Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 2, No. 16, February 4, 2020

LTG Nagata Shares How American Generosity is tied to National Security at the JAVA Winter Luncheon, Awards Presentation and General Membership Meeting

Click Here to Watch LTG Nagata's Presentation

L-R: Former JAVA President LTC Al Goshi, USA (Ret), Vice President Howard High, LTG Nagata, USA (Ret), Spark Matsunaga Elementary School Principal Judy Brubaker, (Ret), Spark Masunaga Elementary School Music Director Teresa Potterton, (Ret), JAVA President Gerald Yamada. Photo: Katherine Grisham.

At the Winter Luncheon, Awards Presentation and General Membership Meeting on January 25, 2020, longtime JAVA member Wade Ishimoto welcomed guest speaker LTG Michael Nagata, who recently retired after 38 years in the U.S. Army. By way of introduction, Ishimoto noted that many JAVA members had distinguished themselves in the intelligence arena including JAVA General Counsel Dawn Eilenberger who served as Deputy Director of National Intelligence; General Paul Nakasone, Commander of United States Cyber Command and the Director of the National Security Agency; Art Kim, who served in the Central Intelligence Agency, and Marvin Furusho who retired as the #2 in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.  In addition, JAVA members have set the tone like Major General Garrett Yee, Assistant to the Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency, and the highest-ranking Asian Signal Officer; and United States Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris who was the first American of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) to make Admiral. Mr. Ishimoto told members that LTG Nagata, whose final position was Director of Strategy for the National Counterterrorism Center, is from the same tradition of JAVA members who have significantly contributed to our national security. Nagata is unique in that he became the highest-ranking AJA in Army Special Forces while also holding significant positions in the Intelligence Community.

Taking the podium, LTG Nagata posed the question, one he believes is essential to consider in American discourse, "Why does the United States still have to care about the security and prosperity of the rest of the world?" Nagata remarked that laments such as "why does the U.S. choose to engage in endless wars" or references to "American imperialism" are frequently heard on talk shows and in everyday conversations. Nagata told members that such criticisms are not without merit. After all, the U.S. has made mistakes abroad such as supporting incompetent leaders or ones that turned out to be corrupt. Nevertheless, Nagata asserted, U.S. foreign involvement is essential and has been since World War II. Although it is beguiling to think that withdrawing into "Fortress America" and focus on solving domestic issues is a better path, LTG Nagata argued that the "unprecedented degree of both security and prosperity in America today…is a direct result of the exertions….of Americans for generations, to secure and advance our interests both inside but just as importantly, outside our country." Indeed, Nagata is convinced that America would be "less prosperous and less secure," if it were not for U.S. overseas military and diplomatic missions during the past seventy years. 

Reflecting on history, LTG Nagata reminded members that America has had a tremendous role in shaping world events since the end of World War II. Much of the credit, in his opinion, is due to the idealistic vision of our leaders as they developed the Marshall Plan and committed decades of support and investment to help a devastated Europe. Strategic alliances and institutions, even if imperfect, such as NATO and the World Bank followed. The post-war reconstruction plans in Japan and Korea built and strengthened relationships not only between those two countries but among all east Asian democracies which, Nagata stated, continue to benefit America as we "confront some of the behaviors of the Chinese government that we dislike." As evidence of the powerful and lasting effects of U.S. involvement, Nagata told members to consider that American standards and customs have been adopted around the world – from safety norms to banking and finance rules to music and literature – resulting in a "tidal wave of economic advantage and growth" in the U.S. as well as admiration for our culture around the world.

