I am honored to announce that JAVA’s Veterans Day Program has been selected by the Veterans Day National Committee, which is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as one of the “Veterans Day observances throughout the country that represents a fitting tribute to America’s heroes.” You can find the listing on the Department of Veterans Affairs website at https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/ or https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/docs/2020-Veterans-Day-Regional-Sites.pdf.
In keeping with its long tradition, JAVA will sponsor the Veterans Day Program on, Wednesday, November 11th at the National Japanese American Memorial in Washington, DC. RDML Andrew Sugimoto (USCG) will be our main Veterans Day Program speaker. Currently, he serves as the Coast Guard’s Assistant Commandant for Intelligence.
The National Japanese American Memorial Foundation will be a co-sponsor again this year. The program will start at 2:00 pm EST (11:00 am PST, 9:00 am PST), rain or shine.
There will be a substantial change to the program this year due to COVID-19 concerns. The program will be live streamed via Facebook. Viewers can go to the JAVA website at JAVA-US.org and clicking on the Veterans Day Program webpage. Interested persons are encouraged to watch the program online via Facebook rather than attending in person due to COVID-19 concerns.
At the last JAVA Executive Council meeting held on September 19, 2020, David Iwata was appointed as JAVA Regional Representative for Southern California and Lynn Mariano was appointed as JAVA Regional Representative for Hawaii. We look forward to having Lynn and David joining the JAVA leadership team and having them help connect JAVA events with area members and other organizations.
JAVA member Jeff Morita's cousin, Ann (Morita) Shima, daughter of Corporal James Yoshio Morita, F “Fox” Company, 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team came across the above black/white photograph. Her father Jim would have been recuperating in Southern France after being severely wounded in the back by German self-propelled artillery a few days after the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion in the Vosges Mountains — so it is a mystery as to why he would have the photograph in the first place. On the reverse side of the photo is a handwritten note, “Christmas Day 1944 (Harrison Hamasaki)." December 1944 would place the 100th/442nd in Southern France (Maritime Alps Allied Offensive Campaign).
Claire Mitani, Secretary, 442nd Legacy Center and Veterans Club quickly identified the two Nisei soldiers as (left) Michio Takata, and (right) Henry Oyasato, both assigned to F “Fox” Company. The Morita Family would like to identify the other ‘caucasian’ officers depicted in the group photograph. Information on Harrison Hamasaki would also be welcome.
Jeff Morita related an on an interesting side note — Henry Oyasato also played an acting role in the original 1951 “Go for Broke” movie. Morita believes he portrayed Lieutenant “Ohara” who is killed by artillery shrapnel in the Vosges and has a kid brother who joins the unit a short time later. Oyasato was also a Silver Star Medal recipient for gallantry near Belmont, France; he retired as a U.S. Army Colonel is buried at Punchbowl.
If you have any ideas about who might be pictured in the photo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reverse side of photo: Christmas Day 1944 (Harrison Hamasaki).
BG Frank Merrill, Commander, with two Nisei in Burma. Photo: U.S. Signal Corps.
JAVA Research Team (JRT)
Washington, DC. The Merrill Marauders Veterans organization announced that the Bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), commonly known as Merrill’s Marauders (MM), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on September 22, 2020. It passed the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2019 and now awaits the President’s signature. The nickname Merrill’s Marauders was given by an American journalist after its Commander, BG Frank D. Merrill, USA. Eight living MMs and family members of the deceased are expected to participate in the award ceremony, when it is held.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and President Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed at the 1943 Quebec Conference to launch a secret, “long-range penetration force” of American volunteers, code-named Galahad, to fight behind enemy lines in Myanmar (Burma). The goal of the mission was to capture the town of Myitkina, which was Japan’s principal supply base in Burma, had an all-weather airport from which Japan interdicted American flights over the hump, and provided access to “Burma Road” needed to transport war material to China. Operating behind enemy lines to reach their objective, MM’s secondary mission was to disrupt enemy activities.
