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Veterans group searches for Hawaii family of WWII soldier

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HILO >> A veterans group is conducting a search for relatives of a World War II soldier from Hawaii whose dog tag was found on a French battlefield, the group said.

The Japanese American Veterans Association received a request in July to help locate family members of the soldier from Hilo, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Thursday.

Pfc. Hiroshi Sakamoto served in the Headquarters Company of the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion.

“My assumption is he did not survive, (which is) why his dog tags were found in the ground there. If he had survived, he would still have his dog tags,” said Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Nekoba, a member of the Japanese American Veterans Association.

The man who found Sakamoto’s identification tag in France, one of two located, visits battlegrounds searching for relics, Nekoba said.

The veterans association does not know much about Sakamoto or his family, Nekoba said.

Census records from 1940 show an older sister with the same last name and the names of those believed to be the soldier’s parents, Joichi M. and Misao Sakamoto.

The dog tag includes an address in Hilo and the name of a woman believed to be his sister, Chiyoko Sakamoto.

Nekoba hoped someone in Hawaii would recognize the name.

“He really wants to send the dog tags back to the family,” Nekoba said.

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