____SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER________________VOLUME VIII_*_NUMBER 5_
The executive council had its first meeting on August 19 and faced the urgent task of filling a number of vacancies in the staff. Dr. Ernest Takafuji, the duly elected Vice President was assigned to duty in Hawaii. Dave Buto, our Secretary, had a three-way by-pass operation and is recuperating at home. He has indicated that he will not be able to continue as Secretary, but I am hopeful that he will carry on as the JAVA website coordinator. As required by the by-laws, the executive council voted in the necessary officers so that the JAVA staff now consists of President, S. Phil Ishio; Vice President, Calvin Ninomiya; Secretary, Grant Ichikawa (temporary); Treasurer, Mike Okusa. Grant has agreed to take on the responsibilities of Secretary until a permanent secretary is found. This is an important position on our staff and we would like to have someone come forward to fill it one a permanent basis.
We have much to do for the coming two years, and the continuity on the job is essential. Dave is continuing to recuperate rapidly and will be going back to work and will be going back to his job some time in October. He has agreed to continue his work as the JAVA Website coordinator. His efforts have opened the door of internet access to many here and throughout the country, and it is gratifying to know that his valuable work continue under his able guidance. I have asked Akio Konoshima to continue as the editor of the JAVA newsletter and to attend the Executive Council meetings so that he will be kept abreast of current JAVA developments. Grant Hirabayashi has been the loyal photographer for us for many years. We hope to be able to include some of his excellent pictures in future issues of the newsletter to bring new dimension to our reporting.
The dedication of the National Japanese American Memorial is fast approaching, and JAVA members are reminded to register for the various events as soon as possible. After many hard and difficult years of fund raising and review by government commissions and agencies, the time has come to dedicate this memorial to the patriotism, perseverance and loyalty of the Japanese American people. We have progressed to that point in the process when we must set aside any differences and give our wholehearted support to the only monument in our nation's capital dedicated to an ethnic group which demonstrated its undying belief in the American way of life and unhesitatingly stepped forward on the side of democracy.
The Veterans Subcommittee of the Dedication Committee has been hard at work to insure that veterans play a significant part in the dedication ceremonies. JAVA will be the "host" veteran organization for the Veterans Day Breakfast and will have volunteers helping in a number of ways such as manning the registration table at the breakfast and serving as hosts and guides. JAVA volunteers will pick up the Congressional Medal of Honor winners who are being honored and bring them from the airport to their hotels. They will also serve as honor guard as the memorial service and gala dinner and wherever else they may be needed. We will have our own JAVA flag, as will other organizations. These will be prominently on display at each of the events.
The memorial service which was originally planned to be held at the Arlington National Cemetery Amphitheater will now be held at the site of the National Japanese American Memorial in front of the wall containing the names of the nisei who died in the service in World War II. This change in venue was considered necessary because of the transportation problem which will be caused by the anticipated heavy traffic on November 11 and the probability of cold and/or precipitation, which would mean physical discomfort and even pain to the aging veterans and families. The Memorial site is only one block away from the Holiday Inn on Capitol Hill, where the Veterans Day Breakfast will be held. Medal of Honor winner Hershey Miyamura will be the speaker at the breakfast and Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera has been invited to speak at the memorial service.
Veterans organizations have been asked to bring their organization flags to be displayed for recognition of organizations represented at the memorial. JAVA will have a flag also. Warren Tsuneishi and Jack Hirose are working on its design.
JAVA members have received the registration package for the dedication from the NJAMF office. There has been a disappointingly small response from our organization and friends. To save the small staff at the NJAMF a lot of work, it is suggested that JAVA members and friends send in their registrations without delay.
A national veterans reunion in Los Angeles is being planned for August, 2001, under the sponsorship of the Japanese American National Museum with the general theme of "Carrying on the Legacy." More information about this reunion will be in future issues of the newsletter.
Other matters which we will take up after the dedication are the organizing of a program committee for Memorial and Veterans Days, other national holidays, Remembrance Day, Freedom of Walk, etc. One of the major events which we plan to have is a banquet to honor Senator Daniel K. Akaka, who played a key role in nisei veterans being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, Presidential Unit Citation, and the writing of the official history of the nisei in the Military Intelligence Service. We plan to expand our speakers program to spread the word of nikkei veterans' service in and following WWII.
Cal Ninomiya has been given the responsibility of seeking new members for JAVA. He will need all of the help we can give him.
