JACL, JAVA, JAMF, and JACL DC's 75th Annual Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery, May 28, 2023. Photo: N. Ford.
Chirping birds heralded summer as JAVA along with the Japanese American Citizens League, DC Chapter, the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, and JACL National honored fallen veterans at the 75th Annual Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery in the Columbarium Ceremonial Courtyard on Sunday, May 28, 2023.
A large post-COVID return to normalcy crowd and a surprise visit from long time member and former Executive Director, Terry Shima, 442nd RCT, made the solemn gathering ripe with meaning and connection. The service opened with a welcome by event Chair Turner Kobayashi. Next, leaders of each organization (see JAVA President Gerald Yamada's remarks below) addressed the group reflecting on the theme of 75 Years: Honoring Our Heros. Attendees then enjoyed hearing the thoughts of siblings Kaitlyn Lawrence, a 4th Grader at Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School and Aiden Lawrence, a 6th grader at Kingsview Middle School, both in Gaithersburg, MD, on the meaning of Memorial Day. Kaitlyn and Aiden, knowing firsthand the sadness of missing an uncle in the military who is often absent on holidays and birthdays, the brother and sister reflected on the sacrifice of service members and their families at home. Keynote speaker JAVA Executive Council member Major Kay Izumihara, USAR, highlighted the wartime experiences and paths of Nisei soliders and wondered if during her assignments she had walked in their footsteps. Izumihara shared that although she is not a descendant of a Nisei solider, she is inspired by and a descendant of a grandfather deeply affected by WWII and of a father who served in Korea.
I am not a descendant of a Nisei Soldier, but my American roots originate from the war. My maternal Japanese grandfather, Reverend Seimoku Kosaka, worked at a West Coast Buddhist temple. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was detained and spent the war in various internment camps. My father, born in Honolulu, HI, spent his youth under martial law with a daily curfew. During this time, his family was forced to destroy their Japanese cultural heirlooms to “prove loyalty” to the U.S. He enlisted in the US Army after high school and served in Korea in the late 1950s. He always reminded me throughout my childhood that I should be proud to be an American because of the sacrifices of the 442nd and 100th Infantry Battalion. (See full remarks below.)
After Major Izumihara's address, Robert Nakamoto, a SSGT in the U.S. Air Force, a
former Topaz incarceree, a Korean
War veteran, and a former president
of JAVA, was honored. His daughter Mae Nakamoto and grandson Major Mike Lewis USMC each gave a tribute, both remembering the lessons learned from his wisdom, encouragement, and patriotism. Resting on tradition, the morning concluded with Michelle Amano, JACL-DC Board member, reading the Japanese American Creed, which was written by her grandfather, Mike Masaoka, followed by TAPS and a salute to fallen veterans.
Following the service, attendees fanned out across Arlington and placed flowers at 160 gravesites of those honored by JAVA, JACL-DC, NJAMF, and JACL National.
Terry Shima, 442nd RCT, Mrs. Key Kobayashi, and Turner Kobayashi, 2023 Memorial Day Service, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: John Tobe.
Taps and Salute, 2023 Memorial Day Service, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: John Tobe.
Major Kay Izumihara, USAR
Memorial Day Remarks
Major Kay Izumihara, USAR, JAVA Secretary, 2023 Memorial Day Service, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: N. Ford.
Good Morning, Distinguished guests, families, and friends of Nisei Veterans, ladies and, gentlemen,
Thank you, Mr. Yamada, for the introduction, I am honored and humbled to be the keynote speaker for today’s event. Thank you, students, for your remarkable presentations, which is hard to follow but I will do my best.
Finally, thank you to the Kobayashi family for continuing to organize this event for the last 75 years. It is amazing to be a part of an enduring event that started from honoring the first two Nisei veterans interred here at Arlington National Cemetery. Today, we are honoring over 100 fallen Japanese American Service men and women who have served in all wars since WWII and have earned their spaces to rest among other great American Military Veterans.
Memorial Day is an American holiday to Remember and Honor the Veterans who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice. Originally known as Decoration Day following the Civil War and the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries, it became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans will gather this weekend at national cemeteries across the nation and globe to honor the fallen service men and women, including 26 permanent American cemeteries and 32 federal memorials, monuments and markers located in 17 foreign countries, most of which commemorate those who served in WW1 and WW2.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are in the presence of the extraordinary. Many Nisei Soldiers are among the American heroes buried here at Arlington National Cemetery. The segregated, all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, are remembered as the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of the United States military. The 442nd boasts an impressive combat record, 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 371 Silver Stars, 5,200 Bronze Stars, and over 4,000 Purple Hearts. In addition, Congress awarded all members of the 442nd, 100th Infantry BN, and Military Intelligence Service the Congressional Gold Medal for their heroic service during WW2.
This year marks the 80th anniversary of the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, known for their motto “Go for Broke”, meaning they gave it their ALL to win big. Following Pearl Harbor and President Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 9066, Nisei’s were stripped of their constitutional rights and incarcerated. Subsequently, thousands of Nisei’s were eager to prove their loyalty to their country and volunteered to serve in the 442nd and 100th INF BN. After over a year of intense training at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, and Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the 100th Infantry Battalion from Hawaii first landed in North Africa; then headed to Southern Italy where they fought valiantly in the Battle of Monte Cassino. This hard-fought battle earned them the nickname “The Purple Heart Battalion” due to so many casualties. Then, they merged with the 442nd to replenish their ranks. The 442nd’s notable combat actions included: the “Rescue of the Lost Battalion” of 211 Texan Soldiers in Eastern France, liberating French towns of Bruyere, Belmont, and Biffontaine, liberating the Dachau extermination camp, and breaking through the “Gothic Line”- the last German defensive line in Northern Italy. These heroic actions resulted in 9,486 total casualties and 600 men killed. In addition, more than 6000 Nisei’s served in the Military Intelligence Service, using their language and cultural skills to save countless lives and shorten the war immeasurably. As “America’s Secret Weapon” in the Pacific, they interrogated prisoners, infiltrated enemy lines, and translated captured documents including Japan’s Z plan for the defense of the Philippines. They served in every combat theatre and campaign and at all echelons from front lines to higher headquarters with the US and other allied forces. Many of these Nisei’s had strong ties to Japan and some even lived and studied in Japan prior to the war. They were instrumental in the occupation and rebuilding of post-war Japan.
As President Truman stated upon the Nisei’s homecoming parade, “You fought NOT ONLY the enemy abroad but you fought prejudice at home, and YOU WON”.
I am not a descendant of a Nisei Soldier, but my American roots originate from the war. My maternal Japanese grandfather, Reverend Seimoku Kosaka, worked at a West Coast Buddhist temple. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was detained and spent the war in various internment camps. My father, born in Honolulu, HI, spent his youth under martial law with a daily curfew. During this time, his family was forced to destroy their Japanese cultural heirlooms to “prove loyalty” to the U.S. He enlisted in the US Army after high school and served in Korea in the late 1950s. He always reminded me throughout my childhood that I should be proud to be an American because of the sacrifices of the 442nd and 100th Infantry Battalion.
