Born at home on January 14, 1925 in Ulumalu, Maui, I was the fifth of 11 children who survived to adulthood. My parents, Kamado and Ushi, were immigrants from Okinawa who were independent pineapple growers on leased lands who earned enough to acquire their own couple of acres in Haiku upon which they built their own modest home. During the depression years of the early 1930s, farming pineapples became difficult and my Dad went to work for the Libby MacNeil Pineapple Company.
I attended Haiku School until Grade 8 and was then able to enroll for high school as a boarding student at Lahainaluna, graduating in 1942 while the country was at war after the infamous Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Conditions necessitated my moving to Honolulu where I lived with an older sister and her family while working for the U.S. Engineering Department until early 1943 when the call came for volunteers to join or form the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit to be made up of Americans of Japanese ancestry.
Upon being inducted after volunteering, and being lined up alphabetically at a military base, I found myself lined up behind my older brother, who had also volunteered. Needless to say, I was grateful for surviving the war and was thrilled at discharge time when we were informed about the GI Bill of Rights which would allow me to enroll in college, something I had concluded I had to do, even if it took ten years, working part time.
In 1950, after finishing requirements at the University of Hawaii, I became a teacher on the Big Island where I met the girl of my dreams, also a teacher, got married and became the father of two girls. We later moved to and purchased a home in Honolulu so I could continue schooling to become an administrator. It was back to Maui when my first assignment as a teaching principal was at Keokea, then Waihee, followed by Kamehameha III School in Lahaina and finally at Wailuku Elementary from which position I retired. Maui had become home, in Kula, but my wife passed away in 1985.
Shortly after retiring I had taken up kayak paddling as recreation and while so doing discovered windsurfing which then became it. Conscious of my age, I only go back and forth in calm water and avoid the waves which the younger windsurfers love. During my younger days I also did a lot of hunting on the slopes of Haleakala and spent many years as a volunteer maintaining the hiking trails there. About a year ago my stomach was surgically removed because of cancer infection and this has restricted my physical activity and I do not have much stamina but am hoping to resume windsurfing on a limited basis but it remains to be seen.
RECOLLECTIONS OF THE WAR
Having served as a combat infantryman with A Company of the 100th, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have survived the war mostly whole. I thank the powers that be that somehow we, the guys I was with, never got into combat situations such as you see in movies etc. or hear about. Yes we got shot at, got barraged by mortars and artillery, and suffered casualties including killed in action, but not the fierce firefights and such. I was involved in killing just one enemy soldier, with the capture or surrender of others several times, was wounded more than once, endured or experienced fear many times, but overall we were lucky we did not get killed..
Some time ago I wrote about my combat experience, nothing special, and gave copies to each of my adult family members because it was easier to do it this way since we rarely got together and even if we did get together the subject did not come up or even if it did, it was sometimes awkward to talk about , not something enjoyable.
I also gave a copy to the 100th and the 442nd. So, if you really want to know how it was with me, see if you can find my story buried in your files somewhere.
June 5, 2012
Izumigawa’s daughter Joan had transcribed her father’s handwritten document after she received it. Unfortunately, his original document is “long gone,” in her words. Click here to read his account as an infantryman in the 100th Infantry Battalion.