Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol 1 No. 12, November 3, 2019 

“Hershey” Miyamura to Lead 2019 New York City Veterans Day Parade on on November 11, 2019

Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura

Reprinted United War Veterans Council

NEW YORK.  The United War Veterans Council (UWVC) announced Medal of Honor Recipient Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura (U.S. Army) as one of the Grand Marshals for the 2019 New York City Veterans Day Parade.   This year’s Parade marks the centennial observation of Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day.  Miyamura is the first of this year’s five Grand Marshals, who will each represent an era of service from World War II to the present day.  

The Parade will take place on New York City’s iconic Fifth Avenue, in the heart of Manhattan, on November 11, 2019.  It will feature nearly 300 marching units and over 25,000 participants from nearly 30 states, including veterans, military members, service organizations, youth cadets and top high school marching bands.  The parade will be broadcast on TV and online by WABC-TV.

Miyamura was born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico.  He was given the nickname “Hershey” by a teacher who had trouble pronouncing his given name, Hiroshi.  He served briefly with the famed Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team during the last months of World War II, but was discharged after the war ended.  He later joined the U.S. Army Reserve.

When the Korean War began in the summer of 1950, Miyamura was called into active duty, and was deployed to Korea as a corporal.  On the night of April 24 – 25th, 1951, his unit’s position was assaulted by a vastly superior Chinese force.  Although wounded and bleeding badly, Miyamura single-handedly held off the attacking force so that the rest of his men could retreat safely, before he lost consciousness and was captured by the enemy.  During Miyamura’s time in captivity, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions — a fact that was classified “Top Secret” to protect him from reprisals.  He was released on August 20, 1953, and received the Medal of Honor from President Dwight Eisenhower in October, 1953. (Link to Medal of Honor citation.  http://www.cmohs.org/recipient-detail/3160/miyamura-hiroshi-h.php

After his discharge from the Army, Miyamura returned to Gallup, New Mexico, where he still resides today.  He has been a lifelong supporter of his fellow veterans, and remains active in his community, particularly with local youth.  He is Honorary Chair of the Japanese American Veterans Association, located in Washington, D.C.

“Through his life story and his service to America, Hershey Miyamura truly embodies the spirit and values that define our great nation,” said UWVC Executive Director Mark Otto.  “We’re honored that he will be joining us in November, and we look forward to seeing him help lead the way up Fifth Avenue!”  Likewise, JAVA is honored Hershey was selected o serve.

“I’ve tried to live my life by the words, ‘Always Believe in Yourself, God and Country’” said Miyamura.  “I’m proud to join so many veterans who epitomize this philosophy, and to be a part of Veterans Day in New York City.”


Netflix's Medal Of Honor Series Features Hershey Miyamura in Episode Four

For a great portray of Hershey's bravery in the Korean War that led to his receiving the Medal of Honor from President Eisenhower check out episode four in Netflix's Medal of Honor, https://www.netflix.com/title/80169786.

COL Roy J. Macaraeg Promoted to Brigadier General

BG Roy Macaraeg, daughter Chloe and wife Bene. Photo: Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Honolulu, HI.  COL Roy J. Macaraeg, Hawaii Army National Guard, was promoted to brigadier general in a ceremony at Washington Place, Honolulu on October 8, 2019.    Governor David Ige administered the oath of office to Macaraeg in a ceremony attended by his parents, members of his family, retired and active military colleagues, and Congressman Ed Case.   MG Joe Logan, State Adjutant General, hosted the event.    Macaraeg’s next assignment is at the National Guard Bureau in Washington, DC where he will serve as assistant director of the Army National Guard (ARNG) for sustainment. 

Macaraeg enlisted in the Hawaii Army National Guard (HIARNG) in 1990 as a Private (E1).   In 1993, he was named the HIARNG Soldier of the Year.   He was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer in 1996 upon graduation from the Hawaii Military Academy, Officer Candidate School (Distinguished Honor Graduate).   In 1999 Macaraeg was assigned to the National Guard Bureau (NGB) in Arlington, VA where he held various positions including duty at Army G1 (Personnel) at the Pentagon.  For the next ten years he would serve in command and staff positions in Hawaii, Washington, DC, Iraq, and Kosovo, as follows:

2004-2006, Headquarters and Headquarters Support Battery Commander of the 1-487th Field Artillery (FA) Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) III.

2006-2010, ARNG Comptroller Division and ARNG Deputy G8 at NGB, Washington, DC. 

2010-2013, Commander of the 1-487th FA Battalion at HIARNG, Hawaii.

2013-2015, Training Military Assistant and Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserves Affairs, Washington DC.

2015-2017, Comptroller ARNG, Washington DC.

2017–2019, Brigade Commander of the “LAVA Brigade”, 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Hawaii.

