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Local man featured in veteran portraits book
Patton's granddaughter convinced Barstow resident to be in book
A Barstow man was featured in the book, “Portraits of Service: Looking into the Faces of Veterans” published under the direction of Gen. George Patton’s granddaughter.
Robert Izumi, 89, survived a Japanese internment camp before he served in three wars. He was a member of the 101st Airborne Division during World War II and fought in the Siege of Bastogne to protect the small Belgian town from German soldiers.
Izumi said Patton’s granddaughter, Helen Patton, approached him while they were in Bastogne for the annual celebration of the famous battle.
“She said she was (publishing) a book about veterans and asked me if I wanted to be in the book,” Izumi said. “I just said, ‘No, no. Other veterans are more worthy than I am.’ ”
But he gave in after Patton insisted, Izumi said. Izumi got to know her four years ago when he told her he once worked as a special guard to George Patton in Germany.
“He’s a wonderful man,” Izumi said about the general. “He was very bright.”
Izumi received a Congressional Gold Medal — the highest civilian award — in 2011 along with his 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which consisted of American-born sons of Japaneseimmigrants.
“The purpose of ‘Portraits of Service’ is to focus public attention on living veterans of all wars who have made personal sacrifices and, in many cases, undergone the horrors of combat,” according to the book’s website. “Upon returning home, many of these vets were met with indifference; worse, many did not receive support or help from their communities. For nearly all it became a struggle to rebuild their lives and restore a sense of normalcy.”