A Soldier's Story: Staff Sergeant Yukio Kawamoto

Staff Sergeant Yukio Kawamoto was born in Berkley, California, on November 13, 1919.  He attended the University of California at Berkeley until a couple of months before graduation, when he was enlisted into the US Army on February 25, 1942, in response to World War II.

The son of Japanese immigrants, Staff Sergeant Kawamoto, was fluent in Japanese and after training, was assigned to military intelligence for the 37th Infantry Division and deployed to the Pacific Theater.  His parents were transferred to Utah's Topaz Mountain Internment camp for the duration of the war.

During his deployment, Staff Sergeant Kawamoto's duties were code decryption and interpreter of documents and prisoners. In addition, his language skills helped direct necessary reinforcements to vulnerable areas on more than one occasion.

He was discharged early to help his parents return home from the camps.

Staff Sergeant Kawamoto remained in government service following the war, working as an interpreter for the Military Tribunals of 1946-48 and then through the State Department (including interpreting one of President John F. Kennedy's speeches) and working with the Bureau of Cultural Affairs.  Staff Sergeant Kawamoto was also appointed to the US Embassy in Tokyo from 1975 to 1979.

He retired to the DC area and became one of the founders of the Ekoji Buddhist Temple in Fairfax Station, Virginia. Dying on February 8, 2019.

The Library of Congress has established a Veteran's History Project, which has been collecting video interviews with many of our veterans.  Staff Sergeant Yukio Kawamoto is here.


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at www.takethebackroads.com, you can also read her book reviews at www.riteoffancy.com and US military biographies at www.everydaypatriot.com

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