During this period from September 2018 for one year he served in Kosovo where he was concurrently  the Battle Group Commander for the NATO mission, Kosovo Forces (KFOR), officially known as Multi-National Battle Group – East (MNBG-E).  MNBG-E consisted of 800 soldiers from USA, Poland, Turkey and Romania.

In 2013 BG Macaraeg graduated from the National War College (NWC) at National Defense University, Fort McNair, Washington DC .  He graduated earlier from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and Field Artillery Schools.  In addition to graduating from Wallace Rider Farrington High School (1991) in Honolulu, he received a BA from University of Hawaii-Manoa, MBA from Touro University, California, and MS in National Strategy from NWC.   Macaraeg’s awards and decorations include Legion of Merit (2nd OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (6th OLC), and numerous other service and achievement awards.

To the e-Advocate reporter’s question why he selected the armed forces as his career choice, Macaraeg responded “many members of my family served in the military, and I wanted to also serve my country and do my part, and to also be a part of something bigger, to be part of something special.  The Army National Guard provided many attractive opportunities and benefits.  The educational and leadership development opportunities toward overall personal growth are remarkable.  The military also teaches and refines your foundational values which certainly forges you into a better person.  It’s an amazing deal, the military makes you a better person while you serve your country.”

BG Macaraeg is married to his high school sweetheart, Bene, and they have a seven-years-old daughter, Chloe Ann.  

[EdNote: BG Macaraeg will speak at JAVA's annual Veterans Day Ceremony on Monday, November 11 held at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII.] 

BG Hara appointed to Hawaii State Adjutant General

BG Kenneth S. Hara. Photo: HI Office of the Governor

Press Release

Honolulu, Hi.  On October 10, 2019  Gov. David Ige has appointed Brigadier General. Kenneth S. Hara to be the Adjutant General for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Defense effective Dec. 6, 2019, subject to state Senate confirmation .    The Adjutant General oversees the training and readiness of 5,500 Soldiers and Airmen of the Hawaii National Guard.  He also serves as the Director, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency providing direct support to the Office of Veteran Services, and is the Homeland Security Advisor to the Governor.   Hara replaces MG Arthur “Joe” Logan who will be retiring from this position at the end of the year.

Hara has served as the Deputy Adjutant General since Jan. 2019. In addition, he has been the Assistant Adjutant General – Army since Jan. 2018, and since Feb. 2018 Hara was dual-hatted as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Army National Guard, Operations, G3, Eighth United States Army Korea.  Hara has served in command positions during deployments to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.   In addition to his federal mobilizations, Hara has served on several state missions in support of local authorities.

In Fall 2016, Hara, a JAVA member, who wears the coveted Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB), told the Advocate his motivation for enlisting in the military was driven by family tradition.  His father, Henry, retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, three older brothers served in the Hawaii National Guard, brother Gary retired as a Major General, brother Dennis retired as a Command Sergeant Major, brother Larry retired as a First Sergeant.  Son Justin, who enlisted in 2014 as a specialist in the Hawaii Army National Guard, is a senior at the University of Hawaii-Manoa ROTC program.

MG Logan assumed the position of Adjutant General, Hawaii on January 1, 2015.   Logan received his commission in 1984 from the Hawaii Army National Guard Officer Candidate School, Hawaii Military Academy.  He has 40 years of service, which included assignment to Operation Enduring Freedom  in Kabul, Afghanistan  

MG Arthur “Joe” Logan. Photo: HI Office of the Governor

Visiting Japanese Delegate Commends Nisei for Embracing Bushido Code of Conduct

Shunya Shiba.  Taken at Nachi, Wakayama Prefecture.   Note Nachi Falls in the background.  Photo courtesy of Shunya Shiba.

During September 2019 some fifty members of the Imaoikiruhito Resonance Harmony (IRH) musical delegation visited Washington, DC to sing to residents, including Japanese Americans.  The Embassy of Japan also arranged for the visitors to listen to Japanese Americans to discuss their wartime experience.  One of the visitors, Shunya Shiba, wrote the following response to the Nisei discussion.  The letter was translated by Ms Mori A. Mukai, daughter of Minister Kenichiro and Mrs Mukai, co-organizers of the visit.   Minister Mukai is Head of Chancery, at the Embassy of Japan. 

"Dear Japanese American Veterans Association, 

We had an opportunity to listen to the valuable stories from Japanese Americans in Washington D.C.  Due to the outbreak of war between Japan and the United States during the World War II, Japanese Americans were sent to incarceration camps as enemies although they were US citizens.   Many of them started out in poverty and made a living through hard work when they immigrated to the United States. However, their properties were confiscated and never returned due to the US government’s dishonesty.   The cause of this dishonestly might be color prejudice because immigrants from Germany and Italy did not get the same treatment.  Japanese American US Army soldiers were discharged and sent to incarceration camps as well.   This was an unreasonable and devastating event which suddenly befell the Japanese Americans.  However, Japanese Americans did not oppose or begrudge the US Government.

