Joined: Mar. 2001
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||Posted on: Feb. 10 2003,10:15
Here is a brief note on the men who helped interrogate Ensign Kazuo Sakamaki.
Navy Commander Douglas T. Wada, as mentioned below, was attached to the District Intelligence Office of the 14th Naval District in Honolulu.
In addition, Navy Lieutenant Cecil H. Coggins, also attached to the 14ND DIO, was involved. There are links at the bottom of this page to Coggins.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL GERO IWAI
Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame 1995 inductee
Gero Iwai, born on November 3 1905 in Honolulu, Hawaii, was one of the first Japanese Americans (Nisei) to pursue a ROTC course in connection with his studies at the University of Hawaii. Upon graduation in 1931, IWAI was appointed 2nd Lt Infantry Reserve. On August 19, 1931, Iwai enlisted as a counter intelligence police at Hqs, Hawaiian Department, Office of AC of S , G-2, where he served as an enlisted investigator . An important assignment was to monitor the activities community. He was also responsible for the surveillance of the activities of the Japanese Consulate General. He established a network of Japanese American informants working in the Japanese Consulate . No one, including his family, was aware of his true undercover assignment. He dressed in civilian clothes, and he was only a "civilian" working for the US Government.
On April 8 1941, he was honorably discharged as an enlisted soldier, to accept appointment as a Reserve Officer. He was assigned as Assistant to the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2 (Intelligence) at Headquarters Hawaiian Department. It was during this assignment that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec 7, 1941. Together with CDR Douglas T. Wada, a Nisei Naval Officer (14ND DIO) and working closely with FBI, they interrogated the first Japanese prisoner of war; he was the commander of a midget submarine. Valuable documents were found in the submarine, which were translated by Iwai. Iwai conducted widespread and detailed investigation of the Japanese population in the Hawaiian Islands. These activities and accomplishments earned Iwai a Bronze Star.
The Roberts Commission report, published on Jan 25, 1942, alluded to widespread espionage in Hawaii by Japanese consular agents and by the Japanese residents of Hawaii. Largely as a result of Iwai’s investigations, these allegations, as they concerned the Japanese Americans residents in Hawaii, were proved to be entirely false. General Delos Emmons, then Commander of the Hawaiian Department, reported two weeks after Pearl Harbor, that "no American citizens or alien Japanese residents of Hawaii was involved in any acts of hostility against the US Forces". Unfortunately for the Iwai family, the Emmons Report did not appear in public press, and the family, his wife Betty and two sons, George and Bert, were almost totally shunned by their contemporaries, which must have been to them a source of considerable personal pain and anguish.
Entire Iwai file can be viewed at the Japanese-American Veterans Association website:
Japanese-American Veterans Association
LCOL Gero Iwai Bio (scroll down the page)
Links to Rear Admiral Cecil H. Coggins, USN (Retired), can be viewed at:
RADM Cecil H. Coggins Bio
RADM Cecil H. Coggins link
Edited by Tracy White on Dec. 21 2009,5:56