LTG Nagata concluded his speech with a story about generosity. He first defined a generous person as someone who "helps you or provides you things you need with no expectation of a reciprocal benefit." He went on to add, "if you are like me, all of the people you remember most fondly over your life, are the people who had this attribute of generosity." Nagata continued by describing a long-ago encounter, that over the years, has grown in significance to him. While at a Special Forces training in 1984, he met a Kenyan army officer who spoke "effusively about how much he loved America." Curious about the source of such affection, Nagata asked him “why?” The Kenyan related how when he was a child, a Peace Corps volunteer showed up in his village and taught all the children to read and write, changing the trajectory of his and others' lives. Nagata believes that this example of American generosity demonstrates one of the unsung ways that our goodwill is repaid: love for America. Nagata underscored the idea that other countries’ love for America, often a byproduct of American generosity, makes our country and the world safer and more prosperous. Although, the idea of American generosity is "under siege," LTG Nagata hopes our country remains on a path, one that involves leadership, sacrifice, courage, and generosity towards other nations and individuals. He firmly believes it is the only way to ensure the U.S. experiment in democracy and liberty, along with security and posterity, will continue for future generations.

Following the LTG Nagata's talk, JAVA President Gerald Yamada thanked the General for his service to our nation and his insights on national security. He then presented LTG Nagata with a JAVA challenge coin. President Yamada also called former JAVA President Al Goshi to the stage to thank him for his years of guiding and leading JAVA and then presented him with a JAVA challenge coin. 

2020 JAVA Winter Luncheon. Photo; Katherine Grisham.

Vice President Howard High presents Courage, Honor and Patriotism Award to LTG MIchael Nagata, USA (Ret). Photo: Katherine Grisham.

JAVA Awards Presentation

Moving on to the Awards Presentation, President Yamada praised LTG Michael Nagata's long and distinguished military career of 38 years of Active Duty in the U.S. Army." Yamada also praised Nagata as "a leader valued for his energy, intellect, integrity, and judgment." He then awarded Nagata, JAVA's highest award, the Courage, Honor, and Patriotism Award, noting that "we are all safer and more secure because of his leadership and service."  

Although Bill Houston was unable to attend the luncheon, Yamada told the audience that "Houston had been a charter member of JAVA's Board of Directors, serving from 1992-95, and used his legal training to establish JAVA as a national organization. Yamada further noted that "through all of his contributions, Bill Houston displayed visionary leadership, and dedication to ensure JAVA's success, and to preserve the legacy of the Nisei soldiers for future generations." Yamada stated that JAVA was honored to present William Houston with the Terry T. Shima Leadership Award. 

The Veterans Advocate Award was presented to Judy Brubaker, Principal (Retired), and to Teresa Potterton, Music Director (Retired), of the Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School in Germantown, MD. Yamada thanked Ms. Brubaker for her leadership and told members that "Judy Brubaker was the first principal of the Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School when it opened its doors in 2001. She incorporated honoring Veterans and paying tribute to US Senator Matsunaga, a part of the School's mission. She used Veterans Day and Memorial Day as opportunities to have the students express their gratitude for those who served in the military to keep our nation safe." 

The Veterans Advocate Award was also presented to Music Director Teresa Potterton. President Yamada shared that Ms. Potterton, who retired last summer, invited JAVA in 2008 to participate in the School's annual Veterans Day Concert, and it has become a tradition that continues to this day. The annual concert features 4th and 5th-grade students singing patriotic songs in honor of all Veterans, with special acknowledgment of the School's namesake, Senator Matsunaga, who was a combat veteran in the 100th Infantry Battalion. Yamada told members that JAVA values "Terry's vision in creating a concert that uniquely tells an American story in song, and fosters national pride in schoolchildren."

Both Teresa and Judy thanked JAVA for the awards and expressed their gratitude for the support JAVA has shown over the years to Matsunaga programs and students.

Principal Judy Brubaker, (Ret) of Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School, receives Veterans Advocate Award from JAVA President Gerald Yamada with former JAVA President Al Goshi standing to far the right. Photo: Katherine Grisham.

Music Director Teresa Potterton, (Ret) of Spark M. Matsunaga Elementary School, receives Veterans Advocate Award from JAVA President Gerald Yamada with former JAVA President Al Goshi standing to the far right. Photo: Katherine Grisham.