Growing up in Los Angeles, I recall placing American flags across the L.A. National Cemetery on Memorial Day events. Now, as an adult, I reflect on the last 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserves, performing endless training and volunteering for active duty tours across the globe. I think about my training at Fort Sam Houston 19 years ago and wonder if I had stood in formations in the same fields as LTC Ruth Tanaka, USA Nurse Corps in 1950. While deployed to Guantanamo Bay 18 years ago, I wonder if I had walked on the same dirt roads or the grounds of the Naval Hospital as CAPT Miki Iwata, USN Nurse Corps? As a non-commissioned officer, I attended leadership training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and I wonder if I was issued the same load-bearing equipment and rifle and if I had marched through the same forest as the Nisei Soldiers training for WWII? As an officer years later serving on active duty in Northern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia, I wonder how many Nisei Soldier’s footsteps I followed?
Now, as I raise my own children, I find myself asking, what do I want them to know about their history? Perhaps it was what my father and grandfather would want me to understand about freedom. That it is not “free”, a heavy price was paid by former generations and especially the Nisei Soldiers during WWII, and it should never be forgotten or taken for granted. I have experienced my fair share of injustices and discrimination, and the world today is far from perfect, but I am still grateful of the former generations for their sacrifices, and I feel hopeful that the next generation will prevail and thrive. As we lay flowers over the gravesites of the Nisei Soldiers and their families this morning, I will humbly give my gratitude to all those who gave me the opportunities I have today as a free Japanese American.
Memorial Day Remarks
Gerald Yamada, JAVA President, 2023 Memorial Day Service, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: N. Ford.
On behalf of the Japanese American Veterans Association, I welcome you to the 75th annual Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery.
JAVA is proud to again co-sponsor this service. We thank the Key Kobayashi family for organizing this event.
Today, our theme is “honoring our heroes”. A “hero” can be definedas“… someone who knowingly and voluntarily makes a conscious decision to sacrifice something of one’s self for the greater good of others.”
What better role model of heroes do we have than the 33,000 Japanese American, men and women, who answered the call to defend a country that considered them “non-aliens” and that unjustly denied them their freedoms?
To overcome this prejudice, they served with personal courage and exceptional valor. Their legendary “Go For Broke” spirit proved their loyalty to America and restored the civil rights and dignity of all Japanese Americans. They forged a legacy that continues to benefit all of us.
On this day, and every day, let us embrace their legacy by keeping faith in America, as our way to fight the on-going war against prejudice, as did the Nisei soldiers whom we honor today as our heroes.
And, in appreciation to all, who have served and are serving, we simply say, “Thank you for your service and God bless you.”
Tribute to Her Father
Robert (Bob) Nakamoto
Mae Nakamoto, daughter and Major Michael Lewis, USMC, grandson of Robert (Bob) Nakamoto, a SSGT in the U.S. Air Force, a former Topaz incarceree, a Korean War veteran, and a former president of JAVA. Photo: John Tobe.
WELCOME RESPONSE REMARKS
My family and I are honored to be here on the 75th year of the annual Memorial Day service and to speak about my late Father, Bob Nakamoto. Bob is interred here at Arlington Cemetery in Section Niche wall N70-K-12-2.
Bob was second generation (Nisei) born in Sacramento, California and was the oldest of 8 children. His early days included growing up on the family persimmon farm in Northern California.
When the war escalated and Executive Order 9066 was put into action on February 19, 1942, my dad and his family were sent to the camps. He spent most of his years of time at Camp Topaz in Utah.
He rarely spoke about the camps but in his later years he seemed to try to put a positive spin on some parts. He would mention with a grin that towards the end of their time the guard wasn’t watching them it seemed so he and a couple of others would sneak out of the camp and explore close by. He also mentioned that the water was nice and cold. It was the core of his character, always finding something positive and trying to find humor.
He developed a fierce determination to succeed and carried a deep love for our country. He was so proud to be an American & determined to bring honor to his family and country.
He served in the Air Force during the Korean War and was a lifetime VFW member. Three of his younger brothers also served in the military.
COLLEGE He earned his bachelor’s degree from California State University – Sacramento
He used to say that one of the few things in life that no one could ever take away from you was your education.
Some highlights include being:
Manager of Data Processing for the State of California.
Deputy Commissioner for Planning for the state of Texas and conferred. the title of Honorary Citizen of Texas.
Director of Planning for Medicare and Medicaid Programs for the federal government.
Director of Corporate Systems Development for MCI.
In his early 50s he decided to start his own company, Base Technologies. He started this out of his condominium and grew it to an award-winning IT company with millions of dollars in revenue, and awards in the 25 years he owned it.
He served on Presidential Task Forces for both parties.
Some of the key awards he received were:
Placer High School Hall of Fame – Auburn, CA
JAVA’s Terry Shima Leadership Award
Government of Japan Foreign Minister’s Award in recognition of his efforts to enhance Japan-US relations.
COMMUNITY SERVICE He was always active in veteran and community service and organizations to include VFW, JACL, JAVA, PPALM
JAVA was an organization that he was extremely passionate about. It was a running joke that if he could rope you in, you were going to a JAVA activity. Community involvement was a top priority for Bob, and it showed through his dedication in his involvement with JAVA.
Bob served as President of JAVA for 4 years from January 2007 to December 31, 2010. This period is marked by JAVA's major activities and growth.
To Quote everyone’s hero -TERRY SHIMA: Bob spent lots of corporate and personal time handling JAVA business. Why, because he cared, he was determined to make JAVA succeed. He gave JAVA the same care and attention he gave to his successful technology corporation.
MAJOR PROJECTS HE PARTICIPATED IN
National Japanese Memorial
Sponsored the Fairfax County Asian American History Project (FCAAHP)
Chaired the finance committee of the combined veterans’ group which worked to obtain congressional approval for the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor this nation can bestow.
Participated as a speaker on the JAVA Speakers Bureau visiting think tanks, corporations, community organizations , and government offices to tell the Japanese American story.
For all his accomplishments, Bob was most well-known for his love of people. He remained humble and generous.
He loved connecting people and watching them grow and succeed.
One of his favorite phrases is – KEEP PLUGGING AWAY. His humble way of saying never quit, shake off the doubt or tough times and you will accomplish your goals.
JUST BE HAPPY – He always wanted people to be happy.
THAT WAS YESTERDAY THIS IS TODAY – His way of saying shake off the negative, focus, and appreciate today.
HIGHLIGHTS OF LIFE EVENTS
Bob broke through many glass ceilings. He started his own company in his fifties because he said he believed that as a Japanese American, it was the only way for him to achieve the level of success he wanted.
He was a frequent visitor to events at the Japanese Ambassador’s home.
He was interviewed on stage by former President George HW Bush about the Medicare health care act because Bob was still working after the age of 70.
He also had the honor of being hosted in the White House by former President and First Lady Michelle Obama.
My Dad once mentioned that after they got out of the camps, his grandparents told him they better not dare complain. He said they told him they arrived in the United States with no place to stay and unable to speak the language, so they did not want to ever hear any complaints. Another positive aspect he carried even as he battled lung cancer for the last 5 years of his life. Not once – NEVER – did he ever complain. He was determined to live life and make the most of each day. He displayed what I would like to think of as a true American spirit.
