The origins of Club 100 go back to the summer of 1942 when the battalion was training at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. Dr. Katsumi Kometani, the 100th’s morale officer, was credited by Major James Lovell as the person who initiated the proposal to form a postwar organization that would include a clubhouse where members could gather to continue the comradeship formed during the war years. Members of the battalion voted to accept this proposal.
Subsequently, on payday each month, the clerk of every company collected $2.00 and recorded each soldier’s payment. As funds began to accumulate, it became necessary to find a safe place for the money. The money was sent to Charles Hemenway, a prominent community leader in Hawaii and a strong supporter of the Japanese community.
As the amount grew larger, Mr. Hemenway drew up an agreement setting forth the purposes of Club 100 and naming the Hawaiian Trust Bank as Trustee. This document was sent to the battalion while they were in Italy and adopted on August 12, 1944. Officers were elected: President Katsumi Kometani, Vice President Sakae Takahashi, Secretary Andrew Okamura, and Treasurer Hideo Yamashita. At the same time, Charles Hemenway, Hawaii’s Delegate to Congress, Joseph Farrington, and another strong advocate for the Japanese, Leslie Deacon, were awarded honorary memberships. By the end of the war, $50,000 had been collected.
The clubhouse was completed in 1952 and since then has been in continual use by the veterans and their families. For many years, most events such as family picnics and holiday parties were organized along the original battalion company structure. But sports such as bowling, softball and golf and classes for various hobbies increased friendships across company lines. As the veterans retired, it was also a gathering place to play cards and “talk story.”
In 2001, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of Club 100 to the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans.