Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 4, No. 53, October 1, 2022

President's Message

JAVA President Gerald Yamada. Photo: Shane Sato.

I start by offering my condolences to the family of Yuri Murakami, who passed away on September 12, 2022.  Yuri was the wife of Fred Murakami, who was JAVA Secretary when I first joined the JAVA board as General Counsel in 1995. Fred later served as JAVA President.  Fred and Yuri were a gracious and fun-loving couple.  We deeply miss both of them.  

JAVA has two programs coming up for the remainder of this year.  On October 22nd, JAVA will remember the legacy of Norman Mineta, one of JAVA’s Honorary Chairmen, at its fall luncheon to be held at the Meiwah Restaurant in Chevy Chase, MD. 

The guest speaker will be Eric Federing, who was Norm’s Press Secretary while Norm was in Congress.  I look forward to hearing Eric’s personal memories of Norm. 

The second program will be JAVA’s annual Veterans Day program at the National Japanese American Memorial on November 11 at 2:00 pm.  The theme for this year’s Veterans Day is “Honor.”  The program will be livestreamed via Facebook. 

Army Colonel Monica Williams, who is of Korean descent and is the head of the United States Special Operations Command Legislative Liaison here in DC, has been invited to be the main speaker for our Veterans Day program.  She is also a Master Parachutist and served many years in a classified Special Mission Unit. 

As we start 2023, JAVA will host a virtual general membership meeting in February.  The focus of the meeting will be developing a strategic plan for JAVA’s goals and programs over the next 5 years.  Vice-President Howard High has been appointed as Chair of the JAVA Strategic Planning Committee.  If any members or friends want to give advance input into this effort, comments can be submitted to Neet Ford, JAVA Executive Director, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

I encourage all JAVA Members and Friends to participate in these events and welcome your comments.  I look forward to seeing you there.  

Former JAVA EC Members Shares Thoughts on Shima's Nisei Proved Their Loyalty in WWII and did More.  Sansei and Yonsei Built on Nisei Achievement.

President Truman reviews the 442nd RCT at the Ellipse, July 15, 1946. Photo: U.S. Signal Corps. 

In response to Terry Shima’s powerful article in the Advocate, Nisei Proved Their Loyalty in WWII and did More.  Sansei and Yonsei Built on Nisei Achievement.

Terry Shima continues to serve the Japanese American community with his insightful article in the current Advocate,  Nisei Proved Their Loyalty in WWII and did More.  Sansei and Yonsei Built on Nisei Achievement.

The Department of Veterans Affairs undertook a survey in 2018 that showed there were 568,344 surviving World War II veterans, out of over 16 million Americans who served in the United States. The VA predicted that as of 2022, there will be 174,387 WWII veterans still alive.

There were approximately 33000 Japanese American who served in WWII.  If you extrapolate the percentages from the Americans writ large to the surviving Japanese Americans, there should be around 360 JA’s still alive today.

We owe all the 33,000 a debt of gratitude and we should personally thank any of the survivors still around, such as Terry Shima.  His article in the JAVA Advocate raised an interesting issue about the Executive Order 9981.  Although the original intent of the President Truman’s order was to benefit Black Americans, it benefited all minorities in this country.

As Terry pointed out, “Randy Sowell, an archivist at Truman Library observed that ‘the contributions of U.S. minority groups to the military effort in World War II contributed to the postwar movement to end discrimination against those groups in the armed forces and in U.S. society at large. President Truman was disturbed by reports of mistreatment of Black and Nisei veterans by civilians after the war,’” the Nisei soldiers played a large part in convincing Truman to issue the order. 

I believe if the focus was merely on the heroic deeds of Blacks in the military without the extraordinary achievements of the 442/100, the order may not have come about.  Mistreatment of Blacks in this country alone did not change the course of action, it was their plight combined with the history of the treatment of the Japanese Americans, especially of the Nisei coming out of concentration camps to fight for liberty, freedom, justice, and the American way of life, that tipped the scale in favor of the order.

Due to the Nisei war effort, we, beginning with the boomer generation, have reaped huge benefits from those 33,000 who wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life.  Those of us in JAVA have had the privilege of working with many of those heroes such as Phil Ishio, joe Ichiuji, Grant Hirabayashi, Ben Obata, and Terry.

