PROFILE OF A MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
HIRO ISOGAWA

Hiro was born November 23, 1925 to Joichi and Kiyoko Isogawa in Fresno, California. He had eight siblings; Frank, Chrissie, Anne, Ben, Mickey, Sanumi, George and Tom. His parents purchased a farm in the Fig Garden area, and were farmers until the beginning of WWII. Along with other Japanese Americans, the family was interned at the Fresno Fairgrounds until being sent to Jerome, Arkansas for further internment.

Hiro
was inducted into the Army on April 4, 1944 at Ann Arbor, Michigan. Basic training was at Camp Blanding, Florida, then on to advanced training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion of the 442nd, but was held back due to being too young to go overseas. Hiro served as acting Squad Leader in Basic, and was used as a cadre' to train replacements for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (the most decorated unit in military history). His unit was renamed the 171st Infantry, Battalion A, with whom he stayed until the unit was disbanded in March 1945. From there he was sent to Ft. Meade, Maryland for three months, then was shipped overseas when he came of age in June. They were sent to Nuremburg, Germany and were given varied assignments. Later they were sent to northern Germany at Munchen, Gladbeck and Antwerp. Then on to Mons, Belgium where they were with the 390th Military Police Unit guarding supplies for throughout Europe.

Hiro
was discharged in June, 1946. Three of his brothers were still serving, so he had to stay on the farm to help the family. His sister Mickey had become a beautician, and worked with Harriet Watanabe, a pretty girl from Maui, Hawaii. She really caught Hiroís eye, and after dating about a year, the two were married June 30, 1952 in Reno, Nevada. He was then allowed to leave the farm, and the couple settled in Fresno. Hiro and Harriett have two children, Leilani and Randall. In 1953, VFW Post 8499 for Nisei veterans was formed with Hiro as a charter member. He served as Commander from 1993 to 1995. Hiro worked as manager of the Star Super Market #2 for 19 years, and went from there to Mayfair Market until his retirement. After retiring, he helped relatives at the Aki Hardware Company.

Hiro
became involved with the Fresno Veterans Day Parade in 1993 while serving as Commander of VFW Post 8499. In early 1995, Chuck Monges approached him to become a docent for the Legion of Valor Museum. He served Wednesdays in that capacity, but for his many hours of dedicated service to the museum, he was promoted to staff. He has come to be one of the museumís most valued volunteers. Hiro is very active with the Nikkei Center for Senior Citizens, and the United Japanese Christian Church, for whom he served as trustee for many years. When he finds the time, he enjoys going fishing with his buddies.

 

 

 

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