 JAVA General Membership Meeting

JAVA members gathered after the luncheon came to a close for the annual General Membership Meeting. President Yamada told the group that the Executive Council had met in December 2019 and approved the proposed amended By-laws of the Japanese American Veterans Association. He asked members to ratify the approved By-laws, which codify changes that bring more transparency and accountability to JAVA's governance and operations. Wade Ishimoto made a motion to ratify the new By-laws, and Rod Azama seconded the motion. All were in favor of the ratification, with none opposed. Yamada remarked that one of the initiatives identified in the new By-laws is the creation of JAVA regional directors in California and Hawaii to better serve West coast members and increase JAVA's presence in those areas. Before bringing the meeting to an end, Yamada thanked the membership for their continued support.

JAVA to Co-Sponsor Day of Remembrance at Smithsonian

Not for Sale: Preserving and Sharing a Community Collection

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
6:00pm - 6:45pm – Pre-discussion exhibition viewing
6:45pm – 8:00pm – Panel discussion

February 19 is the Day of Remembrance, the annual recognition of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing Executive Order 9066 and the subsequent incarceration of nearly 120,000 Japanese Americans.

Join us to observe Day of Remembrance with a very special conversation, exploring how museums have collected objects and told the story of Japanese incarceration over time.

Who has the power to collect objects for a museum and from whom? What if they are obtained from marginalized or incarcerated persons? How does this power dynamic effect the collection? How can communities come together to reclaim their heritage? These are a few of the questions that will be explored. 

Speakers include: 

  • Clement Hanami, curator at the Japanese American National Museum
  • Shirley Ann Higuchi, foundation chair, Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation
  • Nancy Ukai, project director, 50 Objects 
  • David Inoue, executive director, Japanese American Citizens League
  • Floyd Mori, board member, National Japanese American Memorial Foundation
  • Moderated by Ann Burroughs, president and CEO, Japanese American National Museum

This conversation will be accompanied by a travelling pop-up exhibition of "Contested Histories: Art and Artifacts from the Allen Hendershott Eaton Collection." The exhibition was curated by the Japanese American National Museum, curator Clement Hamani will be on site to answer questions. The exhibition will be on view that day at the museum as well as immediately before the discussion.

This event is FREE. Seating is limited and is first come, first served. 

Please Note: Registering to the Eventbrite does NOT guarantee you a seat. It will help us send an e-mail reminder about the event. 

For More Information: https://americanhistory.si.edu/day-of-remembrance

The Museum thanks the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation, the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation, Japanese American Veterans Association, and the Japanese American National Museum for making this program possible.

[Ed Note: Image and text from National Museum of American History website.]

2020 JAVA Memorial Scholarship Program

The Japanese American Veterans Association will open its annual Memorial Scholarship Program for 2020 this Friday, February 7th. The scholarships will benefit a range of graduating high school seniors, advanced undergraduate students, and post graduate and professional education students.  

The scholarships include The Inouye Memorial Scholarship ($5,000) honoring the late US Senator Daniel K. Inouye’s iconic career of military and civilian public service;  the JAVA Founder’s Scholarship ($3,000), which is awarded in memory of JAVA’s founder, the Colonel Suano Phil Ishio, USAR, his wife Constance and his son Douglas Ishio; the Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship ($2,000) which honors a dedicated supporter of JAVA, Mrs. Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin, as well as JAVA Memorial Scholarships ($1,500), named in memory of a JAVA Veteran, family or friend. Look for an official announcement later this week!

French World War II Collectors Wish to return Artifacts to Veterans or Their Families

Artifact 1   A metal canteen cup apparently belonging to Private Kimeo HIROSE. Top inscription "Hirose," bottom inscription "Hawaii."

Jeff Morita

Maritime Alps region of France.  Jeff Morita, a retired US Army veteran and civil servant whose mission is to assist pro bono any WW II veteran obtain replacement US military awards and decorations, and personal records, was informed by Mr. Jean-Marie Torrelli, a resident of the Maritime Alps region of France, that he and co-collectors have found three personal items they wish to return to the veterans or their families.

