The Ultimate Price

 Soldier paid ultimate price for country who interned his family
The Bakersfield Californian 
September 21, 2007
Pfc Torao Hayashi

Dear Sis,
Sure was glad when I received your V-mail, and am happy to hear everyone is fine. As for me I’m swell and still kicking. Yes, since joining the unit, I met all the boys that I knew back in the States. In your letter you say that you mailed the family picture to my old address. Well, in that case, it will be quite some time before I’ll get it, but I’ll let you know when I get it. I heard from Roy a few days ago and he said he’s not going to school, so I take it he didn’t pass the grade. I also heard from Arlene. She said something about (unreadable) in the hospital recently. 
Hope it’s not serious. Well, that’s all for this time.

Till again,

 About the letter writer
     Pfc. Torao Hayashi, uncle of Bakersfield resident Sandy (Hayashi) Minner, fought in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, a unit composed of mostly Japanese-Americans who fought in Europe during World War II. 
     Hayashi was killed in France on Oct. 28, 1944, during the fight to liberate a region in southern France. The 442nd suffered more than 800 casualties, nearly half its force, rescuing 211 members of the “Lost Battalion” in Biffontaine.

     “What the 442nd did was instrumental in causing social change,” Minner wrote in an e-mail to The Californian. “After the war, the law that prevented Japanese immigrants, like my grandparents, from becoming U.S. citizens was eliminated. The California law that prevented them from owning land was also eliminated. We owe all veterans from WWII a lot, but people of color owe the 442nd even more. The 442nd paid in blood for the freedom we now take for granted.”

Letters written by Pfc Torao Hayashi to sister, Louise Hayashi (Poston block 208-2-D):

Minner, who sent three letters, went on to write:“In the last letter, he mentions a family photo taken during his last furlough before shipping out, and how he hadn’t received it. He was killed four days later. ... We assume he never saw the photograph.

Back (L-R): Barbara, sister; Ruth, sister; Torao, age 30 at the time; Jane, sister; Louise, sister to whom Torao sent his letter. Front (L-R): Ruby, sister, Ichimatsu, father; Yoney, mother, holding grandson, Ron Hayashi; Sharon, niece; John, brother; Dennis, nephew; Lorraine, sister-in-law.

“It is ironic that the letter from the War Department informing my grandmother of her son’s death was sent first to their old address (near Sacramento). It was then forwarded to the family in the Poston, Ariz., internment camp. You’d think the War Department would be able find out where the family had been interned.”


Dec. 19, 1944
Mr. and Mrs. Ichimatsu Hayashi
Poston, Arizona

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Hayashi:

Three years of war have brought heartache to many in our population. While there is little I can say today that will assuage your overwhelming grief, in the months to come you may think back upon my message with some small comfort. For I am proud of your son; proud that he was an American who had the strength and courage to fight for his country in her great crisis; proud that he was willing to give his blood as his last great measure of devotion. I congratulate you as parents who instilled these manly qualities in your son and prepared him to meet the greatest test of our time.

In a special sense, your son fought to win the war against two foes, the enemies of democracy abroad, and the enemies of democracy at home who use race and ancestry to confuse and defeat the real meaning of America. It is my sorrow that he could not have lived to see his bravery, his sacrifice and his suffering bear fruit in a better world for all peoples.

D.S. Myer

Pfc Torao Hayashi  (1/24/1914-10/28/1944)
Basic training: Camp Roberts, Fort Bliss, Camp Shelby 
Service: French Campaign, battle to rescue the Lost Battalion which was the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, a Texas unit which had been surrounded in the forest 2 miles east of Biffontaine.  During the 2nd day of the battle in rescue of the Lost Battalion on 28 Oct 1944, Pfc Torao Hayashi was killed in action.
Awards: Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman's Badge, Distinguished Unit Badge

1. http://www.bakersfield.com/entertainment/local/x557570603/Soldier-paid-ultimate-price-for-country-who-interned-his-family 
2. http://www.rogere442.net/KIA%27s/ALL_KIAS/Hayashi%20Torao.pdf

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