100th Bn., 442nd Inf. Reg., Veterans Bestowed France's Highest Honor
Story by SGT Jessica DuVernay on 09/26/2017
In a humbling ceremony, the Honorary Consul of France, Mr. Guillaume Maman, bestowed three veterans with the highest award recognition France gives, the Legion D'Honneur, in a quiet ceremony 21 Sep., at the Hawaii State Capitol, in the historic House Chamber.
Honored for their service to the country, Mr. (Pfc.) Harold Zenyei Afuso, H Company M, 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Mr. (Pfc.) Tetsuo Tateishi (posthumous) accepted by his son Mr. Dale Tateishi, A Company, 100th Inf. Bn., 442nd RCT, and Mr. (Pfc.) Futao Terashima, I Company, 3rd Battalion, 442nd RCT.
All three men were part of the honored and storied Nisei Veterans, who volunteered for service, while their families were forced to remain in internment camps due to their Japanese ancestry. The country turned their backs on these men and thousands others, but these men did not do the same and fought and sacrificed alongside American Soldiers.
Maman, spoke to the men about their sacrifice: "First, allow me to say how pleased and honored I am to be with you today, and also to express the deep, sincere and eternal gratitude of France towards the United States of America."
"Throughout my country, I have seen many American cemeteries in Normandy, [and] in Epinal, where lie some of your comrades who did not return to the United States," Maman said. "Know that their memory is cherished by all the people of France. Their ultimate sacrifice was not in vain. If I am here before you, it is because soldiers like you and like them did their duty with honor."
Attendees of the ceremony included Governor David Ige, Governor, State of Hawaii; Congresswoman Colleen Hanbusa, Representative for 1st Congressional District, Hawaii; and representatives for Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Scott Saiki, and Mazie Hirono. Each speaker honored the honorees with certificates of appreciation and leis from their respective government offices.
Also in attendance was the Color Guard of the 100th Inf. Bn., 442nd Inf. Reg., 9th MSC, led by Staff Sgt Chris Arakawa and the commander of the 100th Inf. Bn, Lt. Col. Matthew Cloud.
"It was a great honor for myself and the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment Color Guard to participate in the ceremony today," said Cloud. "This acknowledgement of their actions during WWII against the Axis Powers encompassed the preservation of freedom for France and the rest of Europe. It is a well-deserved award that recognizes those sacrifices that they and their fellow Soldiers endured for humanity."
This ceremony marks over 50 Veterans from the 100th Bn, and 442nd Inf. Reg. that have been honored with the award. To be eligible for the award veterans must have served in one of the three main campaigns of the Liberation of France.