General George C. Marshall, Army chief of staff, who said this was a mission against “large numbers of the enemy with few resources that were unmatched in any theater” issued a call for volunteers.Recruiters told each volunteer “85% of you will not be standing when the campaign is over, do you still want to volunteer.” "Yes!" was the unanimous response. MM total strength was 2,997 officers and enlisted men. This would be the first time since the Boxer Rebellion of 1899 that American combat troops would serve on the Asian continent.
Two hundred Nisei linguists volunteered from which 14 enlisted men were selected, evenly split between Hawaii and mainland Nisei. They were:
SSgt Edward Mitsukado, Team Leader, Hawaii
Thomas K. Tsubota, Hawaii
Herbert Y. Miyasaki, Hawaii
Robert Y. Honda, Hawaii
Roy K. Nakada, Hawaii
Russell K. Kono, Hawaii
Howard Furumoto, Hawaii
Roy Matsumoto, U.S.
Ben S. Sugeta, U.S.
Grant Hirabayashi, U.S.
Jimmy Yamaguchi, U.S.
Henry Gosho, U.S.
Calvin Kobata, U.S.
Akiji Yoshimura, U.S.
1st Lt William Laffin, who was born of Japanese mother, raised in Japan and who graduated from the MIS Language School, was the leader of the Nisei contingent. The Nisei served in three battalions, First, Second and Third. In February 1944 the MM began its 1,000 mile, five-month trek, with no artillery support and with all supplies and equipment carried on their backs and pack mules. They encountered mountains, valleys, rivers, and jungle infested with malaria-carrying mosquitoes, leeches, snakes and with diseases such as denge, typhus, and dysentery. Also, due to inadequate resupply by air drops, the MM suffered from hunger and thirst.
The MM fought the Japanese 18th Army Division in 5 major and 30 minor engagements. In some of their engagements, the MM received flank support from CIA-trained Kachin rangers who knew their native terrain well.
Thirteen hundred MM arrived in the Myitkina area after their 100 mile hike from Nphum Ga and waited for the monsoon rain to end. On May 17, 1944, supported by two Chinese regiments, MM attacked Myitkina airfield that resulted in its and the town’s capitulation on August 10, 1944. With only 200 Marauders left standing, as correctly predicted by Army recruiters, the MM disbanded. The newly arrived American MARS Task Force served in the clean-up operation of the Myitkina-Lashio area which paved the way for the opening of the Burma Road.
In addition to their intelligence duties, Nisei did everything the infantryman was expected to do. While all Nisei survived the mission, none is living today. The team leader, CAPT Laffin was killed in combat. Each MISer received the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and a Bronze Star. In addition, one received the Legion of Merit, 14 received a second Bronze Star, and 7 received 2nd lieutenant commissions. BG Merrill said of the Nisei “I could not have gotten along without them”.
Japanese soldiers spoke freely and loudly in the jungle. Nisei translated and passed to their commanders tactical intelligence information. Vegetation grew so thickly at some locations that Nisei could get up close to the enemy without being noticed. At Nhpum Ga, Roy Matsumoto crawled to the enemy bivouac area, eaves dropped on their conversation, and reported to his commander Japanese plans to mount a large attack the next morning. The commander spent the night preparing countermeasures. When the Japanese attacked, the first two waves were annihilated and the third wave withdrew. Without the Nisei intelligence report the result might have been different. Matsumoto also climbed a tree, tapped the enemy’s telephone line and produced intelligence that caused U.S. bombers to destroy the enemy’s ammo dump.
When the MM disbanded, Matsumoto was assign to CIA for its clandestine operations in Indo China. Another Nisei was assigned to the CIA detachment in Burma to work with the Kachin Rangers, a few remained in Burma to serve with the British Army; a few were sent to stateside hospitals, and others were assigned to Southeast Asia Translation and Interrogation Center (SEATIC) in New Delhi, India, and to SINO Translation and Interrogation Center (SINTIC) in China.