THREE UNSUNG HEROES (Behind the Scenes) by Dave Buto
(The names of the Medal of Honor recipients are now part of history. Their names will be forever enshrined in the Hall of Honor in the Pentagon and in the annals of the deeds of Asian Americans. But three names that will go unnoticed are, Richard "Sus" Yamamoto, Fumie Yamamoto and Maggie Ikeda, who -- along with occasional help from Martha (nee Tsukiyama) Giovanelli -- in their own way, made tremendous sacrifices without which the Medals of Honor may well have taken much longer to be awarded. At Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera's reception June 21 for the medal winners, one of the speakers recognized their decade-long research of the 100th Battalion/442nd RCT at the National Archives. This article is based on an interview of the three on August 3.)
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It began innocently enough around 1990 as a result of a visit from Ted Tsukiyama, the 442nd Club historian. Ted was working on establishing a library and museum in Hawaii. He needed help in Washington, D.C. to conduct extensive research at the National Archives. He conferred first with Aiko and Jack Herzig in Virginia who had an extensive, personally researched archive, and he hoped to tap into their expertise in research at the Archives and elsewhere.
The Herzigs helped gather a group to hear Ted's plea for volunteers. Sus Yamamoto volunteered and was joined by his wife, Fumie, and their close friend Maggie Ikeda. Over the years others joined in now and then and assisted. Martha Giovaneli (Ted's sister) was a regular for many months. But there three were the ones who stuck it out for the long haul.
The going was tough. Given some pointers by the Herzigs, the threesome knew the right place to start looking and a general idea of what to do. About once a week for nearly ten years, they made the 45 minute trip from the Maryland suburbs to the heart of Washington, D.C. and vicinity to spend 4-8 hours of painstaking research/
The process went like this: On occasion, the day before the research was to take place, they would drive down to the National Archives and fill out a request form. By doing this, the boxes of materials would be ready for them almost right away when they showed up the next morning -- otherwise they had to wait half a day for the approval and retrieval to take place. Each box had a unique reference number assigned and contained labeled folders. Each folder contained papers. They tackled each box by reading every piece of paper in each folder.
The documents were mostly fragile and yellowing on thin, sometimes transparent paper. In some cases, the paper was brittle and nearly deteriorating in their hands. And the dust was so bad sometimes that it irritated Maggie's allergies. When handling photographs, they were required to wear special gloves that made handling especially difficult.
At first they just chased down anything that mentioned the 100th Battalion or the 442nd RCT; but then they realized there was lots of information missing. To get the whole story, they had to read the papers of General Marshall, Earl Warren, the Secretary of the Navy, the Surgeon General, etc. To ensure that nothing was overlooked, they even pored over every military organization to which the 100th or the 442nd was assigned.
The whole deal was a painful learning process. Because they were paying for all expenses out of their own pockets, they spent months making handwritten summaries of the documents to send to Hawaii. They eventually devised a systematic process for documenting the box numbers and folders where every scrap of information was found. Everything was sent to Ted Tsukiyama in Hawaii, who was so pleased that he convinced the 442nd Club to defray the group's costs. That decision allowed them to use the photocopying machine, which greatly helped their efficiency.
Over the ten years, the researchers were exposed to every aspect of the Nisei's
experience. According to Fumie Yamamoto, she was struck by how telling the archives' information is. She recalls reading how the "Lost Battalion," which had been short of food, ammunition, batteries, etc. radioed back to the units who were trying to air drop supplies: "…the airplanes are giving away our position! …Don't send us anything…" It was a stark statement on how desperate the situation really was for the men of the "Lost Battalion."
At some point, the purpose of the threesome's research effort changed from strictly providing information for a 442nd library to providing information for the "media" review led by Ed Ichiyama and sponsored by Senator Daniel K. Akaka's office. The rest is history.
In the end, over a period of 10 years, they made hundreds of trips to the National Archives, spend over a thousand hours of their own times, read thousands and thousands of pages of documents and sent back to Hawaii more than 10 boxes of material. For their efforts, the 442nd Club presented Richard "Sus" Yamamoto with a Letter of Appreciation and a medal. The President and the Secretary of the Army invited them to the ceremonies honoring the Medal of Honor recipients in Washington, D.C.
