Tad Kanda was born in 1920 in Hakalau on the island of Hawaii. He was drafted in California where he was living at the time. However, the draft board allowed him to be transferred to Honolulu where he was inducted into the 298th Infantry of the Hawaii National Guard. He was an original member of the 100th, fought in the battles at Monte Cassino and Anzio, and was wounded twice. He received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
For ten years after his discharge, Kanda worked in the business owned by the family that adopted him after he was orphaned at 11 years of age. He then went to work at the Hawaii State Department of Economic Development. He was appointed to Governor William Quinn’s staff as the Governor’s Administrative Assistant from 1959 to 1962. After Governor Quinn lost his re-election bid, Kanda worked Royal State National Insurance Company as its manager. Then in the late1960s he worked for the Northwest Hydrofoil Co. that built and operated a hydrofoil ferry running between Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia. Upon returning to Hawaii, he worked in commercial property management until his retirement in 1985.