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World War II vet remembers service

Born-and-raised Idahoan Hero Shiosaki served in World War II’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, one of the handful of Japanese Americans from Idaho to serve in the unit.

Shiosaki’s journey into the Army almost didn’t happen. Some time after the Pearl Harbor bombing, the National Selective Service Board stripped Japanese Americans of their citizenship and classified them as enemy aliens.

However, the draft board in American Falls didn’t acknowledge his ethnicity.

“Power County looked at that list (and said), ‘We ain’t got no Japanese here,'” said Shiosaki. “They didn’t take me off and they sent me to Salt Lake City to take the oath of office.”

After basic training, Shiosaki made his way into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit made up of Japanese Americans. They went on to become one of the most decorated units in the Army’s history. They received the Congressional Gold Medal for their service in 2011.

“I know there were no desertions. No bad things, the soldiers helped each other,” he said.

Despite their devotion to the country, Shiosaki said the unit still faced discrimination.

“Sometimes, we’d go into the (post exchange) and then somebody would holler at us and they’d start rioting in there,” he said.

It didn’t stop when he returned home to Idaho.

“There were people that were really friends and there were a few people that we not friends,” he said.

Regardless of his treatment, his love for the U.S. never faltered. He still participates in a number of Memorial Day celebrations and has been active in the community.

He said he’d immediately serve if he had to.

“Physically, I probably couldn’t, but I’d offer my services where I could serve the country,” he said.

Shiosaki had a partial hip replacement surgery over the weekend. He is expected to leave Portneuf Medical Center Monday, pending a doctor’s evaluation.

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