Stosch, Stuart, Vogel, Wagner, Watkins, and Wexton
    Clerk of the House of delegates

    Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William, Col., USA, (Ret), 2nd from left presents a resolution honoring Japanese-Americans who have served in the US military to Col. Dale Shirasago, USAF, (Ret), Capt. Wade Y. Ishimoto, US Army Special Forces, (Ret), Col. Derek Hirohata, USAF, Lt. Col. Mark Nakagawa, USA, (Ret), during a ceremony at the State Capitol in Richmond, VA. — BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015



  • 13 Feb 2015 1:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CONTACT:

    JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION
    (c/o 2111 Jefferson Davis Hwy #416S, Arlington, VA 22202)


  • 15 Nov 2014 11:09 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    JAVA PRESS RELEASE: November 15, 2014 – Vol. 9, No. 28

    Former Acting US Solicitor General Cites Misconduct in Hirabayashi and Korematsu cases

    JAVA participates in White House, Arlington Cemetery and WW II Memorial events

    Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. Neal Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, was the keynote speaker at the 14th Veterans Day Program at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in Washington, DC. He spoke from the stage, facing the monument of two cranes entwined in barbed wire and the names and the number of internees in each of the ten internment camps etched on the granite wall. Professor Katyal told the audience, many of them US citizens who were forcibly confined in internment camps for the duration of the war, that Solicitor General Charles Fahy, who had the responsibility to represent the government in the high court, “hid evidence and deceived the Supreme Court that upheld the detention of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans.”

    Professor Neal Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General of the United States

    Professor Neal Katyal, former Acting Solicitor General of the United States

    The Solicitor General had learned of a key intelligence report that undermined the rationale behind the internment before the cases of Gordon Hirabayashi and Fred Korematsu reached the Supreme Court. The evidence was the Ringle Report, produced by the Office of Naval Intelligence, which found that that there was no evidence that the Japanese American community was acting as spies or sending signals to enemy submarines. Solicitor General Fahy did not inform the Court of the report, despite warnings from Department of Justice attorneys that failing to alert the Court “might approximate the suppression of evidence.” Instead, he argued that it was impossible to segregate loyal Japanese Americans from disloyal ones.

    Nor did Fahy inform the Court that a key set of allegations used to justify the internment, that Japanese Americans were using radio transmitters to communicate with enemy submarines off the West Coast, had been discredited by the FBI and the Federal Communications Commission. Further making matters worse, he based his beliefs on groundless stereotyped generalizations about Japanese Americans, such as that they were all disloyal and motivated by “racial solidarity.”

    “The solicitor general, the US government’s top courtroom attorney, is viewed as the most important and trusted lawyer to appear before the Supreme Court and he had the duty of absolute candor in our representations to the court. It is unlikely that the Supreme Court, in 1943, would have unanimously upheld the curfew imposed on Japanese Americans in the case of Gordon Hirabayashi versus United States on the grounds of military urgency” had the Solicitor General exhibited complete candor,” Katyal said.

    Katyal mentioned Hirabayashi, in particular, as a person of admirable character. A religious pacifist, Hirabayashi allowed himself to be arrested on July 16, 1942, for violating the curfew and for refusing to be relocated to a concentration camp. As a result, he was sentenced to 90 days in a Tucson, Arizona, prison. Government officials were willing to drop the charges. However, Hirabayashi declined as his goal was to take his case to the Supreme Court. When officials told Hirabayashi they did not have the funds to transport him to prison, he hitch hiked to Tucson. When he arrived at the prison, he was told they did not have his papers. He left and returned the following day and was finally admitted to prison, where he was confined for 90 days. His lawyer appealed his convictions that eventually lead to the famous Supreme Court case. On April 27, 2012, President Barack Obama announced Hirabayashi would receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his stand against Japanese American internment. Unfortunately, Hirabayashi died two days before the scheduled presentation.

    Katyal, recognized as one of the top lawyers in America, is currently the Paul and Patricia Saunders Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. He was Acting Solicitor General from 2010 – 2011 and was Principal Deputy Solicitor General before that.

    Earlier in the day, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Allen Goshi, USA (Ret) and Nancy Yamada attended the annual White House breakfast for veterans, hosted by Vice President Joe Biden. Also, during that morning, President Gerald Yamada participated in the Arlington Cemetery laying of the wreath at Tomb of the Unknown and the Vice President’s address to the nation at the Amphitheater. JAVA representatives, Col Derek Hirohata, USAF and LTC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret), participated in the Arlington event as color guards. Friends of the World War II Memorial invited Terry Shima to lay a wreath at the Wall of Heroes at the World War II Memorial. Representing the Japanese American community, Shima paid respects to the 400,000 veterans, including 700 Nisei, who were killed in combat during World War II.

