Ranger Grant Hirabayashi

Scholarship

a JAVA Memorial Scholarship for High School Seniors

JAVA is profiling the sacrifices and contributions made by the men and women that our JAVA Memorial Scholarship program honors. The next in our series is the Ranger Grant Hirabayashi Scholarship in honor of JAVA member, Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi, MIS veteran. The Hirabayashi scholarship is sponsored by his daughters and is one of the many $1,500 JAVA Memorial Scholarships that will be awarded to a high school senior who will be entering a two or four-year college in the fall. Application information can be found at the end of the article as well as on the JAVA website. 

Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi, MIS. Photo: U.S. Signal Corps.


Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi 

Grant Hirabayashi, one of World War II's famous Merrill's Marauders veterans, the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia on July 8, 2004. He was selected for his distinguished service as a military intelligence specialist with Merrill's Marauders, which operated stealthily behind enemy lines in Burma to eavesdrop on enemy discussion of battle plans and to disrupt their communications and supply lines. The Ranger Hall of Fame was formed to honor and preserve the spirit and contributions of America's most extraordinary Army Rangers. The history of American Rangers goes back to the American colonial period and Rangers have been deployed in every war since then.

Hirabayashi, a native of Washington state, enlisted before the war to become an aircraft mechanic for the Army Air Corps. When war broke out on December 7, 1941, his family was forcibly evacuated to the Tule Lake internment camp. Hirabayashi was assigned to desk duty as a clerk. When he learned of the need for Japanese linguists, he volunteered and attended the Military Intelligence Service Language School at Camp Savage, Minnesota.

Hirabayashi was one of the 14 Japanese American volunteer linguists from the mainland U.S. and Hawaii to serve on what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called "a dangerous and hazardous mission." Merrill's Marauders trained in India for six months in jungle warfare and long-term penetration behind enemy lines. Following that, they marched on foot with a full pack for 700 miles through thick jungle and mountains. They fought five major battles and 30 minor engagements and cleared north Burma of enemy troops by defeating the Japanese 18th Division, the conquerors of Singapore and Malaya. Amazingly, Hirabayashi was nearly disqualified from combat duty with Merrill's Marauders because during training he found he was allergic to K-rations, the main combat rations carried by soldiers. He also had fractured his elbow. Contrary to the doctor's recommendation, Hirabayashi pretended he was well, sparingly eating K-rations supplemented with whatever he could scrounge. Eventually, a lack of nourishment was to catch up with him, along with a high fever and amoebic dysentery, all of which forced him to be evacuated after the battle at Nhpum Ga. After one month of hospitalization, Hirabayashi rejoined the Marauders for the Myitkyina operation. The Marauders captured the Myitkyina airfield, the only all-weather airfield in northern Burma, and subsequently the town of Myitkyina. This paved the way for the reopening of the Burma Road that facilitated shipment of equipment, supplies, and ammunitions to the allied Chinese forces. The Nisei in Merrill's Marauders, like other Nisei soldiers in the Army, faced great physical and mental hardship in the Asia Pacific area. Many had their families in internment camps located in desolate places in the U.S., many had relatives and even family members in the Japanese military. The Nisei Marauders courageously faced the danger of being captured and tortured by the enemy. They were committed to proving their loyalty to their country. Having completed its mission at Myitkyina, Merrill's Marauders disbanded on August 10, 1944. Asked about the value of Nisei Marauders, General Merrill simply stated, "I couldn't have gotten along without them."

Hirabayashi was then assigned to China, where he interrogated Japanese Prisoners of War. One prisoner, a scientist, reported that Japan was developing an atomic bomb, and research was being conducted at the two imperial universities, Tokyo and Kyoto. He said that a bomb, the size of a matchbox, could destroy an entire city. Hirabayashi's superiors dismissed the reports. When the war ended, Hirabayashi was ordered to go to Nanking to join the U.S. delegation to observe the Japanese surrender ceremony. Following his discharge, Hirabayashi married and served as a Monitor in the War Crimes Trials in Japan. After obtaining a Master's Degree in International Relations from the University of Southern California, he served in the State Department and Library of Congress. Hirabayashi retired from the National Security Agency after a distinguished career. Ranger Hirabayashi was a life member of JAVA.

Ranger Grant Jiro Hirabayashi, MIS veteran. Photo: Hirabayashi Family.


JAVA Scholarship Eligibility and Applications

Eligibility:

  • Descendants of those who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Military Intelligence Service, the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion or descendants of Japanese American soldiers who served during World War II other United States military units, including the Women’s Army Corps or Army Nurses Corps are eligible and encouraged to apply. 
  • Current members of JAVA whose membership began prior to April 1, 2020, are eligible and encouraged to apply. Children of current JAVA members are also eligible and encouraged to apply if the applicant’s parent or guardian was a member of JAVA prior to April 1, 2020. 
  • Past or present members of the Army’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment, ROTC, or U.S. Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course are eligible and encouraged to apply for the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship. Applicants should demonstrate their lifelong commitment to uniformed and public service leadership for the nation.

 

Applications:

  • Applicants should first review published rules and forms.
  • Applications and supporting documents must be electronically submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 2022, to javascholarship222@gmail.com. Applications not received by that date or that fail to meet the submission requirements will NOT be considered. Applicants will be notified of a decision by early June 2022.
  • Awards will be presented at a JAVA scholarship awards ceremony on Saturday, July 23, 2022. 

 

2022 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program Overview here.

2022 U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye Memorial Scholarship here.

2022 Ishio Founder's Scholarship here.

2022 Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship here.

2022 JAVA Memorial Scholarships here.


Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I https://java-us.org