CONCLUSION and THANK YOU
Having this as his final resting place cements what he worked his entire life for. He might not have known it as he was “plugging away,” but his fierce patriotism, work ethic and determination led him to us gathering today to remember him. Today is even more special as my son, Mike, is here to say a few words about him as well. My Dad played a huge role in helping me raise him. Towards the end when I could tell he really wasn’t feeling well, I would remind him that he helped me raise a Marine Corps Officer, and that always brought a smile to his face. The tradition of patriotism and service to our country continues.
Deepest gratitude to the Kobayashi family for their sacrifices and this tradition that continues to bring us together every year for this special event.
Thanks so much for your time and the opportunity to speak about my dad. Special thanks to JACL, JACL DC Chapter, JAVA, the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation. Most of all, extreme gratitude to those we are surrounded by in this sacred area – our brave men and women that sacrificed everything for our country. God bless America.
Memorial Day Ceremony
National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
JAVA Hawaii Regional Representative Lynn Mariano represents JAVA at Memorial Day Ceremony at the Punchbowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Mariano.
JAVA Wreath, Memorial Day Ceremony at Punchbowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Mariano.
Lynn Mariano, JAVA Hawaii Regional Representative, honorably represented JAVA at both Governor Josh Green, M.D., and City and County of Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi Memorial Day Ceremonies at Punchbowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific and The Hawaiʻi State Veterans Cemetery respectively. The photos represent the JAVA Wreath and Lei dedicated in memory of our fallen Comrades in Arms.
Hawaiʻi Lieutenant Governor
Sylvia Luke, and JAVA HI Regional Representative, Lynn Mariano, Memorial Day Ceremony at Punchbowl, National Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, HI. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Mariano.
JAVA Banner Proudly Displayed Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade
JAVA member and Vietnam veteran Tak Furumoto and the local Boy Scout Troop carry the JAVA banner and GO FOR BROKE Flag in Forest Hills Memorial Day Parade. Photo: Courtesy of Tak Furumoto.
JAVA Day of Affirmation Luncheon
The Army and Navy Club, Washington DC
Sunday, July 16, 2023
Mural by Nobuo Kitagaki in Building 305, Camp Ritchie, MD. Photo: Courtesy of Landon Grove.
Day of Affirmation Luncheon
Sunday, July 16, 2023, at 11:30 am
The Army and Navy Club
901 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, DC
Ritchie History Museum Director & Curator
RSVP by July 10
Cost: $60.00 per person
Please join us on Sunday, July 16 at The Army and Navy Club at Farragut Square in Washington, DC to celebrate JAVA's Day of Affirmation!
The keynote speaker will be Mr. Landon Grove, Director and Curator of the Ritchie Museum, who will share the fascinating history of Camp Ritchie. Camp Ritchie is where U.S. soldiers were trained in German, Italian, and French to decode enemy communications and interrogate prisoners of war captured in Europe. One class of the Nisei Military Intelligence Service was also trained at Camp Ritchie. While there, the above Japanese American mural is believed to have been painted by Nisei solder Nobuo Kitagaki. The Ritchie Museum was recently awarded a grant from the State of Maryland to restore the mural, which is located in a building next to the museum. We hope you can join us and learn more about the museum and the mural!
The luncheon program will begin at 11:30 am. All guests are asked to arrive by 11:15 am to allow time to check-in.
"The Army and Navy Club has been a prestigious home away from home for the most illustrious names in America's military and political history. The Club is a private, members only, Five Star Platinum Club on Washington, DC's historic Farragut Square. Valued by members as a distinguished landmark where traditions and camaraderie reign, the Club's timeless elegance and atmosphere are complimented with fine dining, delightful accommodations, an exceptional library, and special events designed to benefit all members.” (https://www.armynavyclub.org/)
LOC Veteran Interviews
A Bay Area high school student who’s working with the Library of Congress (LOC) to document the stories of American veterans recently contact JAVA with an offer to interview interested veterans. The brief interviews are conducted via Zoom and then he sends the oral histories to the Library of Congress where they are stored. The purpose of this project is to document the individual stories and sacrifices of veterans, so future generations can access and learn from them. If you are interested in the LOC project, please contact Neet Ford at email@example.com and she will connect you with the student.
JAVA Member COL Julia Coxen, USA, Promoted to Director of the Department of Systems Engineering at West Point
Hannah Clifford, CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), Colonel Julia Coxen, USA, at West Point Distinguished Graduate Ceremony. Photo: Courtesy of Wade Ishimoto.
By CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret)
On May 23, 2023, I was able to see JAVA Member COL Julia Coxen. She led the Glee Club as it sang for a Distinguished Graduate Ceremony at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point). Julia has been promoted to the Director of the Department of Systems Engineering. That Department is one of the most prestigious Departments at West Point that is usually led by a West Point graduate. Her promotion to become the Director of Strategic Studies at West Point marks the first time a female has been appointed to that prestigious position. I was able to meet a few of the cadets enrolled in her program and they spoke highly of her!
JAVA member Hannah Clifford who graduated from West Point in 1995, was very kind in driving me to and from the ceremony. Hannah is the daughter of my deceased high school classmate, Richard Chang, who retired as the Episcopal Bishop of Hawaii. Hannah was the Captain of the USMA Tennis team and was able to meet the current tennis coach on this trip.
Hannah Clifford and Colonel Julia Coxen, USA, at West Point Distinguished Graduate Ceremony. Photo: Courtesy of Wade Ishimoto.
Hannah Clifford and CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), at West Point Distinguished Graduate Ceremony. Photo: Courtesy of Wade Ishimoto.
Vietnamese-American Service Members’ Parallel Paths to the American Dream
L-R. Rear Admiral Huan Nguyen, U.S. Navy; Major General Lapthe Flora, Virginia National Guard; Major General William Seeley, USMC; Brigadier General John Edwards, US Air Force. Photo: COL Nguyen.
By U.S. Army Colonel Thomas Nguyen, ASA AL&T director of Systems
Special Programs Directorate May 27, 2022
WASHINGTON - In observance of Asian American and Pacific
Islander Month, I’d like to share how four flag officers and I achieved the
American dream through military service.
On April 30, 2022, during the 47th anniversary of
Operation Frequent Wind, I had the honor of hosting a tribute to our fallen
comrades at the Vietnam War Memorial with four Vietnamese-American flag
officers – Maj Gen. Lapthe C. Flora, U.S. Army; Maj. Gen. William H. Seely,
U.S. Marine Corps; Rear Adm. Huan Nguyen, U.S. Navy; and Brig. Gen. John R.
Edwards, U.S. Air Force.
Operation Frequent Wind, initiated just before the fall
of Saigon in 1975, was the final phase of the evacuation of American civilians
and South Vietnamese and would mark the end of more than 20 years of U.S.
involvement in Vietnam. The iconic photo of a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter landing on
the rooftop of a CIA safe house, as scores of desperate Vietnamese families try
to board, illustrates the frenetic evacuation mission.