    CONTACT:

    JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION
    (c/o 10316 Mountington Ct, Vienna, VA, 22182


  • 07 Apr 2014 12:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    JAVA Members Admiral Harry Harris and Major General (USAF Ret) Arthur Ishimoto were keynote speakers at the National Reunion of the Military Intelligence Service Association on March 27, 2015. The reunion also celebrated the Grand Opening of the MIS Exhibit in the Changing Gallery of the U.S. Army Museum at Fort DeRussy in Waikiki, Hawaii. Their speeches follow.

    Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet
    National Reunion of World War II Veterans of the Military Intelligence Service
    Hale Koa Hotel, Honolulu, Hawaii
    28 March 2015


    Good afternoon and konnichiwa. Thank you Barbara, for the kind introduction.

    And thanks to Lawrence Enomoto and everyone here who has worked so hard to put this National Reunion together. You couldn’t have picked a better venue here at the Hale Koa, the House of the Warrior.

    And a heartfelt aloha to some very distinguished guests here today, including: Governor Ige, Governor Ariyoshi, Mayor Caldwell, Judge Kubo, Consul General Shigeeda of Japan, General Bramlett, and Paul Nakasone – who just popped on the Army 2-star list yesterday – congratulations Paul and a shout to your dad, Bud, who is an MIS veteran and retired Army colonel. He’s visiting from Minnesota, where it’s kibishii fuya.

    And of course to General Ishimoto and all the other Military Intelligence Service warriors of World War II, whom we honor here today.

    Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey was known for his very long speeches. His wife Muriel once told him, “Hubert, for a speech to be immortal, it doesn’t have to be eternal.”

    So with that in mind, I intend to keep my remarks somewhere to the left of eternal today.

    Ladies and gentlemen, our battles, our victories, indeed our very way of life, are owed not to great moments or important dates. They are owed to the actions and sacrifices of individual men and women who were willing to step into the breach for their country and for the cause of freedom.

    America is the country she is because of her heroes past and present. Heroes like those we honor here today, the men and women of the Military Intelligence Service, the MIS, who were instrumental in securing victory in World War II.

    It’s those of this, the greatest generation who donned the cloth of our nation to serve in our armed forces at the world’s darkest hour who can take pride in knowing that they shaped the world we live in today.

    I’m often asked what the most important event in my life is, and, honestly, without any doubt, it’s World War II.

    Now before anyone pulls out a calculator to do the math, no, I was born in the 1950’s.

    My father and four of his brothers fought in that war, enlisted men in the Navy and in the Army. So I was hearing their sea stories and foxhole stories from the moment I could form a memory ‘til the day they died.

    Through them, I learned of the tremendous cost and sacrifice of yours, the greatest generation, as those who fought for victory helped achieve nothing less than the survival of the free world. Through them I was inspired to serve.

    It’s no exaggeration for me to say that the world we live in today was born of your achievements. And it’s no exaggeration when I say that for me to be where I am today, a Japanese American four-star admiral, in command of the United States Pacific Fleet – well that’s because of trail blazers like the men and women of the MIS and the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.

    I stand on the shoulder of giants. I’m humbled to be in your presence and thankful to play a small part in your reunion today.

    As I thought about what I would say here, I reflected on what heroism means, and I came upon something that Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, one of the Navy’s, and our nation’s greatest heroes, said in 1804 when he led a small group of hand-picked volunteers into Tripoli Harbor to burn the captured frigate Philadelphia. Libya 1.0 I guess.

    On the eve of this raid, which was later called “the most daring act of the age,” he rallied his warriors with these words: “We are now about to embark upon an expedition which may terminate in our sudden deaths or our immortal glory.”

    “Sudden death or immortal glory.” That was the environment that those who served our nation during World War II were thrust into as they went to war to protect our nation and defend our freedom.

    “Sudden death or immortal glory.” Thousands of German and Austrian Americans and immigrants served in the Military Intelligence Service in the European Theater. Because they were trained at Camp Ritchie in Maryland, they were called the Ritchie Boys.

    And on this side of the world, nearly six thousand Japanese Americans boldly stepped forward to join in the Military Intelligence Service to serve in the Pacific Theater.

    These brave souls obtained actionable intelligence from the frontlines, giving us an edge of the battlefield; while still others served in clandestine units behind enemy lines, engaging in hit-and- run operations, living with the guerillas, operating with them as they would ambush the enemy, blowing up bridges and railroad tracks.

    “Sudden death or immortal glory.” MIS joined the fight in New Guinea and the Philippines, and like Dick Hamada, in China, Burma and India.

    In the Pacific, MIS participated in every major battle against Imperial Japanese Forces, and time and time again, they proved their mettle. MIS language teams were sent into action in the Aleutians and Guadalcanal. Commanders quickly learned that the knowledge the Nisei warriors had of the enemy’s language, of their culture and of their behavior gave them a distinct advantage in combat.

