Kazuo Masuda Middle School bears the name of a hometown boy who helped write one of the shining chapters in American history. Masuda School was dedicated on December 17, 1975. Members of the soldier’s family and his army unit, Co. F. 442 RCT. were special guests. The school began as a K-8 school, and became a 6-8 middle school in 1983. There are currently over 800 students and over 50 staff members.
Kaz Masuda, who grew up in a small ranch house on Newhope Road near Heil Avenue in what is now Fountain Valley, was one of four brothers who served their country in World War II as members of the famed “Go For Broke” 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the all-Nisei volunteer outfit which became the most decorated unit in the U.S. Army.
One of those decorations, the Distinguished Service Cross, was bought with the life of Kaz Masuda, who died on a summer night in northern Italy saving the lives of two comrades in his patrol.
Masuda, a graduate of Huntington Beach High School, had already enlisted in the U.S. Army when Pearl Harbor plunged America into war, and his parents and sisters were interned as “enemy aliens” in a detention camp at Jerome, Arkansas.
With his brothers, Masao and Mituso, Kaz Masuda became part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team when it was formed in 1942 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. A fourth brother, Takashi, served meanwhile as an interpreter with an intelligence unit in the Pacific Theater.
More than once, Masuda, by then a staff sergeant, distinguished himself among comrades and was noted for valor. His official citation notes that on one occasion he crawled 200 yards under enemy fire to acquire a mortar tube and ammunition, then returning to his observation post which was receiving a heavy German barrage.
Masuda’s last action occurred on August 27, 1944 when he volunteered to lead a three-man night patrol across the Arno River and into the heavily booby-trapped German lines. Finding his unit trapped by a strong enemy force, he ordered his men to fall back and escape with the valuable information on German strength. Meanwhile, Sgt. Masuda boldly engaged two automatic weapons positions, sacrificing his life in the process.
In memory of his exploits, the Huntington Beach Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter is named Kazuo Masuda Memorial Post 3670.