I know that I have benefited from their achievements, receiving a commission in the Navy, and later becoming a Deputy Assistant Secretary, all because of those young men, who through adversity, triumphed.  I don’t think we will ever see the likes of it again, they fought the America’s enemy abroad, on separate continents, across vast oceans while knowing their family still faced the prejudices in America, deprived of the very rights they were dying to preserve, and then when they came home to a hero’s welcome, they continued their battles here to secure for my generation the rights America denied them.

Thank you, for all that you have done, during and after the war.


Bill Houston

Ritchie Girls and Ritchie WACS

Dr. Beverley Eddy's presentation on Ritchie Girls and Ritchie WACS." Image: YouTube Screenshot.

Friends of Camp Richie President Bernie Lubran shared a YouTube presentation by Professor Beverley Drive Eddy on "Ritchie Girls and Ritchie WACS." At 28:49 into the presentation, Dr. Eddy describes the experiences of two "Ritchie Girls," Tamie Tsuchiyama and Sue Kato, who were Japanese American WACS who came to Camp Ritchie to interpret captured Japanese documents. To watch click here.

[EdNote: The Friends of Camp Richie was established to educate the public on the heroic service during WWII of veterans known as the Ritchie Boys, and enable veterans of Camp Ritchie to tell their stories. JAVA thanks Bernie Lubran for sharing Professor Eddy's presentation.]

Aloha from Granges-Aumontzey, France

Opening screenshot of YouTube video featuring "Aloha" song by retirement home residents of L'Accueil de la Vologne in Grangand and 4th and 5th grade elementary school students from Biffontaine and La Chapelle devant Bruyereses-Aumontzey, France. Image: Screenshot from video. 

Note the video link has been updated. Please view at: 


The video features a song created by the retirement home residents of L'Accueil de la Vologne in Grangand and 4th and 5th-grade elementary school students from Biffontaine and La Chapelle Devant Bruyereses-Aumontzey, France. The song is part of a larger effort to ensure the story of the 442nd's liberation of Bruyeres and the Battle of Biffontaine are not forgotten. Please contact Marion Keiffer Rys at alohagranges@gmail.com to share your thoughts about the video.

JAVA Fall Luncheon 

October 22, 2022

Eric Federing, Norman Mineta's former press secretary speak on The Legacy of Norm Mineta - a View from a Senior Staffer, Later Friend, Later Extended Family

L-R: Norman Mineta and Eric Federing. Photo taken in the U.S.Capitol Building at a 2008 event celebrating the 20th anniversary of Redress. Photo: Courtesy of Eric Federing.

JAVA Fall Luncheon

October 22, 2022

11:30 AM

Meiwah Restaurant

4457 Willard Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD 

Join us to hear Eric Federing, Norman Mineta's former press secretary speak on The Legacy of Norm Mineta - a View from a Senior Staffer, Later Friend, Later Extended Family at JAVA's October 22, 2022 Luncheon.  Also joining us is Lawrence A. Provost, from the VA, who will give a brief update on National Cemetery Administration (NCA) burial and memorial benefits.

The luncheon is $40.00. Registration and payment may be made here. Unfortunately, we can not offer registration at the door, all RSVPs and payments must be made online by Wednesday, October 19.  Please email Neet Ford if you have questions at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Eric Federing

Eric Federing was Norm Mineta’s personal press secretary and then House Transportation Committee Communications Director for Mineta from the Summer of 1987 until Mineta’s retirement from the House in the Fall of 1995. In the Summer of 2000, Federing was a member of Mineta’s transition advisor team upon Norm becoming Secretary of Commerce. In between, Federing continued to serve in his Transportation Committee capacity until 1997 when he became press secretary to Senator Joe Lieberman. In 1999, Federing was recruited by professional services firm KPMG LLP to create a new, non-lobbying practice with their Office of Government Affairs where he remains a Managing Director. Among his other civic-related activities, Federing has had more than 20 years of combined service as a member of the boards of directors for the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation and the congressionally-chartered National Conference on Citizenship. He has been married to Daphne Federing for more than 20 years and are together the very proud parents of Julia and Eileen. Norm, Deni, and the Mineta family are family to the Federings.