After conducting extensive research, Morita has determined the items belonged to members of the 100th/442nd.  The three cases are summarized as follows:

Artifact 1A metal canteen cup apparently belonging to Private Kimeo HIROSE, Company K, 3rd Battalion, was found in Castellar, France, the Maritime Alps region near the Italian border.  The 100th/442nd served in this area from November 20, 1944 to March 23, 1945, then left Southern France for the final Po Valley campaign in Italy.  Hirose’s date and place of birth (DPOB) is January 15, 1908, Kent, WA.  The inscription on the canteen cup bears “Hirose” and “Hawaii”.  Hirose passed away on February 3, 1991 and is interred at Salt Lake City Cemetery, UT.

Artifact 2:  A second metal canteen cup apparently belonging to Staff Sergeant Minoru KATO, also of K Company, was found in the Sospel area, also in the French Maritime Alps region.  The canteen bears clear and readable inscriptions, “Repo Dep”, "Nov 30, 1944” and “Property of MINORU KATO”.  Kato’s DPOB is January 3, 1922, Honolulu, HI.  He passed away on May 10, 2002 and is interred at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery, Kaneohe, HI.

Artifact 3:  A bottom one half of a metal mess kit apparently belonging to Private First Class Iden Grant TAKAICHI of Co C, 100th Infantry Battalion, was found in the Castellar or the Menton area, also located in the Maritime Alps area.  Takaichi’s DPOB is August 25, 1924, San Jose, CA.  The mess kit clearly bears the inscription "Iden” and “Takaichi”.  DDS Takaichi a long-time resident of International Falls, MN passed away on July 2, 2007 and is interred at Parkers Prairie, MN.

[Ed Note: Morita has connected with the Takaichi family in MN and is in the process of connecting the family with Mr. Torreli. Morita is still trying to reach the other two families.  If any reader of this article can connect a member of the Hirose or Kato family please contact JAVA at javapotomac@gmail.com

Artifact 2: A second metal canteen cup apparently belonging to Staff Sergeant Minoru KATO.  Inscriptions read “Repo Dep,” "Nov 30, 1944” and “Property of MINORU KATO.”

Artifact 3:  Mess kit belonging to Private First Class Iden Grant TAKAICHI of Co C, 100th Infantry Battalion,   The mess kit clearly bears the inscription "Iden” and “Takaichi.”

The Japanese American National War Memorial Court Carried on ABC 7 TV. Click Here to Watch!

Japanese American National War Memorial Court in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Shane Sato

On January 3, 2020 Ken Hayashi, President of the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance (VMCA), was  interviewed by John Gregory of ABC 7 TV at the Japanese American National War Memorial Court, located in the courtyard of the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles.  As part of ABC 7 TV program to feature veterans, the discussion centered around the almost 1,200 Japanese Americans who were killed in all wars fought by America from the Spanish American War to the present. Click here to watch segment. 

As the veterans of the three founding organizations representing WW II, Korean and Vietnam Wars were concerned with a long term, unified leadership, their leaders formed the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance, as a 501(c)(3) organization, to allow for non-veteran membership which they felt was critical to the long term future.  The mission of VMCA is to preserve and maintain the Memorial Court so that Americans will never forget the heroic deeds of Japanese Americans in America’s Wars.

This ABC 7 program together with the Portraits of Legacy photo exhibition, which featured photos from Shane Sato and Robert Horsting’s books, The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Courage and The Go For Broke Spirit: Portraits of Legacy, in November 2019 “have given us a level of exposure far beyond our expectations,” Hayashi said.

National Japanese American War Memorial Court is the only known location in the USA where the names of all ethnic Japanese, who were killed in America’s wars from 1898 to the present are recorded.

