E and D Company
When the U.S. Army began drafting neighbor island men for the 299th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaii National Guard. Seiko Chinen (later Wallace “Wally” Seiko Chinen) was the first from Libby Camp in Haiku, Maui, to get the call. He was 25 years old at the time.
Chinen was born in 1915 in Old Kailua, Maui. He was the first of eight children born to pineapple farmers who had immigrated to Hawaii from Okinawa, Japan. Because of their large family, Seiko was forced to quit school after the eighth grade so he could work and help support his family. He worked on the Haleakala Highway road project, doing hard labor “cracking” rocks, which was turned into gravel, and driving trucks loaded with pineapple along Maui’s northern coast.
Following his induction into the 299th Infantry Regiment of the Hawaii National Guard, Chinen was stationed at the Lihue Armory on Kauai. It was the first time he had been off the island of Maui.
Chinen served his full one-year term in the National Guard and was scheduled to be discharged on Dec. 8, 1941. But Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, changed all that. Oahu and neighbor island AJAs in the National Guard were merged into one unit, the Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion, which eventually became the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).
Pfc. Seiko Chinen was initially assigned to Easy (“E”) Company. As the 100th’s casualties began to mount, he was transferred to Dog (“D”) Company, where he was assigned to the motor pool as a driver. He vividly remembered the 100th’s effort to take Monte Cassino in Italy.
Except for suffering some hearing loss, Chinen made it through the war unscathed and returned to his wife Kiyoko “Kay,” whom he had married less than three months before the Pearl Harbor attack. They began their family, raising four children — three daughters and one son. Chinen retired from Times Supermarket, where he worked as a meatcutter for 25 years, and for many years as a meat department manager.
He remained active in Club 100’s Dog Chapter, attending meetings, chapter social gatherings, and Honolulu and neighbor island reunions with his family. After retiring, he and his wife and youngest daughter joined a group of Dog Chapter members and their wives on a trip to Reno and San Francisco. Thanks to Club 100’s Green Thumbs Club, he became an avid orchid grower and displayed his blossoms at the club’s annual show at the clubhouse.
Wally Chinen passed away in 2002 at the age of 87. He was always proud and happy that the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl would be the final resting place for himself and his wife — back again with their 100th Battalion friends.