At that time my mother, Bang Nguyen, was an employee of
the U.S. Defense Attaché Office, and my father, Maj. Dzy Nguyen, was a Republic
of Vietnam Air Force “Bird Dog” forward air-control pilot. My mother sent my
grandparents and me to Saigon as she frantically waited for my father to
conduct his final flight. Fortunately, we were able to evacuate Saigon and my
family would later be reunited in Guam. After arriving at Camp Pendleton in
California, a caring family -- the Springers -- volunteered to sponsor us and
provide short-term housing. We would become part of one of the largest American
refugee resettlement efforts; America welcomed 125,000 Vietnamese as refugees
seeking asylum, and today over 1.4 million Vietnamese immigrants have made the
U.S. their home. I was three years old in 1975 and will always remember my
humble beginnings and will be forever grateful for the opportunities provided
by America, my new home. I graduated from the United States Military Academy in
1995 with a B.S. in systems engineering and management, was commissioned as a
military intelligence officer, and currently serve as the director of the
Systems Special Programs Directorate at the Army’s Office of the Assistant
Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.
Maj. Gen. Lapthe Flora was born in Saigon in 1962. After
the Communists captured the city in 1975, he fled to avoid enslavement by the
North Vietnamese, spending more than three years in the jungle and then fleeing
by boat to Indonesia, where he spent a year living in three different refugee
camps. As a teenager, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 as a "boat
refugee" and was later adopted by Audrey and Jack Flora Jr. of Roanoke,
Virginia. Flora was commissioned as an infantry officer from the Virginia
Military Institute in 1987 and has commanded at every level, from infantry platoon
to combined joint task force. He deployed to the Balkans, the Middle East, and
Africa. His most recent assignment was commanding general of the Combined Joint
Task Force-Horn of Africa, and he currently serves as the special assistant to
the director of the Army National Guard in Arlington, Virginia.
Maj. Gen. William Seely was born in Saigon and immigrated
to the United States with his parents in 1971. As a young child in Southern
California, he vividly remembers watching the fall of Saigon on the news and
helping his parents, who volunteered to assist Vietnamese refugees arriving at
Camp Pendleton. Seely graduated with a bachelor’s degree from American
University and was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training
Corps, George Washington University, in 1989. He joined the Marine Corps
because he wanted to serve his country first and foremost, and to give back. He
currently serves as director of intelligence at Headquarters, United States
Rear Adm. Huan Nguyen was born in Hue, Republic of
Vietnam, the son of an armor officer. During the 1968 Tet Offensive, his
mother, father, five brothers, and a sister were massacred by Viet Cong
communist guerillas in their family home outside Saigon. Although wounded, he
amazingly survived and escaped after dark. In 1975, at age 16, he fled Vietnam
and settled in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Nguyen graduated from Oklahoma State
University with a B.S. in electrical engineering in 1981 and received a direct
commission with the Reserve Engineering Duty Officer Program in 1993. He has
served as a test officer at a ship repair facility, as executive officer and
chief engineer for Joint Counter Radio-Controlled Improvised Explosive Device
Electronic Warfare, as a CREW engineer in Afghanistan, as director of the
Military Program Office at Naval Sea Systems Command, and as Deputy CIO at
NAVSEA, where currently serves as deputy commander of the Cyber Engineering and
Digital Transformation Directorate.
Brig. Gen. John Edwards was born in Saigon to an American
father and a Vietnamese mother. His father was a former Army noncommissioned
officer assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group who later served as a civilian
with the U.S. Navy. Edwards grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, graduating from the
University of Hawaii and commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air
Force in 1995. During his 27-year career, he flew combat missions in two
conflicts, commanded a flying squadron, a flying group, and a bomber wing, and
held multiple assignments on the Joint Staff and Air Staff. He is currently
assigned to the National Security Council at the White House.
These Vietnamese-American flag officers’ paths to America
are an embodiment of the American dream. They proudly and honorably serve in
the U.S. armed forces and dedicate their lives to our country, and recognize
that their success was due to generous people helping them along their
[Ednote. There are two
other flag-rank officers both retired: MG
Viet Xuan Luong, USA (Ret), and RADM Huan Nguyen, USN, whose last position was
Deputy Commander for Cyber Engineering, U.S. Navy. Both fled Vietnam with their families when
Vietnam fell. Luong is the first
Vietnamese American to be promoted to flag rank. U.S. Army Colonel Nguyen wrote the article for the U.S. Army's main website. We wish to thank COL Nguyen for allowing us to print this
article and Tino Dinh, a JAVA member, for arranging our use.]
L to R. Patrick Chew, Chinese Family
History Group, President; Andrew Huber, Library of Congress,
Veterans History Project, Liaison Specialist; Chris Segawa, Veterans Memorial Court
Alliance (VMCA), Board Member; Ken Hayashi, VMCA, President; David
Miyoshi, VMCA, Vice-president; Michelle Jong, Chinese Family History Group,
Past President. Photo by Bannai.
By Don Bannai, Japanese American Vietnam Era Archives
Los Angeles, CA. A simple idea built around a breakfast group that includes Japanese American Vietnam Era Veterans combined with two amateur videographers to record oral histories recognized a major benchmark. The first 20 interviews have been accepted by The Library of Congress Veterans History Project for inclusion in their national digital archives. The Japanese American Vietnam Era Archives JAVEA concept was developed by George Wada and Don Bannai in the Los Angeles area late last year. They have since been able to sit down with 38 veterans to record in-depth oral histories. The veterans have been drawn from the informal Buddhahead Breakfast Club and the Kazuo Masuda Nisei VFW Post 3670 with the endorsement of the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance.
Wada and Bannai met while taking classes for senior citizens through the community non-profit Visual Communications Digital Histories Program. They both have created short documentaries over the past few years featuring Vietnam-era veterans. Through a chance invitation to join a Zoom meeting between the LOC VHP and the Chinese Family History Group, a repository was identified and an idea began to take shape. The oral histories are modeled after those of Densho and the Go for Broke National Education Center. Time is taken in each interview to document the unique stories of veterans who may have been born in or just after the WW2 incarceration centers.
Andrew Huber, Library of Congress Veterans History Project representative who visited Los Angeles recently to meet with JAVEA officials said “Recently the Veterans History Project has been receiving oral history submissions of Japanese-American veterans conducted by members of the Japanese American Vietnam Era Archives (JAVEA). As the liaison responsible for assisting and reviewing the work done by George Wada, Don Bannai, Ken Hayashi, Chris Segawa, and David Miyoshi, I have been so impressed by the incredible quality of work we have received from the JAVEA team. Not only by the professional-level production values, camera work, and masterful interviewing techniques but also by the compelling stories captured. One of the main advantages we have always touted is that the stories entrusted to us will be preserved and made available for generations to come using the considerable expertise and resources of the Library of Congress, and when the submissions we receive are as well-made as those done by JAVEA, it creates a synergy where both sides of the partnership are putting out high-quality work for an excellent final product.”
Bannai and Wada, with support from project advisors, are moving quickly to record veterans in the Los Angeles/Orange County area as well as create the infrastructure necessary to expand the program to other areas. For information about the program contact George Wada firstname.lastname@example.org Don Bannai email@example.com.
