The American Legion Post 43 in Hollywood welcomed three Japanese American World War II veterans on Nov. 21 to a ceremony honoring Japanese Americans for their military service.
The honorees were Ted Wakai, who served with the Military Intelligence Service; Yoshio “Yosh” Nakamura, of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; and Tokuji “Toke” Yoshihashi, who served with the 100th Infantry Battalion, A Company.
Wakai, Nakamura and Yoshihashi are representative of Japanese American citizens who were incarcerated in internment camps during World War II and went on to exemplary service in the United States Army, said Daniel Flores, of the American Legion Post 43. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was composed entirely of Japanese Americans and fought in Europe from 1943-1954, according to www.the442nd.org. More than 4,400 of the soldiers were killed, wounded or went missing in action. The regiment is the most decorated in the history of U.S military operations.
“The three veterans who attended this event honored us with their presence. They represent the other thousands like them within their units which are the most highly decorated soldiers in U.S. military history,” Flores said. “In October of 2010, all were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.”
The guest speaker at the event was Chris Brusatte, exhibit manager of the Go For Broke National Education Center, and Dr. Lily Anne Welty Tamai, curator of history for the Japanese American National Museum. They made presentations outlining the lives of Japanese American veterans before, during and after serving in the military.
“There is so much history that needs to be shared,” Flores added. “They are a major part of our military history and yet there are still many who are not fully aware of this and the American history they endured.”
The veterans were presented with certificates of honor and American Legion Medals of Grateful Appreciation.
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