Japanese American Veterans Association


Vol. 3, No. 41, November 1, 2021

Nation’s Highest Medal Awarded to Nisei 10 Years Ago; U.S. Congressman Schiff and Others Provide Views  

Presentation of Congressional Gold Medal.  Capitol Hill, Emancipation Hall, November 2, 2011.  L-R:  Ted Mitsuo Hamasu, representing 100th Veterans Hawaii; Speaker Boehner; Dr. Susumu Ito, representing 442nd RCT; Nancy Pelosi; Grant Ichikawa, representing Military Intelligence Service; the late U.S. Senator Inouye. Photo Credit: JRT.

JRT, November 1, 2021

Capitol Hill. Ten years ago tomorrow at the Emancipation Hall of the U.S. Capitol Building, Speaker John Boehner, with bipartisan congressional leaders at his side, presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Mitsuo Hamasu of the 100th Infantry Battalion, Dr. Susumu Ito of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Grant Ichikawa of the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). To mark this 10-year anniversary e-Advocate asked Congressman Adam Schiff, sponsor of the Congressional effort, for his views. Schiff said, “It was an honor to lead Congress’ historic effort to honor the Nisei service members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service with the Congressional Gold Medal. These true American heroes courageously fought and sacrificed to protect our nation, all while facing unimaginable hate and xenophobia at home. I will always be inspired by the strength and patriotism of the brave men I had the good fortune to meet and those whose stories I will never forget.”

Approximately 345 veterans and their families attended the award ceremony. When the late U.S. Senator Dan Inouye told the national audience the Gold Medal applied to all Nisei in the Service, he might have been thinking of the six Nisei who served as gunners in bombers; the 12 Nisei who sank with the Army transport Royal T. Frank off Maui coast as the result of a torpedo by a Japanese submarine; two Nisei of the 1399th Engineers who were killed during the Imperial Japanese attack; a Nisei medical doctor who served in the Normandy invasion, and a number of Nisei scattered in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Merchant Marines, including a Merchant Marine officer from Honolulu who was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism. The award of the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor this nation can bestow, is the culmination of Nisei efforts to prove and to receive national acknowledgment of their loyalty to America.       

When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor all ethnic Japanese in the U.S. were viewed as disloyal to America, as collaborators of Imperial Japan, and were banned from serving in the military. Nisei petitioned the government to allow them to serve in combat to prove their loyalty.The government agreed, waiving the ban to allow Nisei to volunteer for the MIS for Japanese language training and deployment to the Asia Pacific Theater. The War Department also sent the 100th Battalion, comprised of Hawaii’s 1,432 prewar draftees, to Italy for combat duty. The 100th Battalion sustained such huge casualties that the press labeled them the “Purple Heart Battalion”. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team made up of 4,000 volunteers from Hawaii and the mainland, many from internment camps joined the 100th in Europe, where they helped America defeat Hitler and saved a trapped Texas battalion.

At the end of the war in Europe, the War Department issued a press release which declared the 442nd, which included the 100th, was the best fighting unit in the U.S. Army and soon thereafter announced that the 442nd was the most highly decorated unit for its size and period of combat. President Harry Truman reviewed the 442nd at the Ellipse on July 15, 1946. In the driving rain that day, Truman confirmed Japanese American loyalty. It is JRT’s view that the contributions to allied victory by minority elements such as Japanese Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and others served as the backdrop to President Truman issuing Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, which desegregated the armed services and guaranteed equal treatment “without regard to race, color, religion, and ethnicity” in the armed forces. In 1988, the government provided reparations to the internees and President Ronald Reagan offered a formal national apology for the internment. JRT asked U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono if she had any special thoughts and she replied “on the 10th anniversary of the Congressional Gold Medal being awarded to the members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regiment Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service, I salute their spirit, sacrifice, and dedicated service. Despite the anti-Japanese sentiment of the time, soldiers of One Puka Puka, 442nd RCT, and MIS risked their lives to fight for our country and allies during World War II. For that, we will remain forever grateful.”

