Baker Chapter News

Author: Yasuo Takata, B Company
Puka Puka Parades, April-June 1988, v.42 no.2

Summary of the life of Yukio Yokota

In March 1988, we lost one of our most highly decorated member of the Co. B 100th Inf. Bn. Sep. – Yukio Yokota.

Yukio was a man of courage, tough but a man of few words who loved his privacy. His wife, Hazel and his son, Toland say that he did not talk about the medals, he had received. They had to discover it by themselves thru newspapers and friends. He loved his privacy and did not wish to have visitors when he was ill.

Yukio was born on June 28, 1917 in Aiea, but his family soon moved to Moiliili and started a farm. After graduating from Washington Intermediate School, he had to work on their farm, because his Dad died when he was only sixteen. He showed his grit for he and his older brother declined welfare and who worked to support a family – mother and eight children. He was building up his durability and courage. Later he became a carpenter. While working as a carpenter, he was drafted into the Army on March 25, 1941. I first met him in June 1942 as a member of Co. B, 100th Inf. Bn. Sep. in Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. He was already a Corporal for he had already shown the U.S. Army his dependability, durability and great courage.

In November of 1942, the U.S. Army flew 25 men and 2 officers to New Orleans then transported them to Ship Island off the coast of Mississippi on a secret mission. At that time none of us knew what the mission was. After a couple of days, we (including Yokota & I) were told that we were to fight dogs. While fighting dogs Yukio showed he had guts. He and the others had to go into Palmetto jungle and wait until the trainer let his dog go, commanding the dog to kill, kill. The only protection Yokota had were hockey gloves, sometimes a jacket and a padded forearm. The dog (mostly German Shepherds) would rush at Yokota then take a leap at his throat baring all their teeth. Yukio had to thrust his right forearm into the jaws so that the dog would clamp down on it, then start beating the dog with his left hand to keep the dog hanging to his right arm. He was also bitten by a dog who nicked his ear lobe, quite a close call. After 3 months of fighting dogs, Yokota and several other volunteered to stay an extra 2 months.

However, at the end of the training, Yukio Yokota revived his first medal, the “Legion of Merit” for the hazardous duty as a dog bait (fighter).

From Salerno it was mostly walk, walk, climbing up and down, hills, corssing [sic] the Volturno River several times, slogging thru mud, strafed by German planes, running thru artillery barrage, gingerly walking thru mine fields, breaking thru the German Winter Line and winding up in Cassino. Yokota earned his combat Inf. Badge and A Bronze Star. The 100th starting with 1300 men was now down to 521 men. The outfit was pulled out, replacement brought in and then were shipped out to Anzio Beachhead.

On June 2, 1944 in Anzio the break thru to Rome started, Sgt. Yukio Yokota, started out by following 3 tanks as ordered. As he was going, he looked back, he found only 2 men following him, the rest were gone, nowhere to be seen. Orders were orders, so he followed until the tanks stopped. The three kept on going until they spotted a machine gun nest. He sent one of his men to ask the tanks for support but his man came back telling him the tanks refused to come further forward. So Yokota and his 2 men crept towards the machine gun nest and knocked it out with grenades. Going further forward they came upon another M.G. nest and knocked it out with grenades. Finally they reached a dugout guarded by a M.G. looking like a command post. Yokota knocked the gun out, with grenade and rushed the dug out with his 2 men firing into the dug out. He ended up killing or capturing 17 of the enemy within a period of 3 hours. For this action, Sgt. Yokota received the Distinguished Service Cross.

After Anzio, the 100th Bn. was attached to the 442nd.

On June 26, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was committed to battle for the first time and was halted by heavy shelling from the direction of Belvedere. The 100th was called out of reserve to flank the Germans. The 100th had a field day and tore them wide open. Three weeks later, for this outstanding performance, the 100th Inf. Bn. received the Presidential Unit Citation. Sgt. Yokota was entitled to the Distinguished Unit Badge.

Not only did the U.S. Army recognize him for his valor. The Italian Government also presented him with the Medaglia at Falore Militare (a medal of valor) a month later. He further distinguished himself in the Battles of Bruyeres, Biffontaine and the rescue of the “Lost Battalion” in Southern France. Finally he was rotated home in November 1944.

After his discharge, he worked as a carpenter ending up at Ralph S. Inouye Co. having worked up to become No. 1 supervisor. He was a tough supervisor but was well liked and respected by his men.

He became ill in 1980 and retired from work. Even after retirement, he continued to help his friends repair their homes. He was up and around until 3 weeks ago when he caught a bad cold and was hospitalized. On March 10, he quitely [sic] died of pneumonia. His funeral service, was attended by the largest number of Baker Company members, I have seen. May we offer our deepest sympathy to the family of the late Yukio Yokota, Sadao Ono, Clyde Kawakami and Nobuo Takenaka.