Tom Coffman
Published with Permission

Editor’s note: Historian, author and documentary filmmaker Tom Coffman was the keynote speaker for the 13th annual Joint Memorial Service, organized by the Nisei Veterans Legacy. The service was held Sept. 30 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl and was attended by approximately 15 World War II AJA veterans. It was emceed by retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Lawrence Enomoto, the eldest son of Military Intelligence Service veteran Gulstan N.T. Enomoto of Maui.

The Joint Memorial Service was previously organized by the AJA Veterans Council, made up of the four World War II AJA military units: the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service and the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion. They designated the last Sunday in September for their annual memorial service because it was the Sunday closest to Sept. 29, 1943, the day Sgt. Shigeo “Joe” Takata of the 100th Battalion was killed in action in Italy, becoming the first AJA soldier to be killed in action.

Keynote speaker Tom Coffman has researched and written extensively on the World War II era in Hawai‘i for decades. The former chief political reporter for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Coffman has written numerous books, including the seminal “Catch a Wave: A Case Study of Hawai‘i’s New Politics,” “I Respectfully Dissent: A Biography of Edward H. Nakamura,” on the late Hawai‘i Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Nakamura, a 442nd veteran; and “How Hawai‘i Changed America,” among others. Coffman’s latest book, “Tadaima! I am Home” is due out soon from the University of Hawai‘i Press. He continues to work on the second volume of “How Hawai‘i Changed America.”

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