JAVA served as a member of the National Veterans Network (NVN), Chairperson Christine Sato-Yamazaki, a national coalition whose immediate goal was to get the MIS included in U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s bill. Christine, now executive director of NVN said "The awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) was the result of a unified national effort that brought together 23 organizations nationwide with a collective goal to honor the Japanese American WWII soldiers in recognition of their extraordinary service.” Christine also said, "on November 2, 2021, the NVN will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the historic day in a 30-minute virtual event that will take place on November 2, 2021, at 8:00 pm EDT / 5:00 pm PDT / 2:00 pm Hawaii. To RSVP with instructions to access the event, please email NVN at info@nationalveteransnetwork.com.” 

Before the passage of Senator Boxer’s bill that included the MIS, JACL interns Jean Shiraki (now MD) and Peter Ozaki, formed two teams of two, met with Senators’ staff persons, and invited JAVA veterans to join them to discuss Nisei combat achievements. 

In addition, two JAVA veterans separately briefed senators’ staff officers on Capitol Hill and appealed to them to get their senators to sign on to the Boxer Bill. JAVA members from selected states were asked to pressure their senators to do the same; survivors and families of the trapped Texas battalion, saved by the Nisei in France, were enthusiastic supporters. Leslie Tramer said, “my father, 1st Lt. Erwin Blonder, instilled in his family a profound sense of gratitude to the heroic Nisei who rescued the Lost Battalion in the Vosges forest in October 1944. He said one should never judge another based on ethnicity. He always believed the treatment of the Nisei and their families was profoundly unfair and was pleased when the CGM was finally awarded”. My father said, "I think about my experiences with the Lost Battalion every day. I am thankful my life was spared by a group of men who were discriminated against and lost all they had on the West Coast but still proved to be the most loyal Americans. We, his family, share that profound sense of gratitude.” Another daughter, Mary Pat Higgins Abrunzo, said, “I know that my father, Marty Higgins, CO of the Lost Battalion would be very pleased that the Nisei veterans of WWII were awarded the CGM on November 2, 2011, in Washington DC. After the rescue on October 30, 1944, by the 100/442 in the Vosges Mountains in northeastern France, my father held the Japanese Americans in high esteem for the remainder of his life.” [Note: See Mary Pat Higgins Abrunzo’s article which follows below]. 

After the Boxer Bill, which included the MIS, passed both houses, Christine requested JAVA arrange and conduct local activities while supporting NVN’s CGM presentation and testimonial dinner during the three days of celebration. JAVA arranged the program entitled the National Veterans Network Tribute to the 100th, 442nd, and MIS, which included the award of 50 Bronze Stars to 100th and 442nd veterans followed by the laying of wreaths at the National WW 2 Memorial Freedom Wall. The Tribute, held in the largest ballroom of the Washington Hilton Hotel, was officiated by the late General Raymond T. Odierno, then Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, and facilitated by LTG Thomas Bostick, then Director of Personnel of the U.S. Army. Gerald Yamada, JAVA President and chair of the Tribute, said, “I was privileged to give the opening and closing remarks at the first day of the 3-day ceremony awarding the CGM to members of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd RCT and MIS. This award gives national recognition that the Japanese Americans, who served, put country first and are loyal Americans. They brought honor to our community, their families, and themselves. They forged the legacy from which we all benefit and need to preserve.”