Andrew Huber, LOC VHP Liaison Specialist is welcomed to the JA Veterans War Memorial Court by Board Members Ken Hayashi and David Miyoshi on May 18th, 2023. Photo credit: Don Bannai.
East Los Angeles Vet Center Relocates to Monterey Park
Ken Hayashi, President, National Veterans Memorial Court Alliance at the opening celebration on East Los Angeles Veteran Center Relocation to Monterey Park, May 19, 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Ken Hayashi.
Ken Hayashi, President, National Veterans Memorial Court Alliance
Monterey Park, CA. The East Los Angeles Veteran Center held a grand opening celebration on May 19, 2023 to mark the Center's relocation from Montebello to Monterey Park.
In 1979 the Department of Veterans Affairs created an outreach program known as Veteran Centers to offer Vietnam-era veterans and their significant others a wide range of readjustment counseling services in a setting that was less clinical than a typical VA Medical Center.
The East Los Angeles Veterans Center was established in 1981 and is one of four in the greater Los Angeles area. From its original location in Montebello to City of Commerce and now Monterey Park, the East Los Angeles Veterans Center has served the needs of veterans of all eras for over four decades. To be more approachable for veterans, the Veterans Centers are designed to be smaller and more casual and friendly than the large VA Health Centers.
Many Japanese American veterans have been served by East Los Angeles and the Gardena Veterans Center and have expressed gratitude to Counselor Everett Wong for bringing them into the VA system. He has been instrumental in outreach to Japanese American Veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam as well as more current conflicts.
Among the featured speakers were U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, Monterey Park Mayor Jose Sanchez, Chief of Mental Health Greater Los Angeles VA, Dr. Barry Guze, and Director of Military Veterans Affairs, Jim Zenner. Speaking on behalf of veterans were Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veteran Delise Coleman and Vietnam veterans Eddie Preciado and Ken Hayashi. The veterans spoke of very personal feelings and how the Veterans Center has affected their lives in a positive way. They emphasized that they might never have received that help if it were not for the Veterans Center outreach efforts and the welcoming atmosphere of the facility. They urged the VA and Congress to recognize the value of the separate Veterans Center concept and to continue funding the programs and benefits that veterans need and deserve.
Shane Sato's The Go For Broke Spirit: Legacy in Portraits exhibit at the The National WWII Museum in New Orleans
June 30, 2023-March 31, 2024
Shane Sato's The Go For Broke Spirit: Legacy in Portraits at the National WWII Museum Opening Reception, June 29, 2023.
Join fine-art photographer Shane Sato as he introduces The National WWII Museum’s latest special exhibit, The Go For Broke Spirit: Legacy in Portraits on display in The Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery from June 30, 2023, through March 31, 2024 at 945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. To attend the Opening Reception on June 29th at 5:00 pm, please register online here.
Showcasing Sato’s powerful portraits alongside artifacts and oral histories from the Museum’s collection, The Go for Broke Spirit: Legacy in Portraits will explore the selfless service, profound patriotism, and enduring legacy of the Japanese American men and women who persevered in the face of prejudice and incarceration, and risked their lives to advance the Allied effort.
Washington, DC. JAVA Research Team (JRT) is pleased to note that the prestigious National Geographic Magazine, May 18, 2021 issue, printed an approximately 1,300-word article on JAVA member Joe Ichiuji. The article describes the treatment of ethnic Japanese after WW II began, the internment of 118,000 ethnic Japanese confined in 10 internment camps, the experience of Hawaii Nisei including the some 165 Nisei discharged from the University of Hawaii ROTC program who served in the Varsity Victory Volunteers to build roads, barracks, and other defense construction projects, Ichiuji’s voluntary enlistment to serve in the 442nd Combat Team, combat engagement in Europe, and his post-war experience. Blakemore had a wide selection of 100th Battalion and 442nd Infantry Regiment Nisei to select from. For his devotion to duty and outstanding character, Ichiuji is an excellent Nisei soldier to be featured.
Let us tell you why. Ichiuji, a native of Salinas, CA, and at age 22, was one of the some 5,000 Nisei already in the U.S. Army when Pearl Harbor was attacked. When WW II began Ichiuji was assigned to Camp Roberts, California and soon after the war began was transferred to at Ft Lewis, Washington. One day, Ichiuji’s sergeant discharged him without offering any reason. Ichiuji went home, helped his family pack and went to the Poston, Arizona internment camp with them. On February 12, 1943, Ichiuji read a notice for volunteers to serve in the all Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The first in his camp to volunteer, Ichiuji was assigned to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion as gunner of the 105 Howitzer. In March 1944, the 442nd Combat Team departed for Italy where the 442nd RCT was merged with the 100th Infantry Battalion which had fought up the boot of Italy. Following the Maritime Alps campaign in April 1945, the 522nd was detached from the 442nd and assigned to the 7th Army for the invasion of Germany, where it liberated a Jewish extermination sub-camp at Dachau, Germany.
Following his discharge, Ichiuji obtained an accounting degree, married, settled in Maryland, raised a family, pursued an accounting career, and joined the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA). Ichiuji served as JAVA treasurer for many terms, visited the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) to collect documents pertaining to the 442nd RCT and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS), the 7,000 Nisei linguists who served in the Asia Pacific theater and domestic assignments. His other major JAVA endeavor was to serve as a speaker in the speakers' bureau to discuss Japanese American issues at pre-college schools and at universities, civic and professional organizations, government offices and almost any entity which requested it. Ichiuji discussed his internment and military experience.
Ichiuji varied the format of his presentation. He sometimes presented a solo presentation, other times with the other speakers of the speakers bureau, occasionally with his wife Suzie, also an internee. He was always well-organized and fully prepared. One unforgettable event occurred at a middle school in Frederick County, MD. During the Q & A, a student asked with all seriousness, “Mr. Ichiuji, how come you volunteered io serve in the US Army which kicked you out and treated you so mean.” Ichiuji pondered the question momentarily and said “Ï was mad. I was mad because they kicked me out of the Army for no reason. When I had an opportunity to rejoin the US Army I did it to show them despite my treatment I am a true American.” A moment of total silence was followed by a thunderous ovation for Ichiuji.
NAAAP Wreath Laying Ceremony Arlington National Cemetery
JAVA was pleased to participate in the National Association of Asian American Professionals' l wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to honor the 80th anniversary of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The ceremony included a twenty-minute presentation history of the World War II Nisei soldier's experience.
"Despite the fact that President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 forced Japanese Americans into internment camps as enemy aliens in 1942, Japanese Americans relentlessly volunteered to serve the US as patriotic Americans in the 442nd. They upheld the US Army’s core values of loyalty, duty, selfless service, and courage even with bigotry, racism, and prejudice against Japanese Americans during WWII.
The 14,000 Japanese American soldiers who served in the 442nd were awarded 18,143 awards, including seven Presidential Unit Citations. Despite their heroism in battle, it took 20 years for the 442nd’s accomplishments to be fully acknowledged and 31 years for Executive Order 9066 to be rescinded." (https://dc.naaap.org/event/wreath-laying-ceremony/)
Thanks to all at the NAAAP and to JAVA member Ethan Craw!
JAVA member Cpl. Ethan K. Craw, USMC, photographed NAAAP wreath-laying ceremony at ANC on May 13, 2023.
