Friday, April 3, 2009

Remembering Herbert Isonaga, 442nd RCT

I just heard that Herbert Isonaga passed away. "Herbie" was a member of the VVV and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Headquarters Company and a friend. After I heard the news, I wanted to honor and remember his life. . .

Herbert Isonaga was born in 1921 in Koloa, Kauai. His family operated Isonaga Store, which supplied Filipino bachelors employed by Koloa Sugar Company with iriko (parched small sardine), shrimp, bagoong (fermented fish sauce), codfish and various canned goods. Trousers, shirts, lunch pail bags and tabi (Japanese socks), all sewn by Herbert’s mother, were also available

Of the 50 or 60 in his class at Koloa School, only 20, including Herbert, continued their studies at Kauai High School. Winning by one vote, “Landslide” Isonaga was elected senior class president. He went on to attend college at the University of Oregon and the University of Hawaii.

Herbert participated in the discussions and planning of the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). He left college to join the VVV to be a part of the war effort. He then volunteered for the 442nd RCT. Herbert was assigned to the antitank platoon of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion and served admirably with the 442nd RCT in Italy and France.

After the war, Herbert graduated with a degree in business from UH. He operated a bookstore near the university. Later, he ran Herbie’s Drive-In. After selling his business to KC Drive-In, Herbert went into real estate with Hung Wai Ching.

Herbert married Sue Kobatake on March 26, 1949. They had three children.

I thought Herbert was both charming and sweet. My last memory of him is at a reception honoring Moriso Teraoka. Herbie came up and gave me a big hug.

Herbert Isonaga is one of my heroes. . .I am so grateful I got to meet him and tell his story.

Farewell Herbert!

“The greatest thing that happened to the AJA community was World War II. The 442nd and the 100th did a great service to the AJA community and ourselves for having served. I take great pride in that.

I sincerely feel that the recognition we deserve has been offered to us in many, many ways. Primarily in the opportunities that it has offered us.”- Herbert Isonaga

Please read the rest of his story:


Gerome said...


I live in the Vosges mountains, close to Bruyeres and Biffontaine, where the 522ndFA was in october and november 1944... Thanks you to them for all they did for us.....

Gerome said...

... and the 442nd & 100th bn. In witch company was he ?


Shari Y. Tamashiro said...

Hi Gerome! Herbert was in Headquarters Company.