TOM TANAKA

Real Name: Corporal Tom Tanaka

Identity/Class: Human (Japanese-American, World War II era)

Occupation: Soldier, intelligence operative, engineer

Group Membership: US Armed Forces (Nisei regiment, 442nd)

Affiliations: Howling Commandos, Captain Sam Sawyer

Enemies: Nazis, Ambassador Ihetu

Known Relatives: unnamed parents

Aliases: impersonated Ambassador Ihetu

Base of Operations: Mobile in Europe, World War II

First Appearance: Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92 (October, 1971)

Powers/Abilities: Tom Tanaka was a well-educated officer trained in engineering, explosives, and espionage. He wielded a machine gun while in the field. For his mission to impersonate Ihetu, he designed and wielded a cane containing a camera in its handle and a bomb in its lower body.

History: (Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92 (fb) - BTS) - Tom Tanaka was a well-educated man with several degrees who made a strong career for himself in the military during World War II. However, he secretly harbored a hatred for his fellow soldiers because his parents had been placed into a concentration camp in Cody, Wyoming, just for being of Japanese descent.

(Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92 (fb)) - Corporal Tanaka was assigned to a mission with the Howling Commandos by Captain Sam Sawyer, and sent to destroy a Gunntburg, German research center where the A-10 (a guided missile) was being developed. Learning that the Japanese Ambassador Ihetu would be touring the facility, Tanaka devised a cane containing a camera and a bomb, and they planned to intercept Ihetu and have Tanaka take his place.

(Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92) - Tanaka and the Howlers were transported by submarine to Germany, and managed to intercept the convoy on its way to Gunntburg. Ambassador Ihetu was captured, but committed suicide rather than surrender to them. Tanaka donned Ihetu's suit, and the Howlers dressed in Nazi uniforms. They entered Gunntburg, and Tanaka was given a tour by Major Kleit, and saw the A-10's being developed. Tanaka took pictures of the A-10's, then snuck the film into his suit and left his cane behind as he left the plant. As Tanaka and the Howlers fled the base, the bomb went off, destroying it.

On their way back to the coast for a pick-up, Tanaka and the Howlers were apprehended, but Tanaka was mistaken by the Germans for Ihetu. When the Germans tried to kill the Howlers, Tanaka dived for a machine gun and gunned them down. However, some of the Germans from behind him fired, and killed him. Fury brought Tanaka's body back with him to Cody, Wyoming, and buried him in a ceremony with Tanaka's family.

Comments: Created by Al Kurzrok, Herb Trimpe and Syd Shores.

Considering that Sgt. Fury#92 revolves around Tanaka's character, decent pictures of him are surprisingly rare!

by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
Tom Tanaka should not be confused with:


MR. AND MRS. TANAKA

Tom Tanaka's father was a soldier during World War I, and fought for the United States. However, he and his wife were placed into a concentration camp in Cody, Wyoming during World War II, just for being of Japanese descent. Sgt. Fury informed them of their son's death, and promised them that Tom had not died in vain, and that one day America would realize the wrong it had done to people like them.

--Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92













Images taken from:
Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92, page 9, panel 3
parents- Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos#92, page 19


Last updated: 03/14/05

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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