Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol 1 No. 11, October 26, 2019 

French Couple Returns Dog Tag to 442nd Soldier’s Daughter

Rudy Kazuo Tokiwa, K “King” Company, 3rd Battalion, 442nd RCT. Photo:courtesy of Robin Tokiwa.

Rudy Kazuo Tokiwa’s recovered and returned dog tag. Photo:courtesy of Robin Tokiwa.

Jeff Morita

Nice, France — On July 6, 2019 during a 100th/442nd 75th Anniversary France Battlefields Tour luncheon hosted by the city of Sospel, Alfred Simoncini showed a number of tour participants a World War II dog tag of Rudy K. Tokiwa, Co K, 3rd Battalion, 442nd RCT.   Simoncini a Sospel resident and World War II historian actively searches for World War II artifacts.  He uncovered Tokiwa’s dog tag in a barn in the Coure Cote Mountains (Sospel) during one of his search missions.

Simoncini expressed  to tour participants a desire to return the dog tag to the Tokiwa family.  The story and Information was conveyed to the 442nd soldier’s daughter, Robin Tokiwa,  of San Jose, California. After contact between Robin and the Simoncini’s was made, Robin visited Nice, France, where on September 12, 2019 Alfred Simoncini presented the dog tag to Robin. It was a memorable event for Alfred and Margarite Simoncini, and a very emotional one for Robin.

[EdNote:  Jeff Morita, who with his wife Yoko, learned about the Tokiwa dog tag from Simoncini at the Sospel luncheon. Jeff assisted in locating Robin, and currently is assisting to replace Rudy Tokiwa’s World War II military awards and decorations.]

L-R.  AlfredSimoncini, Robin Tokiwa and Margarite Simoncini. Photo: courtesy of Tokiwa.

l-R: Alfred Simoncini, Robin Tokiwa and Robert Guige, interpreter. Photo: courtesy of Tokiwa.

A very well known 442nd RCT photograph of Rudy Kazuo Tokiwa (right), K “King” Company, 3rd Battalion, 442nd RCT escorting captured German soldiers — July 15, 1944 — Orciano Region, Italy. Photo and location: courtesy of Densho Digital Repository.

442nd Veteran Invited as Guest of Honor at US Army Day in San Diego Marking 75th Anniversary of Trapped Texas Battalion

The US Army Parachute Team “Golden Knights” Black Team presentation of the baton to Nakamura (center, white shirt, holding baton) after landing. On Nakamura’s right is David Iwata.  Photo: courtsey of David Iwata.

By David Iwata

San Diego, CA.   On September 27, 2019, SSG Yosh Nakamura, M Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team of Whittier, CA was invited as a special guest to the US Army Day at San Diego on the USS Midway in recognition of the 75th anniversary of the 442nd rescue the trapped Texas Battalion.  After hearing remarks from LTC John Bleigh, US Army Southern California Battalion Commander and Scott McGaugh, author of Honor Before Glory, the epic World War II story of the Japanese American GI’s who rescued the Texas Battalion, Nakamura administered the Oath of Enlistment to 30 enlistees.  Upon completion of the Oath of Enlistment, the US Army Parachute Team, “Golden Knights” Black Team took to the San Diego blue skies.

Impressing all in attendance, Black Team landed on the deck of the USS Midway from an altitude of 5000 feet.  After passing the baton among the nine (9) members during free fall, during which parachutists can be traveling at 120 miles per hour, two of the members showcased the 100th Battalion original crest and 442nd RCT shoulder patch flag after the parachutes opened.   Upon landing, the team presented the baton to a delighted Nakamura.  At the conclusion of the event, guests visited exhibit tables which displayed various elements of the US Army including the parachute packing demonstration by the Golden Knights.

[EdNote: David Iwata is a California businessman and JAVA member.   Iwata also arranged for the 100th, 442nd and Nakamura be featured in this event.]

With the assistance of LTC John Bleigh, US Army Southern California Recruiting Commander, Yoshi Nakamura administers the Oath of Enlistment.  Photo: David Iwata.

Members of the Golden Knights Black Team jumped showcasing the 100/442 shoulder patch “Torch,” andthe 100 BN crest. Photo: David Iwata.

 Dr. Bruce Koligan Journeys to Vosges, France

Memorial at Bruyeres. Photo: Bruce Koligan.

In May of 2018, Bruce Koligan, Ph.D, of Fresno, CA wrote to JAVA for help with some details on a trip he was planning to the Vosges Mountains in France. While in the region he wanted to walk up Hilltop 617,where the 100th/442nd broke through the enemy lines to rescue the “Texas Lost Battalion.” Koligan’s journey was in honor of the Americans who fought there and his dear, late friend Victor Takeuchi. The JAVA Research Team put Koligan in touch with Peter Wakamatsu who was happy to share his historical expertise and Vosges connections.

After reading about the 75th Anniversary Trip to Vosges in the September e-Advocate, Dr. Koligan wrote again to JAVA to share his reflections and photos of his visit in February of 2019. He wrote, “My interest in the Vosges battles was originally piqued by my dear, late friend Victor Takeuchi of Fresno…it was your contact information with Peter Wakamatsu that made the trip particularly rewarding.  After visiting the Epinal Cemetery, we headed to Bruyeres and traveled up the mountain road to the northwest (well signed, and frequented by locals out for placid mountain walks).  The monuments there are emotionally moving.  We then went into the hills north of Biffontaine, following the road through Col de la Croisette to Col des Huttes and the monuments there.” He later added, guides are unnecessary provided one has read Moulin's "American Samurai" and McGaugh's "Honor Before Glory."

Koligan hopes the return to the area again. He felt as if his time there as too short, and “could spend a full day in each location poking around in foxholes and imagining the smell of wafting cigarette smoke.”

Memorial above Biffontaine at the Col des Huttes croosorad. Photo: Koligan.

Memorial above Biffontaine at the Col des Huttes croosorad. Photo: Koligan.

Memorial above Biffontaine at the Col des Huttes croosorad. Photo: Koligan.