World War II vet receives replica 442 sculpture

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A single ticket drawn by Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery during last month’s Veterans Day luncheon led to a dramatic and surprising gift. The winning ticket-holder, Auburn attorney Mark Berg, received a signed and numbered bronze miniature of the large bronze monument, “Rescue of the Lost Battalion,” that is being constructed to honor Americans of Japanese ancestry who served the United States in World War II. A few days later, the chairman of the Placer County JACL Monument Project, E. Ken Tokutomi, delivered the sculpture to Berg. As the two men spoke about what the sculpture represented, Berg made a proposal. “Is there a veteran of the 442nd who lives nearby? I would really like to give this beautiful artwork to him and his family,” Berg asked. Tokutomi suggested Frank Kageta, a Rocklin resident who served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Infantry Team and was recently honored with a Congressional Gold Medal in Washington DC. In the 1970s Kageta helped lead the effort for formal redress of the injustice committed by the U.S. when they rounded up Japanese American families in the Western states and sent them to internment camps. Kageta joined a small group of local World War II veterans who were honored in December 2009, at the dedication of the Placer County World War II memorial site in Roseville. On December 5, Berg and Tokutomi presented the sculpture to Kageta at his Rocklin residence. Kageta was emotional and humbled by the gesture, commenting that surely someone else deserved the gift more than he did. ~ Staff report