Laredoan wants to return mysterious Japanese WWII helmet to its rightful owners

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The mysteries of WWII continue to unfold to this day, and a locally born Laredoan possesses an artifact his father brought back from the war front that continues to intrigue him as he wants to find the rightful owners of it. artifact in question.

Born in the country, Laredoan J. Gilberto Quezada, educator, author and essayist, was born in the El Azteca neighborhood in 1946. His father was Pedro Quezada, who was 34 when he enlisted in the army during the Second World War. Pedro Quezada was honorably removed from his post and left a legacy of heroism to his family, and he also left his son a Japanese soldier’s helmet with a bullet hole. And now he is now trying to find the family of the rightful owner of the helmet.

“I don’t want to cross this sacred threshold when the time comes without addressing this very important issue,” Quezada said. “It has to do with the Japanese steel helmet that dad brought home after the end of World War II. My dad was discharged from the United States Navy on Friday, December 7, 1945, and he brought back. the Japanese steel helmet at home and kept it for all these years until his death on March 30, 1997. After his death my mother gave it to me for safekeeping. I don’t know how or why my dad got the Japanese steel helmet.

According to Quezada, he wishes to return the Japanese steel helmet to the family of the soldier who proudly served his country. In his efforts to do so, Quezada says he contacted by phone Dr. Hisashi Shichijo, Honorary Consul General of Japan in Dallas, and explained to him his intention to return the helmet to legitimate family members.

After exchanging various emails, asking him what the letters under the helmet meant and what they were reading in an attempt to figure out who he might belong to, Quezada finally got a response to what the letter below meant.

Dr. Shichijo responded and said the letters say ‘SATO’, with some marks in between, “Quezada said.” The Japanese steel helmet also has a bullet hole on one side and the remains of blood dried are still visible.Dr Shichijo was also kind enough to provide me with the Department of Health, Labor and Welfare website to get the Lost Artifact Research Request Form.

Quezada states that at the end of last month, he finally completed the request for the helmet and sent it to the corresponding organization. He also claimed he would feel better if the Japanese soldier’s family contacted him and asked for the helmet to keep if he wanted.

He declares that he does not wish any monetary compensation for the return of the helmet to the corresponding owners.

Quezada states that as the mystery continues, he has kept in touch with Schichijo, who praised Quezada on his efforts to try to get the helmet to the corresponding people.

“In his last email, Dr Shichijo commented: ‘I want to thank you for your desire to return the item to the original owner. I hope they will reunite with the owner’s family. Please let me know if you have any questions, ”Quezada said. “After all these years, I think it is only fair and human to find those close to SATO, whether they are children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren, and to leave them something that belonged to their father, grandfather or great-grandfather. “

As Quezada waits for someone in Japan or elsewhere to legitimately claim the helmet, he states that if an American museum asks for the helmet, he is more than willing to return it to him. However, he hopes that will only happen after the family of the rightful owner of the helmet has been contacted first.

“If an American museum asked to have it on display, I would gladly donate it,” Quezada said. “But my first priority is to find the family of the deceased Japanese soldier. Other than the helmet, I have nothing else that my father brought back from the war that is considered valuable.

As he continues to have the helmet with him, he states that he just wants it to go in the right hands, but doesn’t speculate as much or theorize about how his father got it. Quezada says he never asked his father about it during his lifetime.

“I have no theory on the Japanese helmet on how my dad ended up with it,” Quezada said. “Did my father shoot this Japanese soldier?” Honestly, I do not know. Or was he killed by another American soldier? I dunno. Where did my father find the Japanese helmet on the battlefield? Again, I don’t know. I wish I had had the foresight to ask him these questions during my father’s lifetime.

Even though Pedro Quezada wrote a diary when he was in a training camp and then served on the war front, none of his writing talks about the helmet, as Quezada states that the writings, in Spanish, were mainly focused on his journey to becoming active service. member and it’s his return home after training. Additionally, Quezada states that while there were more overseas diary entries, it’s unclear if they even exist as he only found about seven pages of text.

“My father volunteered to fight to keep us free,” Quezada said. “The United States was attacked by Japan and many Americans died in Pearl Harbor. And my father put his life in danger to save our freedom, and I will never forget his love for our country.

Even though Pearl Harbor is a date that is more related to the Quezada family than to other individuals, as that is what led her father to be called into action and also because of the Japanese soldier’s helmet, he states that this is not a date he honors at all.

“I don’t honor Pearl Harbor day,” Quezada said. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt has said so eloquently, December 7 was a day of infamy. On that day, the Japanese government attacked us in a cowardly surprise attack. However, I honor those Americans who died in Pearl Harbor and all those Americans who died in World War II, and those Americans who proudly served their country, like my father, so that we can cherish our freedom. “

Ironically, the Pearl Harbor date appears to be synonymous with Quezada’s service as he remained aboard the USS Electra (AKA 4) for approximately three more months after the end of WWII until his honorable release in as a Leading Seaman of the United States. Marine at the USN Personnel Separation Center at Camp Wallace, Texas, Friday, December 7, 1945.

According to Quezada’s research, the USS Electra (AKA 4) was involved in 12 military operations on islands belonging to Japan and other Asian military actions during this time.

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