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Flags to Fly at Half-Staff in Honor of Former Rep. Robert Fukuda

As a mark of respect for the late former state Rep. Robert Kiyoshi Fukuda, Gov. Neil Abercrombie has ordered that the National Flag and Hawaii State Flag shall be flown at half-staff at all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawaii National Guard on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2013, the day of his memorial service.

Click to read proclamation

Click to read proclamation

After graduating from the University of Hawaii, Fukuda worked as a Japa­nese language interpreter/translator for the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Service during World War II. For this service, he was awarded along with 6,000 Japa­nese-Americans the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010.

While deputy attorney general of the Territory of Hawaii from 1953 to 1959, he also served as the attorney for the Hawaiian Homes Commission and the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. In 1959, Fukuda was elected to the House of Representatives of the first Hawaii State Legislature and served for three years. Later, he served as U.S. attorney for the state from 1969 to 1973 and went on to manage the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for Hawaii and Guam from 1982 to 1986.

Fukuda died on July 12 at age 91.

“Robert led a life dedicated to helping others,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “From his service during World War II to his role in Hawaii’s transition from territory to state, Robert took it upon himself to lift others up and succeed as the State of Hawaii took shape. He set a standard for me and for all of us in public service who followed him.”


American Heroes to Feature Former Governors George Aiyoshi & Ben Cayetano, Retired Chief Judge James Burns, and Brendan Burns

The highly-awaited Congressional Gold Medal exhibit opening next month at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum honors the WWII Nisei Soldiers in the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service.

American Heroes

The exhibit will be on view from March 9 through April 14, 2013, in the Castle Memorial Building, and special panel discussions will be taking place each weekend throughout the exhibit’s run, in Bishop Museum’s Atherton Halau.

On opening day, March 9th, at 11:15 a.m., a special 90-minute panel discussion entitled, “After WWII-Hawaii’s Political War,” will feature former Governors George Ariyoshi and Ben Cayetano, retired Chief Judge James Burns, and Aina Haina Elementary School Principal Brendan Burns.  Dan Boylan will serve as the panel moderator.

Then Lt. Governor George Ariyoshi with Governor John Burns

Then Lt. Governor George Ariyoshi with Governor John Burns

“We hope to share varying perspectives on the political and social discrimination suffered by people of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii prior to, during, and after WWII, relevant events that occurred during WWII, the successful post-WWII political revolution, organized and led by former Governor John A. Burns and the Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJAs), and the positive changes resulting from that successful revolution,” explains Judge Burns, youngest son of the former Governor.

Retired Chief Judge James Burns

Retired Chief Judge James Burns

In addition, the panel will discuss the leadership skills of Governor Burns and the AJAs, and the importance of having current and future leaders with those qualities.

The public is invited to view the exhibit and to attend the panel discussion.  Prior to the conclusion of the discussion, the panelists will respond to questions from the audience.  Admission to Bishop Museum is free on March 9th, only, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

A private opening ceremony will be held on the Great Lawn on March 9th, at 10 a.m.

Nissei Schedule

Schedule of Events (Click to Enlarge)

American Heroes:  World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with the National Veterans Network, and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service.  Accompanying educational materials were developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

The national tour of seven cities – New Orleans, Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, OR, Chicago, and Houston – is made possible by the support of AARP, Cole Chemical, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, and Southwest Airlines.

The 100th Infantry Battalion was a unit within the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division.  Compromised mostly of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) from the Hawaii Army National Guard, the 100th Infantry Battalion also included volunteers from Japanese internment camps, which were then located throughout the United States during WWII.

Battalion members’ stature, fitness levels, and unified camaraderie during training, prior to their deployment, made the 100th Infantry Battalion a strong unit heading into combat.  With the “Remember Pearl Harbor” motto, the 100th Infantry Battalion were consistently motivated to prove their loyalty to the United States.

During their 20 month combat term in Europe, the unit became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” for the number of casualties lost.  They fought in six war campaigns in Italy and France, earning the unit four Presidential Unit Citations.  http://www.100thbattalion.org/

Considered to be one of the most decorated combat units in United States military history, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team consisted of a share of enlisted soldiers, as well as volunteers who fought in Europe during WWII.  Two-thirds of their original unit were Americans of Japanese Ancestry, or Nisei, from Hawaii, while the rest were Nisei soldiers from the Mainland.