For more information about the Veterans Memorial Court Alliance or the Japanese American National War Memorial Court please see the website: memorialcourtalliance.org

Summary of Charter President Robert Wada’s Final Report

This is a summary of Charter President Robert Wada’s four page final report of Japanese American Korean War Veterans (JAKWVs) accomplishments. The full report has been placed on JAVA’s website (java.wildapricot.org) for a period of time. JAVA congratulates JAKWV leadership for the substantial contribution it has made to document the role of some 6,000 Japanese Americans who served in the Korean War, including the 256 who perished in combat and many who endured POW camps. This was achieved via the website, the news media, and organizational efforts such as construction of memorials and exhibits that include some 193 photos. During WW II, many Japanese Americans served their country while their families were incarcerated in internment camps guarded by sentries on the ground in guard towers. Many of the younger Korean War veterans themselves were interned with their families,and many Vietnam War veterans who served, were born in an internment camp. 

JAKWV was activated as a national organization on January 5, 1996 at Los Angeles “to perpetuate the history of Japanese Americans during the Korean War and to erect a memorial to honor those Japanese Americans who gave their lives during the Korean War.  The twenty-eight charter members elected the following officers: Robert Wada, President; Minoru Tonai, Vice President; Norio Uyematsu, Vice President; Sam Shimoguchi, Treasuer; Victor Muraoka, Secretary. A few highlights of accomplishments are described below.

A granite memorial with 256 names of Japanese Americans who were killed in combat in the Korean War was dedicated on May 24, 1997 at the Japanese American War Memorial Court located in the courtyard of the Japanese American Community and Cultural Center (JACCC), in the area of Little Tokyo in Los Angeles, CA. This Memorial Court also includes the WW II Memorial Wall which consists of 812 names built by the Americans of Japanese Ancestry WW II Memorial Alliance (AJAWW2MA) and the Vietnam War Memorial Wall which was built by the Japanese American Vietnam War Committee consisting of 116 names. A replica of the Korean Memorial Wall has been exhibited at Sacramento, San Jose, Hawaii, Presidio of San Francisco, Seattle and other locations.

JAKWV and the Japanese American Vietnam War Veterans held the first of their annual joint Memorial Day program at Little Tokyo, Los Angeles on May 25, 1998. Two years later JAKWV honored Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Hershey Miyamura in a special event which featured US Senator Daniel Inouye as the keynote speaker.

On May 15, 2001 JAKWV dedicated a memorial at Imjin Gak, Paju-City, Kyonggi-do, Republic of Korea (ROK). The Memorial is located north of the city of Seoul along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between North Korea and the Republic of Korea. JAKWV’s goal was that the Memorial will promote a better understanding between the people of the ROK and the Japanese American community. JAKWV received advice and support from Chairman Chi Kap Chong of the United Nations Korean War Allies Association, Inc. It is reported that two million Koreans visit the memorial each year.

On September 24, 2002 JAKWV and Korean War Veterans Association of Hawaii, commemorated in Honolulu the 50th anniversary of the Korean War.

On August 10, 2003 JAKWV participated for the first time in the Nisei Week Grand Parade in Los Angeles that has since become an annual event for the group.

On August 19, 2006 Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Hershey Miyamura was honored with a monument dedicated to Hershey in his hometown of Gallup, New Mexico.

JAKWV, JAVWV and the Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Alliance (AJAWWIIA) jointly sponsored the Japanese American ”All Veterans Reunion,” held February 16-18, 2007 at the New Otani Hotel at Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. It was attended by 400 veterans and participants from across America and Hawaii.

On May 26, 2007 JAKWV participated in the expansion of the Japanese American War Memorial Court to include the seven Japanese nationals who were killed while serving as US Navy Seamen on the USS Maine which was sunk in Havana Cuba in 1898, a Marine from Seattle, WA, killed on the Island of Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury) and the most recent soldiers killed during current Operation Iraqi Freedom, including Afghanistan. The construction,  maintenance and management of the Memorial Court, was the joint responsibility of JAKWV, JAVNW Committee, AJAWWII Memorial Committee and with the cooperation of the JACCC.  The Memorial Court is now under the care and control by the newly created Veterans Memorial Court Alliance (VMCA) who will be responsible for the upkeep and funding the perpetual care of the Memorial Court. This Memorial Court is the only location in the US and quite possibly in the entire world, which lists the names of all Japanese Americans and Japanese nationals who were killed in America’s wars.

