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The 80th Anniversary of the legendary 442nd Regimental Combat Team (442 RCT) was reverentially celebrated in Honolulu on Saturday, March 25th at Hale Ikena on the rolling green hills of Ft. Shafter, O’ahu, Hawaii. It was hosted by the Sons and Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team on behalf of the 442nd Legacy Center and the 442nd Veterans Club.  

Juanita Allen chaired the event. She is the daughter of the late Major William Perry Wright, Jr., Executive Officer, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, Nisei 442nd RCT. (Rome-Arno Campaign, Italy; Vosges Campaign, France; Maritime Alps).  Ron Nagasawa, who has been in the local newspaper publishing business for 39 years, was the Master of Ceremonies.

144 people attended.  Among them was 442nd Veteran Roy Fujii, B Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion (522 FAB). The 522 FAB was highly regarded as one of the fastest and most accomplished artillery units in the European Theater of Operations.  Four Nisei Vet widows and close family members were also honored.

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The event started off with a guidon processional (accompanied by taiko drums) into the banquet hall. The guidon flags, each carried by a bearer, represented different companies or batteries of the 442nd.  Behind each guidon flag, attendees solemnly carried pictures of gone-but-not-forgotten 442 veterans of their respective Company.

Opening comments were made by the Governor of Hawaii, Josh Green, M.D.  Bringing greetings were Janice Sakoda, President, 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans; Dierdre Tegarden, President, Maui Nisei Veterans Memorial Center; Shawn Brinsfield, President, Seattle NVC Foundation; and Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong, Superintendent, Honouliuli National Historic Site.  Some readers who frequent Japanese Incarceration Center pilgrimages will recognize Hanako’s name as she previously worked as Chief of Interpretation and Education at the Minidoka National Historic Site, National Park Service, Department of the Interior.  At the banquet, President Leonard Oka  represented Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans.

Ken Inouye was the Keynote Speaker. Ken is the Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Administration at the University of Hawaii West Oahu and the son of the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Maggie Inouye. Senator Inouye was a Captain of the 2nd Battalion, E Co, 442 RCT during World War Two as well as being a U.S. Senator for the State of Hawaii.

Zita Cup Choy was the Historical Remarks Speaker.  Being the historian at the Iolani Palace, she gave an interesting talk, entitled Palace Connections. (Iolani Palace was the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawai’I beginning with Kamehameha III under the Kamehameha Dynasty.)

Throughout the banquet, a beautiful montage of black and white photos of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442 RCT, and Military Intelligence Service soldiers was played overhead.  Seattle NVC member, Lt. Col. William Wright, US Air Force, Retired, was chiefly responsible for assembling that art montage.

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JROTC Cadets, from Punahou School ended the program of heart-felt Remembrance by retiring the colors.

Photo captions:

1. Seated: Hawaii Governor Josh Green, M.D. and Roy Fujii, B Battery, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. Standing: Roy Fujii’s nephew Gordon Nihei and granddaughter Diane Wakabayashi

2. Processional Entry with Guidon Flag and Vet Photos

3. Zita Cup Choy, Iolani Palace Historian and Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong, Superintendent, Honouliuli National Historic Site