Fall Luncheon RSVP

17th Annual Nisei Soldiers Memorial Service Held at the Punchbowl

Honor Guard from 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment give 21-gun salute and play taps. National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Sunday, September 25, 2022. Photo: Lynn Mariano. 

On Sunday, September 25, 2022, the Nisei Veterans Legacy gathered at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific to hold its Annual Nisei Soldiers Memorial Service with the theme “A Legacy for All Generations.” Now in its 17th year, the Punchbowl service "began as a way for the Nisei veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion to pay tribute to their fallen comrades." This year, JAVA Hawaii Regional Representative MAJ Lynn Mariano, USA (Ret), participated in the ceremony on behalf of JAVA.

The service was livestreamed and will be available to watch online in late October at ŌleloNet at https://olelo.org/olelonet/ or just search, “nisei.”

Cadet wreath presenters Jheslyn Galpia and Trish Tides, Farrington High School Junior ROTC Class of 2024 and Lynn Mariano. Photo: JAVA member COL Walter Ozawa, USA (Ret). 

Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii. Photo: Lynn Mariano. 

JAVA Member David Nishitani Shares Photos from Po Valley Campaign Tour

Group photo with the Toscana '44, a historical society that restored fox holes, gun positions, and observation points on Hill 140, near Castellina Marittima, Italy. The Germans defended Hill 140 to the point that it slowed the Allied troops down from getting to the Arno River. Resistance by the Germans was so fierce at Hill 140 that it was dubbed "Little Cassino." Photo: David Nishitani.

Steve Bertagni pointing out where Rudi Tokiwa singlehandedly took a group of German Prisoners. Photo: David Nishitani.

Group in front of a welcome banner in Pianosinatico where they visited Laltrolato del Caposaldo, a Gothic Line Museum that has four rooms: the Italian room, the Partisan room, the American room, and the German room. Photo: David Nishitani.

[EdNote: JAVA thanks member David Nishitani for sharing his trip photos with us!]

Join Us Virtually for JAVA's Annual Veterans Day Program

Friday, November 11, 2022

2 pm EST/ 1 pm CST/ 11 am PST/ 9 am HST 

Keynote Speaker

 U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Monica C. Williams

National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII, Washington, DC.

2021 Veterans Day Program, National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII. L-R: LTC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret) and COL Danielle Ngo, USA. Photo: Nicole Yamada.

The Veterans Day Program is co-sponsored by the Japanese American Veterans Association and the National Japanese American Memorial Foundations (NJAMF) and will be livestreamed via Facebook. Viewers can go to the JAVA website at JAVA-US.org and watch from JAVA’s Facebook page. Members, friends, and interested persons can watch the program online or attend in person 

JAVA’s Veterans Day Program has been selected by the Veterans Day National Committee, which is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs, as one of the “Veterans Day observances throughout the country that represents a fitting tribute to America’s heroes.”  

LTC Monica C. Williams

LTC Williams received her commission into the Chemical Corps and branched detailed Military Intelligence.  LTC Williams was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  She served as the Division Support Command Chemical Officer. She transitioned to the 313th Military Intelligence Battalion to serve as the Intelligence and Surveillance Platoon Leader, 2nd Brigade Combat Team’s Counter Intelligence, Human Intelligence, and ground surveillance support.  While assigned to Fort Bragg, she deployed twice to Iraq to support Operation Iraqi Freedom and also supported Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana.  

She was then assigned to the 513th Intelligence Brigade, Fort Gordon, Georgia, as the Signals Intelligence Officer supporting Third Army Central Command, providing analysis, production reporting, and direct overwatch.  She served as the Alpha Company commander, 297th Military Intelligence Battalion, providing strategic and operational level all-source intelligence.  While assigned to Fort Gordon, she deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait to support Operation Enduring Freedom. LTC Williams then moved on to a special operations assignment, serving as a mission commander, troop Commander, Task Force Operations officer, group executive officer, and battalion commander. She is currently serving in U.S. Special Operations Command’s Legislative Affairs as a Legislative Liaison. 

