Remembering the 100th

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Families of late veterans Kungo Iwai and Tameji Matsushige present the 100th Infantry Battalion memorial wreath beneath American flags flying on the avenue fronting the pavilion at Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe Sunday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Susan Honjiyo, a family member of late 100th Infantry Battalion veteran Kungo Iwai, reflects during the rendering of “Taps” Sunday as a veteran salutes during the battalion memorial service at Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Capt. Tim Young, commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, talks about remembering the legacy of the 100th Infantry Battalion behind a table containing photos of battalion veterans provided by their families Sunday during the battalion’s memorial service at Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    A surviving widow of a 100th Infantry Battalion veteran is in thought while listening to speakers Sunday during the 100th Infantry Battalion Memorial Service that is held the closest Sunday to Sept. 26 when the famed WWII military unit suffered its first combat death, at Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Families of the late 100th Infantry Battalion veterans Kungo Iwai and Tameji Matsushige present the memorial wreath under the saber unit of the Waimea High JROTC Sunday during the memorial service at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery in Hanapepe.

HANAPEPE — Seigo Kagawa is six months old, and on Sunday was among those enjoying the 100th Infantry Battalion memorial service at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery.

“He’s named after his great-grandfather, Seigo Kagawa,” said the youngster’s mother, Melissa, whose grandfather is a battalion veteran. “He’s resting in the first row.”

The memorial service is hosted and presented by the West Kauai Club 100 that is comprised of descendants of 100th Infantry Battalion veterans, and traditionally observed on the closest Sunday to Sept. 26 when the military unit suffered its first casualty, when Sgt. Shigeo “Joe” Takata, advancing on an enemy machine gun, was hit by shrapnel, but fought off death long enough to tell others of the location of the gun.

The legacy of the veterans, none of the surviving capable of attending the service at the Kauai Veterans Cemetery, lived on through the sound of grandchildren and great-grandchildren like Kagawa, who was securely cradled in a baby vest.

“This is so special,” said a guest who preferred anonymity. “Every time I hear their names being recited, I can see their faces and I get to remember the good times when they worked together and played together.”

Other youngsters frolicked silently, while speakers gave their remarks, occasionally a child-like squeal escaping and punctuating the service that featured family members providing a flower toward the completion of the memorial wreath.

“The 100th became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service,” said Capt. Tim Young, commander of the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, the keynote speaker.

“The World War II generation is often referred to as our ‘greatest generation’ because they defeated fascism, and it seared into them that while they may not like everything that happens beyond our borders, our freedom is inextricably tied to the global situation.”

“But as the historian Mark Matsunaga has said, the main thing is this — the Americans who made up the 100th Battalion were from a far different Hawaii than we enjoy today,” Young said.

“At a time when they were doubted by most of their countrymen, they did their duty at great cost. Not one of them broke faith with America, and the nation and Hawaii is better because of them.

“Just over two centuries ago, will forever remain the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’ so long as we never run out of tough young Americans like those in the One Puka Puka who were willing to look beyond their own self interest and go into the darkest and most dangerous places on earth to hunt down those who would do others harm,” Young said.

“May all of our revered veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion find peace, and that the America they so loved and protected, and were willing to give their lives for, is forever worthy off their sacrifices,” Young concluded.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

1 Comments
  1. harry oyama September 30, 2019 2:24 am Reply

    Big deal, if King Kalaukaua had deported all these Japanese sugar plantation contract workers when their 3 year labor expired, there wouldn’t be any 442nd 100 battalion. Many would have been sent back to Hiroshima to be incinerated by atomic blast and Okinawa to be slaughtered by the US Marines during WWII.

    You never hear any type of appreciation coming from them or their descendants other than self pity and how they were treated in internment camps which are way better off than being sent back to Japan or Okinawa. Now their descendants like the current governor Ige is threatening to arrest native Hawaiians protesting their long standing abuse of the State ripping them off.

    Yeah, that’s the real issue at hand, not this BS self glorification of an appreciative selfish racist group of illegal immigrants who overstayed their labor contracts that now infest all State agencies through bias, and favortism racist policies.


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