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Memorial service to honor AJAs who served in World War II

The 11th Annual Joint Memorial Service, honoring Japanese American solders who served during World War II, will be held Sunday at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl.

The ceremony starts at 10 a.m., with the keynote speaker, Matt Matsunaga, the son of the late U.S. Sen. Spark Matsunaga. The Royal Hawaiian Band will perform.

Despite racial discrimination at home, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, including the 100th Battalion, were willing to fight for the United States and became the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare, according to the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

The memorial service will be honoring members of various Japanese American military units that served during World War II, including the members of the 442nd RCT, 100th Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service, whose members served as code breakers and language translators.

Other units included the 232nd Combat Engineer Company and 522nd Field Artillery Battalion.

The service was initially organized by the 100th Battalion to commemorate its first member killed in action, Oahu resident Sgt. Shigeo “Joe” Takata, who died on Sept. 29, 1943 from a German shell fragment.

Takata, who helped in locating enemy positions before his death, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Takata was a star baseball player in a semi-pro league in Hawaii. A baseball field at Fort Shafter was named after him in 2003.

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