On the  contrary, they organized a Japanese American combat unit and had remarkable success on the European front.   They made a big contribution in information warfare for their homeland during the war against Japan as well.  Japanese Americans have been establishing a firm position in US society and their remarkable success during WWⅡ has been since acknowledged.  Not only have the Japanese Americans contributed to US victory, but they have also supported Japan in recovering from defeat and serious damage of the war.

One Japanese American soldier persuaded Japanese soldiers and civilians barricaded in a cave in Saipan to live, meet their families and make an effort to Japan’s recovery after the war.   He persuaded Japanese people at the risk of his own life.  It was a fearless and brave act because he could have been considered a traitor and killed or come across Japanese soldiers or civilians who were involved in a series of suicide bombings. This is a story in which I felt his tremendous love for his Japanese ancestry.

Even in the worst circumstances, Japanese Americans accepted what was happening to them and did their best without being overcome with negative feelings such as anger and hate. I felt the “Wa no Seishin (Bushido)[Translation:  Japanese spirit of harmony which includes Bushido] which is still alive in Japanese Americans.  Not only did the Japanese American men fight as US soldiers, but Japanese American women too, studied hard in school and dedicated themselves to the US society and younger generations.

I feel hope as a Japanese citizen that Japanese Americans have a sense of pride for who they are. Their dedicated way of life has established them a firm grounding in the multiracial context of US society.   On the contrary, Japanese people were disrobed of our history and mythology by the United States, tormented by strong feelings of guilt. We were temporarily losing our pride as Japanese citizens. What we need to do is to show our Bushido and do our best for Japan and the world by recognizing facts and letting go of anger, just as the Japanese Americans have been doing.  In this confused world, Bushido spirit is desired more than ever.   Now is the biggest opportunity for Japan to contribute to world peace. 


Shunya Shiba.”  

[President Theodore Roosevelt was a true believer of Bushido code of conduct.  When he read Professor Inazo Nitobe’s Bushido, the Soul of Japan, he crossed out the word Japan and wrote over it USA.  He also crossed out the word Japanese and wrote over it American.  He recommended all American youths to read the book as he had changed it.]



Paul Bannai, first Japanese American to serve in California State Legislature, dies at 99

Bannai (left) and GEN Mark Clark, commander of 5th Army in Italy during WWII under whom the 100th and 442nd served.  Photo taken at the Nisei Veterans reunion in 1958 at the Huntington, Sheraton, Pasadena, CA. Photo: courtesy of Densho.

Nichi Bei Weekly Staff, October 24, 2019

Gardena, CA.  Former California State Assemblyman Paul Takeo Bannai, the first Japanese American elected to serve in the California State Legislature, peacefully passed away in Los Angeles, CA on Sept. 14, 2019. He was 99. Bannai was born on July 4, 1920, 180 miles northeast of Denver, in Delta, Colorado and grew up in other towns in Arizona and Utah.

During World War II, Bannai and his family were incarcerated in the Manzanar concentration camp in California.   Bannai would go on to join the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, traveling to New Guinea and other places overseas. According to a biography, he trained with the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the 442nd RCT.  He was transferred to the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) due to his Japanese language fluency.

After establishing his own insurance company, the Bannai Realty and Insurance Company, he would run for the Gardena City Council in 1972, and in 1973, was elected to the California State Legislature, serving four terms from 1973 to 1980 as a Republican representing the 67th and 53rd Districts.

According to his biography, he was the first Asian American appointee to the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).  Bannai also received the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold and Silver Rays from the Japanese Government “for contributions to the social welfare and prosperity of Japanese Americans.”

“We all knew Paul Bannai growing up in Gardena as the first Japanese American legislator in the State Legislature. But what we viewed as a pioneering politician was too narrow a perception of a man with diverse interests, strong convictions and a great sense of humor,” Dale Minami, a community activist and attorney said in a statement. “We have now come to know him as all of those but with a depth and breadth of life and a devotion to the Japanese American community which leaves a wondrous legacy.”

Bannai became the Executive Director of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians in 1980, a federal commission that studied the root causes of the wartime incarceration of the Japanese American community. A year later, he was appointed as Chief Director of the Memorial Affairs Department of Veteran Affairs by President Ronald Reagan.

Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) President Gerald Yamada stated that Bannai will be missed dearly and he “will be remembered for his contributions to the work of the Redress Commission and for his support of veterans as a political appointee” in the Department of Veteran Affairs under President Ronald Reagan.   Bannai was predeceased by his wife, Hideko Bannai.


Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, JAVA e-Advocate Editor, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association: (202) 494-1978, Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I https://java.wildapricot.org 

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