Theodore “Ted” Yasui
SGT – U.S. Army
4th Inf Div, 2nd Bde LRRP
21 November 1944 – 13 February 2005
Nick “Poz” Posdniakoff
I remember Ted….
He came into the platoon in mid-April 1968, a surfer from Hawaii, like myself, and we
became instant friends.
Sgt. Yasui would tease me when we talked about the enemy “gooks” facing us…
“I’m a ‘gook‘ myself, you know…” he would say with a smile.
Yasui was a Hawaiian of Korean descent, and explained, that during the Korean War, the
locals would call the American G.I.s – “miguk” – which meant “person from America.” This, then,
became a derogatory term that the G.I.s used themselves for the Koreans – and a decade later,
for the Vietnamese.
Sgt. Yasui told me that he had no problems at all being a “gook” – that it was keeping him
On missions, he would always take the point position – ALWAYS. This way, when a real
“gook” surprised him from 10 meters away, and tried to figure out who exactly was in front of
him, Sgt. Yasui had already fired his burst first, and dropped him.
Sgt. Yasui was a natural L.R.R.P. A perfect fit. A leader. An American hero. He trained
countless new L.R.R.P.s, saving many, many lives. During his 11 months in the field, he pulled
an incredible total of 41 missions – 30 as team leader. Not a single man was lost KIA or WIA on
He was a wizard with numbers and an accomplished gambler. He could calculate the odds
to a fraction. A legend among the troops at the Oasis and Camp Enari who thought he was an
easy mark with the cards. He was also an outstanding shot, who kept up his skills after leaving
the Army. In March 1969, he joined me and fellow teammate Brad Finch in Hawaii – for serious
surfing – but also to get into the stock market and financial investments.
Yasui was not afraid to mingle with some shady characters who had tried to cheat him in the
financial world. He kept a handy “war souvenir” ready for them – an M-2 automatic carbine
captured from the VC and then sent in pieces by him from Vietnam to Hawaii through the APO
During the mid-90s, he moved to Northern California where his mother lived. Ted Yasui died
on Sunday, February 13, 2005 in a car accident in San Francisco. When faced with the choice
of colliding with another car full of people, Ted chose a cement pole – and died on impact. He
will be missed.
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FORTY-ONE TIMES LATER…
Pali Cliffs, Oahu 1970 – Finch, Yasui
Oahu 1971 – Yasui preparing for trouble
Daly City, California, February 2005 – last photo
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Ted Yasui died on Sunday, 13 February 2005
I’ll keep this short so we can include a tribute to another Brother gone on to a green LZ. Sgt. Theodore Ted Yasui, We salute you, and your Brothers will miss you.
Roger Crunk / Unit Rep.
Marvin L. Sinclair Marty — 2nd Bde, LRRP, 1968
THE PASSING OF A BROTHER SGT. THEODORE (TED )YASUI
I attended Ted Yasui’ funeral, along with four other 2nd BDE LRRPs: Nick Posdniakoff, Brad Finch, Tom Fretwell and Robert Stack. We met Ted’s mother, Mrs. Sienery Kwak and her husband Norman, who presently live in Daly City, California. We also met Ted’s daughter, Lindsey Yasui and her husband Mike Jacobson, and their young daughter Leleiona, of Honolulu, Hawaii.
After the eulogy, Brad Finch delivered a touching tribute, on behalf of the 2nd BDE LRRPs. A seven soldier contingent, with rifles came to fire a salute. They were all Master Sergeants and one young woman, who was a Buck Sergeant. They were all very impressive, and distinguished soldiers. For those who may not know, Ted was an active Boy Scout, as a Hawaiian youngster, and told his family that many things he learned there helped him, during his service in Vietnam. A man, who works for the Boy Scouts, was by chance driving by, in uniform, and saw the soldiers. He stopped and offered to play taps, on his bugle. God does work in mysterious ways.
Many of you will remember Ted as a man, with a beautiful smile, who treated everyone as a brother. He was that and more. During the sharing of the day I learned many things about Ted, that I didn’t know. As a boy, he learned to box, from his father and uncles, who were distinguished boxers known as the Fighting Yasui Brothers. He was also an accomplished surfer who, after the war, taught some of his brother LRRPs to ride the waves. Ted was also involved in real estate and the stock market. He was a man who loved math and numbers. He was an avid fisherman, who filled his mother’ freezer with trout. He loved and respected deeply the men, with whom heserved. In his heart, and whole being, he was a patriot.
At the end of the service, the American flag, which had draped the casket, was folded and presented to his daughter. The family expressed gratitude for attendance of the LRRPs, who served as pall bearers, and for the Honor Guard of soldiers. Mr. and Mrs. Kwak invited the LRRPs and the bugler to a luncheon at the Mandarin Garden Restaurant. Mrs. Kwak, during the service and later at the luncheon, said that Ted often told her, that his service with the LRRPs and his friendships with the men from our unit, were the most important thing of his life. I was pleased that we were able to be there and represent that important aspect of his life.
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Bob Smyers, Chaplain
I am saddened to hear of the unfortunate demise of Ted Yasui. My condolences to his family and friends. He has gone to join GRITS (Great Ranger In The Sky – as all LRRP’s are known & belong to the Ranger Clan). We will come to join Ted Yasui and all those we left behind, but not yet. I salute (IVSIV) Ted Yasui.
RIP LRRP. – Take Holy God, Ted as a soldier in The U. S. Army, who was extraordinary, one of exemplary courage, one that displayed love, dedication, commitment, true leadership, and love of country. Your Word assures us that no one enters the heavenly home by works alone on earth. No, unless it is done in faith and to your glory, it is all for naught. Ted’s works were genuinely from the heart, one that would suffer and die for another, which was shown in Vietnam, and on the American highway where met his demise. As character would have it, when faced with the life and death situation, he out of’ love for others, did give his.
We know Ted is with you in the home of peace, home of love, home of joy. Where there will never be suffering nor tears forevermore. He followed your Son’s example; he died to allow others life. We pray for peace to his family and also for those in the other car, that surely feel torment. No greater love has a man that this, to give his life for a friend. How-much more for strangers? He did die a HERO death.
Rest brother and thanks for your contribution to our country, in and out of the service.
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