The U.S. Army provided total support inspired by requests from two retired generals, LTG Joe Peterson and MG Tony Taguba. LTG Peterson obtained major resource and logistics decisions from the Army in real-time that ensured the dignity and high value of the program. LTG Thomas Bostick, who complemented LTG Peterson and MG Taguba’s efforts, said, “one of the highlights of my career was the opportunity to support the U.S. Army effort with the Congressional Gold Medal presentation to the 100th, 442nd, and the MIS. From the minute that I received a call about the possible recognition of these great Soldiers and units, the U.S. Army immediately went to work and remained engaged throughout all the ceremonies at the Pentagon, Congress, the Washington Hilton Hotel, National World War II Memorial, and the many locations throughout the country.“

JAVA also arranged the Tribute to Nisei who Died in Line of Duty in Europe and Asia Pacific on November 3 at the National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism; the Honor Flights to transport mainland veterans (regretfully, Honor Flights had no similar program for Hawaii) to Washington, DC. JAVA also created and ran the credential committee to ensure the limited number of seats at the CGM ceremony were assigned to qualified veterans and their families. JAVA members organized welcome programs at Reagan National, BWI, and Dulles airports.

NVM CGM Commemoration

November 2, 2021

Register to Watch

Register to watch the NVN commemoration of  the 10-year anniversary of the CGM award in a 30-minute virtual event that will take place on November 2, 2021, at 8:00 pm EDT / 5:00 pm PDT / 2:00 pm Hawaii. To RSVP with instructions to access the event, please email NVN at info@nationalveteransnetwork.com.

Trapped Battalion Commander Daughter’s Remarks about her Dad’s being Saved by Nisei

Painting of the 442nd Rescue of the Lost Battalion, Vosges, France, by Charles McBarrow.  Photo of Image: LtCol Michael Yaguchi, USAF (Ret).

Two photos of 1st Lt Martin Higgins, 1st Bn, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Division from And Then There Were Eight. p. 92. Left dated 1944 and right dated March 25, 2000. Photo credit. I Chapter, 442nd Veterans Club Hawaii.  [EdNote. Thanks to Ann Kabasawa who consulted Claire Mitani, who brought these photos to our attention.]

By Mary Pat Abrunzo

Honolulu, Hawaii. Congratulations on the 10th Anniversary of the passage of the CGM being awarded to the 100, 442, and MIS Nisei soldiers of WWII. I know that my father, Captain Martin J. Higgins, would join me in congratulating the Nisei soldiers, as many such as Susumu Ito, Ed Ichiyama, and George Oiye, were dear friends. My husband, Tom Abrunzo, and I accompanied my father to the March 25, 2000 Memorial Service at the Punchbowl Military Cemetery in Honolulu when dad was asked to be the Keynote Speaker. 

Dad thanked the 100/442 for rescuing 211 members of the 141st Regiment Veterans on October 30, 1944, by stating, “Chills went up our spines when we saw the Nisei soldiers. The first thing they offered us was cigarettes. Ed Ichiyama asked me what I thought when these little guys came along. I can honestly tell you they looked like giants to us. 

I really regret the loss of lives and wounding of your men to rescue us.” He concluded by saying, “It is an HONOR to stand before you; to offer my regrets of your losses; to give thanks for your bravery and sacrifice, for myself, for the others in the Lost Battalion, and for the country for which you fought. 

Every one of you deserves the Distinguished Service Award, as you distinguished yourself in combat and as loyal citizens of the United States of America. We are forever thankful and indebted to you.” My father cried as he completed his speech and knew that it was a success when Senator Daniel Inouye shook his hand. 

Congratulations on the 10th Anniversary of the passage of the CGM to the valiant and brave Nisei soldiers of the 100, 442, and MIS. Mary Pat Higgins Abrunzo, Proud daughter of Marty Higgins.  

The War Story of Malcolm Nishida: MIS Veteran in China 

Malcolm Minoru Nishida on left at Camp Savage, MN. Photo: Courtesy of Jane Nishida. 

Jane Nishida

December 7, 1941, was a momentous day in history that dramatically changed the world and changed the lives of Japanese Americans, including my father, Malcolm Minoru Nishida. My father was a twenty-year-old Nisei living in Honolulu, the eldest son in a family of seven children, who understood his role as the eldest son to support his family. At the same time, he also understood his duty as a patriotic American to support the country that he loved and decided to enlist in the U.S. Army.