When the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was awarded the CGM in 2018 three Nisei MM were entitled to receive the award: Edward Mitsukado, Robert Honda, and Roy Matsumoto. When the 100th Battalion, 442 RCT and MIS received the CGM in 2020 these three, received their second CGM. When the MM receive the CGM, families of these three Nisei will be entitled to receive their third CGM, a remarkable feat. Mitsukado and Honda. both former 100th Battalion members, were transferred to the MIS due to their Japanese language fluency. Matsumoto graduated from middle school in Japan. When the MM disbanded on August 10, 1944, Mitsukado and Honda volunteered to serve in OSS Detachment 101 in Burma. Honda worked with the Kachin Rangers in north Burma. Matsumoto eventually received a transfer to OSS Detachment 202 and engaged in special operations in Indochina such as dynamiting bridges. JAVA congratulates the three families for this unique achievement.
Colonel Kay K. Wakatake, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
JAVA member and former Advocate editor Colonel Kay K. Wakatake was recently presented with the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Military and Veteran Service Award. The accolade is given to "APA attorneys who exhibit the highest integrity, competency and commitment to serving others, the APA community, and their country and whose character and commitment reflect the highest standards of the Armed Forces."
Congratulations Colonel Wakatake!
[EdNote: Material from NAPABA Newsletter was used for the article.]
Mrs. Kikuko Nakao Tanamachi
JAVA wishes Mrs. Tanamachi a very happy 100th birthday and hope she enjoys many more. Mrs Tanamachi was born on September 30, 1920 in Terminal Island (San Pedro, California).
Colonel Julia Coxen
JAVA is pleased to welcome Colonel Julia Coxen as a new member. Julia graciously took the time to share some of the highlights in her remarkable life and to provide some thoughts for today’s youth as they prepare for the future.
Julia’s parents immigrated from Korea in 1969 and took up residence in Pine Brook, NJ, where Julia and her siblings were born and raised. They taught her the value of hard work in life and in school. Her academic credentials are amazing. She received her Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Systems Engineering with a minor in Music from the University of Pennsylvania. During her Army career she received two Master of Science degrees from Columbia University with one being in Operations Research and the other in Engineering and Management Systems. Julia is currently working on her PhD from the University of Michigan in Industrial and Operations Engineering. Her dissertation will be on taking a risk analysis and data-driven approach to combating human trafficking.
Out of both curiosity and the opportunity to receive a scholarship, Julia joined the Army ROTC program at the University of Pennsylvania. During her Junior year and after completion of the ROTC Summer Camp that is a prerequisite to commissioning, she graduated from the Army’s Airborne school. Coincidentally, Julia and Kay Wakatake are active duty Army Colonels and JAVA members who are airborne qualified. Julia was a Distinguished Military Graduate and joined the Army’s Signal Corps.
She completed a tour in Korea with the 304th Signal Battalion and then was assigned to Fort Bragg, NC, with the 82nd Airborne Division. She deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. Upon her return to Fort Bragg, she was a Battalion Operations Officer supporting troops deploying to Iraq. It was during her time with the 82nd Airborne that she decided to remain in the Army as she was taken with the quality of soldiers that she worked with and the challenges that being in the Army presented.
At her Captain’s Career Course, Julia was the Honor Graduate and also received the Kilborne Leadership Award. That was followed by a second tour to Korea and then her attendance at Columbia University. After receiving her two Master’s degrees, she was assigned to the United States Military Academy at West Point where she became an Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering. She showed her compassion for the cadets at West Point by being the Officer-in-Charge of three cadet clubs, advising the Korean American club, and being the Officer Representative for the Women’s Soccer team.
