Missoula Marine honored for returning fallen enemy’s flag


Kyodo via Reuters

World War II veteran Marvin Strombo, center, meets with Tatsuya Yasue, brother of Sadao Yasue, to hand over a Japanese flag Strombo found on a battlefield in 1944, in Higashi-Shirakawa Village, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo on Aug. 15.

The Missoula City Council and all in the audience at Monday night’s council meeting stood to honor Missoula veteran Marvin Strombo for the compassion he showed a Japanese family who lost a son and brother in World War II.

Earlier this year, Strombo fulfilled a commitment he made seven decades earlier to return a Japanese flag found on the body of an enemy soldier after a ferocious 1944 battle on the island of Saipan.

In a ceremony on Aug. 15, the 72nd anniversary of Japan’s surrender, Strombo delivered the flag to the brothers and sisters of Sadao Yasue.

As was the custom in Japan, the flag was carried into battle, covered in messages from his family and friends.  After being mortally wounded, Yasue apparently covered himself with the honor flag.

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