After enlisting, my father was sent to Camp Savage, the U.S. Military Intelligence Service (MIS) language school which was established to teach Japanese language skills to military personnel and civilians involved in the war effort. As the number of U.S. military personnel who spoke or understood Japanese was almost non-existent in the 1940s, Nisei soldiers were actively recruited. Camp Savage was located in Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and my father often talked about how the Hawaiian boys could not adapt to the bone chilling winters in Minnesota.

After graduation from Camp Savage, my father was assigned as a MIS intelligence officer in both the China and India-Burma theaters during World War II. He interrogated prisoners of war, translated captured documents, and served as a Japanese interpreter for the overall war effort. During the height of the war, he was stationed in the strategic cities of Shanghai, Nanking (Nanjing), and Peking (Beijing) until the Japanese surrendered in August 1945. 

After the war with Japan ended, my father continued to serve as a MIS intelligence officer in China during the civil conflict between the Nationalist (Kuomintang) led government of Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese Communist Party forces led by Mao Zedong. Much of the civil conflict occurred in Manchuria, which had been occupied by forces from the Soviet Union and saw the surrender of approximately 700,000 Japanese troops at the end of the war. My father was stationed in the Northeastern cities of Changchun and Mukden from 1946 to 1949 to gather key intelligence. In fact, the Communist China News Agency reported that the “so-called American Consulate in Mukden and U.S. Army liaison group Mukden is American espionage organs” and that Japanese special service agents supplied important intelligence “70 to 80 times to Nishida, American-Japanese.”

When the Chinese Communist Party gained control of the country and established the People’s Republic of China. In 1949, my father was one of two MIS officers to assist the Nationalist led government of Chiang Kai-shek to flee to Taiwan and establish the Republic of China, however, before my father left mainland China, he had another important mission – to help my mother, a Japanese American stranded in Mukden, to flee China (learn more about this war love story in the next issue of the e-Advocate).

Wade Ishimoto Participates in U.S. Army Day on the USS Midway

CAPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), receives the BATON from the U.S. Army Parachute Team. Photo: David Iwata. 

In late September, JAVA member CAPT Wade Ishimoto, USA (Ret), took part in U.S. Army Day on the USS Midway during the launch of SoCal Army Week. In an interview, Ishimoto shared the start of his career in the Army - listen in at minute 17:29 in the following KUSI-SD news clip: 


French Chevalier Conferment for Hiroshi Okura, A “Able” Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion 

 “George Goto (standing at right) with buddies and French children at a wine-making section of Bruyeres - October 1944.”  Mr. Hiroshi Okura identified himself as squatting extreme far left. Photo:  Page 32, from publication "I Can Never Forget:  Men of the 100th/442nd” by Thelma Chang. 

Jeff Morita, Hawaii

Chicago, Illinois — October 20, 2021, in an intimate ceremony at the Okura Family residence, a historic event between the Republic of France and a World War II Army Nisei military veteran transpired. Mr. Yannick Tagand, Consul General of France in Chicago, and his staff personally conferred the Chevalier (Knight) rank and medal to Mr. Hiroshi Okura, A “Able” Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (FAB), 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT). Mr. Okura will turn 100 years old on November 3rd. The Légion d’honneur was established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte, and France’s highest order for military and civil merits — the equivalent to the U.S. Medal of Honor.

Then Private Hiroshi Okura was an Artillery Field Communications Lineman assigned to A “Able” Battery, 522nd FAB, 442nd RCT Team. In World War II, the 522nd FAB sustained a well-known and exceptionally enviable reputation as one of the most proficient in speed and accuracy for Allied field artillery units in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). Okura's selfless service, sacrifice and steadfast "Go for Broke" courage were key to successful Allied combat action and the liberation of Eastern-France during World War II. The 522nd FAB was the organic and indirect/direct artillery fire support for the 442nd RCT.

