PFC Teruo “Ted” Fujioka

PFC Teruo “Ted” Fujioka

Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Death 6 Nov 1944 (aged 19)
Biffontaine, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France
Burial Epinal, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France
Plot Section B ~ Row 2 ~ Grave 50
Memorial ID 56372457 · View Source
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Teruo served as a Private First Class, 442nd Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army during World War II.

He resided in Park County, Wyoming prior to the war.

He enlisted in the Army on August 24, 1943 at Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne, Wyoming. He was noted, at the time of his enlistment, as being Single, without dependents.

On October 14, 1944 the 442nd Infantry, along with the 100th Infantry Battalion (attached), were assigned to liberate Bruyeres, France which was considered a gateway to entering Germany during the war. They were tasked to attack, what was called at that time, Hill's A, B, C, and D. Each hill was heavily guarded, as each hill was key in order to take and secure Bruyeres. Hitler had ordered the German frontline to fight at all costs as this was the last barrier between the Allied forces and Germany.

Teruo was "Killed In Action" during the fighting in and around Bruyeres, France during the war.

He was awarded the Purple Heart with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster.

Service # 37357768

Son of Shiro Fujioka who resided in Los Angeles, California.

Teruo's fellow Park County, Wyoming soldier, Pfc Cike C. Kawano, was also "Killed In Action" with 442nd the same day.

(Bio by: Russell S. "Russ" Pickett)

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Information on PFC Teruo Fujioka being one of eleven Japanese-Americans interred at Epinal submitted by Dwight "Andy" Anderson.

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Below News Article submitted by Dwight "Andy" Anderson.

Piedmont California's Mayor Margaret Fujioka is off to Washington D.C. next week to accept a special honor from the Smithsonian Institution on behalf of a beloved relative she never met.

On Thursday, the Smithsonian's Museum of American History will officially launch its Nisei Soldier Congressional Gold Medal Digital Exhibition, honoring the soldiers of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the segregated Japanese-American World War II unit that was awarded more medals, man for man, than any other military unit in American history.

The exhibition focuses on 12 individual soldiers, and one of them is Fujioka's uncle, Pfc. Teruo "Ted" Fujioka, a member of the 442nd's 1st Antitank Company, who was killed Nov. 6, 1944, by a German 88 mm artillery shell in the woods outside the French town of Bruyeres. It was two months after his 19th birthday.

Ted Fujioka, Margaret's uncle, was killed in WW II while serving in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. "I never met him, but I've always felt like I knew him," she said. "He was one of 12 children, so there were a lot of aunts and uncles to tell me stories about him as I was growing up. My father (Yoshiro "Babe" Fujioka) was the youngest, and he and Ted were very, very close. He idolized his big brother."
What they told her was that Ted was an intelligent, patriotic, handsome, athletic and kind young man who was a terrific writer and born leader and that his dream was to become a lawyer and run for office some day. "He has been an inspiration to me all my life," she said. "It's no coincidence that I became a lawyer and ran for office myself."

Ted Fujioka was born in 1925 in Hollywood. His mother, Chiyo, was a gifted artist and haiku poet. His father Shiro, who attended Waseda University and Columbia University, was an editor for the Rafu Shimpo, the Japanese American newspaper in Los Angeles. Shiro was also a community leader who was active in promoting friendship and understanding between the United States and Japan in the decade leading up to World War II.

Despite this -- or perhaps because of it -- Shiro Fujioka was one of the first of the more than 120,000 Japanese Americans who were arrested and imprisoned after Pearl Harbor. Shiro was sent to Missoula, Montana, where he was interrogated by the FBI.

The rest of the family was uprooted from their Hollywood home to the Santa Anita Racetrack, which served as a temporary assembly center. They were eventually sent to the Heart Mountain detention camp in Wyoming, where they languished until the end of the war. After several months, Shiro was allowed to rejoin his family at Heart Mountain because of ill health.

The internees created their own school system in the camp, and Ted was elected the first student body president of Heart Mountain High School, as well as editor of the student newspaper, the Heart Mountain Sentinel, and president of the Hi-Y Club.

When he turned 18, he volunteered to enlist in the U.S. Army and joined the newly created 442nd Regimental Combat Team despite the treatment his family and so many others had suffered at the hands of the government. "The future welfare of all of us who hope to remain in this land rests almost entirely on how the 442nd does in battle," he wrote to his parents in explaining his decision. "We've got everything to gain by doing our utmost in battle, nothing to lose. We have a chance to prove to all who doubt our loyalty and sincerity to this nation that we too are Americans and therefore entitled to live as Americans in the truest sense of the word."

He fought in some of the bloodiest battles of the war, including the celebrated Rescue of the Lost Battalion in the Vosges Mountains just a few days before his death.
"The Lost Battalion was a Texas National Guard Unit of about 200 men what was trapped behind German lines," his niece explained. "Other units tried to break through to save them, but they couldn't. But the 442nd did, although they suffered 800 casualties to save those 200 men. For this and many other heroic acts of bravery and loyalty to our country, the 442nd was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2011."

Mayor Fujioka attended that ceremony too, accompanied by her father. "The emotion he felt to be there to accept an award on behalf of his brother meant a lot to him in the last years of his life," she said. "He died two years later. I wish he could be with me on this one too. That's one of the reasons for me to go -- to honor him, to honor Ted, to make sure this story gets told and to thank the Smithsonian for doing this."

A year after her father died, she and her family visited France and saw the places where Ted fought and died, including the American Cemetery in Epinal, where so many of the 442's fallen are buried.

"It was a sobering experience gazing upon the hundreds of rows of white crosses; walking down the main street of Bruyeres, which the French have named 'Rue 442;' and breathing the thick, moist air of the Vosges forest where the grateful French built a memorial to the 442nd for liberating Bruyeres," she said. "I will never forget the inscription: 'To those whose lives proved that patriotism is not determined by their ethnicity.'"

Ted's parents received the dreaded telegram from the War Department a week after his death. They were still at Heart Mountain. Shortly afterward, they received a Purple Heart for the wound that killed him. Many years later, a thief stole it from their home. But Mayor Fujioka still has the stubbed end of the pencil he used to write his letters home, as well as many of the letters.

In his last letter, Ted wrote, "Dear Moma, Papa, & all, Don't worry about me. I'm OKAY. Just take care of yourselves. When this war is over, I'll be home again -- Heart Mountain, Detroit, Cincinnati, Hollywood, wherever it may be ... As ever, Ted. Will write again."
But he never did.

Teruo "Ted" Fujioka, 1925-1944. Rest in peace.

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  • Maintained by: Russ Pickett
  • Originally Created by: War Graves
  • Added: 7 Aug 2010
  • Find a Grave Memorial 56372457
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for PFC Teruo “Ted” Fujioka (12 Jun 1925–6 Nov 1944), Find a Grave Memorial no. 56372457, citing Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, Epinal, Departement des Vosges, Lorraine, France ; Maintained by Russ Pickett (contributor 46575736) .