March 29, 1920 – July 10, 2021
Born on March 29, 1920 in Oakdale, Calif. Passed away peacefully at the Veterans’ Hospital in Loma Linda, Calif. on July 10, 2021.
Hank was an American Patriot. He believed in our flag and our freedom. After Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 30, 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Los Angeles, Calif. at Fort MacArthur. Hank was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for basic training and then to Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana.
After Executive Order 9066, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (mostly Japanese Americans) was formed. Hank volunteered for combat and in 1943 was sent to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Hank received further training and joined the 232nd Combat Engineer Company. The 232nd had the distinction of being the only unit in the U.S. Army consisting entirely of Japanese American personnel to include officers. In 1944 Hank’s unit was sent to Italy.
Battles and campaigns: Rome, Arno, Northern Appennines, Vosges Mountain area, France, Rhineland and Po Valley.
Pfc. Hank Kanbara received: WWII Victory Medal, Eur-AFR-Met Campaign Medal, Purple Heart (shrapnel to left knee). Distinguished Unit Medal, Congressional Gold Medal and the French Legion of Honor Medal. Hank was honorably discharged on November 14, 1945 at Fort Devens, Mass.
He married Kikue Yanagioka (deceased November, 1985). They had two children, Sharon and Brian. He worked as a gardener until his retirement.
Hank lived in Grand Terrace, Calif. He is survived by his daughter, Sharon (George) Apker; and son, Brian (Anita); and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.