Okura was a key member of Able Battery without whom reliable and continuous and timely communications his battery and the artillery battalion as a whole could not effectively support the assault infantry of the 100th/442nd. Okura laid, maintained, and took up the wire or cable of a telephone or telegraph communication system. He ran wire along the ground guiding it from a wire reel of a 1/4-ton wire truck. Fastened wire to poles, stakes, or trees, and carried it across roads or other obstructions, and buried in a shallow ditch or suspended from trees, telephone poles, or lance poles. He located and determined the cause of line trouble such as opens, shorts, and grounds by testing the length of wire at intervals. Made appropriate repairs, such as spliced breaks and cut out defective wire and spliced. All of these vital communications requirements were accomplished under harsh weather and terrain, and often under vicious combat conditions. Okura served courageously and honorably in the Rome-Arno — (France) Rhineland-Vosges | Rhineland-Maritime Alps — and Central Europe Campaigns. During the Rhineland-Vosges Campaign, Okura personally contributed to the liberation of Bruyères, Belmont-Biffontaine, and the epic rescue of the lost ’Texas’ battalion in the Vosges Mountains. Okura also experienced the 522nd FAB’s rescue of imprisoned Jewish citizens on their death march, and from German death camps in Southern Germany.

For his honorable service Private Hiroshi Okura was awarded the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal — European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with three Bronze Campaign/Battle Stars — World War II Victory Medal — and Honorable Service Lapel Button-World War II. In 2011, Mr. Okura was included in the 100th Infantry Battalion | 442nd RCT | Military Intelligence Service, Washington, D.C. ceremony honoring “The Nisei Soldiers of World War II" with the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal.

L-R:Mr. Yannick Tagand, Consul General of France in Chicago, Chevalier Hiroshi Okura, and son Terrence “Terry” Okura. Note:  Mr. Okura (98) recently broke his hip from a fall, is on the mend and in very good spirits. Photo: Courtesy of the French Consulate General in Chicago and the Okura Family

He Fought the Good Fight

Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, USA (Ret)

10/03/1920 - 11/7/2019

Funeral Procession with Full Military Honors for Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, June 30, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Kanaya. 

Lynn Kanaya

Arlington Cemetery.  A recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart and a former Prisoner of War, Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, USA (Ret), was buried with full honors on June 30, 2021, at Arlington National Cemetery in a service officiated by the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment or “Old Guard.” Family members, JAVA representatives, and Friends of Oflag 64 (the WWII POW camp where Kanaya was held) gathered to pay their respects and honor the three-war Veteran. In a landscape of white marble tombstones, the group lined up behind the flag-draped caisson and silently reflected on Kanaya’s years of service to his country. Pulled by six horses, the caisson was followed by a riderless horse with boots reversed in stirrups to symbolize a warrior’s last ride. A platoon of soldiers, a drummer, and a bugler were also part of the procession; the measured marching, and the drumming joined with the sound of horses’ hooves to reverently mark the journey to the gravesite. Once there, family and friends found comfort in the words of a U.S. Army Chaplin: “Jimmie fought for the flag, and at his death, the flag honors him.” During the ceremony, a twenty-one-gun salute was given by seven riflemen. Afterward, with solemn precision, platoon members unfolded a United States flag above the remains and then refolded and presented it to Jimmie’s wife, Lynn Kanaya. The mournful notes of the bugler’s taps concluded the service and Colonel Kanaya was laid to rest, joining four hundred thousand warriors and patriots who also faithfully served their country and are buried at Arlington.