Her tour at West Point was followed by an astounding eight-year assignment with a United States Special Operations Command unit at Fort Belvoir, VA. COL Coxen served under four commanders of the unit with the first one being Bryan Fenton who is now a Lieutenant General and the Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense. Her leadership skills were displayed by commanding a systems control company, as the head recruiter responsible for finding unique officers and non-commissioned officers for specialized and dangerous duties, and as the first woman selected to command the Group Support Battalion in its 40 years of existence. Her intellect was also put to great use through her initiatives on special communications, data mining, transforming logistical applications, advanced data analytics and data ecosystems. She co-led the Joint Special Operations Command’s Data initiative forging academic and industry partnerships and interagency efforts. She was one of the 50 finalists out of 18,000 applicants to become an Astronaut. Although she was not selected to become an astronaut, the Army recognized her superior talents by selecting her for the PhD program at the University of Michigan. Upon award of her PhD, Julia will be assigned again to West Point. This time she was selected as a PUSMA (Professor U.S. Military Academy) and the Deputy Head of the Department of Systems Engineering.
Julia and her husband Craig are the proud parents of 6-year-old Grace and 2-year-old Gabriel. Craig is a management consultant in the health care industry that gives him the latitude to work almost anywhere that Julia may be assigned.
Colonel Coxen reflected back on her 22 years in the Army to date. She views her service as but a small payback for the opportunities that America gave to her parents, herself, and her siblings and for America’s commitment to fight oppression world-wide. She has thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve with what she considers to be phenomenal world-class leaders, for the flexibility in assignments, and the exciting nature of the challenges in the military. In addition to encouraging today’s youth to consider serving in the military, she shared a piece of advice … "Don’t settle for an easy life, make good use of that hard earned grit and work ethic – you will find it to be infinitely rewarding!"
JAVA is honored to welcome Colonel Julia Coxen as a member. On a personal note, as a long-time advisor to the U.S. Special Operations Command unit to which Colonel Coxen was assigned, I can attest to the absolutely highest regard that Julia Coxen's commanders, peers, and subordinates have for her. She is one of a kind! Welcome aboard!
The Coxen Family. Photo: COL Julia Coxen.
National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Panel Screenshot.
CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), was part of a panel hosted by the National Iranian American Council on to discuss U.S. - Iran relations in light of the new documentary film Desert One.
"When Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy on November 4th, 1979, they changed the course of U.S.-Iran relations and U.S. foreign policy for decades to come. In the documentary film, Desert One, some of that history is reconstructed and we get a detailed look at the harrowing tale of Operation Eagle Claw—a covert operation ordered by then U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, to rescue 52 Americans...[A] fascinating discussion with the film's director, award winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, Ambassador John Limbert who was among the 52 Americans held in Tehran, and Captain Ishimoto who served as an intelligence officer for Operation Eagle Claw."
Click HERE to watch the video or click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaJev2VQF9U&feature=youtu.be,
Our history shows that in moments of turmoil, our connections to one another matter more than ever. While we can’t come together in person, we can still be in community with each other to collectively remember our past and affirm our commitment to action. Join Densho for an evening of community, remembrance and solidarity. Keynote speakers Valarie Kaur and Brynn Saito will share inspiring lessons from their families’ story of compassion and reflections on the power of unity in the face of challenging historical moments. Together we can transform this challenging time into a moment for powerful social change.
When: October 24th, 5-6:30pm PDT / 8-9:30 EDT / 2-3:30 HT
Where: The comfort of your own home
Keynote Speakers: Valarie Kaur and Brynn Saito
Registration is free! Learn more about the program and featured speakers, and sign up today: bit.ly/DenshoDinner2020.
Jeff Morita (Hawaii)
The month of September 2020 brought forth more wonderful news — the Republic of France inducted five 442nd Regimental Combat Team Veterans into the prestigious Chevalier dans L'Order National de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight in the National Order of the French Legion of Honor). The French Chevalier is the highest French order bestowed for military and civilian merit and established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. All five 442nd Regimental Combat Team Veterans were instrumental in the liberation of France in World War II from years of occupation and oppression.
Hajime Miyamoto. Photos: Courtesy of Susan (Miyamoto) Yoshitomi.
