High school ring lost during WWII battle in France reunited with US soldier’s family
HONOLULU, HI (CBS) — The high school ring on a man who was killed in combat during WWII is being returned to his family nearly 80 years later on the other side of the world.
During World War II, brothers Ronald and Robert Kuroda fought alongside other Japanese-Americans against Nazi Germany.
Ronald in the famed 100th Infantry Battalion, Robert with the highly decorated 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
“They were proving their loyalty to a country that did not quite trust them,” Staff Sgt. Robert Kuroda’s Nephew Kevin Kuroda said.
In October, 1944, Staff Sgt. Robert Kuroda was killed in combat near Bruyeres, France, where he also lost his high school ring.
“When you look at it now, it’s shiny. You can still see Farrington High School. You can still see the words that say, ‘Enter to learn. Go forth to serve,'” Kuroda said.
Last November, a Frenchman named Sebastian found the class ring while he was out walking with his metal detector in the forest near Bruyeres. It was buried about eight inches deep for almost 80 years.
“All he saw was Farrington High School, 1940, and on the inside, it had the initial R. Kuroda,” Kuroda said.
Sebastian searched the internet for months until he found Kuroda’s relatives, who are extremely grateful that he went that extra mile.
“He went out of his way, did the research and wanted it returned to the family, and that’s what he did,” Kuroda said.
Last month, Kevin Kuroda and his family went to Bruyeres to meet Sebastian and, to receive the ring, and to thank him for his kindness. He took them into the forest where Sgt. Kuroda and his 442 comrades bravely fought against the enemy.
“We actually went to the spot where he believes uncle Robert was killed.”
Ronald Kuroda received a Distinguished Service Cross for his valor during the war in Europe.
In 2000, President Clinton presented the Kuroda family with a Medal of Honor for Robert’s heroism.
An area near the Hale Koa Hotel is dedicated to Sgt Kuroda’s memory.
The high school ring is another reminder of him.
“It means the world to us. It means the world to us and our family,” Kuroda said.
And it’s more than a family treasure. The Kurodas say the ring is a glimpse into the past, at a generation of Nisei who put America first and paid with their lives.