Colonel Thomas T. Sakamoto

Obituary

 



Thomas T. Sakamoto Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired, Resident of

Los Gatos, CA
Thomas T. Sakamoto, passed away October 18, 2013 at the age of 95. Tom was born in San Jose, California. His youthful life was centered around church, sports and community activities.
 
In 1934, while in High School, Tom was sent to Japan for education.

He returned to the United States four years later and was drafted into

the U.S. Army. Because of his proficiency in Japanese, Tom was recruited into the

secretly formed Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Just over a month before Pearl Harbor, Tom was enrolled

in an elite first class of the Japanese Language School at Presidio of San Francisco, California. Upon

graduation, because of his superior knowledge of Japanese, he became an instructor. However, eager for

combat, he volunteered for duties with General MacArthur in Australia and met his first combat at Los Negros Island with Texas 1st Cavalry. The first prisoner Tom faced called him a traitor. But Tom's interrogation of the prisoner resulted in information that allowed his unit to repel a major attack. After taking part in General MacArthur's successful island hopping campaign, Tom stood proudly on the deck of the USS Missouri to

witness Japan's surrender. Tom served this country gallantly and faithfully even though his parents and family were interned at Rohwer Relocation Center, Arkansas, for the duration of the war.

After helping to democratize Japan, Tom fought in Korea and in Vietnam. In 1961, he interpreted for President Eisenhower during his visit to Okinawa. Achieving the rank of Colonel, Tom stated that proving loyalty to America on battlefields was his most significant accomplishment.
After retiring from the U.S. Army, he served as Senior Vice President/ Manager of a Sumitomo Bank in Cupertino and San Jose, California.

Tom was preceded in death by his wife, Sadie; brothers George and Donald and sister Clara (Kenji Honda).

He is survived by brothers Frank (Maryann), Jim (Kaz), and Paul. He is also survived by sister Bertha (Tom),

sister in laws Mary and Aggie and nephews and nieces.

A Private funeral service was held on October 25 at San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin.
Tom's family wishes to thank the professionals at Palo Alto VA Hospital, Hospice of the Valley, The Terraces

 of Los Gatos, and NexGen Healthcare, Inc. for outstanding care Tom received. Instead of koden, Tom's family wishes donations be sent to the National Japanese American Historical Society (1684 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115) for grand opening and maintenance of the MIS Historic Learning Center, Presidio, San Francisco, where Tom was the first student in 1941.


 

 

 

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