JAVA member Cpl. Ethan K. Craw photographed NAAAP wreath-laying ceremony at ANC on May 13, 2023.
JAVA member Cpl. Ethan K. Craw, USMC, photographed NAAAP wreath-laying ceremony at ANC on May 13, 2023.
Japanese American Veteran Shares Stories of Nisei Soldiers' Bravery
A Japanese American Army veteran tells stories of Asian Americans in the military to shed stereotypes.
On Right: Tak Furumoto marched in the Japan Day Parade on May 13, 2023, along Central Park West, New York City. Photo: Courtesy of Furumoto Family.
Reprinted with Permission
By: Mary Chao
May 24, 2023
Tak Furumoto loves his wife and his country.
The two are intertwined, as it is his love of America that prompted Furumoto to volunteer for the Army during the Vietnam War, even as his Japanese American family had been moved to an incarceration camp during World War II. His love for his wife Carolyn is due to the unconditional loyalty she provided as he came home from Vietnam with PTSD, unable to work.
"She is my guardian angel," Furumoto said of Carolyn. "If it wasn't for her, I would have ended up homeless."
The couple has been together for 52 years. Carolyn moved across the country from California to New Jersey for her then boyfriend who had just come back from the war. Furumoto wanted to get away, and moved to the East Coast where he didn't know anyone. In New Jersey, he was fired from his job, and Carolyn ended up supporting him for some time before the couple launched Furumoto Realty in 1974.
As the business became successful due to the influx of Japanese immigration to northern New Jersey, Furumoto used his prominence to share his story and the stories of Asian American veterans. He spoke to civic organizations and to schools about his service, the internment of Japanese Americans and the proud bravery of Japanese American soldiers even as their families were sent to camps following Pearl Harbor. About 33,000 Japanese American soldiers were sent to serve in Europe, as the U.S. government didn't trust them. They were called Nisei, or second generation. The Nisei soldiers became known for their bravery. The 100th / 442nd Infantry Regiment was composed of second-generation Japanese Americans and became the most decorated unit of its size in U.S. military history, according to the National World War II Museum, with more than 4,000 Purple Hearts, 4,000 Bronze Stars and 21 Medals of Honor.
Not one Nisei soldier was charged with treason, even as the mood then was distrustful, Furumoto said.
He's been sharing this story throughout Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this May, including with E.W. Scripps Co.'s Courageous Conversations session Wednesday.
He also shared that his family lived in Los Angeles but was rounded up after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and forced to relocate to an internment camp in northern California during World War II, with everything taken away from them.
That's why it's important to tell stories of Asian Americans in the military, as stereotypes exist of Asian Americans being foreigners, said Furumoto, 78.
During the Vietnam War era, Furumoto served as an intelligence and operations officer near the border with Cambodia. He wears his U.S. Army uniform with pride at events and parades while walking with marchers with signs bearing the number 442, reminding Americans of the bravery of the second generation Japanese American soldiers during the second World War.
"It's like a blanket to me," Furumoto said of his Army uniform. "It gives me comfort."
Punahou Magnet Program Cadets Visit the Legendary 100th Infantry Battalion- “Go For Broke!”
Punahou Magnet Program Cadets. Photo: LTC Robert Takao (Ret).
Reprinted with Permission
April 14, 2023, by Donna Hahn
Submitted by Cadet Captain Virgil Lin, Blackhawk Company Executive Officer
“I never realized the history behind this unit, it is amazing.” “Inspiring.” “These guys musta kicked butt.” “Sad.” ” I cannot believe one of their soldiers was 4’11” and size 2 shoes – I’m 4’10” and size 6.” These are the reflections of cadets who were treated to an interesting field trip in Honolulu recently.
Our magnet JROTC Company was able to take a field trip to “Club 100”, an older medium size building that has a large meeting space and hallways full of interesting memorabilia. Mr. Kitaoka, a descendant of one of the soldiers in the unit, welcomed us and told us the story of the clubhouse. “This is a place where the Veterans could come and talk story about the war and really heal. They did not talk about what they experienced to their families, but here, they could. “We learned the 100th Battalion was organized by Japanese-Americans who wanted to serve their country after the attack on Pearl Harbor. All of their leaders were white and they were shipped to Wisconsin for training. They fought bravely in WW II in Europe and they are the most decorated unit of their size in the United States Army. We were able to handle one of the rifles they carried- it was heavy and longer than one of the soldiers described in the unit. Mr. Chen, a member of the Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM) organization, led us in a sand table exercise depicting one of the 100th Bn battles. Other PPALM mentors talked to us about their careers and education and all of them encouraged us so well. This was truly an educational experience we won’t forget!
Dunn speaks to the cadets of Punahou Army JROTC. Photo: LTC Robert Takao, USA, (Ret).
Lee speaks to the cadets of Punahou Army JROTC. Photo: LTC Robert Takao, USA (Ret).
of Punahou Army JROTC observe an M1 Garand used by the 100th Battalion. Photo: LTC Robert Takao, USA (Ret).
Mr. Chen, a member of the Pan Pacific American Leaders and Mentors (PPALM) organization, led Cadets of Punahou Army JROTC in a sand table exercise depicting one of the 100th Bn battles. Photo: LTC Robert Takao, USA (Ret).
MARFORPAC FMF-PAC, Camp Smith, HI for sharing the article with us and for his and LTC (Ret.) Robert Takao's permission to reprint it.]
Colonel Young Oak Kim
Inducted in 2023
U.S. Army Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in Fort Benning
Decorated Colonel Posthumously Honored
Colonel Young Kim, 1961.
Washington D.C. – May 8, 2023 – The National Veterans Network, Go for Broke National Education Center and Korean Americans for Political Action are proud to announce that Colonel Young-Oak Kim was inducted into the 2023 Officer Candidate School (OCS) Hall of Fame for Superior Valorous Service at the National Infantry Museum in Fort Benning, Georgia on May 1, 2023 following his nomination from Officer Candidate Class 6-65. A memorial plaque in honor of Colonel Kim was unveiled on April 30 at the OCS Alumni Association’s OCS Memorial Walk.
Dyanne McMath, niece of Colonel Young Oak Kim, Christine Sato-Yamazaki, executive director of NVN and former president/CEO of the Go for Broke National Education Center, and Andrew Kim, board chair, Korean Americans for Political Action, were in attendance to represent Colonel Kim at the ceremony. Ken Quade and Dave Schollman of the Officer Candidate School Class of 6-65 submitted Col. Kim for the nomination and hosted the three representatives. A Korean American Army officer, Colonel Young Oak Kim fought in World War II and the Korean War. Highly decorated, Colonel Kim served alongside Japanese Americans during WWII in the segregated units, the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Colonel Kim enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1941 and was selected to attend the Infantry OCS at Ft. Benning, graduating in January 1943. His first assignment out of OCS was as an officer of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), a segregated unit composed of Japanese Americans from Hawaii. When Kim reported for duty at Camp Shelby, MS, the 100th’s commanding officer, aware of the historical conflict between Korea and Japan, told Kim that he would transfer him out of the unit. “No,” Kim responded. “They're Americans and I'm an American and we're gonna go fight for America.”