When asked about his medals and awards, Jimmie would say, “I was just doing my job.” Yet his actions on the battlefield belie his modesty; his record was exemplary. A medic in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he received a Silver Star for evacuating the wounded on Hill 140 in Italy and Battlefield Commission from the Rome/Arno campaign for valor and gallantry in action against an enemy. For a solo evacuation of his platoon sergeant who was mortally wounded, he received the Bronze Star with Valor and two oak leaf clusters. The Bronze Star’s inscription on the back cites, “meritorious and heroic achievement.” His Purple Heart was earned in the Vosges Mountains of France for being wounded in combat against the enemy. In that battle, Jimmie along with others was taken prisoner and spent the remainder of the war as a POW. Most of his time was at Oflag 64, a camp for Army officers, where he was ruthlessly interrogated. In January 1945, ahead of the Allied advance, Kanaya and the other POWs were forced on an eight-week death march to Oflag XIIIB at Hammelburg. As a member of the 442nd RCT, Jimmie received eight Presidential Citations. The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of Armed forces of the United States for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. At retirement after thirty-four years of service including World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, Jimmie was awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptional meritorious conduct in performing outstanding services and achievement.” The French Government also recognized Colonel Kanaya. During the 60th anniversary of WWII, Jimmie was given the French Legion of Honor by the French Minister of Defense, Paris, France, for services rendered in the liberation of Bruyères and Biffontaine.

While Jimmie made the military his life’s work, he never gave up on his goal of earning undergraduate and graduate degrees. Attending school at night and between posts, it took Jimmie 22 years to earn his college degree. He valued education and recognized that the knowledge he gained from coursework, helped him to do a better job and be a better leader. The words of Timothy 2:4:7-8 describe Jimmie’s journey in life. “I fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” This humble hero inspires us all to continue doing our best, to be of service, and to relish the life of freedom that he and others fought so hard to achieve.

JAVA representatives at the burial of Colonel Jimmie Kanaya, USA (Ret), on June 30, 2021, Arlington National Cemetery. From L to R: LTC Mark Nakagawa, USA (Ret) who also represented the Nisei Veterans Committee of Seattle, LTC Rod Azama, USA (Ret), Lynn Kanaya, Mary Murakami, Gerald Yamada, President, Howard High, Vice President, Neet Ford, Administrator, and Noriko Sanefuji. Photo: Courtesy of Lynn Kanaya.

Nisei Combatants of World War II Discuss Premonition of Death

Dr. Americo Bugliani at Paul Sakamoto’s home in Hilo, Hawaii. Photo: Courtesy of Ann Bugliani.

[EdNote. Dr. Ann Bugliani sent a warm note soon after she read the October 1 e- Advocate article, "Nisei Combatants of World War II Discuss Premonition of Death."]  

“Americo was thrilled to have located Paul fifty years after their first encounter.  Their meeting again was the experience of a lifetime memorialized in the Hawaii Herald article of February 3, 1995.  The monument was proposed by Americo to Pietrasanta's leading citizens.  The sculpture was executed by world renowned sculptor Marcello Tommasi.  He donated his work.  The bronze and marble were donated by a local foundry and the city of Pietrasanta donated the land.   There is nothing else like it here in Italy nor anywhere else for that matter.   It is fitting since Pietrasanta is often referred to as the sculpture capital of the world.” 

Monument to Allied Soldiers by Marcello Tommasi, Pietrasanta, Italy. The monument depicts Sadao Munemori, who died protecting his fellow soldiers from a grenade. Photo:  Dr. Americo Bugliani, Courtesy of Dr. Ann Bugliani.

JAVA's 2021 Annual Fundraiser

Helping To Keep Our Legacy Alive

JAVA President Gerald Yamada, 2021 Day of Affirmation Ceremony. National World War II Memorial, Washington, DC. Photo: Nicole Yamada. 

Dear Members and Friends,

I am pleased to report that the Japanese American Veterans Association’s (JAVA’s) programs for 2021 have been highly successful.  This year we have recognized the contributions made by all who have or are serving in the U.S. armed forces, their families, and friends; honored the legacy forged by the valor and patriotism of Japanese American men and women who served in the United States military during World War II; advocated on behalf of all Asian American veterans; and improved the way JAVA operates.

Saluting All Who Have Served or Are Serving.

