Many thanks for 93rd member George Jung posting this up on our Facebook page.
Ben Kuroki: A Story We All Need to Know
(The full article can be found at the link below)
Prior to 9/11, the most searing attack on Americans’ sense of security came on December 7, 1941, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan. That event inspired what has became known as the Greatest Generation to rally and engage that moment of national trauma with unprecedented unity and commitment to face what lay ahead, and ultimately achieve victory in World War II. But it was also a time when fear and distrust led to the incarceration of 120,000 American citizens of Japanese descent, and recrimination against many more. The story of one Japanese American in World War II, Ben Kuroki, sheds light in an informative way on that time, but is also incredibly relevant for our current time.
After Pearl Harbor, a Nebraska farm boy named Ben Kuroki volunteered for the U.S. Army Air Corps. He could not have been more American: born in the breadbasket of America, one of ten children, growing up in a small town of with a population of about 500, vice-president of his high school senior class. His parents had come to the United States from Japan, started a family, and settled into a happy life in their adopted country. Outraged as an American when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Ben Kuroki and his brother Fred enlisted in the U.S. Army.
Kuroki somehow slipped through the filter that placed all Japanese American enlistees in segregated units and he became a gunner in a B-24 squadron based in Europe. He served with distinction and completed 30 combat missions, more than the standard full tour of 25. He returned to the United States for rest and recuperation, and as a war hero made appearances to engender support for the war. In particular, he was toured through the Japanese American incarceration camps to garner support and recruitment of other Japanese Americans to fight. He quickly found himself at the center of a firestorm of controversy—exploited by the government and distrusted by his fellow Japanese Americans wrongfully imprisoned in camps. Kuroki fiercely fought for his country and wanted to be seen as every other American in uniform doing his duty. But his Japanese heritage placed him in the complex duality of American hero and “suspect citizen.”
Full article can be found here: