Tag Archives: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Privates Barney F. Hajiro & George T. Sakato and the “Lost Battalion” (October 29, 1944)

On October 24, 1944, the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment – part of the 36th Infantry Division – was cut off and surrounded by the Nazis in France’s Vosges Mountains. Two attempts were made to break through to the unit known as the “Lost Battalion”. Those attempts failed.

On October 26, the all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American) 442nd Regimental Combat Team was ordered to break through to the Lost Battalion. Over five days of intense fighting, the 442nd finally saved about 230 of 1-141’s soldiers, and suffered at least 800 casualties in the process.

Two of the 442nd’s soldiers earned the Medal of Honor for their heroism during the battle.

Continue reading Privates Barney F. Hajiro & George T. Sakato and the “Lost Battalion” (October 29, 1944)

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Captain Francis B. Wai, USA (October 20, 1944)

Francis Brown Wai was born on April 14, 1917 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father was a Chinese immigrant and his mother a native Hawaiian. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with the class of 1939 where he excelled both at academics and sports.

Wai joined the Hawaii National Guard after his UCLA graduation and was activated for federal service with the United States Army prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was able to break through some of the anti-Asian prejudices of the day, attended Officer Candidates’ School, and was commissioned in 1941.

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Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda, USA (October 20, 1944)

Robert Toshio Kuroda was born in Aiea, Hawaii on the island of Oahu on November 8, 1922. His parents were Japanese immigrants, making him a Nisei, or second-generation (native born) Japanese-American. He graduated from vocational school and was an electrician, but found it difficult to find work with World War II raging and prejudices against people of Japanese descent. He was drafted on March 23, 1943 and volunteered for the United States Army‘s all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Private Masato Nakae, USA (August 19, 1944)

Masato Nakae was born in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii on December 20, 1917. He was drafted into the United States Army on February 8, 1942 and volunteered for duty with the all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American) 100th Infantry Battalion, later part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Private Joseph W. Ozbourn, USMC (July 30, 1944)

Joseph William Ozbourn was born on October 24, 1919 in Herrin, Illinois. At the outset of World War II, he was working as a coal miner and was not subject to being drafted as that was considered a war-essential occupation. Nonetheless, he felt the call to bear arms and volunteered for the United States Marine Corps on October 30, 1943.

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Private First Class Leonard F. Mason, USMC (July 22, 1944)

Leonard Foster Mason was born on February 22, 1920 in Middlesboro, Kentucky. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in April of 1943, and became a rifleman with the 3rd Marine Division‘s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. Mason landed with 2/3 Marines on Guam, July 21, 1944.

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Sergeant Grant F. Timmerman, USMC (July 8, 1944)

Grant Frederick Timmerman was born in Americus, Kansas on February 19, 1919. In the summer of 1937, he moved from his native Kansas to California, where he found employment as a welder.

Welding didn’t hold his fancy though, and on October 28, 1937 Timmerman enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After recruit training and a brief stint serving on the west coast, he was assigned for duty in China, where he would spend nearly three years from May 1938 until April 1941. After his discharge from his four-year enlistment on October 27, 1941, he returned to work as a welder.

Five weeks later, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the United States was plunged into World War II.

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PFC Kaoru Moto & TSG Ted T. Tanouye, USA (July 7, 1944)

Seventy years ago today on July 7, 1944, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team – predominately comprised of Nisei (2nd generation, born-citizen Japanese-Americans) – continued the fight for Hill 140 near Castellina, Italy. Two of the regiment’s soldiers had already exhibited heroism worthy of the Medal of Honor.

On this day, Private First Class Kaoru Moto and Technical Sergeant Ted T. Tanouye would join them.

Continue reading PFC Kaoru Moto & TSG Ted T. Tanouye, USA (July 7, 1944)

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Gunnery Sergeant Robert H. McCard, USMC (June 16, 1944)

BLOGGER’S NOTE: This post will be shorter than the normal celebration of a Medal of Honor recipient. I am in an area with even less connectivity than I anticipated, and had to keep this to the citation and not much else. The post will be enhanced upon my return to civilization sometime on Wednesday, June 19.

Robert Howard McCard was born on November 25, 1918 in Syracuse, New York. He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps during 1939, and landed with the 4th Marine Division at the outset of the Battle of Saipan on June 15, 1944. The action for which he was decorated took place the following day on June 16th. Continue reading Gunnery Sergeant Robert H. McCard, USMC (June 16, 1944)

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TSG Yeiki Kobashigawa and PVT Shinyei Nakamine, USA (June 2-3, 1944)

In the late 1990s, the United States Army began a review of the service records of Japanese-Americans who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor during World War II to determine if any of them had been denied the Medal of Honor due to racial prejudice.

Two of the soldiers whose decorations were found to be insufficient and thus upgraded to our nation’s highest honor were Yeiki Kobashigawa and Shinyei Nakamine, who fought as part of the all-Nisei (born Japanese-Americans and citizens, sons of Japanese immigrants) 100th Infantry Battalion attached to the 34th Infantry Division in Italy on June 2-3, 1944.

Continue reading TSG Yeiki Kobashigawa and PVT Shinyei Nakamine, USA (June 2-3, 1944)

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