The unit was soon to receive the nickname “the Purple Heart Battalion” based on their courageous performance in Italy with the 34th Infantry Division. In 1943, Colonel Kim received his first Purple Heart and first Silver Star and then the Distinguished Service Cross for actions against enemy forces in Cisterna, Italy in 1944. Additionally, he received the Italian Military Valor Cross.
The 100th Infantry Battalion joined with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and then deployed to France where it gained fame as the “Go for Broke Regiment.” It was there that Colonel Kim received his second Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre. The 442nd was the most highly decorated unit in WWII for its size and length of service.
Colonel Kim shared about being a member of the segregated units, "I think my being part of the 100th changed my life, and it's one of the most important things in my life. Not only because of the experiences and the people I met, but to a great degree, made me what I was and opened the doors for all the other opportunities.”
Colonel Kim left the army after WWII but reentered as a captain at the outbreak of the war in Korea. He was sent to Korea where he joined the 31st Infantry commanded by Colonel (later General) William McCaffrey and was assigned as the Intelligence Officer and then Operations Officer. He received his second Silver Star, was promoted to major, and became the first
Asian American to command a battalion in combat, the 1st Battalion 31st Infantry, 7th Infantry Division.
Kim left Korea in 1952 and later served as an instructor at Fort Benning, Georgia and at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was promoted to colonel in 1965 and retired from the Army in 1972.
Colonel Kim's civilian achievements parallel his military accomplishments. He served in a variety of leadership positions supporting the Asian American community. He served as the Chairman of the Board of the 100th/442nd/MIS WWII Memorial Foundation, now known as the Go For Broke National Education Center, working with fellow 100th, 442nd and MIS veterans to build the Go for Broke Monument in downtown Los Angeles. The Young Oak Kim Academy, accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) middle school located in a culturally diverse neighborhood of Koreatown, CA and is part of the Los Angles school system; the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at the University of California and was a founder of the Korean American Museum.
Colonel Kim remains one of the most highly decorated Asian American soldiers in U.S. history, having been awarded 19 medals, including a variety of honors from Italy, France, and Korea. The induction ceremony took place on May 1, 2023, at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia. A permanent plaque was added to the OCS Memorial Walk generously sponsored by Dyanne McMath, William and Gay Takakoshi, and Susan Muroshige.
NVN’s mission is to educate current and future generations about the extraordinary legacy of American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry in order to promote equality and justice. In 2010, the organization launched a national campaign to award the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to the 100th, 442nd and MIS units, Since 2012, the organization has collaborated with the Smithsonian on educational initiatives that include a seven-city tour to promote recognition of the Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal and with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to develop an online Digital Exhibition and an elementary and middle school curriculum to share the story of Japanese American soldiers of WWII (cgm.smithsonianapa.org). From 2017, NVN worked with the National Museum of the U.S. Army to gather artifacts and develop a special exhibit on the Japanese American WWII soldiers that is open until 2024. The NVN continues to honor the American WWII soldiers of Japanese ancestry by promoting, protecting, and preserving their legacy of uncommon valor and selfless service for future generations. Please visit us at www.nationalveteransnetwork.com, and follow the NVN on Facebook (NationalVeteransNetwork), Twitter (@NtlVetNetwork) or Instagram (nationalveteransnetwork).
About Go For Broke National Education Center
Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that educates the public on the valor of Japanese American veterans of WWII and their contributions to democracy. Our goal is to inspire new generations to embody the veterans’ core values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility and patriotism. Founded in 1989, GFBNEC maintains the Go For Broke Monument and the interactive Defining Courage exhibit in downtown Los Angeles, as well as extensive oral histories and archives, education and training programs and other nationwide initiatives. For more information, please visit https://goforbroke.org/.
About Korean Americans for Political Action (KAPA)
The Korean Americans for Political Action is a national non-partisan 501(c)4 non-profit dedicated to motivating, organizing and supporting Americans of Korean descent to become more directly involved in the American political process to promote legislation and policies that benefit Korean Americans and the American society. For more information, please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org visit the KAPA website atwww.kapaction.org
About the OCS Hall of Fame Program
The OCS Hall of Fame was established in 1958 to honor graduates who had distinguished themselves during WWII through Valorous Combat Leadership and subsequent Superior Meritorious Service. The first honoree was Medal of Honor recipient LT Thomas Wigle. The Hall of Fame building was subsequently named in his honor. The OCS Hall of Fame is a US Army Program administered by the Commanding General of the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
The Commander of the 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry is the executive agent to oversee the OCS Hall of Fame Program. The US Army OCS Alumni Association, a not-for-profit 501 (C) (19) war veterans service organization is the official sponsor of the OCS Hall of Fame Program.
Nisei Soldier Experience at the National Museum of the United States Army
CPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), wanted to let JAVA members know that the National Museum of the U.S Army featured in a recent newsletter celebrating AANHPI month an excellent virtual exhibit of the Nisei Soldier Experience.
Army Historical Foundation recognizes Asian American/ Pacific Islander Heritage
Month. We celebrate the achievements and influences of Soldiers of
Asian/Pacific descent throughout U.S. Army history. Explore the image collage
below to "click-through history." Come explore the Nisei Soldier Experience.
The Museum is home to an unprecedented collection of Japanese American
artifacts that capture the rarely-told story of the Japanese American Nisei
Soldiering during World War II. This temporary exhibit highlights their
struggles both at home and abroad, their courageous acts on the battlefield,
and their long-awaited recognition culminating in the Congressional Gold Medal.
This temporary exhibit shouldn’t be missed."
Click on the link below and enjoy the virtual exhibit!
JAVA Hawaii Regional Representative Attends "Defining Courage"
David Ono, ABC Anchor, and Producer of Defining Courage. JAVA Hawaii Regional Representative Lynn Mariano. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Mariano.
Lynn Mariano, the JAVA Hawaii Regional Representative had the good fortune to attend the Emmy-winning filmmakers Jeff MacIntyre and David Ono's live, stage show documentary, Defining Courage on March 18, 2023, at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu. The sold-out show which told the Nisei Soldiers of World War II was an inventive mix of compelling storytelling, cinematography, live music and choir, historic film footage, and eyewitness interviews. In addition to host and producer David Ono, the evening program included Ann Burroughs from Japanese American National Museum, Nate Gyotoku from the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai'i, Former Hawai'i Governor David Ige, KITV News Anchor Mika Miyashima, Deputy Assistant to President Biden Erika L. Moritsugu and actor Tamlyn Tomita. For Mariano, the show was emotionally rich and humbling, and urges all to get tickets when Defining Courage makes its way to cities throughout the United States. For more information on location and tickets visit: https://definingcourageshow.com/.
JAVA Seeking Executive Director
The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) is seeking an Executive Director and hopes all interested and qualified individuals will consider applying.
Japanese American Veterans Association
The Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) is a non-profit Veteran Services Organization with many purposes: Preserving and strengthening comradeship among its members; Perpetuating the memory and history of our departed comrades; Educating the American public on the Japanese American experience during WWII and Striving to obtain veterans the full benefit of their entitlements as veterans. JAVA sponsors events throughout the year including a Memorial Day Program, Day of Affirmation Ceremony, Veterans Day Program as well as a Memorial Scholarship Program and periodic Member Luncheons.