Hajime Miyamoto was born on October 11, 1918 in Kawainui, Pepeekeo, (then) Territory of Hawaii to Kichiuemon and Koei Miyamoto. He was the oldest boy and seconnd of eight siblings. In 1937, he graduated from Hilo High School where he was involved in vocational agriculture, and the Future Farmers of America. On March 27, 1943, Miyamoto enlisted in the U.S. Army and received basic infantry training and as a medical aidman. He was one of three medical aidmen initially assigned to G "George" Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Subsequently assigned to the Medical Detachment, Headquarters, 442nd RCT, Miyamoto attained the rank of Technician Fifth Class (Tec/5). He served courageously and with valor in the Rome-Arno; Northern Apennines; (France) Rhineland-Vosges and Maritime Alps; and Po Valley Campaigns. He personally contributed to the liberation of Northeastern France to include the villages of Bruyères, Belmont-Biffontaine, and the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion (1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment) in the Vosges Mountains. On December 13, 1945 Tec/5 Miyamoto was honorably discharged from U.S. Army at the Army Separation Center, Oahu.
For his honorable service, Tec/5 Miyamoto was a recipient of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal; Silver Star Medal; Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Campaign Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge (Presidential Unit Citation); Combat Medical Badge; and Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II. Miyamoto returned to his roots in Hilo and was first employed as a field supervisor for Flowers of Hawaii, Ltd and then subsequently worked for the Hawaii Sugar Plantation Association for 30 years retiring as an Experimentalist on October 31, 1984. Spouse Mitsue Miyamoto (NEE: Masuchika) preceded him in death. Mr. Miyamoto passed away on June 12, 2019 at the age of 100. He is survived by a daughter Susan Eiko Yoshitomi (Alvin) of Honolulu. Due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, a presentation ceremony in Hawaii s tentatively on-hold until such time it is safe for group gatherings.
Silver Star Citation: The President of the United States of American, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Private First Class Hajime Miyamoto (ASN: 30106254), United States Army for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving as a Medical Aidman with the 442d Regimental Combat Team, attached to the 36th Infantry Division, on October 20, 1944 in the vicinity of Bruyeres, France. Observing two of his comrades severely wounded and exposed to enemy fire, Private First Class Miyamoto, on his own initiative, left his covered position and dashed through a hail of enemy fire to the aid of these men. Under fire, he calmly administered first aid. When intense enemy fire was directed against his position, Private First Class Miyamoto, with complete disregard for his own safety, threw himself over one of the wounded men, shielding him with his own body. Realizing the wounded man was in need of immediate blood transfusion, Private First Class Miyamoto, displaying outstanding bravery, carried him through intense crossfire to the aid station." (Headquarters, 7th Army General Orders No. 17; January 24, 1945).
Charles Masuo Murakami
Charles Masuo Murakami. Photos: Courtesy of the Murakami Family.
Charles Masuo Murakami was born on March 4, 1922 in Sherwood, Oregon to Shuichi and Yae Murakami, and the 5th of seven siblings. At the age of 14 a very young Murakami worked on the railroads using a sledgehammer to drive in railroad spikes. At age 15, he worked at the local salmon cannery, recalled "most kids did at that time," cleaned and packed the salmon as the catch came in. The salmon runs lasted roughly 16 to 18 days; he worked every day 10 to 12-hours because there was no refrigeration and earned 10 cents per hour. He later worked the nightshift at the local sawmill all the while helping the family with monetary income. Mr. Murakami attended Benson Polytechnic High School, Portland, Oregon and took a keen interest in the draftsman trade; he graduated in 1940. Following the December 7, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on February 19, 1942, then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 and authorized the U.S. Secretary of War to set aside certain areas of the U.S. mainland as military zones. This cleared the way for the internment of non-U.S. citizens (parents of) and U.S. citizens of American of Japanese Ancestry into U.S. ‘relocation' camps. Under the War Relocation Authority, Mr. Murakami and his family were confined at Minidoka Concentration Camp in Hunt, Idaho, one of ten relocation camps across the U.S. mainland.
