Author: Yasuo Takata, B Company
Puka Puka Parades, October 1976, vol. 30 no. 5
Copy of speech Yasuo Takata gave at the 31st memorial service. Yasuo Takata recalls the night that Joe Takata died in WWII.
Welcome to our memorial service. Today, on the commemoration of the 33rd year of the death of Sgt. Joseph S. Takata, our first casualty in World War II, I have a message from Joe.
Going back to September 26, 1943, we spent a miserable night at Montemarano and it rained practically all night. Some of the men got up and redug their slit trenches about three times that night to sleep on dry ground. Others, after the first attempt to dig a dry hole, gave up and slept in the mud or slept sitting up. There was mud, mud, mud, everywhere.
The next morning, Company “B” led off with the third platoon leading the battalion. At the point was my third squad, followed by Joe Takata’s second squad. After an hour of hiking, we rounded a bend in the road, Sai Higa and Sakae Tanigawa spotted the Germans and warned us in the nick of time, for just after we hit the ground, the German machine guns opened up with burps after burps. The leaves of the bushes on the roadside were being clipped just inches above our heads. Sgt. Joe Takata took his squad up the ridge to get the machine gun from the top. As he climbed the ridge, a German 88 gun unit spotted him and began shelling. The shells followed him as he climbed up and down the ridge. During this skirmish, a shell fragment caught him in the head. Amidst the cries for the medics, I heard him calling to his corporal to take over. Joe gave the corporal his orders and told him to Carry On! Carry On! Carry On! Three times he cried “Carry On!” before his voice faded away.
Today, as I walked by Sgt. Takata’s grave, the words seemed to ring out, again Carry On! Carry On! Carry On!
Many wars have been waged since 1776, but the fight for our American ideals which started 200 years ago, continues on.
One of our distinguished members, the Honorable Spark M. Matsunaga, our representative to Congress, in his speech at the 1976 Nisei Veterans Reunion, in Chicago urged us to keep up the fight. He quoted the bicentennial declaration — “We have reached a point in our history when a second American revolution is called for, a revolution not of violence, but of fulfillment, of fresh purposes and of new direction.”
Let us remember Sgt. Joe Takata’s last orders — Carry On! Let us keep up the fight.