The “Go For Broke” motto means to risk everything in order to win.  Activated under the command of Colonel Charles W. Pence, the 442nd worked closely with the 100th Infantry Battalion.  Intelligent and zealous in learning their military duties, the 442nd understood patience and the importance of strategy while in combat situations.  Over 14,000 men served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.  Their values of service, loyalty and sacrifice earned the unit over 9,000 Purple Hearts, eight Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, and 560 Silver Stars.  http://www.the442.org/

The Military Intelligence Service, or MIS, was a group of smaller units consisting of Nisei soldiers during WWII.  Their average unit size was between 10-20 men.  Playing a vital role in the U.S. military tactics during WWII, the MIS units used linguistic skills to gather intelligence, read captured enemy maps and documents, and conduct translations and interrogations.  MIS unit members were at heightened risk because they could be confused for enemy troops by their own U.S. military personnel.

MIS post-war work proved crucial for the transition during Japanese occupancy.  MIS servicemen provided indispensible assistance during Japanese war crime trials, in the repatriation of Japanese prisoners of war (POWs), and in establishing positive relations between U.S. military forces and Japanese civilians.  Working under mostly classified orders, the MIS units did not receive the recognition other units and battalions had during and post war.

The Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop in memory of his wife Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha I.  Today, the Museum is recognized as the principal museum of the Pacific, housing the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific artifacts and natural history specimens.  More than 350,000 people visit the Museum each year, including over 40,000 schoolchildren.  For more information, please call (808) 847-3511 or visit www.bishopmuseum.org.

Please direct all media inquiries to Mona Wood-Sword or Brooke Wilson, per above.


Exhibit Honors American Heroes: Japanese-American WWII Nisei Solders & Congressional Gold Medal

The Japanese-American WWII Nisei soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) will be honored in an exhibit of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM), touring seven U.S. cities this year, as follows:

  • National World War II Museum, New Orleans, LA:  January 12 – February 17, 2013
  • Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI:  March 9 – April 14, 2013
  • Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles, CA:  May 4 – June 9, 2013
  • De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA:  June 29 – August 4, 2013
  • Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR:  August 24 – September 29, 2013
  • Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL – October 19 – December 8, 2013
  • Houston Holocaust Museum, Houston, TX – December 21, 2013 – January 24, 2014

American Heroes

During its 6-week visit to Honolulu, March 9-April 14, Bishop Museum’s Castle Memorial Building will be the home of the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM).  In addition to the Medal, exhibits from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, and other related organizations will also be on display.  Two iPads programmed with CGM information from the National WWII Museum will also be part of the exhibit.  In addition, exciting weekly panel discussions and film and documentary screenings will also be presented throughout this exciting and historic engagement.

A private, invitation-only VIP breakfast reception and ceremony will precede the official opening of the exhibit on Saturday, March 9th.  The public is invited to tour the CGM exhibit, as well as other exhibits at Bishop Museum, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., that day, for free.  (NOTE:  More information on the panel discussions and other activities during the CGM exhibit will be provided in our next release.)

The National Veterans Network (www.nationalveteransnetwork.com), the organizer of the national tour of the Congressional Gold Medal, has also created a curriculum for teachers to use in class, to give their students a deeper understanding of the units the Medal is honoring, as an important part of our history.

The Congressional Gold Medal is a tribute to the thousands of Japanese-Americans of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, commonly known as the “Go For Broke” regiments, and the Military Intelligence Service (or MIS) who dedicated their lives with honor and loyalty to the United States during WWII.

After the Pearl Harbor bombing in 1941, Americans of Japanese ancestry became victims of discrimination and negative stereotypes, and over 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-American citizens were held in internment camps throughout the United States.  Despite the many challenges they – and their families at home – faced, the soldiers in these units were among the most highly decorated in U.S. military history.  More than 4,000 Purple Hearts, 560 Silver Stars, 7 Presidential Units Citations, and 21 Medals of Honor were awarded to members of the GO FOR BROKE regiment.

Partnering to share these inspiring stories of valor and sacrifice are Bishop Museum, the National Veterans Network, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.

The Congressional Gold Medal commemorative event is designed to celebrate these citizens and soldiers, and also to educate today’s youth who may have little recognition or understanding about these heroes.


Members of the 100th Battalion, 442 Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service Members Receive Congressional Gold Medals

Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi was in Kona today where he posted some of these pictures on Facebook from a tribute to the members of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service as they received Congressional Gold Medals:

Mr. Hajime Ueda of Pāhala

A grateful nation paid tribute to members of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service by bestowing upon them the Congressional Gold Medal.

About 130 members of the 442nd were from here in Kona, and they and their families were recognized today.

Mr. and Mrs. Fumikichi Matsuoka of Captain Cook

It was an honor to meet true warriors.

442nd veteran Sgt. Yasunori Deguchi of Kealakekua

Their heroism will be remembered forever.

Wordless Wednesday – Senator Inouye Receives Congressional Gold Medal

Senator Inouye today accepted the Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 100th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service.

Senator Inouye today accepted the Congressional Gold Medal.