Rikio Tsuda was born in 1923 in the village of Takiyama Pineapple Camp, a few miles from Waialua, Oahu where his parents had settled upon their arrival from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan. In 1940, Tsuda’s brother, who was the breadwinner of the family, was drafted into the Army so he felt that he should quit school and help support his parents. He began working as a carpenter.
However, in 1943, when the call for volunteers went out, he hitched a ride from Kahuku, where he was working on the airfield, to enlist. Tsuda was assigned to M Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and trained at Camp Shelby. In April 1943, he was sent overseas with the second replacement group and assigned to Company B of the 100th Infantry Battalion. He fought in the Rome-Arno, North Appennines, Rhineland (Vosges Mountain), and Po Valley (Gothic Line) campaigns.
Tsuda returned home in December 1945 and was discharged on January 4, 1946. He attended Honolulu Business College on the GI bill and worked at various white collar jobs. After 40 years of Federal service, he retired in1980 as Senior Traffic Control Technician, MAC, Hickam Air Force Base.
After retirement, he and his wife traveled extensively. The first extended trip was to Bruyeres and Biffontaine, France in 1984 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the towns by the 100th and 442nd. On that occasion, a lasting friendship was forged with a couple who feel forever indebted to the Nisei; this friendship still continues 27 years later.