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
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
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