On May 1, 1943, Mr. Murakami was inducted into the U.S. Army in Salt Lake, Utah and received basic combat training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He was trained as an assault infantry heavy machine gun crew member, and ultimately became a machine-gun Section Leader. Assigned to H "How" Company (Heavy Weapons), 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). SSG Murakami served honorably and gallantly in the Rome-Arno —Northern Apennines —(France) Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime-Alps — and Po Valley Offensive Campaigns. On October 17, 1944 during a combat assault for Bruyeres, SSG Murakami was wound in the neck by artillery shrapnel and recalled, “a half inch more and it would’ve cut my neck off.” He received the coveted Purple Heart Medal. On December 11, 1945 SSG Murakami was honorably discharge at Separation Center, Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. For his honorable service, SSG Murakami was the recipient of the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal; Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Campaign Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge (Presidential Unit Citation); Combat Medical Badge; Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.
Following his service in the U.S. Army, Mr. Murakami worked as a draftsman at small companies prior to working at Inland and Ricoh. He learned the draftsman trade while in his vocational high school and advanced from Structural Steel Draftsman to Chief Structural Draftsman through experience and seniority. Mr. Murakami fully retired in 1987. After 65 years of marriage, on July 31, 2011, wife Grace preceded Mr. Murakami in death; they have no children. Mr. Murakami resides in Florida and a member of The American Legion. A very proud nephew-Kerry Murakami and a niece-Melissa Murakami-Luna reside in Chicago, Illinois. The Consul General of France in Miami, Florida is tentatively scheduled to confer Mr. Muraoka the French Chevalier (Knight) on Columbus Day, Monday, October 12, 2020, at The Carriage House Gracious Retirement Living in Oxford, Florida.
Seichi Joseph Oshiro
Seichi Joseph Oshiro. Photos: Courtesy of the Oshiro Family.
Seichi Joseph Oshiro was born April 18, 1923, in Honolulu, (then) Territory of Hawaii to Kamado and Isami Oshiro. Mr. Oshiro is the 2nd of eight siblings and attended Maui High School until the 10th grade. He later attended the Department of Public Instruction, and received a High School Certificate.
On March 23, 1943 he enlisted into the U.S. Army in Maui County, Maui, and received training as an infantry assault rifleman. Then Private Oshiro was assigned to L "Love" Company, 3rd Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and eventually attained the rank of Sergeant. SGT Oshiro served courageously and valiantly in the Rome-Arno, North Apennines, (France) Rhineland-Vosges and Maritime Alps Campaigns. He personally contributed to the liberation of the Eastern-France to include the towns of Bruyeres, Belmont-Biffontaine, and in the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas' battalion (1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment) in the Vosges Mountains. He was wounded twice, once on July 20, 1944, in the vicinity of Nuova and Colle Alvetti, Italy, and a second time on November 1, 1944, in the Vosges Mountains of France.
On December 13, 1945, SGT Oshiro was honorably discharged from active U.S. Army duty at Army Separation Center, Oahu. For his honorable service, SGT Oshiro received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal; Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster (2nd award) Army Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Campaign Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge (Presidential Unit Citation); Sharpshooter Badge M1 Rifle; Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.
In Honolulu, Mr. Oshiro started his U.S. Federal Civil Service career as a United States Postal System Carrier. He eventually became a foreman of building maintenance - in charge of post office machinery - at the USPS Post Office, Honolulu International Airport and after 30 years of federal civil service he retired on December 29, 1980. On August 26, 1950, Joseph Seichi Oshiro married the former Nancy T. Yonashiro and both currently live in Honolulu, Hawaii. They have two children, four grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, a conferment ceremony in Hawaii is tentatively on-hold until such time it is safe for group gatherings.
Takashi Shirakata. Photos: Courtesy of Shirakata Family.
