Memorandum for Record 15 July 2000
SUBJECT: Minutes of the 15 July JAVA General Membership Meeting
1. The general membership meeting was held at the Harvest Moon restaurant. It began with an Informal reception. The attendance at the meeting was excellent.
2. Hank Wakabayashi, outgoing president, presided over the meeting and made opening remarks welcoming members. Lunch followed.
3. Hank Wakabayashi introduced LTC (ret) Tom Hendrix, US Army Military History Institute, the guest speaker. Mr. Hendrix gave a short, but informative talk about the Military History Institute (MHI) which is located at Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
a. Background. The MHI was established in 1967 when GEN Westmoreland was the Chief of Staff of the Army. The MHI is the central repository for the Army's historical documents. It does not contain personnel records or official documents; rather, it contains personal information such as memoirs, photographs, letters, and unit histories, etc. The MHI mission is to preserve the Army's history by ensuring access to historical research materials.
b. The MHI will accept, safely store, and make accessible material from people who wish to donate it. If the information is not very extensive, it is filed in an acid-free folder organized by unit or organization to facilitate access/research. If the information is extensive, then it is usually filed separately by the individual's name, again in acid-free materials.
c. The MHI already has an extensive collection and has become a valuable resource for serious historians (e.g., Stephen Ambrose and Tom Brokaw have used the archive). It complements the National Archives which contains official documents. There are over 300,000 volumes. It is a resource for the family, US Army, and nation to use. There has been an increasing number of inquiries by grandchildren of WWII era veterans.
d. The MHI is not a museum and does not accept uniforms, weapons, artifacts, etc. It is run by 28 civilians and five military.
e. One means the MHI operates is to use surveys. The surveys allow many different personal insights into military experience (e.g., in the veteran's eyes, how well an Army unit was equipped; how adequate was training; what was the quality of leadership, etc.). It is also a means of encouraging donation of personal papers and as a reference to those papers. About 28,000 questionnaires have already been filled out. Mr. Hendrix encouraged the JAVA members to fill out the questionnaires. He left copies of the questionnaire and postage-paid envelopes.
f. He emphasized, "Everyone's contribution is exceptional and worthy of archiving. Although one's personal papers may not seem significant, put together with other pieces, it forms a rich body of material that will be used in ways we cannot even imagine." A little piece may not seem like much but put together with thousands of others, it paints a story. The MHI is willing to work with JAVA. It is possible that the JAVA archives could be kept at the MHI. If the documentation is a large amount, MHI will pick it up. It makes frequents trips to Washington, D.C. and the Pentagon.
g. Military Construction (MILCON) dollars were allocated to replace the aging 1941 building which currently houses the MHI archives. The new building will have requisite environmental controls to meet national archives standards. Army museum…in Carlisle. Built with private funds next to the army archives. The focus will be on the soldier. Warren Tsuneishi asked what the advantage of using MHI vs other repositories which JAVA is considering? LTC Hendrix said that other repositories are certainly outstanding repositories, too. But the MHI's ties to the Army make the MHI a good place for military documentation. It will have US Army support forever with exceptional credibility. He added that if JAVA did decide to keep its archives elsewhere, MHI would want to know where they go so they could be referenced by MHI for researchers.
4. Dave Buto read the minutes from the 19 February 2000 meeting. No changes were offered. A motion was made, seconded, and carried to accept the minutes. Max Yano gave the treasurer's report. Contact the treasurer for the financial report. There are 111 members, including several new ones. Max asked members to please pay their dues on time. This would help the new treasurer. Last year, it took nearly a year to collect the dues.
5. Dave Buto, the secretary, reported on the JAVA web site.
a. The site has been operational since January 2000. It includes a Monthly feature (July's is about George Totten III and August's will be about the behind the scenes work that the Yamamoto's, Maggie Ikeda, and John Tagami did for the Medal of Honor work). It also includes the JAVA Newsletter, JAVA Minutes, Medal of Honor information, NJAMF information for November's ceremonies, Military Intelligence Hall of Famers information (thanks to Grant Ichikawa). The JAVA book. The MIS in the War Against Japan in its entirety is on the website.
b. The Membership list is limited -- needs more permissions, which Dave Buto will be soliciting. He has added information provided about members and their personal histories, such as Joe Ichiuji and Yukio Kawamoto.
c. Since the advent of the website. We have gotten a lot of inquiries. So many that Grant Ichikawa has formed an RFI group (Requests for Information). Twenty-two RFI's have been submitted via email. The status of these Requests for Information are on the website. Thanks go to Yukio Kawamoto, Kelly and Fumi Kuwayama, Grant Ichikawa, Jack and Aiko Herzig, Aki Konoshima, Norm Ikari, Phil Ishio, Sus and Fumi Yamamoto, Fred Murakami, and Grant Hirabayashi. In addition, we have gotten phone calls from the White House, Newspapers, and Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.
d. Finally, we have added links to other sites and they have linked themselves to ours.
