MIS Veterans Club president Lawrence “Larry” Enomoto welcomed members and guests to the club’s Jan. 25 shinnenkai at the Pömaika‘i Ballroom at Dole Cannery. Enomoto is serving his second term as the club’s president. His father Toshi, who was half-Japanese, half-Hawaiian, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1944, leaving his wife and their four children on Maui to serve his country. Toshi Enomoto attended MIS language school at Camp Savage and Fort Snelling in Minnesota. According to Larry, who served in military intelligence in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, his father’s military records were among the documents lost in a 1973 fire at the National Military Records Center.
The 2015 officers and directors were installed by retired Circuit Judge Frank Takao, who served in both the 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the MIS. Serving with Enomoto will be George Arine, first vice president; Glen Arakaki, second vice president; Karen Kikukawa, secretary; Gale Wilson, treasurer; and Harry Kawaoka, auditor. Kikukawa and Wilson are the daughters of World War II MIS soldiers.
Enomoto briefed members on the club’s efforts in 2014, including increased use of the internet and email to communicate with members, participation in services to honor veterans at various locations and the “soft opening” of the “America’s Secret Weapon” exhibit on the Military Intelligence Service at the U.S. Army Museum. The MIS Veterans Club also adopted a five-year strategic plan for 2014 through 2019 and amended its by-laws. The documents can be read on the club’s website, misveteranshawaii.com.
The “America’s Secret Weapon” exhibit was developed by MIS “sons” Mark Matsunaga and Gregg Hirata, with assistance from graphic designer Harlan Yuhara. It features historic photographs, artifacts and text panels that help to tell the MIS story, which remained classified until the 1970s. The MIS veterans — those who know the story firsthand from their service as soldier-linguists — have been serving as exhibit docents.
“The MIS legacy is rapidly expanding across the Pacific,” Enomoto assured the members.
He also discussed plans for the MIS National Reunion, which will be held March 27 and 28 in Honolulu. An opening social, dinner and workshops are planned for Friday, March 27, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the 100th Battalion Veterans clubhouse on Kamoku Street. On the agenda for Saturday, March 28, is the grand opening of the “America’s Secret Weapon” exhibit at the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii at 9 a.m. Army historian James McNaughton will be the keynote speaker. The opening will be followed by a reunion luncheon banquet at the Hale Koa Hotel at 11 a.m. Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet, will be the luncheon speaker. Details on the reunion, along with registration information, is available on the MIS website, misveteranshawaii.com.
Entertainment for the shinnenkai was provided by Larry Enomoto and his three siblings — Tom, Rosemary Fujimoto-Ova and retired Sister Roselani Enomoto — who sang a few favorite Hawaiian tunes. “I told them that they would have to sing for their lunch,” joked Enomoto.
The shinnenkai was co-chaired by MIS “daughter” Gale Wilson and MIS “son” Gregg Hirata.