Fumitake Nagato joined the United States Army from his home in Arlington, Virginia, for service in World War II. Due to his Japanese ancestory, he was assigned to the Nisei Organization, 442nd Combat Team, in the European Theater of Operations.
He was killed-in-action in the Vosges Mountains of France in 1944 and was subsequently buried in Section 12 of Arlington National Cemetery.
Washington, May 30, 1948– Two soldiers of the 442nd Japanese American Regimental Combat Team, one from Los Angeles and the other from San Benito, Texas, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the shrine of national heroes, on Friday, June 4, the Public Information Division of the Army Department and the Washington office of the JACL Anti-Discrimination Committee announced in simultaneous releases today. They will be the first persons of Japanese ancestry to be interred in the national cemetery.
High military and civilian government officials, including General Jacob L. Devers, Chief of the Army Field Forces, four other generals, and a number of Congressmen, will be Among the unprecedented number of persons to pay final homage to the two Nisei heroes. Representatives of the National Japanese American Citizens League, the Washington JACL Chapter, the JACL Arlington Cemetery Committee and the local Japanese community will Lay wreaths at the graves.
The two soldiers are Privates First Class Fumitake Nagato, son of Sunzo Nagato, Now of 2037 South 12th Street, Arlington, Virginia, and Saburo Tanamachi, son of Kumazo Tanamachi, of San Benito, Texas. Both men were killed on October 29, 1944, while engaged In the historic rescue of a “lost battalion” of the 36th (Texas) Infantry Division from a trap in The Vosges Mountains of Eastern France. Their remains were returned to the U.S.Iast month Aboard the funeral ship Lawrence Victory and are being interred at the national cemetery in Compliance with the wishes of the next-of-kin.
Among those attending the funeral rites will be many officers who had intimate association with members of the Japanese American combat team. The presence of such an unusual Gathering of military officials is an expression of the esteem in which Nisei soldiers of that unit Are held by the Department of the Army. The 442nd, the most decorated unit in the U.S. Army, Fought with distinction in every action it was called upon to undertake.
The Vosges engagement in which Nagato and Tanamachi gave their lives was one of the Outstanding small unit campaigns of the war. In rescuing the lost battalion, of which 189 remained alive at the conclusion of the engagement, two battalions of the 442nd lost more than 200 killed and 800 wounded. The final charge which resulted in the rescue of the beleaguered Battalion was led almost entirely by enlisted men of Japanese ancestry after nearly all the Battalion's officers became casualties.
The Department of the Army which is making the ceremony an occasion of great significance has designated the following to be honorary pallbearers; General Jacob Devers, Army Ground Forces Chief, who commanded the Sixth Army Group under which the 442nd fought in France; Major General John E. Dahlquist, Deputy Director of Personnel and Administration, Army General Staff, who commanded the 36th Division in the Vosges; Major General Robert R. Gay, Commanding General of the Military District of Washington, D.C.; Majoe General George A. Horken, Chief of Memorial Division, Office of the Quartermaster General who is operating head of the Return of World War II Dead program.
Other Army-designated pallbearers are: Colonel Virgil Miller, Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Penn State College, who commanded the 442nd in the Vosges battle; Colonel Charles W. Pence, of Fort Benning, Georgia, Commander of the 442nd until he was wounded in the Vosges engagement; Colonel Charles H. Owens, Commanding Officer of Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C. and wartime commander of the 141st Infantry Regiment, parent unit of the “lost battalion” ; Colonel James Notestein, of Public Information Division, Army Department, whose infantry regiment in Italy fought beside the 442nd, and Lieutenant Colonel James M. Hanley of the Judge Advocate General's Office, formerly executive officer of the 442nd.
General Mark W. Clark, of 5th Army fame and now Commanding General of the Sixth Army, will be unable to attend, but indicated he is preparing a message to be sent on the occasion. The military religious services will be conducted by Major General Luther D. Miller, Army Chief of Chaplains, and the civilian services will be conducted by the Rev. Andrew Kuroda.
The honorary pallbearers invited by the Japanese American Citizens League to include: Representative Ed Gossett, Democrat of Texas, Gordon L. McDonough, Republican from California and Walter H. Judd, Republican from Minnesota; Joseph R. Farrington, Congressional delegate from Hawaii; the Honorable John J. McCloy, President of the World Bank; Dillon S. Myer, wartime head of the War Relocation Authority; Mike Masaoka, national legislative director of the JACL ADC; Ira Shimasaki, president of the local JACL chapter, and J.S. Shima, head of the Japanese American Society of Washington.
In commenting on the funeral services for Nagato and Tanamachi, Congressman Gossett of Texas declared: Texans are glad to honor the 442nd Regimental Combat Team along with her famous 36th Division. in death, Privates First Class Fumitake Nagato and Saburo Tanamachi served two causes. They glorified and helped to save American institutions. They also glorified Japanese American citizenship. Our nation is doubly proud of them.”
Congressman McDonough said: “Their services to our country shall never be forgotten and shall continue to serve as an inspiration to all that true Americanism is not a matter of race or ancestry but a matter of the mind and the heart.”
Brief eulogies will be delivered by General Devers, Congressmen Gossett, Judd and McDonough, Mike Masaoka and Mr. Shima.
PFC INF WW II
- VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown
- DATE OF BIRTH: 08/02/1918
- DATE OF DEATH: 10/20/1944
- DATE OF INTERMENT: 06/04/1948
- BURIED AT: SECTION 12 SITE 4607
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard