Author unknown; original article appeared in the Club’s 40th anniversary (1983) souvenir booklet and has been edited by William Thompson, 2nd Hq., President, 442nd Veterans Club, 2008.
While overseas, men of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team talked of “getting together” after the war. Because of the strong feeling of friendship forged while fighting shoulder-to-shoulder against a common enemy, it was inevitable that a civilian organization composed of those veterans be formed. As early as December 27, 1945, while the military counterpart was still on occupation duty in Italy, those that were mustered out early got together for the first formal meeting of the group. After several preliminary organizational gatherings, the 442nd Veterans Club’s Constitution and By-Laws were officially adopted at a general membership held on February 7, 1946, at the old Nuuanu YMCA auditorium.On July 31, 1946, the Charter of Incorporation was signed by the club’s first officers:Rev. Masao Yamada (President), James Kamo (Vice President), Tadao Beppu (Vice President), Bert Nishimura (Secretary) and Fred Matsuo (Treasurer). On August 10, 1946, the beribboned, battle-scarred colors and guidons of the combat team came home to Hawaii. They were preserved in the archives of the then-Territory of Hawaii until the 442nd was reactivated as a reserve unit several years later. A few days after the historic return of the colors, the club was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. The date, August 12, 1946. The highlight of the club’s history was the acquisition of the present clubhouse property. Nine living members of the original Moiliili Young Men’s Association offered its facilities to the club on a lease of 50 years at $1 per year during June, 1948. On Friday, July 21, 1949, the first burials of the 100th/442nd KIA of WWII took place at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl).On the next day, Saturday, the dedication of the Memorial Hall at 933 Wiliwili Street in Moiliili was held.Then, on June 27, 1952, the Moiliili YMA members formally effected a transfer of the property in fee simple to the 442nd Veterans Club. The old Memorial Hall was replaced by a modern clubhouse-apartment building, which was formally dedicated on December 17, 1960.
One of the primary purposes of the 442nd Veterans Club was to participate actively in community affairs and to extend services to those who needed their help. The club’s active participation in community fund drives started in early 1947 and it partnered with the following organizations to help those in need: The American Red Cross, March of Dimes, the War Orphans Scholarship Fund, Kuakini Hospital and Home, Hawaii Association to Help Retarded Children, 25th Division’s “Operation Helping Hand” Drive, Italian Flood Relief Fund, and the Sultan’s Easter Seal School for the Handicapped.
In the interest of youth fitness and the development of baseball within the high school level, the club has since 1958, participated in the co-sponsorship of the annual State High School Baseball Championship Tournament. An important by-product of this community service program was the Japan-Hawaii Goodwill Baseball series that the club sponsored in cooperation with the Osaka Asahi Shimbun and the Japan High School Baseball Federation. Since it first started in 1955, a representative team composed of high school players made goodwill tours to Japan and Hawaii alternately every two years. A credit union was established and operated until 1999.A milestone was reached by the club by the implementation of a life membership plan in 1967. An integrated social calendar and athletic program played an important role in the organization’s growth. Advancement in age has brought a halt to many of these activities, but the memories of inter-chapter competition are still alive. The “Go for Broke” spirit, which was in the hearts of the 442nd soldiers, carried them through World War II and also bonded them after the war.It is this spirit that enabled them to form their club and keep their legacy alive.