Veterans bestowed with France’s highest honor

| September 28, 2017 | 6 Comments

Guillame Maman, Honorary Consul of France, awards Futao Terashima with the Legion D’Honneur, France’s highest award given to military and civilian personnel for courage and bravery during World War II, Sept. 21, at the Hawaii State Capitol. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica DuVernay, 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Story and photo by
Sgt. Jessica DuVernay
305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
9th Mission Support Command

HONOLULU — The 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Infantry Regiment is known for its storied past filled with courageous men who volunteered to fight and die for a country that did not offer the same for them.

In a humbling ceremony, the Honorary Consul of France, Guillaume Maman, bestowed three veterans with the highest award recognition France gives – the Legion D’Honneur – in a quiet ceremony, Sept. 21, at the Hawaii State Capitol, in the historic House Chamber.

Honored for their service to the country were former Pfc. Harold Zenyei Afuso of H Company, 2nd Bn., 442nd Regt. Combat Team; former Pfc. Tetsuo Tateishi (posthumously), which was accepted by his son Dale Tateishi of A Co., 100th Inf. Bn., 442nd RCT; and former Pfc. Futao Terashima, I Co., 3rd Bn., 442nd RCT.

Guillame Maman, Honorary Consul of France, awards Harold Afuso, with the Legion D’Honneur, France’s highest award given to military and civilian personnel for courage and bravery during World War II, Sept. 21, at the Hawaii State Capitol. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica DuVernay, 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

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 of 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,” Maman said. “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. 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.”

Gov. David Ige, State of Hawaii governor, addresses the Veterans and guests in attendance of the Legion D’Honneur ceremony at the State Capitol, Sept. 21. Three Nisei Veterans were honored with France’s highest award. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jessica DuVernay, 305th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

Attendees of the ceremony included  Hawaii Gov. David Ige; U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, and representatives for U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Hawaii Rep. Scott Saiki. Each speaker honored the honorees with certificates of appreciation and lei from their respective government offices.

Also in attendance was the Color Guard of the 100th Inf. Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt., 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 Bn., 442nd Inf. Regt. Color Guard to participate in the ceremony today,” said Cloud. “This acknowledgement of their actions during World War II 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. Regt. 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.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Michael says:

    The proper spelling for Congresswoman Colleen Hanbusa (sic) is Hanabusa. She was at the ceremony to present her Congressional Certificates honoring the veterans.

  2. marines flag says:

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d want to find out some additional
    information.

  3. Jeff Morita says:

    The nominee for the French Legion of Honor must have served “boots on the ground” in France prior to May 8, 1945 — and must be currently living. However, if the French Government receives a complete nomination packet prior to the veteran passing the immediate next-of-kin may receive this prestigious foreign award. These three heroic 100/442 veterans are three of four most recently approved for French Knighthood in Hawai‘i. Mr. Masayoshi Nakamura, Staff Sergeant, I “Item” Company, 3rd Infantry Battaltion, 442nd RCT is the fourth. Currently, there are 14x more Hawai‘i 100/442 Veteran nominee’s pending approval for French Knighthood. I am providing a public service to current living veterans of the 100/442, and their family with the nomination process. Interested parties may contact me – Jeff Morita –

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