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

    U.S. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard speaks during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday

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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