Sadly, while the research work for the Medal of Honor effort is closed, the original research remains unfinished. Due to health reasons, their visits to the National Archives ceased in January, 1999. A tremendous amount of information still resides in the boxes of the National Archives and elsewhere, waiting to be copied and sent back to the 442nd Club library. Unfortunately, some papers are not filed in the National Archives…the threesome learned that some of the veterans failed to turn in their unit documents at the end of the war. They need only to mail the documents of the National Archives and the papers will be forwarded to the proper place. The Yamamotos hope these people will turn in such documents to the Archives so that posterity can better understand and appreciate what took place.
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(A Message from Dave: "Dave, Joanne, and Alana extend their sincerest heartfelt thanks for the many cards, flowers, e-mails, and telephone calls received from the members of JAVA during Dave's recuperation from coronary bypass surgery on 15 August. All the attention, concern, and well-wishes from JAVA were a bright spot in the whole ordeal and helped the family tremendously. The cardiology staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center was absolutely top notch and the operation was a complete success. Dave was lucky that the cardiologists at Walter Reed were able to identify and fix his coronary artery blockages before a heart attack could cause permanent damage. Dave is now resting at home under the constant love and care of Joanne and Alana; he expects to return to work in early October. Thanks.")
ARMY CLARIFIES ELIGIBILITY FOR PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION, DACs INCLUDED by S. Phil Ishio
The Chief of the Army's Military Awards Branch has written to JAVA and other MIS associations indicating that all who served in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II, including Department of Army Civilians (DACs) are eligible for the recently awarded Presidential Unit Citation (PUC).
Lt. Col. Laurel D. Cunnane, chief of the Awards Branch, said in a letter that the award has been approved for all who served with the Military Intelligence Service from May 1, 1942 to September 2, 1945. It specifically states that "Department of Army civilians employed with the Military Intelligence Service during the cited period may wear the lapel pin."
The award of the citation to MIS is unprecedented; Army regulations usually limit the award only to combat units which have shown extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy force. But, a special act of Congress specifically allowing the MIS to receive the award was passed after Harry Fukuhara and other MIS veterans of Northern and Southern California, worked with and had Hawaii Senator Daniel K. Akaka and other legislators sponsor the required legislation.
Following are questions and answers issued by the Military Awards Branch for those who wish to apply for the award:
Q - Must the originals of WD 35-55 be submitted along with a copy of the letter sent to veterans organizations from Lt. Col. Laurel Cunname, Chief, Military Awards Branch?
A - No. Copies of WD 35-55 may be sent.
Q - Must a veteran have been assigned to a combat unit which received the PUC
in order to be eligible to receive the PUC?
A - No. All veterans who were assigned to the Military Intelligence Service from May 1, 1942 to Sept. 2, 1945 are eligible regardless of whether the unit to which they were assigned received the PUC.
Q - May the next of kin of MIS veterans apply for the PUC?
A - Yes, provided the veteran meets all requirements for eligibility and proper documentation is presented.
Q - Are civilian employees of the Army or their next of kin able to apply for the PUC?
A - Yes, provided all requirements for eligibility are met and proper documentation presented.
Q - Will an award of the PUC be placed in the personnel record of the applicant?
A - This is not an automatic procedure. You must submit a DD Form 215 (available from the Personnel Records Center) to amend your records to reflect the fact that the PUC has been awarded to you.
Q - Must an official application form be filled out for the PUC?
A - No. All that is required are a copy of WD 35-55 and a copy of the letter dated July 17, 2000 signed by Lt. Col. Laurel Cunnane, Chief, Military Awards Branch, sent to the presidents of MIS associations. The material must be sent to the National Personnel Records Center, ATTN: Army Medals Section, 9700 Page Ave., St. Louis, MO 63132-5200.
Q - If the WD 35-55 is lost, how can one apply for a copy?
A - Write to the same Army Medals Section for a copy of your WD 53-55 or service record indicating your assignment and service during WWII
Further questions regarding eligibility for the award which may arise are being gathered by the individual MIS associations who will submit them to JAVA (P.O. Box 391, Vienna, VA 22183-0391; ATTN: S. Phil Ishio) to avoid individuals asking the Army's Award Branch the same questions. The PUC coordinator for JAVA members is Grant Ichikawa at 114 James Dr., SW, Vienna, VA 22180, Tel. (703) 938-5857, E-mail: email@example.com.
