Pierre Moulin, Chronicler of Nisei Soldiers’ Stories, Dies at 67

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Pierre Moulin was a fixture at the Hawaii Army Museum in Honolulu.

Pierre Moulin was a fixture at the Hawaii Army Museum in Honolulu.

HONOLULU — Pierre Moulin, who dedicated his life to telling the story of the Japanese American soldiers of World War II, particularly the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, which liberated his hometown in France, passed away suddenly on April 11. He was 67.

The announcement was made by Vicky Olson, director of the Hawaii Army Museum Society, who described Moulin as an “author, historian, and a fixture at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii’s lobby … I am certain that Pierre’s family would take great comfort in knowing that he had so many friends among the staff and visitors at the museum.”

Pierre Moulin with Medal of Honor recipient George Sakato in Honolulu in 2012.

Pierre Moulin with Medal of Honor recipient George Sakato in Honolulu in 2012.

Olson continued, “Pierre was born on Nov. 1, 1948 in Bruyeres-in-Vosges and was very involved in the establishment of his home town’s sister-city relationship with Honolulu. Pierre’s father was a leader of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI) and agent of the Office of Strategic Service (OSS). Pierre’s fascination of love of the soldiers of the 100/442nd RCT came out of his father’s service, his village and its residents’ stories of World War II.

“In 1975, Pierre and Francine Gravier were married in Bruyeres. They moved to Luxembourg in 1978 and Pierre became salesman for a pharmaceutical company. His son, Sebastien Rene Moulin, was born on Feb. 21, 1980. A second son, Martin Pierre-Maxime, was born in August 1998 in Differdange, Luxembourg to Pierre and Francoise Vigneron, whom he later married.

“Waianae, Hawaii was his adopted home and he became a volunteer at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii. Pierre wrote several books about the 100th Battalion and the 442nd RCT and also two books currently sold at the museum store: ‘A History of Ft. DeRussy’ and ‘Punchbowl, Arlington of the Pacific.’

Pierre Moulin with 442nd veteran Mas Shiozaki at an E Company reunion in Denver in 1993.

Pierre Moulin with 442nd veteran Mas Shiozaki at an E Company reunion in Denver in 1993.

“Friday, April 8, was the last day Pierre was at the museum as he sold his books at the Arizona Memorial from Saturday through Monday. Just before closing at the Arizona Memorial, Pierre was visited by the new president and CEO of the Go For Broke National Education Center (in Los Angeles), Dr. Vince Beresford. Dr. Beresford sent me this picture of him and Pierre. Sadly, Pierre Moulin passed away the next morning.

“Nous offrons nos sincères condoléances à la famille Moulin.”

Moulin is also the author of “A History of Hawaii Discoveries,” “Dachau, Holocaust and U.S. Samurais,” “U.S. Samurais in Bruyeres,” and the “American Samurais” trilogy, “WWII in Europe,” “WWII in the Pacific,” and “WWII Camps.”

In 1989, he created the Peace and Freedom Trail “with a view to forever imprint the mark of the U.S. samurais onto Bruyeres soil.” In 1997, for the 50th anniversary of the 442nd Memorial made by his grandfather, he made a replica of the plaque to be placed on the top of the Memorial Walk at Punchbowl.

Moulin appeared in the 2010 documentary “442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity,” part of director Junichi Suzuki’s Nisei Trilogy.

Photographer Tom Graves, author of “Twice Heroes,” which honors Nisei veterans of World War II and the Korean War, called Moulin “a loyal friend and a great advocate for the Nisei warriors.”

Moulin was made an honorary citizen of many U.S. cities, including Fresno, San Antonio and Honolulu, as well as an honorary member of the Go For Broke National Association, National Japanese American Historical Society, Military Intelligence Service Association of Northern California, K Company of the 100th/442nd RCT, the Texas 141st Regiment of the U.S. 36th Division, and the 8th Special Troops Battalion, Noncommissioned Officer Corps of the U.S. Army.

He was also a member of Visas for Life, an organization that preserved and promoted the history of diplomats who saved Jews from the Holocaust, including Japan’s Chiune “Sempo” Sugihara.”

From right: Pierre Moulin with 442nd veteran Rudy Tokiwa, Serge Carlesso of Bruyeres, whose life was saved by 442nd medics, and educator/author Mary Tsukamoto in 1993.

From right: Pierre Moulin with 442nd veteran Rudy Tokiwa, Serge Carlesso of Bruyeres, whose life was saved by 442nd medics, and educator/author Mary Tsukamoto in 1993 in San Francisco.

Sebastien Moulin said in a statement, “As you surely have already been advised, Pierre Moulin passed away last week. He had a heart attack as he was waiting for the van to take him to work to the museum.

“It is obviously sad news, and having to handle all this from the other side of the world isn’t helping.

“We will try and inform as much as possible about public events to celebrate his memory. The cremation will occur privately in the coming days.

“As per his wishes, the ashes will be split in two. One half will be spread in the ocean during the Hawaii ceremony and the other half will return to Europe for a second ceremony.

Pierre Moulin's account of the 442nd's fight with the Germans in the Vosges Mountains in October 1944 states that it was one of the 10 most important battles in U.S. history.

Pierre Moulin’s account of the 442nd’s fight with the Germans in the Vosges Mountains in October 1944 states that it was one of the 10 most important battles in U.S. history.

“The Hawaii ceremony will be handled in the coming weeks (date not known yet) and more information about the exact date and location will be communicated as soon as possible to help everybody organizing their agenda. The ceremony will occur on the beach and the ashes will be spread in the ocean at the end …. No flowers, please.

“The European ceremony will occur later on once the urn has returned and the family has decided what is best. Of course, more information will come in due time.

“Last but not least, we would like to thank all the people that have and will send messages of sympathy.

“It was not planned … but as many have requested, a bank account is at (your) disposal for those who wish to make a donation …

“Account holder: Sebastien Moulin. Bank: BCEE Luxembourg. IBAN: LU15 0019 2055 5094 7000.”

More biographical details can be found at www.pierremoulin.com.

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