Cpl. Isamu Ikeda, January 10, 1944
Isamu grew up in Ninole. His parents had immigrated in 1889. His father was a carpenter and his mother a storekeeper. Isamu was 1 of 8 children. After Laupahoehoe School, Isamu went on to graduate from Hilo High, class of 1936. When he enlisted in June 1941, months before Pearl Harbor, he had been working in Pahala for the Plantation.
CPL Ikeda was 25 and a combat medic when he was killed at the Italian front on January 10, 1944. This is when the 100th Battalion was involved in the bloody battle of Monte Cassino. By this time, it had come to be known as "The Purple Heart Battalion."
Memorial services were held in Pahala for him and 2 others in April 1944 with about 200 attending. In 1948, the remains of the four Big Isle soldiers who died in this Cassino battle were finally returned for burial at the Veterans Cemetery in Hilo. A service was held at what is now the Honohina Hongwanji in Ninole.