  • Veterans Day Program.  JAVA sponsors its annual Veterans Day Program at the National Japanese American Memorial to honor those who have served or are serving.  Last year and this year, the Veterans Day National Committee, which is a part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), has selected JAVA’s November 11th program as one of the “Veterans Day observances throughout the country that represents a fitting tribute to America’s heroes.”
  • Memorial Day Program.  JAVA co-sponsors the annual Memorial Day Service at Arlington National Cemetery and shares in the costs of the flowers that are laid at approximately 100 grave sites of veterans who our organizations honor every year.

Honoring the Legacy of the Nisei World War II Soldiers.

  • Go For Broke Stamp.  In recognition of JAVA’s support of the Stamp Our Story Campaign for the past 10 years, JAVA was included in the introductory video that was part of the ceremony when the stamp was first made available to the public on June 4th.  In my remarks, I highlighted that the Go For Broke stamp is the first time that all Japanese American, men and women, who served in World War II have been honored for their service.  The stamp is our Nation’s way of saying “Thank you for your service.”  The stamp honors them as America’s heroes.
  • Day of Affirmation Celebration.  JAVA celebrated the 75th anniversary of the July 15, 1946 tribute that President Harry Truman paid to the returning 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) at the Ellipse of the White House as the Day of Affirmation.  The President affirmed that the Japanese American soldiers who served in World War II were loyal Americans.  JAVA commemorated this anniversary by laying a wreath in honor of all the World War II Nisei soldiers at the Price of Freedom Wall, National World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.  The military wreath escort and two wreath bearers were descendants of soldiers who served in the 442nd RCT and Military Intelligence Service.
  • National Museum of the United States Army Reception.  When the National Museum of the United States Army first started planning which exhibits would be included, JAVA advocated for the importance of including Nisei military exhibits.  Our voice was heard by the Museum.  In addition, because of the sizable donation that JAVA made to help build the Museum, JAVA is entitled to use the Museum for one day of tours and an evening reception.  We deferred scheduling this event in 2020 and 2021 due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 restrictions.  We have now reserved the  Museum for the tours and evening reception for JAVA members and friends for July 16, 2022, the day after next year’s Day of Affirmation ceremony.  We will work with the Museum tour guides to ensure that the Nisei military exhibits are highlighted and will bring together an insightful array of speakers for the evening reception.  
  • Freedom Walk.  JAVA co-sponsored the annual Freedom Walk that was held during the National Cherry Blossom Festival and led the group discussion on the role of the Nisei soldiers during World War II.  This event is in memory of those whose unjust imprisonment during World War II was directed by Executive Order 9066. 
  • Scholarship Program.  This year, JAVA awarded 14 scholarships totaling $24,500 to deserving students.  JAVA fully funds two of the scholarship – The Daniel K. Inouye Scholarship and the Kiyoko Tsuboi Taubkin Legacy Scholarship.  The other 12 scholarships are funded by family and friends of the person in whose honor the scholarship is named.  (If you are interested in establishing a JAVA scholarship in honor of an individual, please contact us at javapotomac@gmail.com.) 
  • Photo Exhibit.  JAVA has just arranged for an exciting photo exhibit to be shown in Washington, DC opening in June 2022.  The photo exhibit will feature photos of World War II Nisei soldiers and current Japanese American military soldiers by a well-known photographer.  Details about the venue, opening program, reception, and exhibit will be released soon
  • West Point Recognition. JAVA wrote to the Superintendent of the United States Military Academy (USMA) to have a recognition in 2024 to honor Colonel Virgil R. Miller (USMA ‘24), who commanded (1944-45) the 442nd RCT, and the soldiers who served in the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd RCT, a segregated all Japanese American (except officers) combat unit formed in 1943.  

Advocating on Behalf of All Asian Pacific American Veterans and Others.