LTC Williams’ graduate of the Chemical Officers Basic Course, Military Intelligence Advanced Course, and Signals Intelligence Course. She also attended the U.S Army Jumpmaster School, Military Freefall School, and Air Assault School. She holds a bachelor’s in computer information science from Mary Baldwin College, a master’s in National Security and Strategic Studies from the US Naval War College, and a master’s in Data Analytics and Policy from Johns Hopkins University.  

LTC Williams is married to Sean Williams. 

Oregon Nisei Veterans WW II Memorial Highway 

August 13, 2022, the Oregon Nisei Veterans WW II Memorial Highway was dedicated. The ceremony was conducted at the Wy'east Middle School Performing Arts Center in Odell, Oregon. In the photo the four gentlemen sitting in the front are Nisei Veterans from left to right are: JAVA member Homer Yasui, Henry Ueno, Tom Smuoge and Frank Nakata. The gentlemen behind the Veterans were assisting them and served on the highway advisory group or former Oregon Government officials from left to right are:  Mark Takiguchi, Jeff Matsumoto, Ron Iwasaki-Commander, Oregon Nisei Veterans, Dwight Onchi, former OR Governor Ted Kulongoski, and former Oregon Representative Brian Clem. Photo: David Nishitani.

Nisei Veterans Honor Roll. Photo: David Nishitani.

Nisei Veterans WWII Memorial Hwy Bill signed by Gov. Brown

August 5, 2022

SALEM – During a ceremony today, Gov. Kate Brown signed a Bill passed by the state legislature that will allow the dedication of a highway in honor of Oregon Japanese American World War II veterans. With Brown’s signature on Senate Bill 1509, State Highway 35 will soon be dedicated as the Oregon Nisei Veterans World War II Memorial Highway and signs will be posted along the route.

SB 1509 proposed the dedication of the 41-mile highway that runs between I-84 in Hood River and Highway 26 near Government Camp.  The Bill was passed unanimously earlier this year by the Oregon Senate and House.

Joining Brown at her desk were several people from around the state who helped propose and support the Bill including one Nisei veteran, Yoshiro Tokiwa from Vancouver, Wash.

Brown told the gathering that Nisei veterans were a strong integral part of the U.S. military serving as interpreters gathering intelligence, as infantry soldiers and elsewhere.  “We must never forget this tragic event in our history and learn from our past. This highway’s dedication truly commemorates and is a reminder of their brave service to our country.”

Drafted at age 18 from the incarceration camp in Poston, Ariz., Tokiwa, 97, served as a Technician 2 with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe.  “It’s an honor to be recognized like this for our military service so long ago,” Tokiwa said. “I’m very proud and happy to be here.”

The 442nd RCT, or Purple Heart Battalion, is the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. Its solders received more than 18,000 awards.

During World War II and the post-war recovery, more than 33,000 Nisei served with honor and distinction in the United States military, of which 433 were reportedly from Oregon, and 58 specifically from Hood River County.  Their collective service came despite federal Executive Order 9066 issued in February 1942 that directed that Japanese Americans be removed to government-built camps.

A highway dedication ceremony is scheduled on Sat., Aug. 13 at Wy’East Middle School’s performing arts center in Odell.  Nisei dignitaries and veterans, former Gov. Ted Kulongoski, legislators and the bill’s co-proponents Dr. Linda Tamura, Eric Ballinger, and retired Lt. Col. Dick Tobiason will be participating.

Ballinger, the grandson of a Nisei veteran, told the ceremonial group that “Nisei veterans earned every inch of that road – a road that leads back home.”

As with the 93 other highway signs placed around the state that honor veterans, these four highway signs are being funded by private donations and will be placed and maintained at no cost to the state.

[EdNote: JAVA thanks Linda Tamura, Eric Ballinger, Mike Allegre for this press release and for keeping us up to date on the Nisei Veterans WWII Memorial Highway Bill. We also thank JAVA member David Nishitani for sharing photos of the naming ceremony with JAVA.] 

Save the Date

October 22, 2022 - JAVA Fall Luncheon, Meiwah Restaurant, 4457 Willard Avenue, Chevy Chase, MD. "The Legacy Norman Mineta" with Eric Federing, Former Mineta Press Secretary. 11:30 am to 1:30 pm.

November 11, 2022 - Veterans Day Program at 2:00 pm. The keynote speaker will be U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Monica C. Williams. National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism in WWII, Washington, DC. 

