NVC Newsletter

National Museum of the U.S. Army Visit

by Yuzo Tokita
February 2017, Volume 67, Issue 2

On this past January 27, 2017, the Executive Director of The National Veterans Network (NVN), Christina Sato-Yamazaki, executed the first outreach to the Japanese American Seattle community in the NVC hall for the opening of the National Museum of the U.S. Army in 2019.  It will be built on the grounds of the Army's base at Ft. Belvoir, VA located about 15 miles southwest of Washington D.C.

After a short overview of NVN participation over the past eight years in activities honoring the WWII Nisei soldier, she then introduced Retired General Eric Shinseki who gave eloquent remarks on the significance of this new museum and spoke on NVN's role in this project.  He hit the nail on the head when he described the importance of we, the collective active voice for the WWII warriors, to vigorously and effectively participate in establishing the presence of the Nisei soldier in the new museum ... for the 442nd, the 100th, the MIS and all fighting Nisei attached to these units and to those who perished in the fight!

Next to speak was Ms. Tammy E. Call, Director, National Museum of the U.S. Army and Dr. Charles Cureton, Army Chief Museum Curator who described in some detail the plans for the National Museum.  It will be a huge project.  Ms. Call went into detail on the areas and buildings that honor the various period fighting units and pointed out where she envisioned the Nisei soldiers displays could go and, if placed so, they will be very prominently displayed! 

Dr. Cureton, in his presentation, explained that they (the Army museum inventory), have uniforms and memorabilia from the early Revolutionary period to the current actions in the Middle east, but virtually nothing from the WWII Nisei combatants from the European or the Pacific theaters.  After visiting our NVC museum with Chris Sketchley, he was excitedly engaged with Chris to plan coordinated efforts to get NVC participatory efforts.  Dr. Cureton and the museum are asking us collectively to identify WWII paraphernalia for donation or loan to the Nisei soldier displays.  If you have any items that fit this category, contact Chris Sketchley, who is our official conduit.

The short presentation plus a Q&A session was completed with coffee, tea and some finger food and small talk with the principals, but I would be remiss if I did not relate a portion of General Shinseki's informal talk which I felt was "on the money".  When describing the importance to make this Nisei soldier's story told and told correctly, he said it's not necessarily for us, the Nisei and Sansei generations, but for the Yonsei, the Gosei, and beyond, and their friends and families of the future!  He mirthfully stated that with six (6) grand-daughters, his lineage will not have Japanese surnames or even look Japanese.  So, let's show-and-tell the story RIGHT and get behind this National Museum effort done RIGHT!!

To get this National Army Museum Nisei Soldier project done RIGHT, the National Veterans Network will be working on properly displaying our 442nd, 100th, MIS, 522nd, etc., portrayed with artifacts, personal stories and family stories.  Both the NVC and NVC Foundation will be tasked for working donations for this effort.  More info on this aspect to follow.