Wada’s final report closes with JAKWV’s motto “To Forget Would Be A Dishonor, To Remember Will Be Everlasting.”

Lawson Sakai, 442nd RCT, Solo Interview Featured on iHeartRadio: When You Look Like the Enemy

Food writer and podcast producer Jacqueline Raposo has released a new food podcast featuring Veterans called Service: Stories of Hunger and War.

"Co-produced by iHeartRadioService brings soldiers and civilians together at the table through the narratives of veterans and wartime volunteers sharing where they fought, who they fed, how they ate, and the meals they missed most while deployed far from home."

JAVA member and 442nd Veteran Lawson Sakai is featured in a solo episode called When You Look Like the Enemy, that went live on January 27. You can still listen here: Service: Stories of Hunger and War!

Four More Nisei Awarded High French Medal

Jeff Morita

Honolulu, Hawaii.  Four Nisei veterans Yoshiyuki Joel Fujita, Katsuto Richard Nomura, and Harold Joji Watase recently received the prestigious Chevalier (Knight) medal for participating in the liberation of France. Guillaume Maman, French Honorary Consul in Hawaii, presented the awards at separate ceremonies.

Yoshiyuki Joel Fujita

On November 30, 2019 in a small private ceremony, Mr. Yoshiyuki Joel Fujita, Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team was conferred the French Chevalier (Knight) Medal by Mr. Guillaume Maman, French Honorary Consul in Hawaii.  Then Technician 5th Class Fujita, a tactical map specialist was responsible for creating and maintaining the critical tactical maps for the Regimental Headquarters. He was also a reconnaissance scout and the eyes and ears of the Regiment.  Returning from one of many reconnaissance mission in the Vosges Mountains, he possessed first-hand and full knowledge of the dire situation. During the mission debriefing with 442nd headquarters officers, Fujita reported details of German defenses and warned of the risks of attacking the German fortress in the Vosges forests. Conferment ceremony attendees also included Mrs. Theresa Maman and Mrs. Yoko Morita.

Fujita served in four Allied Offensive Campaigns, the Rome-Arno; Northern Apennines; (France) Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps; and Po Valley (Gothic-line breakthrough).  For his honorable service, T/5 Fujita received the Bronze Star Medal with one Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster (2nd award); Army Good Conduct Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four Bronze Campaign/Battle Stars; World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge; Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Badge with Rifle Bar; and the Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.  

L-R: Jeff Morita, Cedric Fujita (son), (seated) Mr. Yoshiyuki Joel Fujita, Kylee Fujita (granddaughter), Mr. Guillaume Maman, Photo: Courtesy of Ann Kabasawa.

Yoshiyuki Joel Fujita. Photo: Courtesy of the Fujita Family.

Takashi Nakamura

On December 9, 2019, in a very private ceremony, French Honorary Consul Guillaume Maman presented the French Legion of Honor to Dr. James Nakamura, the son of the late Dr. Takashi Nakamura.  As a Combat Medic, then Technical Sergeant (T/Sgt) Takashi Nakamura was duty-bound with the heavy responsibility of administering life-saving medical aid, and comfort to many wounded and dying fellow 442nd brothers-in-arms.  As a senior enlisted of a medical detachment assigned to an infantry regiment in the European Theater of Operations, T/Sgt Nakamura supervised and directed the work of 150 men and performed the necessary administrative work for the detachment.  He prepared and typed correspondence, made entries in records, and assigned men to various duties to ensure the health and welfare, care of various injuries, and battle casualties for the entire Regiment.  As a medical supply sergeant, T/Sgt Nakamura supervised the requisitioning, storing, and issue of medical supplies for the Regiment and quartermaster supplies for men within the medical detachment.  He kept stock records of all supplies on hand and issued, took periodic inventories of stock on hand, and ensured medical supplies reached front line companies at all times.  T/Sgt Nakamura served in the Rome-Arno, Northern Apennines, [France] Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps and Po Valley Allied Offensive Campaigns.  For his honorable service, Mr. Nakamura was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four (4) Bronze Campaign/Battle Stars, World War II Victory Medal, Distinguished Unit Badge (now known as the Presidential Unit Citation), Combat Medical Badge, and Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.  Dr. Takashi Nakamura served as the President of the 442nd Veterans Club from January thru December 1966 and passed away Spring 2019. 

