© Mary Taylor Previte


Weihsien liberator, Tad Nagaki, gets a hug from Mary Taylor Previte at his 90th birthday celebration in Alliance, Nebraska, on January 23, 2010 . The Japanese interpreter on the 7-man, American rescue team, Tad Nagaki is the last surviving American that liberated the Japanese-held Weihsien concentration camp in China, August 17, 1945. At 400 feet, the team parachuted from a B-24 bomber to free 1,500 Allied prisoners in the camp. On Liberation Day, Mary was a 12-year-old internee in that camp. Mary flew from New Jersey to join more than 200 friends and family members to salute Tad on his 90th birthday. In 1997, Mary successfully tracked down the American heroes who liberated Weihsien then went on a two-year pilgrimage across the United States to say thank you to each hero face to face.

WEIHSIEN LIBERATOR, TAD NAGAKI, 90 years old, is pictured here on his farm in Alliance, Nebraska. Tad actively farms beans, wheat, and corn on his Alliance, Nebraska, farm in America's heartland. Tad is the last living member of the 7-man American rescue team that parachuted from a B-24 bomber on August 17, 1945, to liberate 1,500 Allied prisoners from the Japanese-held Weihsien concentration camp in China . For his part in the liberation, Tad was promoted to sergeant and awarded the Solder's Medal for heroism. After the liberation, Tad became a favorite among children and teenagers because he played softball with Weihsien internees (he played catcher). Tad was trailed by adoring children. "It was like being on a pedestal," he says. Tad recalls one of the women cutting off a piece of his hair for a souvenir.

Photo by Mary Taylor Previte

The photo was taken by Mary Taylor Previte on January 23, 2010 -- hours before a community celebration to salute him on his 90th birthday.

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