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Heritage month celebrates with WWII vet
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Susumo Ito, a Japanese American who fought in World War II, shares his experiences at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month food tasting at the Minuteman Commons May 9. Several events are scheduled throughout this month that will recognize Asian Pacific heritage. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Wyatt)
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Heritage month celebrates with WWII vet

Posted 5/16/2012   Updated 5/16/2012 Email story   Print story


by 2nd Lt. Gerve' Tillman
Asian Pacific American Heritage Month committee

5/16/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- On May 9 the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month committee hosted a "Japanese Americans During World War II" exhibit at the Minuteman Commons during the lunch hour.

Susumo Ito, a well-decorated World War II veteran, spoke about his experiences during the war. Ito was an artillery spotter who rose to the rank of lieutenant and participated in the famous rescue of the "Lost Battalion," a unit of the 36th Texas Division, which had been cut off and surrounded by Germans.

His unit, the 552nd Field Artillery, also later liberated a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp.

After the war, Ito attended Cornell University on the G.I. Bill, earning a Ph.D. in biology. Eventually, he became a professor at the Harvard Medical School Anatomy Department in 1961, where his research centered on ultrastructural (electron microscopic) studies of the gastrointestinal system.

On Oct. 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed a bill awarding the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest United States civilian medal along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to the members of Ito's unit and other units for the rescue of the Lost Battalion.

Many people attended the exhibit. Guests were able to enjoy a story from the World War II veteran. A food tasting was held, as well.

Several other events will be held to commemorate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and the national theme of "Striving for Excellence in Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion."

The capstone luncheon on May 23 will feature guest speaker Dr. Paul Watanabe, Institute for Asian American Studies director, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Minuteman Commons. For further information, contact Capt. Paul Park at 781-271-7186.

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