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Saturday, September 11, 2004



SADAICHI KUBOTA / 1921-2004

WWII vet lived
for slain comrade

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Sadaichi Kubota recalled when a sniper's bullet intended for him struck and killed a fellow 442nd Regimental Combat Team member during a scouting detail in April 1945 a couple weeks before the end of World War II.

"This guy, he died for me," Kubota said of Tadao "Beanie" Hayashi during a bus ride in May when Kubota returned to battlegrounds in Europe for the first time since the war, according to Ronald Yamada.

art
COURTESY PHOTO BY RON YAMADA
In May, Sadaichi Kubota visited the grave of Pfc. Tadao Hayashi, who saved his life in 1943, in Italy.


Yamada, whose father was also a 442nd member, said Kubota stated "he lived his life for two people, his and Beanie's."

"That's why he felt he had to give so much back to the world. When I think of that moment, I always reflect back to the movie 'Saving Private Ryan' where, at the end of the movie, Ryan (who had lived because others had died) asks his wife, 'Tell me I've led a good life. Tell me I'm a good man.'"

To that, Yamada would say, "Yes, Sada, you lived a wonderful life, and you were a hell of a man."

Kubota, 83, died Tuesday at the Queen's Medical Center. He was born in Hilo and enlisted in the 442nd RCT in 1943 without telling his parents. They were worried about his older brother, who had been born in Japan and remained there to go to school and was in Shanghai with the diplomatic corps.

Kubota would later write in a book honoring members of I Company that he would always remember the advice of his Japanese schoolteacher, Masaichi Uemura: "'When in an emergency, the noblest act one can do is to offer your services to your country.' These sensitive words brought back my feelings of duty, country, responsibility as an American, to enlist despite the negative charges cast upon us."

After World War II, Kubota graduated from the University of Colorado and returned to the Big Island, where he was a probation officer. He later joined the former Hilo Sugar Co. as industrial relations officer and then worked for the state Department of Labor in Kona until he retired in the mid-1970s. He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans and the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin.

His son, Alan, said his father was a Boy Scout leader almost all of his adult life, starting as Cubmaster for Pack 23 at Hilo Hongwanji; Scoutmaster for Troop 55, sponsored by Maunakea Sugar; and camp counselor in archery and riflery for several decades at Honokaia Camp near Honokaa.

Sadaichi Kubota earned a battlefield commission to second lieutenant while serving with I Company, 3rd Battalion, 442nd RCT, and was awarded Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.

Earlier this summer, at the site of what the Army now considers one of its crucial battles in France, Yamada said Kubota participated in a ceremony held in honor of the soldiers killed while trying to rescue the Texas "Lost Battalion" in the Voges Mountains.

"At the 'Lost Battalion' site," said Yamada, whose father, Eiro, was a member of the 442nd's K Company, "we held a small ceremony where the I Company banzai charge took place. Sada pulled out his little notepad, upon which he had written several names of I Company men who were killed on that hill. He called those names out loudly into the dark, tree-filled valley below. ... 'We're back, we haven't forgotten you,' he cried."

Hayashi was killed in Italy and is buried in the U.S. military cemetery near Florence.

In October 1944, I and K Companies of the 442nd were ordered to rescue the beleaguered 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, which had been surrounded for five days by German forces. After five days of fighting, the Germans surrendered. The 442nd RCT lost about 800 men to rescue 214 members of the Texas battalion.

Besides son Alan, other survivors include his wife, Amy; son Randal; two sisters, Mitsue Saito and Gail Hiraoka; and three grandchildren.

Visitation will be held at 8 a.m. tomorrow at Hosoi Mortuary; pre-cremation service will be at 9 a.m. A second visitation service will be held in Hilo at 2 p.m. next Saturday at Dodo Mortuary. Burial will be at the Hilo Veterans Cemetery on Sept. 20.

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