Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice


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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free

 

Henry Shiyama

 

Date and Place of Birth: January 23, 1920 Onomea, Hawaiian Islands
Date and Place of Death: February 12, 1944 Cassino, Italy
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position:
Rank: Corporal
Military Unit: Company C, 1st Battalion, 100th Infantry Battalion, US Army
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations

 

Henry M. Shiyama was born in Onomea, Hawaii, on January 23, 1920. He attended McKinley High School on Oahu and was employed as a shipping clerk at Swift and Company in Honolulu.

 

On November 15, 1941, he was inducted in the Army and initially served with the 298th Infantry Regiment at Schofield Barracks. Like many people in Hawaii, he was Nisei - second-generation Japanese, and on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese attacked the US fleet at Pearl Harbor, everything changed. Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii were treated with suspicion and those in military service found their duties suddenly reduced to menial tasks.

 

Eventually, the 100th Battalion was formed, a fighting unit made up entirely of second-generation Japanese. Shiyama took basic training with the 100th at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, and quickly became a part of the 100th "Aloha" baseball team. The Aloha team initially played against the military police unit at Camp McCoy but soon found competition in nearby towns. In February 1943, the 100th Battalion moved to Camp Shelby, Mississippi for advanced unit training where the Aloha team continued to play.

 

The 100th Battalion left Camp Shelby for North Africa on August 11, 1943. They landed at Oran, Algeria on September 2, where they guarded supply trains for a couple of weeks. It was in North Africa that the Aloha baseball team played their last game. It was against the 168th Infantry Regiment.

 

 

On September 19, 1943, the 100th Battalion left the relative safety of North Africa for Italy. They landed at Salerno and went into combat against the Germans on September 29.

 

Corporal Shiyama was killed in action on February 12, 1944, near Cassino, Italy. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii.

 

Thanks to Kerry Yo Nakagawa of the Nisei Baseball Research Project and Hawaii State Library for help with this biography. Photo of 100th Battalion team courtesy of Sons and Daughters of the 100th Infantry Battalion Archives. Visit www.ajawarvets.org for more information on Americans of Japanese ancestry servicemen.

 

Added September 19, 2006

 

Copyright © 2007 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.