November 11, 2022 - Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School, Veterans Day Concert, 7:00 pm, Northwest High School, 13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown, MD. 

February 4, 2023 - Virtual General Membership Meeting. More information to follow. 

Student Loans: Public Service Loan Forgiveness applications must be submitted by

October 31, 2022

Reprinted from VA News

Eligible Veterans, active-duty service members and others can erase their student loans through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The program removes the burden of student debt on public servants, making it possible for many borrowers to stay in their jobs, and entices others to work in high-need fields.

Months on active duty count

The Department of Education will allow months spent on active duty to count toward PSLF, even if the service member’s loans were on a deferment or forbearance rather than in active repayment. This change addresses one major challenge service members face in accessing PSLF.

Service members on active duty can qualify for student loan deferments and forbearances that help them through periods in which service inhibits their ability to make payments. But, too often, members of the military find out that those same deferments or forbearances granted while they served our country did not count toward PSLF.

This change ensures that members of the military will not need to focus on their student loans while serving our country. Federal Student Aid will develop and implement a process to address periods of student loan deferments and forbearance for active-duty service members and will update affected borrowers to let them know what they need to do to take advantage of this change.

Giving federal employees credit

The Department of Education will begin automatically giving federal employees credit for PSLF by matching Department of Education data with information held by other federal agencies about service members and the federal workforce. These matches will help the Department of Education identify others who may also be eligible but cannot benefit automatically, like those with FFEL loans.

Qualifying employers

Any U.S. federal, state, local or tribal government agency is considered a government employer for the PSLF Program. This includes employers such as the U.S. military, public elementary and secondary schools, public colleges and universities, public child and family service agencies, and special governmental districts (including entities such as public transportation, water, bridge district, or housing authorities).

A government contractor isn’t considered a government employer.

You can visit the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Help Tool, which will help you determine if an employer is considered a qualifying employer under the PSLF Program.

Income doesn’t matter

There is no income requirement to qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. However, since your required monthly payment amount under most of the qualifying PSLF repayment plans is based on your income, your income level over the course of your public service employment might be a factor in determining whether you have a remaining loan balance to be forgiven after making 120 qualifying payments.

Know you have creditable service?

If you know that you have qualifying employment that you have not yet certified with the Department of Education, you can certify that employment now by using the PSLF Help Tool.

Haven’t applied yet?

You will need to submit a PSLF form so the Department of Education can review your loans under the simplified rules and determine whether your current or past employers qualify for PSLF. You can submit this form through the PSLF Help Tool. Because the Department of Education expects an influx of applicants due to this announcement, you may see some delays in having your application processed.

[EdNote: The article can be found online at https://news.va.gov/107245/public-service-loan-forgiveness-oct-31-2022/?ct=t(EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_5_19_2022_14_55_COPY_01) 


Yuri Kotani Murakami

November 6, 1926 - September 12, 2022

Yuri Murakami, age 95, of Vienna, Virginia passed away peacefully at her home on September 12, 2022. Yuri was born on November 2, 1926 in Sacramento, California to father Hiyokutaro Ishigaki, mother Matsuo and beloved stepfather Goichi Kotani. Yuri is survived by son Dean (Pat), son Sean (Oanh); grandchildren Matthew, Ryan, Isabelle, Jordan and Janelle. Preceded in death by her loving husband Fred of 62 years. Yuri loved life and enjoyed meeting new people. She could always make a friend and would be first to lend a helping hand. Yuri instilled happiness and joy in her family and friend's lives. Family was the number one priority in her life and her grandchildren were the pride and joy of her life. Yuri lived a long and wonderful life with no regrets and was at peace to be joining her loving husband. Yuri will always be remembered and never forgotten. One of her favorite sayings "Hugs are good medicine" will always live on in the Murakami family. Per her request, a private service will be held on her behalf.

Published by The Washington Post on Sep. 22, 2022.

[EdNote: JAVA sends its deepest condolences to the Murakami Family. Fred and Yuri were active supporters of JAVA in the early years. Fred Murakami was JAVA's first Secretary and served in that role from 1992-1996. He then served as President of JAVA from 1997 to 1998.]

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

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