Tad Kanda

D Company

Tad Kanda was born in 1920 in Hakalau on the island of Hawaii to Sanjiro and Takenu Kanda who had immigrated from Niigata Prefecture, Japan.

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. Kanda recalled that he was on guard duty on the morning of December 7, 1941 when his training camp was strafed by attacking aircraft of the Japanese Armed Forces. He said it was fortunate that most members of his unit were on leave that weekend. Armed only with a whistle and night stick, he remembered feeling helpless as the enemy aircraft dropped bombs on Wheeler Air Force Base. Kanda was among the contingent of soldiers who left Hawaii in June 1942. Upon arrival in Oakland, California their unit was designated the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).

Kanda participated in the battles as the battalion fought its way up the Italian peninsula, including the battles at Monte Cassino and Anzio. When he was wounded by artillery fire in the mountains near the village of Scapoli, he was evacuated to a field hospital and then to the 21st General Hospital in Naples.

While recuperating at the hospital, he thought about his personal situation, wondering about his stepfather who had been incarcerated in a detention camp as an enemy alien in Honouliuli on the island of Oahu. This prompted him to write a letter to his friend, Elizabeth Farrington, Delegate to Congress from the Territory of Hawaii, asking for her assistance in having his stepfather released from custody. Kanda recalled that a month or so later he received word from Mrs. Farrington that his stepfather had been released from custody but was subject to restrictions that he could not go beyond Kalihi or Kaimuki or Nuuanu Pali.

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 and 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 at the Royal State National Insurance Company as its manager. In the late 1960s, 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. Kanda also served two terms as Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Hawaii. After Farrant Turner, the original commander of the 100th Infantry Battalion, died in 1959, Kanda chaired a committee which commissioned a painting of Turner which hangs in Turner Hall at the veterans’ clubhouse in Honolulu.

Kanda passed away on December 7, 2011 and was interred at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was survived by two sons, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.