Baseball in Wartime

Baseball's Greatest Sacrifice

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Those Who Died That Others Might Be Free


Purple HeartBronze StarGoro Kashiwaeda


Date and Place of Birth: December 24, 1912 Honolulu, Hawaiian Islands
Date and Place of Death: July 8, 1944 Follonica, Italy
Baseball Experience: Amateur
Position: Third Base/Outfield
Rank: Private First Class
Military Unit: L Company, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, US Army
Area Served: Mediterranean Theater of Operations


Goro Kashiwaeda was second-generation Japanese and a renowned hitter in Hawaii. He had a chance to play for money in Japan, but, instead, he gave his life fighting for the country he loved.


PFC Goro KashiwaedaKenneth Goro Kashiwaeda was born on Christmas Eve 1912 at Honolulu in the Hawaiian Islands. An American of Japanese ancestry, Goro was the eldest of a talented baseball-playing family. He starred at third base for Kauai High School and played outfield in Hawaii's amateur leagues.


Kashiwaeda was a great power hitter and was one of the few to hit a ball over the right field fence in Makaweli. He was also invited to join Bozo Wakabayashi in Japan to play professional baseball, but WWII put an end to that. With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 came an unfavorable view of Americans of Japanese ancestry in Hawaii. Unlike their brothers on the mainland they were not sent to internment camps but were also not allowed to serve their country even though many wanted to fight for the United States.


But in March 1943, when a call was made for volunteers for the newly formed 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), Kashiwaeda left his job at the Olokele Sugar Company and entered military service.


Private First Class Kashiwaeda trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi with L Company and became a key player on the 442nd baseball team, hitting a game winning home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to bring the team a divisional championship in 1943. That game winning ball remains a treasured keepsake for the Kashiwaeda family.


442nd RCT Baseball Team


On June 2, 1944, Kashiwaeda and the 442nd RCT disembarked at Naples, Italy. They went in to combat on June 26 near Belvedere.


On July 6, Private First Class Kashiwaeda was killed in action near Follonica, Italy. He is buried at the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii.


Excerpts taken from In Freedom’s Cause: A Record of the Men of Hawaii Who Died in the Second World War (1949) with permission from The University of Hawaii Press. Visit for more information on Americans of Japanese ancestry servicemen.


Added August 13, 2006


Copyright © 2007 Gary Bedingfield (Baseball in Wartime). All Rights Reserved.