Members of Reid Nishizuka’s family pay their respects at the monument where his name is inscribed.

The Japanese American Veterans’ Joint Memorial Service was held May 25 at the Japanese American National War Memorial Court in Little Tokyo, sponsored by the Americans of Japanese Ancestry WWII Memorial Alliance, Japanese American Korean War Veterans, and Japanese American Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee.

The court’s monuments contain the names of all Japanese Americans who died in service during America’s wars, from the Spanish American War (1898) to the present. Another name has just been added — Air Force Capt. Reid Nishizuka, 30, who was one of four airmen killed when an MC-12 aircraft crashed in Afghanistan on April 27. Members of Nishizuka’s family were on hand to pay their respects.

Nishizuka has also been honored by the governors of Hawaii, where he grew up, and California, where he was stationed (427th Reconnaissance Squadron, Beale Air Force Base).

Vietnam veteran Robert Fumio Leong was the keynote speaker.

The keynote speaker was Robert Fumio Leong, who served as a captain with the 5th Special Forces Group and Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Studies and Observations Group (MACVSOG) from 1968 to 1970. He is a former chair of the California Veterans Board.

Opening remarks were made by program chair Ken Hayashi of the Japanese American Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee, Helen Ota, public information officer of the Japanese American National Museum, and Minoru Tonai, JAKWV president. Colors were posted and retired by Redondo Union High School’s Marine Corps Jr. ROTC, which also fired the traditional rifle volleys. A bugler from Koyasan Temple Boy Scout Troop 379 played “Assembly” and “Taps.”

The invocation was given by Rev. Mark Nakagawa of Centenary United Methodist Church, and the benediction by Bishop Daigaku Rumme of Zenshuji Buddhist Temple. Lt. Col. Russell Nakaishi, past president of the Nisei Veterans Coordinating Council, led the Pledge of Allegiance and Erika Olsen, 2011 Nisei Week Queen, sang the national anthem and “God Bless America.”

Floral tributes were given by the following organizational representatives:

Gold Star Mothers — Yoko Nakamura

Honor Roll — Ron Yamada, Memorial Court Preservation Committee

Spouses and Families of Deceased Veterans — Lynnie Tabata

Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Memorial Alliance — Mike Tsuji, architect

Japanese American Korean War Veterans — Wally Takata, vice president

Japanese American Vietnam Veterans Memorial Committee — Steve Nakauchi

USS Maine, Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan — Sam Shimoguchi, past president, JAKWV

Nisei Veterans Coordinating Council — Lt. Col. Russell Nakaishi, past president

VFW 4th District Gardena Post 1961 — Steve Moriyama, commander

VFW Kazuo Masuda Post 3670 — Ben Shimazu, past commander

VFW San Fernando Valley Post 4140 — Frank Tanaka, commander

American Legion Sadao Munemori Post 321 — George Tokeshi, past commander

Disabled American Veterans Chapter 100 — Akio Sawada, president

100th/442nd Veterans Association — Laura Shigemitsu, president

Military Intelligence Service Association of Southern California — Cathy Tanaka, board secretary

Go For Broke National Education Center — Cathy Tanaka, board member

Consulate General of Japan — Deputy Consul General Masahiro Suga

City of Los Angeles — Terry Hara, LAPD deputy chief

Adapt a Vietnam War KIA Program — Dianne Belli

Japanese American Cultural and Community Center — Sandra Sakamoto, chairperson

Nisei Week Foundation — Steve Inouye, president

 Photos by MARIO G. REYES/Rafu Shimpo

Redondo Union High School’s Marine Corps Jr. ROTC posted the colors.

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