  • Support for Afghan and Iraqi Personnel Being Left Behind.  JAVA signed onto an open letter, with 19 other veterans organizations, to the President and Congress asking the government to take immediate steps to support and protect the Afghan and Iraqi interpreters and other support forces eligible for the Special Immigration Visas (SIVs) who were left behind after the August 31st U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  • VA Recognition of Asian American Veterans.  JAVA wrote a letter to the VA Secretary asking why the VA is not giving equal treatment to Asian American veterans as a recognized ethnic group.
  • Challenging the Scope of VA Inspector General’s Jurisdiction.  JAVA wrote a letter to the Senate and U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee asking the Committees to examine the VA Office of Inspector General’s claim that it lacked jurisdiction to look into potential issues of institutional racism within the VA against Asian American veterans or VA’s non-compliance with government-wide guidance on the collection of data on Asian American veterans. 

Improving Operations.

  • JAVA Chapter in Hawaii.  JAVA has established an exploratory committee to assess whether to form a chapter in Hawaii. 
  • JAVA Elections.  The JAVA By-Laws were amended to allow voting by email so that more members would have the opportunity to vote for JAVA officers. 
  • e-Advocate.  JAVA continues to communicate with you through our e-Advocate, JAVA’s online newsletter, and website to keep you informed about current events and activities that may be of interest to you. 

As our program costs increase, we find it necessary to ask you to donate any amount that you can.  Your donation is appreciated and will help JAVA to continue these worthwhile programs. 

JAVA officers and members of JAVA’s Executive Council are all volunteers and do not receive any compensation for their services so that 100% of all donations will be used to support JAVA programs.  JAVA still assesses no membership dues.

You can donate by going to the JAVA website at https://java-us.org and clicking on the “Donate to JAVA” webpage or by sending your check, made payable to “JAVA,” to JAVA, P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827.  Write “donation” on the memo line of your check.  If you want your donation to fund a specific JAVA program, please specify the program when donating. 

All donations to JAVA will be acknowledged and are tax deductible.  JAVA is a 501(c)(19) tax-exempt organization and a VA approved Veterans Service Organization.  JAVA’s EIN number is 52-1786923.

Thank you for your continued support.


Gerald Yamada

JAVA President

Ways You Can Donate

  • Click the donate button below.
  • JAVA website at https://java-us.org and clicking on the “Donate to JAVA” tab.
  • Check made payable to “JAVA,” send to JAVA, P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827.  Please write “donation” and the name of the program on the memo line. 

JAVA 2022 Elections

Call for Nominations!

In accordance with JAVA’s By-laws, the Nominations Committee is preparing to nominate JAVA members for each of the four elected Offices: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary. 

Should you desire to be considered for one of those positions, please submit your name and a short summary (no more than one page) of your qualifications and desire to run for any of the elected offices. The deadline for submission is Wednesday, December 1, 2021. These Officers will serve a two year term beginning in February 2022. Your submissions should be sent to Nominations Chair Dawn Eilenberger at dawn.eilenberger@java-us.org.

Election Timeline:

  • Slate of Candidates will be presented to the membership on January 2, 2022.
  • Email voting will take place from January 2 to 28, 2022.
  • Proxy email voting will take place from January 2 to 26, 2022.
  • Election results will be announced at the General Membership Meeting on February 5, 2020.


 Annual Evening of Aloha

This year's milestone Evening of Aloha which will once again be presented virtually. This 20th anniversary celebration will continue to feature new perspectives and new voices from across our diversifying community and audience while honoring the tremendous accomplishments and legacy of the Japanese American veterans of WWII.

3:45 P.M. PST - Pre-show featuring “Thank A Veteran” Digital Tributes
4:00 to 5:00 P.M. PST - Program hosted by David Ono, ABC7 News Anchor & GFBNEC Board of Director and Dr. Mitch Maki, GFBNEC President & CEO

Live on FacebookYouTube and goforbroke.org.

Questions or Suggestions: Please contact Neet Ford at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Japanese American Veterans Association:  Address: P.O. Box 341198, Bethesda, MD 20827 I www.java-us.org