Family of World War II veteran from Hilo sought

  • This dog tag from World War II, which belonged to Hilo-born Hiroshi Sakamoto, was found this summer on a French battlefield. The finder is hoping to return the tag to Sakamoto’s family.

The finder of a dog tag, lost on a French battlefield during World War II, is searching now for the family of the Hilo man it once belonged to.

In July, the Japanese American Veterans Association received a request to help locate family members of two U.S. Army 442nd Infantry Regiment dog tags found in France.

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One of those belong to Hiroshi Sakamoto, rank private first class, who served in the Headquarters Company of the 100th Infantry Battalion, and was born March 17, 1922, in Hilo.

The tag includes an address — 546 Laukapu St. in Hilo — and the name Chiyoko Sakamoto, who is believed to be the soldier’s sister.

Census records from 1940 show an older sister with the same name and his parents listed as Joichi M. and Misao Sakamoto.

The Army serial number listed on the tag is 30101437.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Frank Nekoba, a member of JAVA, didn’t know much more about Sakamoto or his family, but said most dog tags don’t have a street address.

Nakoba said it appears the man who found the tag visits battlegrounds to look for relics.

“He really wants to send the dog tags back to the family,” he said.

Nekoba said he hopes someone in the islands will recognize the name.

He is unsure of whether Sakamoto was a casualty of the war, but “my assumption is he did not survive, (which is) why his dog tags were found in the ground there. If he had survived, he would still have his dog tags.”

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Any family members can contact JAVA at javapotomac@gmail.com.

Email Stephanie Salmons at ssalmons@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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