    George Blunda, the commanding officer of the Southeast Asia Translator and Interrogation Center, said that “each of them was worth a company of infantry. Many allied soldiers returned safely to their homes because the Nisei lighted the darkness in front of them by interrogating prisoners and translating documents.”

    Here in Hawaii MIS did similar work, where they translated documents and prepared for deployments to Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and many other Pacific Island battlegrounds. Some were preparing for a possible invasion of the Japanese homeland.

    “Sudden death or immortal glory.” On Saipan, Hoichi Kubo earned the Distinguished Service Cross for entering a cave, unarmed, to talk a group of Imperial Japanese soldiers into freeing more than 100 civilians they were threatening to kill. And on Okinawa, Herbert Yanamura convinced hundreds of local residents to evacuate their village before it was leveled by an artillery barrage.

    By the end of the war, Japanese Americans were just about everywhere, including MIS warrior Don Okubo, who negotiated the surrender of Imperial Japanese garrisons across Asia and the Pacific.

    And Jiro Yukimura, who’s here today, was onboard the USS Missouri when the surrender documents were signed on September 2, 1945. I just met his daughter, the former mayor of Kauai.

    With the war’s end, thousands of MIS, including many of you here today – along with a contingent of Women’s Army Corps volunteers – or WACs, converged on Japan to play a crucial role in forging peace.

    As cultural ambassadors, the MIS were a vital bridge between two nations that had just spent four years locked in a savage war. Whether it was translating for General Douglas MacArthur’s meeting with the Emperor, or teaching Japanese workers how to use a Western benjo (toilet), Nisei were on the forefront of building trust to replace the hatred.

    MacArthur once said, “The Japanese people since the war have undergone the greatest reformation recorded in modern history.”

    Today, Japan has the world’s third largest economy. Today, Japan is one of our staunchest allies and closest trading partners. Today, the United States military is forward deployed in Japan and working closely with the Japan Self-Defense Forces to maintain regional security, prosperity and peace. Today, a once bitter enemy is now one of our closest friends. Ours is a true great power relationship and that’s a legacy of which those who served in the MIS should be proud.

    Seneca once said that, “Fire is the test of gold, adversity is the test of men.” Not only were the men and women of the MIS tested on the battle front, they were tested on the home front, where their loyalty to our nation was suspect. Yet, they proved time and time again that their dedication and devotion to America was without limit.

    When Japanese Americans went to war, they left a segregated nation to fight and defend America’s freedom, with no guarantee that their own freedom would be defended in return.

    Now I’ve heard it said that the three great levelers are discipline, time, and patience. Great nations have been made greater, often by the hands of men and women of diversity, who stood out as an example of an ideal, resolutely working to effect change. The Japanese Americans of yours, the greatest generation, used all three of these levelers to effect great change in our nation. And the stellar wartime record of Japanese Americans helped trigger the desegregation of the military not long after the war.

    My predecessor Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz once said, “Before World War II, I entertained some doubt as to the loyalty of American citizens of Japanese ancestry in the event of war with Japan. From my observations during World War II, I no longer have that doubt.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve come so far. We’re still making great strides and there’s work to be done.

    For decades after the war, the service of MIS Japanese Americans was kept secret and as their important contributions were declassified, and noted by historians, the records of their service were often incomplete, or missing entirely.

    In typical humility, many of these veterans just shrugged it off saying “shikata ga nai.” “It can’t be helped.”

    And what a shame, for their contribution to the world as we know it today deserves a special chapter in the annals of history. They helped shorten the war and they saved countless lives. It’s important that we honor them as we do today. We simply can’t say “thank you” enough.

    In 2000, the work of the MIS soldiers was finally recognized with a Presidential Unit Citation. And I was honored to attend the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II Nisei soldiers four years ago, where the MIS shared in that honor.

    Today I’m glad to hear of General Ishimoto’s efforts to appropriately recognize Dick Hamada’s wartime service. And it’s good to see that more of the MIS story is coming out with books and movies and now a new exhibit next door at the Army Museum. I know that some of the volunteers who helped with that exhibit are here today, including Mark Matsunaga on my staff.

    Thank you to everyone involved in keeping this memory alive for future generations.

    Ladies and gentlemen, I realize I’ve been up here for a while. I had an opportunity to speak at an event several days ago and when it was over I asked my wife Bruni how I did.

    She quickly replied, “Harry, you did great, except you missed several good opportunities to sit down.”

    Well, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to sit down now, so let me close with the following thought.

    While the thundering sound of the guns of World War II ceased nearly 70 years ago this year, our nation still draws her strength from those courageous men and women who fought for freedom in that war, like those here today.

