Wyden presents gold medals to Nisei veterans

March 17, 2012

Two Nisei veterans of World War II from Hood River will be honored Sunday at a town hall hosted by Sen. Ron Wyden.

The annual Hood River town hall will be at 3:30 p.m. at Hood River Valley Adult Center, 2010 Sterling Place.

Wyden, a Portland Democrat, holds one town hall meeting in each county every year. He will give a legislative report, and the community may ask questions and make comments to Wyden on any topic.

Wyden will present Congressional Gold Medals to Sab Akiyama and Taylor Tomita.

In 2009-10, Congress passed and the President signed legislation honoring the "Nisei" soldiers of the 442nd, several of whom are living in Oregon. Wyden co-sponsored the legislation. Many of the Nisei soldiers eligible for the Congressional Gold Medal went to Washington, D.C., earlier this year to personally receive the medal.

"Many were not able to go, including Mr. Akiyama and Mr. Tomita, so Senator Wyden is bringing the medal to them," said Tom Towslee, Wyden's communications director.

Akiyama was a member of the Military Intelligence Service that served with American soldiers in the Pacific during World War II.

Tomita fought with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe during World War II. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the U.S. Army was composed of mostly Japanese Americans who fought in Europe during World War II while many of their friends and families were held in internment camps back home in the United States.

The unit became the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States Armed Forces, with 21 Medal of Honor recipients. The motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was "Go for broke." Other Japanese-American soldiers served with the military in the Pacific, acting mostly as translators.

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