6. Regarding the JAVA publication, Warren Tsuneishi reported that JAVA had 1000 copies printed in 1995. Demand continued and this year we printed 500 more. So far, 116 have sold; there are 384 more to sell. We have sent letters sent to contributors, National Japanese American museum, bookstores. But there have been no responses so far. We may have to advertise in Pacific Citizen. Stan Falk is willing to autograph. Great gift. Get the word out.
7. Regarding the MOH ceremonies, Hank and several members gave extensive and impressive summaries of what took place. Grant also mentioned that a Presidential unit citation was announced. The Presidential Unit Citation to MIS was necessary since the MIS soldiers were only attached to other organizations and were ineligible for the unit citations the host unit may have received. The citation is for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy from 1 May 42 - 2 Sep 46…if you qualify, send letter to national personnel records center for form 215A and they will add the Unit Citation to your record. According to Hank, this is the equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).
a. White House…never in American history has a single unit been awarded so many MOH. Attendees went to the reception rooms at the White House… At 1630 they went to a pavilion tent on the White House lawn. The tent was impressive containing Chandeliers, air conditioning, etc…and 600 people. At one end was a platform of press people. The President entered with MOH awardees to continuous applause. The President acknowledged the appointment of GEN Shinseki as an American of Asian descent. He recounted all the things that happened after Pearl Harbor, from internment, to the discharge of Japanese Americans, to the Executive Order, internment camps, etc. He described the formation of the 442nd and the "Lost Battalion" saved by the 442nd. Perhaps his most moving statement was, "Rarely has a nation been so well served by a people so ill treated." The citations were read for the seven living MOH awardees, then President hung the medal around their necks. Next framed medals were presented to families of those awardees who were deceased. Of note, the last award to a medic almost did not happen, but fortunately the award was approved in time. Norm Ikari said that, "The medics were the support group valued the most and a lot of folks would not have been here without it." He also mentioned that Video tapes of the ceremonies will be available.
b. Yukio Kawamoto reported the events at the Pentagon at 1200 hours, 22 June. This included a ceremony in the courtyard under a tent followed by a reception in the Hall of Heroes.
c. Fred Murakami spoke of the reception hosted by the NJAMF, NJAM, JACL National, JACL (Wash DC), JAVA, Japanese American National Council, etc. He gave special thanks to Kim and Christine who deserve credit for the success of the reception. The turn out was excellent and was large enough that the event did not go into the "red."
7. Joe Ichiuji announced the results of the Election of Officers.
Pres Phil Ishio
VP Ernest Takafuji (will only serve 2 months)
Secretary Dave Buto
Treasurer Calvin Ninomiya
8. Warren Minami described an effort to interview folks. They have enough money to start. The effort will concentrate on what Japanese Americans did in Washington, D.C. area, not so much on a grand scale but things like activity in masonic order, etc. He brought forms and asked interested people to fill them out (not only military experience, but also the Washington experience). Interviews will include ISSEIs. He said the group does need dollars for transcriptions, etc., so donations are gladly accepted.
9. A Member of NJAMF had a statement indicating support for the NJAMF position of including the quotations (e.g., Masaoka) and asked people to sign if they backed it. He indicated he was surveying the groups, but he did not indicate how he was capturing the numbers of people who oppose (perhaps via the JAVoice).
10. Gerald Yamada described the November ceremonies. Dedication ceremony being planned for 1300 on November 9 which will be open to the public. On Saturday, November 11, JAVA will sponsor a wreath laying ceremony at monument site…perhaps this will be an annual event. It will also be open to the public. On Friday, 10 November in conjunction with the Smithsonian, will be the premier showing of Gail Yamada's film. How can you help? Volunteers are badly needed. In addition to the paid activities, there are a series of paid activities that will help fund the memorial. The gala dinner has close to 1000 people signed up so far. They are looking for table sponsorships…more than just ads. The monument will be something all will be proud of…from the reports, it may set the standard for future memorials.
11. Boat trip. Gordon Yamada offered to take JAVA (up to 30 people) on a boat trip on the Potomac. It will possibly go to Mt Vernon and have a picnic on the river and return. Or the cruise can go to Old Town and have dinner at the Chart House restaurant. His yacht has three state rooms, three heads (bathrooms), a galley and more. An August weekend is being looked at. Gordon said that in the interest of safety no children will be allowed. If you are interested call Gordon and provide him your name and phone number.
12. Hank thanked everyone for supporting his term as President. He presented certificates of appreciation to all outgoing officers. He also recognized the continuous service and contributions of Miyako Newell, who has orchestrated all our JAVA events…Stan Falk for being a stabilizing force over the last few years. He recognized Grant Ichikawa as a great supporter of JAVA, the website, etc. Finally, he gave a well-deserved thanks to his wife,Seiko, as his strong right hand person without whom he could not have been successful.
13. Hank Wakabayashi as his last official act as President, turned over the reins to Phil Ishio who congratulated the outgoing staff for successful administration during last 2 years. He also underscored the tremendously important events in the last year, specifically the award of the Medal of Honor to Asian Americans and the award of the Presidential Unit Citation. He indicated the important things that were coming up this year and how he would do his best with the new staff and the JAVA members to continue the JAVA legacy.