Tuesday Dec 22 2009
Men of the 442nd risked it all for their country
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
One of the brave men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was Homer Takahashi, of Loomis. It’s unfortunate he, and so many of his fellow Japanese-American veterans, didn’t live to see the dedication in Rose-ville last week of the memorial honoring the courageous World War II service of the men of the 442nd in Europe and those in the U.S. Military Intelligence Service in the Pacific theater. The 442nd, which adopted the motto “Go For Broke” because its men risked everything, was among the most highly decorated units in U.S. military history. They earned 21 Medals of Honor and 62 Distinguished Service Crosses. Homer died in November 2003. During the 1990s, he wrote a weekly column, “Fools Gold and Nuggets,” for the Loomis News. It was my pleasure to work with Homer for many years. In one column, Homer wrote about the movie “Go For Broke” starring Van Johnson. When the movie opened locally on June 24, 1951, Roseville Theater held a 442nd Night honoring the 442nd RCT and the veterans from Placer County who served in it. In addition to the theater, that evening was put on through the efforts of the Placer County Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League, the Loomis American Legion and Homer, chairman of the program. The program included the names of all of the 442nd veterans from Placer County who had been identified at that time. Many names will be familiar. Unfortunately, only four veterans are living today. If you see Loomis’ own Shigeo Yokote, Alfred Nitta or Frank Kageta or Norman Kamada, shake their hands and be sure to express your appreciation for their bravery. By town, Homer listed the servicemen as follows – Loomis: Ted Adachi, Tom Fujita, George Hamai, Roy Hirano, Frank Kageta, Joe Kageta, Jack Kawano, Norman Koyama, Daniel Makabe, Wilson Makabe, Junius Matsumoto, George Mayeda, Mike Mayeda, George Nakamoto, Alfred Nitta, Masa Norimoto, William Sakai, Masa Sakamoto, Walter Sakamoto, Homer Takahashi, Yoneo Taka-moto, Ko Takuma, Toshio Tomita, John Tsujimoto, Joe Uyeda, Roy Uyeda, Roy Yokote, Shigeo Yokote, Earl Yonehiro and George Yonehiro. Penryn: George K. Hamada, Kay Kashiwabara, Tom Kashiwabara, Noburo Miyakawa, Yoshito Miyamura, Fred Shimizu. Newcastle: Kazuo Kanai, Fred Kurimoto, Henry Masaoka, Kiyoshi Masaoka, Tony Masaoka, Charles Nakata, George Nishikawa, Frank Okusako, Kay Omoto, Akir Sasaki, Minoru Sasaki. Rocklin: Tosh Kamada. Lincoln: Kazuo Asazawa, Esam Asazawa, Shigeo Doi. The plaque and compass at the recently dedicated monument in Roseville are phase one of the 442nd Memorial. Next year, two life-sized bronze statues will be added. If you’d like to make a contribution, contact Ken Tokutomi at (530) 888-1303. And if you’d like to take a look for yourself, the memorial is located in front of the Bill Santucci Justice Center on Industrial Avenue in Roseville. It is near Go For Broke Road, which in 2007 Placer County supervisors named in recognition of the 442nd and their motto.