CWO 4 Mitsugi Murakami Kasai, MIS
Mitsugi Murakami Kasai was born on January 30, 1918, to Tsunajiro Murakami and Iyo Nishime in Milford, Beaver County, Utah, and grew up around Salmon City, Arco, and Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was adopted by Harry Hiroshi Kasai. He left the 160-acre farm in Idaho Falls to enlist in the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in June 1946. Mitsugi or "Casey" graduated from Military Intelligence Service Language School in April 1947 as a T/3 and was sent to Fort Holabird, Maryland, for counterintelligence training. He was pulled out of basic training to teach elementary Japanese to CIC trainees. He was promoted to Master Sergeant in October 1947 and completed CIC training in June 1948.
His military service was primarily concentrated in various intelligence settings. He interpreted, interrogated, investigated, conducted liaison with counterparts of other countries and agencies, and performed secret, confidential, espionage, and national security duty.
From June 1948 to June 1950 he was assigned to the Tokyo/Kanagawa District, 441st CIC Detachment, General Headquarters, Far East Command. Kasai was honorably discharged on June 16, 1950, but after the outbreak of the Korean War on June 25, 1950, he re-enlisted in September 1950 as a Master Sergeant with the U.S. Army. He was commissioned Warrant Officer Junior Grade in 1951 and hoped to be sent to Korea; however, he was assigned to the 11th Airborne CIC Detachment in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. From May 1951 to April 1952, he was sent to the Army Language School where he studied Chinese-Cantonese.
From 1952 to his retirement on March 31, 1973, he was assigned to various military commands in the Far East and the United States. Wherever he was assigned, he was generally the Special Agent in Charge. He was assigned to detachments in Niigata, Japan; Cheju-do, near the Korean Peninsula; Tokyo, Japan; Inchon, Korea; Okinawa, Japan; Monterey, California; Saigon, South Vietnam; Fort Douglas, Utah. Kasai retired in 1973 to care for his aging parents.
Kasai was the recipient of several military honors. The first oak leaf cluster to the Army commendation medal was awarded by the U.S. Army Support Command, Vietnam for the services rendered in support of the active counterinsurgency joint theater command mission during the Vietnam tour of duty. For his services from October 1969 to March 1973, as Special Agent in Charge of Koza Field Office and Chief, Liaison Section, Detachment R, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal by Headquarters U.S. Army, Pacific.
Having served nearly 30 years in U.S. military intelligence, Kasai felt that Japanese Americans needed to be recognized for their patriotism and service to their country. As a civilian, Kasai took up the charge of preserving Japanese Americans’ place in history, and his efforts have resulted in a rich archive that illuminates the lives of numerous individuals and organizations. The story told by the Mitsugi M. Kasai Memorial Japanese American Archive at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library begins with the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants who came to Utah and surrounding states to work in the railroad, mining and agricultural industries. The archive is named in honor of Mitsugi M. Kasai for his dedication to preserving the history and culture of Japanese Americans and for a generous bequest he made through his estate.
[Ed Note: The profile of CWO 4 Mitsugi Murakami Kasai was largely taken from his obituary, https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=mitsugi-murakami-kasai&pid=163717380.]