Takashi Shirakata was born on April 12, 1921 in Honolulu, (then) Territory of Hawaii to Tamiichi and Kiku Shirakata and the 3rd of six siblings. In June 1929, Shirakata graduated from McKinley High School and employed by the Bank of Hawaii as a bookkeeping machine operator.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Mr. Shirakata enlisted and inducted into the U.S. Army on March 25, 1943 at Schofield Barracks, Oahu. Then Private Takashi was assigned to Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team as an assault rifleman. He also received additional training as a radio operator assigned to the communications platoon. PVT Shirakata was subsequently transferred to the 206th Army Ground Forces Band (AGFB), 442nd RCT and attained the rank of Technician 5th Class (Tec/5). Tec/5 Shirakata assisted with military band music to provide and maintain esprit de corps and preserve military tradition of ceremonies for U.S. and foreign guests and dignitaries. The 206th AGFB service members were fully armed, conducted vital guard duties to ensure the security of the RCT's Headquarters, and held in reserve in the event additional combat power was necessary in the RCT's area of operation. Security in a war footing was paramount in order for the RCT's headquarters element to provide effective command and control over its' assigned three infantry battalions, field artillery battalion, combat engineers, medical and logistical staff. Shirakata assisted with military band music to provide and maintain esprit de corps and preserve military tradition of ceremonies for U.S. and foreign guests and dignitaries in additional to providing security to the RCT's headquarters.
Tec/5 Shirakata served courageously and gallantly in the Rome-Arno; Northern Apennines; (France) Rhineland-Vosges and Maritime Alps; and Po Valley Campaigns. He personally contributed to the liberation of Northeastern France to include the villages of Bruyères, Belmont-Biffontaine, and the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion in the Vosges Mountains. On December 19, 1945 Shirakata was honorably separated from the U.S. Army at the Army Separation Center, Oahu, ToH. For his honorable service, Tec/5 Shirakata received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Campaign Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge (Presidential Unit Citation); Expert Marksmanship M1 and Pistol; Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.
Mr. Shirakata returned to the Bank of Hawaii until the late 1950's, then employed by City Bank until his final retirement on April 30, 1986 as Vice Present of Operations. Mr. Shirakata served as a proud officer, and member of the 442nd RCT Veteran's Club, and Chapter President for the 232nd Combat Engineer Company, and 206th Army Ground Forces Band, 442d RCT. Mr. Shirakata is married to the former Florence Sadae Ogawa. They have four children, four grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Shirakata currently live in Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, a conferment ceremony in Hawaii is tentatively on-hold until such time it is safe for group gatherings.
Minoru Tamashiro. Photo: Courtesy Jeff and Airi Morita.
Minoru Tamashiro was born on September 16, 1924 in Hilo, (then) Territory of Hawaii to Jitsuyei and Oto Tamashiro, and the 2nd of three all brother siblings. Tamashiro graduated from McKinley High School. On March 24, 1943 he enlisted into the U.S. Army at Schofield Barracks, Oahu, and received training in infantry tactics, jeep driving and as an anti-tank crewman. Private (PVT) Tamashiro was assigned to Headquarters Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), and eventually attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). PFC Tamashiro served courageously and gallantly in the Rome-Arno; Northern Apennines; (France) Rhineland-Vosges and Maritime Alps; and Po Valley Campaigns. He personally contributed to the liberation of Northeastern France to include the villages of Bruyères, Belmont-Biffontaine, and the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion in the Vosges Mountains. On April 13, 1945 PFC Tamashiro was wound by shrapnel to the right arm along the Lingurian Coast, Italy; he received the coveted Purple Heart Medal. On December 30, 1945 Tamashiro was honorably separated from the U.S. Army at the Army Separation Center, Oahu, ToH. PFC Tamashiro received the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal; Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Campaign Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge (Presidential Unit Citation) with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster (2nd award); Combat Infantryman Badge; Sharpshooter Badge M1 Rifle and Expert Badge; Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.
Mr. Tamashiro attended the University of Hawaii and received a Baccalaureate (1952) and Master of Science (1954) degrees in Entomology. In 1959, he went on to receive his Doctorate in Entomology from University of California, Berkeley. The University of Hawaii at Manoa then hired Mr. Tamashiro as an Assistant Professor of Entomology; and subsequently promoted to an Associate Professor, and lastly Professor. He retired in 1989 and awarded Emeritus Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences, UH-Manoa. Mr. Tamashiro's academic career encompassed mostly in teaching and research. He is most proud of his students and their own achievements. Many have gone on to become leaders and teachers in their own fields. Mr. Tamashiro's main area of research was Subterranean Termites, which caused millions of dollars of damage in Hawaii and throughout the world every year. Involved in research and innovative techniques, Mr. Tamashiro significantly contributed to greatly reducing this devastating insect problem. More importantly techniques employed enabled to greatly reduce the use of highly toxic chemicals, which were sprayed in the environment in order to control this insect.