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At the suggestion of Harry Akune, Southern California MIS, JAVA will arrange to have the Presidential Unit Citation recently awarded the MIS be put on display in the General Douglas MacArthur Memorial Library in Norfolk, Va., the general's burial site.
A copy of the Department of the Army certificate and the citation itself will be properly encased in appropriate frames in the library, which consists of the Jean MacArthur Research Center housing the general's personal papers, his personal library, classrooms for an educational program and a theater for showing a film of the general's life and various displays.
"SUPER PATRIOTS?" by Grant Ichikawa
Editor's note: The following is an excerpt from an article written by JAVA's Grant Ichikawa under the headlines: "WERE WE SUPER PATRIOTS?" NISEI INTELLIGENCE VETERANS DISCUSS WWII EXPERIENCES which was published in a journal the Central Intelligence Retirees Association and other military intelligence groups' publications:
What was it like to go to a "Relocation Camp" and the volunteer for the U.S. Army? After you have been kicked around, rounded up like cattle, reclassified as "4C" (enemy alien) and thrown into a so-called "Relocation Camp" all without due process, how many of you would volunteer, if asked to join the very army guarding your "Relocation Camp" from guard towers? How many of you would volunteer, especially when told that you are being asked to volunteer to fight against the very country you are being accused of being (loyal) to?
In May 1941 I had just received my Bachelor's degree from the University of California. December 7 of that year -- I remember vividly since it was my younger brother's birthday -- I knew we Japanese Americans were going to have a hard time; we began seeing "I am Chinese," "I am Filipino" and other pins worn to differentiate them from us. I feared that perhaps my parents, who were unable to obtain US. Citizenship and therefore were "aliens," might be rounded up, although they were only poor farmer. (But) on February 19, 1942 President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066…Shortly thereafter, General DeWitt, military commander of the Western Defense Command, ordered the evacuation of all those with Japanese blood…
There was no organized opposition to this illegal order, we all meekly complied with the order to evacuate. My dreams were shattered. I lost all self-respects for being treated like a criminal. I remember going into town and being stopped by the father of the local sheriff for having a radio in my car. My temper flared momentarily because I could not understand why I shouldn't be allowed to have a car radio and also because he had no authority to stop me in the first place. The sheriff stopped by my farm that afternoon and confiscated my radio, saying I could convert it into a short-wave radio to listen to instructions from Japan. We were all rounded up like cattle. I slowly realized that since we looked like the enemy, we must do something to prove that we remained loyal and patriotic American citizens.
We spent three months in an assembly center in Turlock, California, a horserace stadium…Our family of five shared a horse stall with another family of three. We were then shipped to Gila River Relocation Center…Three months later, in November 1942, I saw a notice stating that the US Army was seeking qualified Japanese linguists. I felt I did not qualify, regretting those missed opportunities to learn the language. One of the recruiters was my college classmate and I went to see him, just to say hello. He soon began testing me for my knowledge of the Japanese language. He said that I qualified and asked me if I would volunteer. I was elated …but first had to confer with my family.
We had a family meeting…my parents, my young brother, my younger sister and myself. When I asked for my parents' permission to volunteer, they said America was my country and if I wanted to fight for my country, they could give their family blessing. They only asked that I do nothing to bring shame to the family.
Subsequently my younger brother volunteered for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and my sister volunteered from the U.S. Army's nurse training course in Minnesota…
As a private in the U.S. Army, I gained back all my self-respect; the Army especially gave me back this self-respect; we were selected for being of Japanese extraction and having knowledge of the Japanese language. There no longer was any shame in being a Nisei…After six months of intensive grueling language training, we were sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for our basic training. We trained with the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team…
We were then sent overseas to Allied Translators and Interpreters Service (ATIS), located in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. Many of us were attached to every Allied combat unit in the Greater Pacific areas as interpreters, interrogators, translators, radio monitors, radio broadcasters…wherever Japanese linguists were needed. Our presence in the Pacific was highly classified…
Our contributions saved countless Allied lives and shortened the war. I was discharged from the Army in 1947 as a First Lieutenant, having obtained my field commission in Manily in 1945. As a patriot, I agreed to sign on as an "inactive reserve." (Editor's note: Ichikawa was recalled to active duty during the Korean War.)
In hindsight, I think we were "super patriots" for having volunteered despite the extreme injustices inflicted on us -- in order the prove that we were loyal and patriotic Americans and to regain our self-respect as Americans. We and our subsequent generations have therefore reaped the benefits of the bold action we took during WWII in volunteering to fight for our country both in the European and Pacific theaters.