JAVA Executive Director Position Summary
The JAVA Executive Director (ED) is a part-time, remote, and independent contractor position (not an employee or officer of JAVA). The Executive Director is the main point of contact for the Japanese American Veterans Association and coordinates and manages the day-to-day operations as well as planned events. Attendance and participation are required at quarterly weekend teleconferences and other scheduled meetings. If the ED resides in the Washington, DC area, in-person attendance at key events is desired. Additionally, individuals in the DC area will be asked to manage the JAVA P.O. Box.
Historically, the Executive Director was expected to dedicate between 6 and 10 hours spread throughout the week, with an average of 25-30 hours a month. The hourly rate is $45.00 per hour with no additional benefits. This compensation package is negotiable with approval from the Executive Council.
Under the general direction of the President, provides direct administrative support to the JAVA President in all organizational matters, serving as an extension of the Executive Council (EC).
Creates and coordinates the monthly e-Advocate newsletter including developing and writing articles on JAVA events and securing reprint permission for outside articles.
Supports the planning and management of JAVA events, luncheons, meetings, and other important activities relating to the organization's mission. The ED maintains the JAVA events calendar.
Responsible for bookkeeping and annual budget preparation in QuickBooks, as well as tax preparation for the accountant.
Prepares expense reports and documentation for bill payments.
Deposits donation checks and prepares payment checks for the JAVA Treasurer’s endorsement.
Responsible for the weekly checking of the JAVA P.O. Box and reviewing correspondence to determine actions.
Documents the minutes for Board Meetings and Member Meetings.
Responsible for sending out donation acknowledgments and tracking donations in an Excel spreadsheet as well as in QuickBooks.
Prepares correspondence including scholarship award letters, JAVA Award recipient letters, research requests, announcements, press releases, and email blasts as needed/requested to JAVA’s membership and contacts. The ED also prepares information to be distributed on social media.
Updates and maintains the JAVA website and computer.
Research topics as assigned by the JAVA President.
A strong strategic connection and passion for the organization's mission and vision.
Experience providing executive administrative support, preferably within nonprofits or the military.
An organized, detailed oriented self-starter with enthusiasm, diplomacy, discretion, and good judgment.
Strong verbal, written, and communication (including press releases, article writing, and social media) skills and experience.
Knowledgeable with QuickBooks, bookkeeping principles, financial statements, and tax preparation.
Proficient with MS Office, especially in composing memos, and letters.
Ability to utilize Excel for record-keeping, and previous experience with different software platforms such as membership management software and video teleconferencing platforms.
Previous experience interacting and managing member relationships.
Previous experience with event and meeting planning.
B.A. or B.S. and at least five years of work experience.
At this time, we will only accept candidates who are presently eligible to work in the United States and will not require sponsorship.
Don Miyada and friend Toke Yoshihashi catch up on old times, March 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Peggy Mizumoto.
Reprinted from SoCal 100th Club Notice
We’re saddened to share the news of Don Miyada’s passing on April 19, 2023 at age 97. A native of Oceanside, Calif., Don was incarcerated at Poston, Arizona before being drafted into the Army in April , 1944. Following basic training at Camp Blanding, Florida, Don joined Company A of the 100th Battalion/442nd RCT in Epinal, France just after its cataclysmic campaign in the Vosges Mountains. His unit guarded the Franco-Italian border before being recalled to Italy to breach the vaunted Gothic Line. After being discharged from the Army in 1946, Don earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Michigan State University. During a career that focused on clinical chemistry, he served as an Associate Adjunct Professor at the University of California at Irvine before retiring in 1991. Along with his 100th/442nd comrades, Don was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington D.C. in November 2011.
Don was so many things to us—a soldier, an academic, an avid golfer, an Angels fan...and most of all, a friend. In his thoughtful, quiet way, he spoke clearly about his WWII experiences and the incarceration’s effects on our democracy. We extend our condolences to the Miyada family—Don, Sets and their four adult children—along with our thanks for sharing Don with all of us.
[EdNote: JAVA sends heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Don Miyada.]
Kikuko Nakao Tanamachi
September 30, 1920 - May 16,
Kikuko Nakao Tanamach. Photo: Courtesy of Sandra Tanamachi.
By Sandra Tanamachi
Kikuko Nakao Tanamachi passed away peacefully with family by her side on May 16, 2023 in Harlingen, Texas at 102.5 years old. Kikuko was born on September 30, 1920 in San Pedro, California, to Teizo and Chika Nakao. She was the eldest of three younger siblings, Taira, Sadao, and Ikuko. They lived on Albacore Street in Terminal Island with about 3,000 other Japanese Issei and Japanese American Nisei. Kikuko began working at the Van Camp Company/Chicken of the Sea Cannery at only 14 years of age to help her family out. Her father passed away in 1940, so she became the head of her family.
Sadly, after the passage of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, the residents of Terminal Island were one of the first groups on the West Coast to be given only 48 hours to evacuate with only what they could carry. They were initially sent to Santa Anita Racetrack where the family of 5 now lived in one horsestall for the next six months. Kikuko worked in the mess hall to continue helping her family. They were then placed on a window covered train and traveled for 3 days until they reached their final destination in Rohwer, Arkansas where Kikuko also worked in the mess hall.
Jiro Jerry Tanamachi traveled from Texas to Rohwer to visit his relatives who were also incarcerated there. While there, he was introduced to Kikuko. They were married in McGehee, Arkansas on June 14, 1943. Kikuko moved with Jiro to live in Texas where they raised 5 children, (Diana, Sandra, Jerry James, Deborah, and Laura) who all love her delicious Japanese dishes and amazing flaky crusted lemon meringue pie, and want to pass them on. Kikuko shared her love of gardening by planting beautiful flowers and plants at her loved ones’ homes. Kikuko was an avid sports fan who loved watching the Dallas Cowboys, Shohei Ohtani of the LA Angels, tennis, and golf.
Kikuko was known by all who knew her, as the “kindest, friendliest, most helpful, and generous person.” Her strong faith and belief in God were evident by the way she lived her daily life. She was preceded in death by the passing of her parents (Teizo and Chika Nakao), two brothers, (Taira and Sadao Nakao), husband, Jiro Jerry Tanamachi, and son, Jerry James Tanamachi. Kikuko is survived by her daughters, Diana Parr (Norvin), Sandra Tanamachi Nakata (Bruce), Deborah Galvan (Peter), Laura Corkill (Raymond), 9 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, 4 great great grandchildren, her younger sister, Ikuko Kitayama (Happy), sister-in-law, Hiroko Tanamachi Edwards (Dean), numerous loving nephews and nieces, and many family friends.
Kikuko wanted everyone to stay closely connected to family and friends, practice cultivating with grace and hard work the beauty that surrounds you, constantly be educated by your mind, be kind and mindful of others, and pass on God’s love through Gaman.
A memorial to be held on June 17 in Harlingen, Texas.
[EdNote: JAVA sends its deepest sympathies to the entire Tanamachi family on the loss of Kikuko.]