 Dr. Takashi Nakamura. Photo: Courtesy of 442nd Veterans Club.

Katsuto Richard Nomura

On December 7, 2019 in front of a large multi-generation group attending the 2019 442nd Regimental Combat Team Christmas Party, Mr. Katsuto Richard Nomura, 1st Squad, 1st Platoon, Anti-Tank Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team was conferred the French Chevalier (Knight) Medal by Mr. Guillaume Maman, French Honorary Consul in Hawaii. 

Nomura served in five Allied Offensive Campaigns, the Rome-Arno; Northern Apennines; Southern France Invasion (Operation Dragoon); (France) Rhineland-Vosges and Rhineland-Maritime Alps; and Po Valley (Gothic-line breakthrough).  Nomura was wounded in the right shoulder by enemy shrapnel during the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion in the Vosges Mountains in Northeastern France.  Due to the 442nd’s combat depleted manpower, Nomura was medically treated and returned to his unit.  For his honorable service PFC Nomura received the Bronze Star Medal; Purple Heart Medal; Army Good Conduct Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Silver Campaign/Battle Star (signifies five campaigns); World War II Victory Medal; Distinguished Unit Badge; Combat Infantryman Badge; World War II Airborne Glider Badge; one Bronze Arrowhead (signifies glider assault); Expert Badge 57mm Anti-Tank, Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar, and the Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II.

L-R: Mrs. Theresa Maman, Jeff Morita, Mr. Guillaume Maman, (seated) Mr. Katsuto Richard Nomura, Photo: Courtesy of Ann Kabasawa.

Private First Class Katsuto Richard Nomura with bazooka. Photo: Courtesy Nomura Family.

Harold Joji Watase

On January 11, 2020 in an intimate and historic Chevalier conferment ceremony at the 442nd Legacy Center and Veterans Club, four generations of the Watase Family witnessed Mr. Harold Joji Watase (95 years old), I “Item” Company, 3rd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team bestowed the French Chevalier (Knight) Medal by Mr. Guillaume Maman, French Honorary Consul in Hawaii.  Then Sergeant Watase was an infantry light mortar crewman, and operated the M2 mortar a 60 millimeter smoothbore, muzzle-loading, high angle of fire weapon used to support infantry with indirect fire support.  Sergeant Watase was wounded in the neck by enemy shrapnel during the epic rescue of the lost ‘Texas’ battalion in the Vosges Mountains of Northeastern France.

[EdNote. The nomination packet for the highest decoration of France was completed by JAVA member Jeff Morita, a retired US Army and Civil Service volunteer who assists veterans obtain medals and records.  Jeff has assisted with 25 other French Chevalier (Knight) conferments to an American soldier who participated in the Liberation of France during WWII.  Jeff continues his public service in search of current surviving military veterans who served open French soil during WWII, and prior to May 8, 1945.  Jeff offers his expertise to all interested jeff_kine_57@icloud.com.]

L-R: Jeff Morita, Karl Okemura, Harold Joji Watase, Claire Mitani, Guillaume Maman. Photo: Airi Morita.

Mr. Harold Joji Watase. Photo:Courtesy Watase Family.

Afternoon of Peace

Pat Tillman Scholarship Program

Open February 1 - 29, 2020 

The Tillman Scholar program is the premier academic fellowship for military service members, veterans and spouses.


