TITLE: Unsung Heroes: A Symposium on the Heroism of Asian Pacific Americans During World War II (Afternoon Session)
SPEAKER: Terry Shima, Norman Ikari, Grant Hirabayashi, Mary Estacion, Judy Chu, Mike Honda
EVENT DATE: 10/26/2009
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center and the Library of Congress Asian Division Friends Society co-host a special commemorative program honoring the heroism of Asian Pacific Americans during World War II. This afternoon session includes presentations from members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Congressman Mike Honda and Congresswoman Judy Chu.
Speaker Biography: Terry Shima was drafted into the U.S. Army on Oct. 12, 1944 and trained at Camp Blanding, Fla. as a replacement for the 442nd RCT. He arrived in Italy on VE Day, 1945 and joined the 442nd and was assigned to its Public Relations Office. When the 442nd returned as a unit to the U.S. in June 1946, Shima returned with the unit to handle public relations in New York City, Washington, DC, and Honolulu. He attended Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Graduate School and served in the U.S. Foreign Service. He is Executive Director of the Japanese American Veterans Association.
Speaker Biography: Dr. Norman Ikari was inducted into the U.S. Army in Jan. 1942 and was assigned to the Medical Detachment at Camp Grant, IL as a laboratory technician. He requested transfer to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team where he trained at Camp Shelby, Miss. and was shipped in 1944 to Italy. After serving the 15th Medical General Laboratory in Naples, Italy, he served at Camp Ritchie, Md. and after Japan's surrender he was honorably discharged. He received his master's degree from George Washington University and his doctorate in microbiology/immunology from Georgetown University. He was a Research Microbiologist/Immunologist and Health Science Administrator at the National Institute of Health from 1954 to 1980, when he retired.
Speaker Biography: Grant Hirabayashi was already in the Army when Pearl Harbor was attacked. His family was placed in an internment camp and because he was fluent in Japanese he was sent to Military Intelligence Service language school for intensive training in Japanese. He volunteered for a mission that took him to Burma as a member of the Special Forces. His unit, Merrill's Marauders, operated behind enemy lines to collect intelligence information and to sabotage enemy operations. For his bravery, Grant was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame in Fort Benning, Ga., was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, and two Bronze Star medals. After the war he was a teacher at the language school, a linguist at the war crimes trials in Japan, and served with the U.S. Department of State, the Library of Congress, and the National Security Agency.
Speaker Biography: Mary Estacion is an accomplished journalist, having worked for broadcast television stations in Maryland, Texas, and Washington, DC. During a stint as a field producer with the Pentagon Channel, Estacion produced a series of stories about women's little-known contributions to the U.S. military during World War II. She currently works as the news video producer and reporter for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and freelances as an on-air correspondent for the Filipino Channel.
Speaker Biography: Congresswoman Judy Chu began her career in public service as a Board Member of the Garvey School District from 1985 to 1988. She has been dedicated to education for decades and was a community college professor of psychology for 20 years. She has a doctorate in psychology and a bachelor's in mathematics. Chu was elected Representative to California's 32nd District in July 2009. She served three terms as a State Assembly Member for the 49th District in the West San Gabriel Valley from 2001-2006.
Speaker Biography: Congressman Mike Honda has represented the 15th Congressional District of California in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2001. He spent his early childhood with his family in an internment camp in Colorado during World War II. After a decade of living in Chicago, his family returned to California in 1953. In 1965 Honda joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in El Salvador. He has been a public servant for decades during which he has been lauded for his work on education, transportation, civil rights, national service, the environment, and high-tech issues. He is serving his sixth year as Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.