JAs in Combat Focus of Talk at JANM

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Masao and Scott Takahashi join soldiers at Camp Irwin in San Bernardino.

Masao and Scott Takahashi join soldiers at Camp Irwin in San Bernardino.

Go For Broke National Education Center will host a panel discussion that will span seven decades, three generations and four wars as it brings together Japanese Americans who served in World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The panel discussion will be held on Saturday, March 1, starting at 2 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum’s National Center for the Preservation of Democracy, First and Central in Little Tokyo.

Thomi Yamamoto

Thomi Yamamoto

The four panelists are: World War II veteran Masao Takahashi, 100th Infantry Battalion attached to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; Korean War veteran Thomi Yamamoto, 24th Signal Company of the 24th Infantry Division; Vietnam War veteran Scott Takahashi, son of Masao, 2nd Battalion, 35th Artillery of the Second Field Force; Sgt. Christopher Arakawa, currently with the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry of the U.S. Army Reserve, who deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Moderator will be Darrell Kunitomi.

Born in Modesto, Masao Takahashi and his family were forced by Executive Order 9066 to relocate to Manzanar. He secured a job in Detroit and was able to leave Manzanar. In June 1944 he was drafted and assigned to the segregated Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion, and fought in the Po Valley and the Gothic Line/Northern Apennines campaigns.

Yamamoto, a native of Kent, Wash., was already in the Army on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces launched an attack on the South without a declaration of war. Within a week Yamamoto, a combat photographer, was in observation planes taking photos of the invading North Korean People’s Army to provide intelligence information for U.S. and South Korean forces. Later, working near the front line that quickly shifted above and below the 38th parallel, he often found himself behind enemy lines.

Scott Takahashi was born in Pasadena, and was drafted in November 1968. He served in A Battery of the 2nd Battalion, 35th Artillery. Unlike its B and C Battery counterparts, A Battery moved constantly, and was even ordered to cross into Cambodia where it was attached to the 11th Cavalry. Returning from war, Takahashi took advantage of the GI Bill and became an X-ray technician.

Christopher Arakawa

Christopher Arakawa

Arakawa was born in Kaneohe, Hawaii and works in his civilian career as a military technician, staff operations and training specialist for the 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry Regiment. He enlisted in the Army Reserve in August 2006 and was deployed with Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines in 2007, and to Iraq in 2008-2009. He has received numerous awards and decorations, and has volunteered hundreds of hours to support the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Club in Honolulu.

The panel discussion is part of the JANM Partnerships and Collaboration Series and is sponsored in part by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

The program is free for JANM members and free with admission to the museum for non-members. To make reservations, which are recommended, email [email protected] or call (213) 625-0414.

The mission of Go For Broke National Education Center is to challenge everyone to understand the rights and responsibilities of American citizenship by using the life stories of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II. GFBNEC has taught over 3,000 high school teachers in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Texas, Maryland and Virginia; reached over 100,000 students through its teacher trainings and web-based digital curriculum; maintains the Go For Broke Monument in Los Angeles with the names of over 16,000 Japanese Americans who served in segregated units during World War II, and continues to build its Hanashi Oral History collection of over 1,180 interviews of Nisei veterans, the largest collection of its kind in the world. For more information: www.goforbroke.org.

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