COL. BERT NOBURO NISHIMURA (RET.)

Posted On October 19th, 2010 -

COL. BERT NOBURO NISHIMURA (RET.)
August 1, 1918 – October 15, 2010

Col. Bert Noburo Nishimura (Ret.) passed away on October 15, 2010. He was born on August 1, 1918 in Pahala, Hawaii. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1935 where he became the first editor of the school newspaper. He graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1939 with a Bachelor’s degree in education and in the same year won the Territorial Judo Championship. On May 9, 1942, he married Hanayo Minatoya of Kapaia, Kauai.
He taught at Pahala Elementary School and in 1941 was called to active duty with the Hawaii National Guard. In 1943, when the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RTC) was formed, comprised of 2,696 all-Nisei volunteers, the then lieutenant Nishimura served as its Camp Commander at Schofield Barracks, and eventually joined the regiment during its training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
He served with the 442nd RTC in Italy and France in WW II and received military decorations including the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars, Legion of Merit, Air Medal and Distinguished Unit Badge. He was the only Nisei soldier promoted to the rank of Captain within the 442nd RTC. After WW II he returned to Hawaii, but was recalled to active duty in 1948 during the Korean War and assigned to Yokohama, Japan. He was deployed to combat in Korea where he monitored enemy tank movements. During the war he periodically submitted articles from the field to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
He returned to civilian life in Hawaii after the war, but was recalled to service in 1948 and was assigned to Yokohama, Japan. During the Korean War, he served in Korea with the 8th Army and was later stationed at Ft. Knox, KY, Ft. Shafter, Ft. Ord, CA. and Ft. Richardson, AK. He became the first Nisei in the Regular Army promoted to full Colonel, the rank at which he retired in 1966.
Following his retirement from the military, he taught and coached football, golf and wrestling at high schools on the Monterey Peninsula, CA. He worked in human relations for an electronics manufacturer in San Diego and in the same capacity for Hawaii National Bank.
In February, 2009, he was recognized as one of five honorees for the Thirty-Fourth Annual Living Treasures of Hawaii instituted by the Honpa Honogwanji Mission of Hawaii.
Col. Nishimura is survived by his son, Alan Nishimura, an attorney in Los Angeles, and a granddaughter, Jennifer who also resides in Los Angeles.
Memorial services will be held on October 23, 2010 at 4:00 p.m. at Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii, 1727 Pali Highway.


- Denotes U.S. Military Veteran