Mr. Tamashiro is married to the former Elaine Masako (NEE: Kushiyama) and both currently live in Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to the on-going COVID-19 Pandemic, a conferment ceremony in Hawaii is tentatively on-hold until such time it is safe for group gatherings.
Retired Captain Monika Stoy standing beside photo of her father, Choi, Kyung Jin, who served with Army Unit 8240 Korean Partisans in the Korean War.
Retired Captain Monika and retired Lieutenant Colonel Tim Stoy have been early supporters of the National Museum of the United States Army, and recently doubled their contribution after watching the vision for this historic project become a reality. Captain Stoy’s mother, Hae, has also made a significant contribution to the Museum, both families donated in honor of their late husband/father, Kyungjin Choi, a Korean citizen who served with the 8240 Army Unit of the United Nations Partisan Forces Korea from 1950 to 1953.
Kyungjin Choi was born in Pyongyang Province while Korea was still occupied by Japan. After the Japanese occupation ended in 1945, and the country separated to prevent the Soviet Union from occupying the Korean Peninsula, Kyungjin was sent to a boarding school in Seoul for high school. When the UN Forces liberated Seoul, he joined the partisan forces being trained and equipped by the U.S. Army and undertook many missions into Pyongyang Province. He served in the 8240 Army Unit of the United Nations Partisan Forces Korea from 1950 to 1953.
Kyungjin, Hae, and their five children immigrated to the United States in 1973 and settled in Springfield, Va. Monika went on to serve as a Captain in the U.S. Army. While serving in the Army, Monika met her husband Tim, who served in the Army Intelligence from 1981 to 2012 retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
“This project owes a special debt of gratitude to the Choi and Stoy families, both for their Army service, and their contributions supporting the Museum, to help ensure that Americans are able to learn the stories of all Soldiers,” said The Army Historical Foundation, President retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Roger Schultz.
The Stoy family has been great volunteers of the Foundation spreading the word about the Museum and encouraging many veterans and family members to purchase commemorative bricks. Monika has also participated in the Foundation’s Soldier Experience Series, where she highlighted her father’s service in support of the U.S. Army.
This project owes a special debt of gratitude to the Choi and Stoy families, both for their Army service, and their contributions supporting the Museum, to help ensure that Americans are able to learn the stories of all Soldiers.
The Stoy and Choi family are part of the Museum’s Circles of Distinction program, which is comprised of individuals, foundations, and corporations that have donated more than $50,000 to the Capital Campaign for the National Museum of the United States Army. These donors will have their names showcased on the massive granite wall in our Lobby.
[EdNote: Reprinted with Permission from Call to Duty magazine. The article can be found online at: https://armyhistory.org/korean-soldiers-family-supports-the-museum-recognizes-fathers-service/. We thank Wade Ishimoto for submitting this article. Captions to the photos were added by JAVA. Photos were taken at Association of the United States Army (AUSA) on Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA in 1997. Retired Captain Monika and retired LTC Tim Stoy are responsible for Outpost International (OI), an element of the Society of the 3rd Infantry Division, 7th Army. OI's mission is to honor veterans of the 3rd Division and other appropriate units of the 7th Army and French units by placing plaques in communities liberated by them in France, Germany, and Austria during WWII, in locations in Korea where the Division fought, and in the Marne Region during WWI. OI also publishes history and conducts seminars on Division's combat experience during WWII and the Korean War. Monika is President of Outpost.]
L-R: Former JAVA VP and EC member LTC Mark Nakagawa (Ret), LTC Tim Stoy (Ret), and CPT Monika Stoy (Ret).