    And our nation continues to draw strength from those who are serving in our Armed Forces today, and will continue to draw strength from those who will serve in the future, an unbroken chain, linking Americans generation to generation.

    Our strength as a nation also comes from loyal citizens like each of you in the audience today, Americans who are aware of our history and heritage, who are aware of our challenges and the dangers we face and who are aware of the opportunities available to those bold enough to reach for them.

    Those of us who serve in uniform are grateful for patriots like you, who help make us what we are today, the greatest nation on earth.

    May God bless those who served in the MIS, to defend freedom and liberty.

    May God bless each and every one of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen, past and present who courageously defends our nation.

    May God bless this beautiful state of Hawaii, and may God bless the United States of America.

    Thank you.


  • 19 Feb 2014 1:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Congressional Gold Medal on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Photo by Jeff Malet from the Georgetowner.

    Congressional Gold Medal on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Photo by Jeff Malet from the Georgetowner.

    The Smithsonian National Museum of American History hosted an unveiling ceremony marking the return of the Congressional Gold Medal. The ceremony was held on Wednesday, February 19 at 10 am, on the third floor in the East Wing of the museum. Following the unveiling, CGM Recipient Terry Shima, NJAMF Chairman Dan Matthews, and others participated in a panel moderated by former NJAMF Chairman and former JACL DC Chapter President Craig Uchida in the Warner Brothers Theater. Both events were free and open to the public.

    Noriko Sanefuji, from the Smithsonian Institution, offers these select web articles that capture the priceless experience of this occasion:



  • 11 Dec 2011 1:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Japanese American Veterans Association Washington, DC.

    Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) announces its website, www.javadc.org, offers a comprehensive compilation of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) ceremony and associated events in Washington, DC, from November 1 to 3, 2011. There, website visitors will be able to view the collage of photographs, video coverage, press coverage, and speeches that marked the historic occurrence.

    “We have tried to provide the visitors to our website a sense of actually being there at the CGM celebration. We understand many wanted to join in the celebration, but couldn’t – our website will bring the significant events into your homes,” Gerald Yamada, President of JAVA said.

    On the JAVA homepage view the KABC-TV Los Angeles documentary by David Ono, “Witness: American Heroes.” From the homepage, you can go to the CGM page that features the compilation of numerous news articles as well as the three-day chronology of events, videos, and speeches. 


    Continued next post.

  • 05 Dec 2011 1:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Or bypass the home page and go directly to the CGM page via this URL: http://www.javadc.org/Congressional%20Gold%20Medal%202011.htm.

    Among the coverage, you will find: 

    ·         The Story behind the design of the CGM.

    ·         JAVA Press Release

    ·         How to get the replicas of the CGM

    ·         Events of the three day program were: 

     November 1: 

    10:30 - 12:00 Noon WW II Nisei Veterans Program, including Bronze Star Medal presentation, Washington Hilton Hotel, Columbia Hall. Video from the US Army will be uploaded when it is received.

    2:15 PM Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National WW II Memorial Freedom Wall. Video provided by Matthew Moul.

    November 2: 

    11:00-12:00 Noon Presentation of Congressional Gold Medal, Emancipation Hall, US Congress, Speaker Boehner presiding.

    4:00-5:00 PM Presentation of Congressional Gold Medal Replica to Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Washington Hilton Hotel Columbia Hall. Video provided by Matthew Moul.

    6:00 PM Gala Dinner. Washington Hilton Hotel International Hall . JAVA is attempting to obtain a video from National Veterans Network.

    November 3:

    10:00-11:00 AM Memorial Service for Next of Kin of KIA at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism. If anyone has a video of this Program, please contact Dave Buto (admin@javadc.org) 

    ·         On the right side of the page, there are press articles on the Washington, DC events. 

    The three-day program of Congressional Gold Medal presentation and associated events in Washington, DC was arranged by the National Veterans Network, a coalition of some 25 Japanese American veterans and civic organizations of which Christine SatoYamazaki is the chairperson. JAVA is a member of the Network.

    JAVA invites researchers, students, media, veterans and their families to review this website that has recorded a most important event in Japanese American history.

    If anyone has any new articles from print or broadcast news organizations and new and interesting photos of the events, please send them to our webmaster, Dave Buto at admin@javadc.org and cc Terry Shima at ttshima@comcast.net. Follow JAVA on Facebook by accessing the link on JAVA’s website.

    Follow JAVA on Facebook by accessing the link on JAVA’s website.

    JAPANESE AMERICAN VETERANS ASSOCIATION 1313 Dolley Madison Blvd; McLean, VA 22101 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 5, 2011 Vol. VI No. 26 CONTACT: Dave Buto, admin@javadc.org Terry Shima, ttshima@comcast.net





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