George I. Nakamura (1945/06/29)

A building named in his honor was a final tribute to the service of George Nakamura.

George Ichiro Nakamura was born in Mountain View, California, on May 22, 1923, to Mr. and Mrs. George K. Nakamura. Nakamura's father owned and operated the Tourist Hotel on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz. The family also included another son Willy and daughters Clara, Dora, Grace, Irene, Mary and Mrs. Bud Nagase.

George attended Mission Hill Junior High School before enrolling in Santa Cruz High School. In high school he took a college preparatory course, worked part time in a warehouse, played clarinet in the school band and was the recipient of a scholarship from the Tong honor society.

After graduation from high school in 1941, he enrolled and attended UC Berkeley where he studied as a pre-med student in 1941 and 1942. When World War II began, the Nakamura family were sent to the Japanese-American internment camp at Tule Lake. On November 28, 1942, while in the internment camp, George Nakamura enlisted in the US Army and was sent to Camp Selby, Mississippi for basic training.

George Nakamura was initially assigned to the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; however, in August 1943 he was transferred to the Military Intelligence System and sent to their translator school in Minnesota. By the end of 1943 he had completed his training and was posted to New Guinea as a translator.

In 1945 Sergeant Nakamura was reassigned to the Philippine Islands to translate and negotiate with Japanese soldiers and prisoners. George was serving at Palawan in the Philippine Islands on June 29, 1945, when he was ordered to attempt to obtain the surrender of a group of Japanese soldiers. According to military historian James McNaughton,

"Nakamura called for them to surrender but to no avail. He then moved within 25 yards of the soldiers, rose up and urged them again to give up. The enemy's response was a single shot which fatally wounded him."

George Ichiro Nakamura's remains were later returned to the United States and reinterred in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno in 1948. His awards included the Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Arrowhead. In 1980, the Defense Linguistic Institute in Monterey added one final tribute to him by naming one of their buildings in his honor.

(NARA2; USDVA; SCHSC Pg. 14; Joint Intelligence Center Pacific Ocean Area, History of the MIS,, [16
September 2008]; SCSn July 25, 1945 1:5, August 9, 2009 1:1)

Creator: Nelson, Robert L.
Source: Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010.
Date: Undated
Type: OBIT
Coverage: 1940s
Rights: Reproduced by permission of Robert L. Nelson and The Museum of Art & History.
Identifier: RO-NAKAMURA


Nelson, Robert L. “George I. Nakamura (1945/06/29).” Remembering our own: the Santa Cruz County military roll of honor 1861-2010. Santa Cruz, CA: The Museum of Art & History, c2010. SCPL Local History. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.