Jimmie Kanaya
U.S. Army - 442nd R.C.T.
World War II - Korea - Vietnam

Brick #2120   Wall Location  Column: 16   Row: 25

Jimmie Kanaya was born October 3, 1920 in Clackamas, Oregon. At age twenty, he enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army and was assigned as a Medic to Hoff General Hospital in Santa Barbara, California. After Pearl Harbor he was assigned to Camp Crowder and from there went to Camp Shelby. As a Medic he was in charge of the hospital Red Cross. The cadre for the 442nd Medics was formed out of the Camp Crowder Medics. In June, 1944 the 442nd entered the Italian campaign attached to the 34th Infantry Division. During this campaign, he received a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant. Colonel Kanaya served in two major campaigns, the Rome-Arno campaign as well as the Rhineland campaign in WWII.

While attached to the 36th Infantry Division in Southern France, Colonel Kanaya was captured when an attempt was made to evacuate casualties in the Voges Mountains. He was taken to Oflag 64, a Prisoner of War camp in Poland. Later the prisoners were forced to relocate to Hammelburg, Germany due to the Russian Army’s winter offensive. The POWs walked 380 miles through deep snow and in freezing weather to reach Hammelburg. A Task Force from General Patton’s Army made a heroic attempt to liberate the POW camp, but the Task Force and POWs were killed, wounded or captured after an all night attempt to reach friendly lines. He was taken in a boxcar to the Nuremburg POW camp along with the remaining POWs. Once again, he escaped, but was recaptured after staying hidden for eight days. The camp was liberated by elements of the 45th Infantry Division, 7th Army in April, 1945.

Duty Stations and Assignments:

December, 1945 Korea; US Army Military Government, Public Health and Social Services.

June, 1948 Tokyo, Japan; Translator/Interrogator, Allied Translator Interrogator Services, General Head Quarters.

July, 1950 Korea; ATIS attached to 8th US Army (Fwd) United Nations Offensive and United Nations Campaigns.

August, 1951 Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas; Medical Advanced Course Student.

July, 1953 Kitzingan, Schweinfurt, Wurzburg, Germany; Company Commander16th Infantry Regiment, Battalion Executive Officer, First Infantry Division.

September, 1956 Fort Riley, Kansas; Company Commander, 16th Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division.

July, 1960 Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Battalion Commander, 101st Airborne Division.

July, 1960 Schofield Barracks, Honolulu, Hawaii; Battalion Executive Officer, 25th Infantry Division.

July, 1962 Saigon, Viet Nam; Medical Department Operations and Training Advisor to Vietnamese Army; Medical Branch, Military Assistance Advisory Group.

September, 1963 Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Executive Officer, 18th Airborne Corps, Medical Section.

August, 1965 Fort Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska; Commanding Officer, 64th Field Hospital.

August, 1969 Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas; Deputy Commandant, Medical Training Center.

Awards and Decorations:

Silver Star
Legion of Merit Bronze Star with Valor device and two Oak Leaf Clusters
Purple Heart
Army Commendation Medal Presidential Unit Citation
POW Medal
Meritorious Unit Commendation
Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation
Combat Medical Badge
Master Parachutist Badge
French Legion of Honor
Korean Ambassador of Peace Medal University of Virginia School for Military Government
University of Nebraska, Omaha; Bachelor of General Education University of Alaska: Master of Education

Colonel Kanaya retired from the U.S. Army in September, 1974 after thirty years and five months of military service. He lives with his wife,Lynn in Gig Harbor, WA.

  • Highest rank attained: Colonel
  • Military Retiree
  • Position: Field Medical Services
  • Enlisted: 1941 - 1974
  • Silver Star
  • Purple Heart
  • Bronze Star
  • Bronze Star
  • Bronze Star
Branches Of Service
  • U.S. Army
  • World War II
  • Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Medical Detachment
  • ATIS Japan HGQ Far East Command
  • ATIS Korea 8th Army (Fwd) United Nations Campaigns