J-A NATIONAL MUSEUM TO CELEBRATE LEGACY OF NIKKEI MILITARY SERVICE
The Japanese American National Museum is sponsoring a three-day series of events next August 3-5 to celebrate the legacy of Japanese Americans who served in the U.S. military in times of war and peace.
The programs are scheduled to coincide with the 61st Nisei Week Japanese Festival in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo, the oldest celebration of its kind which highlights Japanese and Japanese-American culture.
Those attending will be able to tour Little Tokyo and visit 12 cultural institutions as well as choose from 75 restaurants and a variety of specialty gift shops while also participating in other Festival activities. These include the Nisei Week Grand Parade on August during which nikkei veterans will be honored, a street arts fair, a taiko gathering and numerous other exhibitions and demonstrations.
Various programs will be held at the Museum, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, the Go For Broke Monument, and the Memorial Court which honors those Japanese Americans killed in action during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
A special exhibit of the Japanese American recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor also is being planned along with educational and other programs to help the younger generation understand and appreciate the legacy left for them by the nikkei veterans. Nationally known speakers are being sought for a special luncheon Saturday, August 4, as a main attraction while veterans' organizations in the area are planning individual receptions and other activities during the peiod.
JAVA will be receiving information packets to distribute by the end of this month. For further information, call (213) 625-0414, ext. 2240.
JAVA MEMBERS SPREAD THE WORD
JAVA's Kelly Kuwayama, Grant Hirabayashi and Joe Ichiuji participated in the Freedom Museum's Second Annual Festival August 11-13 at the Manassas Regional Airport.
The three, veterans of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team and the Military Intelligence Service, fielded various questions from visitors to the festival as well as display WWII posters, pictures and documents about the Pacific and European theaters of operation and their experiences as participants. Many of those attending the festival were knowledgeable about and interested in the theaters of operation.
The efforts of the three are part of JAVA's efforts to inform the American public about the service of the nisei in WWII.
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Historian and JAVA member Stan Falk did his part by speaking on "Nisei Soldiers in World War II" to a September 5 luncheon of the Rotary Club of Alexandria, held at the Belle Haven Country Club.
Addressing an audience of about 100 Rotarians, Falk described the situation of Japanese Americans on the eve of America's entry into World War II, the atmosphere of prejudice and hysteria that led to the removal and incarceration of West Coast Nisei, the activation of the 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, the establishment of the MIS language program, and the important role of the Nisei soldiers in defeating Germany and Japan.
Questions raised by the audience indicated how little most of the group had known about the Japanese-American contributions, and of how interested and appreciative they were in learning about the nikkei efforts.
ATIS INCLUDED IN MEMORIAL WINDOW BEING DEDICATED TO U.S.-AUSTRALIAN WWII COOPERATION
The Memorial Windows of St. John's Cathedral in Brisbane, Australia, which commemorate US-Australian cooperation during World War II will be dedicated October 22. Military Intelligence Service associations in America contributed to the memorial which will list the Allied Translator and Interpreter Section (ATIS) of GHQ where thousands of Nisei served as language intelligence specialists with the U.S. Army.
The Most Reverend Peter Hollingsworth, Archbishop of Brisbane will conduct the service for the dedication while the Honorable Sir William Deane, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia will unveil the Memorial Windows.
Nisei who served with the MIS in the Pacific, especially those with ATIS, are invited to attend the memorial service and to visit Australia and other areas of the Southwest Pacific Area where the MIS nisei served during the war.
Those planning to attend the dedication should notify Ms. Shirley Davis by October 10 at GPO Box 421, Brisbane, Qld, 3001 Australia; Telephone: 61-(0)7-3835 2235; E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org.
INFORMATION ON WWII CBI VETERANS NEEDED
Tom Haga of 4011 Ridge Drive, Pueblo, CO 81008, is compiling a record of Nisei veterans who served in the China-Burma-India Theater during WWII. Tom wants information on names, place of origin, internment camps, place and date of induction and separation from the Army, date of arrival and departure from the CBI, unit assignment, rank, citations received any interesting anecdotes.
So far Tom has compiled a list of 101 names of veterans assigned to Merrills' Marauders, Mars Task Force, OSS, and the 36th and 37th Divisions.
He can be contacted at the above address or by E-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (719) 544-3450.