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Gabbard to speak at Punchbowl service honoring World War II Japanese-American soldiers

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 12:22 p.m. HST, Sep 26, 2013

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will serve as keynote speaker at the Oahu AJA Veterans Council's eighth annual Joint Memorial Service, which will be held Sunday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

The service honoring fallen World War II Japanese-American soldiers and veterans is held on the Sunday closest to the date when Waialua native Shigeo "Joe" Takata of the 100th Infantry was killed while attacking a German position outside Salerno, Italy, becoming the first AJA killed in action in World War II. 

This year's service will fall on the 70th anniversary of that day. Takata died Sept. 29, 1943 at Monte Milletoy. He is buried at Punchbowl.

Takata was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. In June 2003, the baseball field at Hawaii's Fort Shafter was named Joe Takata Field in his honor. 

The inaugural Joint Memorial Service was held in 2006  to honor fallen members of four segregated U.S. Army World War II units made up primarily of AJAs: the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion.

This year's service will begin at 9 a.m.

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kuroiwaj wrote:
Staradvertiser, U.S. Rep. Gabbard will do an outstanding job on Sunday. My comments is in the SA calling the WWII veterans Japanese-American soldiers. You had a great beginning by writing Oahu AJA Veterans Council, where we know that AJA is Americans of Japanese Ancestry, which is accurate. Talking with the WWII veterans, to the man, they were Americans. I learned during the CGM meetings beginning in 2008 of representatives supporting the WWII AJA's from across the Nation that there were three groups of Japanese in the United States. The Issei (1st Generation) or "Japanese-Americans", the Nisei (2nd Generation) and Sansei (3rd Generation) or "Americans of Japanese Ancestry", and the Kibei or AJA's educated in Japan and returned to the United States. I also learned after four uncles served in the 442d RCT, one from Hawaii and three from Colorado (none interned) that Government leaders supported the AJA's. It was un-American for the displacement and internment of "all" the West Coast Japanese (all three groups) because of the fear and hate of all Japanese. Their stories will forever touch your hearts. The WWII AJA's accomplished outstanding missions during the War set the high standards for us, the Sansei and Yonsei generation as Americans. Our challenge today is, "How do we preserve forever the AJA story?" This is a very special American story of a humble minority group believing in education and hard work succeeding not as Japanese, but as American. Go For Broke, Ms Gabbard.
on September 26,2013 | 03:30PM
LanaAloha wrote:
Well said.
on September 26,2013 | 04:23PM
Skyler wrote:
Wonderful back-story on the WWII AJAs, thank you.
on September 26,2013 | 06:12PM
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