VHBT Adopts Vietnam War Killed in Action
At the December 4, 2009, Board meeting of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple (VHBT), it was determined that VHBT would participate in the Japanese American Vietnam War Killed in Action (KIA) adoption program. In this program, community organizations/temples/churches would “adopt” the names of 8-12 KIA and honor and remember them. Organizations also participating to date include the Pacific Southwest JACL, Centenary United Methodist Church, and the Venice Santa Monica Free Methodist Church.
Adopting organizations were invited to participate in the annual Japanese American Veterans’ Memorial Service at the Japanese American National Memorial Court at the Japanese American Culture and Community Center by presenting a single flower with the adopted serviceman’s name attached. The first time the VHBT participated in this service was on Saturday, May 29, 2010, at 11:00 am, with members of the temple present. Danny Nakagiri of VHBT presented a floral tribute on behalf of the Japanese American Vietnam War Veterans. Each Memorial Day service since then, the VHBT has honored their adopted KIA with a flower.
The KIA adopted by VHBT include:
- Bruce Jun Mori, PFC, of Los Angeles, CA, who was 20 years old when he was killed due to multiple fragmentation wounds, 39 days after he started his tour of duty.
- Masashi Nakashimo, SSG, of Santa Barbara, CA, who was 23 years old when he was killed a year and half after he started his tour of duty. He received a posthumous promotion.
Today I remember your sacrifice 36 years ago. Because of your dedication I am alive and you are no longer with us. You are always in my thoughts.From a fellow Medic 1/44th, Joe Armbruster
- Rockne Masayoshi Noguchi, Pfc of Honolulu, HI, who was 20 years old when he died of multiple fragmentation wounds, 7 months after he started his tour of duty.
- Terry Y Ogami, CPL, of Reedley, CA, who was 21 years old when he died. He received a posthumous promotion. Terry has a special connection to VHBT as he was a friend of Danny Nakagiri and his uncle and aunt, Sam and Dolly, and their children lived in the house on Culver Blvd., that was sold to the Temple for its original location.
Terry was a friend of mine, a really good friend. We had both been in country 9-10 months by the time he was killed. We were patrolling … through a village when the enemy opened up on us. Terry gave his life while he and I pulled Raymond Carpenter out of the line of fire. Unfortunately, Ray was killed as well. Why them and not me? I wish I knew. I loved them both, and I miss them every day. I had the good fortune to speak to Terry’s brother David Ogami, by phone, several years ago. I had written quite a few letters to Terry’s parents that were never answered. David found those letters after his parents died, and he called me on the phone one night. It was a moving experience as I answered all his questions. Rest in peace brothers. I’ll see you again someday.From his friend and Squad Leader, Sgt. Richard J. Bailey.
- Takeshi Yabiku, SP4, of Los Angeles, CA, who was 22 years old when he died of gun or small arms fire.
- Naoto Yamashiro, SP7, of Honolulu, HI, who was 43 years old, after 20 years in the service.
- Douglas Harvard Yuki, SP4, of Altadena, CA, who was 22 when he was killed in an accidental homicide.
You can view the virtual wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial here.
There is no cost to participate in the program. There is, however, an endowment fund campaign which is raising money to maintain the Japanese American National Memorial Court at JACCC in perpetuity.