The Tillman Scholar program is open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

  • Veteran and active duty service members from all branches of the military including National Guard and Reserves who have served in pre- and post-9/11 service areas
  • Current spouses of veteran or active duty service members, including surviving spouses

Spouses, veterans and service members who apply must be a full-time* student pursuing one of the following degrees at a public or private, U.S.-based, accredited institution:

  • An undergraduate degree (or above)
  • A graduate or professional degree

*full-time as determined by the institution and program of study to which an applicant is applying

Strong applicants demonstrate clear academic goals, extraordinary leadership potential and a deep desire to create positive change. They believe their best years of service to our country are still ahead of them, and they are committed to strengthening communities at home and around the world.

Tillman Scholar application 

For More Information Contact:

Pat Tillman Foundation | 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza | Suite 1212 | Chicago, IL | 60654
o: (630) 448-0070 | c: (703) 835-4683 | e
: jdue@pattillmanfoundation.org 
pattillmanfoundation.org | @pattillmanfnd | Facebook | Instagram

2020 National Veterans Day Poster Contest

Calling all artists! The 2020 National Veterans Day Poster Contest is underway. Each year the Veterans Day National Committee publishes a commemorative Veterans Day poster. The poster is selected from artwork submitted by artists nationwide and is distributed to VA facilities, military installations around the world across cities and towns in our nation.  It also serves as the cover of the official program for the Veterans Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery. 

Over the years these posters have illustrated the rich history of our country's service men and women.  The poster clearly reflects our pride and patriotism in saluting Veterans while providing the thematic artistry for the year. 

The theme for Veterans Day 2020 is: “Vision: Veterans in Focus.” All Veterans make a sacrifice to serve their country, whether physically, emotionally, or by being away from their loved ones and missing important life moments. As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back on centuries of Veterans’ service and sacrifice and what we have learned from the past, we must always maintain the vision for the future of Veterans. Putting the Veteran at the center, on Veterans Day we continue to honor all who served, while focusing on the needs of the next generation of Veterans.

Poster guidelines, submissions must:

·         Be 18” x 24” at 300 dots per inch, scale down submissions to 9”x12.”

·         The design will be used for a 1” x 1.5” lapel pin. Simple designs look best scaled down to lapel pins. If you’d like to submit a modified design for the lapel pin based off the original poster design, you may do so.

·         Submissions are not restricted to “human centric” presentations, such as a joint color guard. Imagery of American icons, monuments or scenery can qualify, for example, the American flag.

·         Representative of all Veterans who served. The Committee may select a particular submission but ask the artist to make modifications to the original design. Additional changes may be required prior to printing.

·         Design must include the words :Veterans Day, November 11, 2020” and “Honoring all who served.”

·         Include sufficient information to demonstrate that the image is the work of the artist and is not copyrighted material (i.e. photos and concepts).

·         Successful designs are very simple with minimal imagery and verbiage. To view examples of past winning submissions visit:  http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/gallery.asp.

Submit electronic versions as jpg images or PDF files by email to vetsday@va.gov  or send copies of artwork on a CD with artwork files to:

Veterans Day National Committee (002D)
Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20420

The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2020. The Veterans Day National Committee will convene a selection sub-committee in May 2020 to review submissions and make a final selection.

Questions? – contact the Veterans Day Coordinator at vetsday@va.gov.


Seeking individuals who served in the military!

We invite you to participate in a study focusing on your health behaviors and life experiences as a Veteran.

The goal of the Health for Every Veteran Study is to better understand the experiences of Veterans from all backgrounds and promote their health and well-being. We are interested in hearing the diverse voices within our communities.

The study is being conducted by researchers at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. It consists of completing a confidential, web-based questionnaire every 9 months for approximately 2 years (for a total of 4 questionnaires). All research activities are completed online, with no in-person visits required. For more information, please go to

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford, JAVA e-Advocate Editor, at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I https://java.wildapricot.org 

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