This Japanese-American fighting unit was one of WWII's most decorated 1943-1945.

Private Tsueno Shiroma of the 522nd Field Artillery Battery B in a foxhole during the Allied invasion of Italy. 1943.

After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, many Americans were distrustful and fearful of Japanese-Americans living in America. The federal government took the unprecedented step of ordering some 110,000 Japanese aliens and American citizens of Japanese descent living in the West, out of their homes and coast in ten inland internment camps. In addition, all Japanese-American people of draft age, who were already in the armed forces, were classified as 4-C, enemy aliens, forbidden to serve their country.

Then, in early 1943, Washington reversed its policy on military service. Japanese Government Was effectively promoting in Asia by internment of Japanese Americans; Camp appeared to confirm his portrayal of the war as a racial conflict. To respond to Japanese propaganda, and under pressure from Japanese American and civil liberties organizations, President Roosevelt authorized the recruitment of Japanese-American men into the US armed forces.

Japanese Americans were now allowed to make a special detachment costume - the unit would be called the 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team. In Hawaii, where Japanese Americans were never laid off, recruitment exceeded all expectations. When the army called 1,500 volunteers, 10,000 were turned into recruiting offices.

The flag was saluted by the 442nd soldiers at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. June 1943.

But not all Japanese Americans were eager to serve a government that put many of them and their families under house arrest. Some camps refused to cooperate with the draft until their rights were restored. Many objected to the allegiance questionnaire, which he was forced to sign, which asked him to renounce allegiance to the Japanese emperor, a provision many found derogatory. Others felt that the new unit would be a "suicide squad" meant only to save the lives of white soldiers. Nevertheless, some 2,100 men in the camps made the move to the new all-Japanese American unit.

Many military leaders were reluctant to place Japanese Americans in the armed forces. General Eisenhower's staff initially rejected the idea of ​​Japanese-American troops, but General Mark Clarke, commander of the Fifth Army in Italy, said he would "fight anyone".

In June 1944, those who signed the 442nd would find themselves in Italy, fighting with the 100th Infantry Battalion, a war-tested unit composed mostly of Japanese Americans from Hawaii. The 100th was formed in 1942, before the list of Japanese Americans was banned, and they saw action in North Africa and Italy. For months, the men of the 100th distinguished themselves in repeated attacks along the German lines as the Allies fought northward into Italy. The 100th had lost more than 950 men, so much so that they came to be called the "Purple Heart Battalion". The fall of Rome in June 1944 had boosted allied morale, but it did not end the war in Italy, and new troops were needed to fight the Germans. As the campaign in Italy continued into the autumn, newcomers of the 442nd and war-survivors of the 100th would be asked to carry out the Fifth Army campaign northward from Rome.


The 442nd fought so well and so fiercely in the drive towards the German "Gothic Line" that when General Clarke led his men across the entire scene of the cameras to the important port city of Livoro, which accompanied them everywhere, He insisted that Japanese Americans march right behind his jeep. "They were fantastic!" General George Marshall said. "He showed rare courage and tremendous fighting spirit. Everyone wanted them ”.

In September, the 442nd was eliminated from the ongoing battle in Italy and moved to France. After being considered a "problem" by the military, the 442nd is now seen as a problem solver. But the battles on Mount Voges in France would be his biggest challenge - if only because the orders of an incompetent general would send him into impossible situations where he would suffer terrible losses. On October 29, 1944, the 442nd was called upon to rescue the so-called "Lost Battalion" - 275 men from the 141st Regiment who were surrounded by Germans due to the careless orders of their general. The 442nd lost 400 men, rescuing 230 men of the lost battalion, who had survived their might, and further gained their reputation for extraordinary bravery and valor. At the end of the war, the "Purple Heart Battalion" suffered 9,486 casualties. Over 600 made the ultimate sacrifice.

The Japanese would also help win the war in the American Pacific, as interpreters and translators in the war against Japan. They served in the military intelligence service, disrupting secret Japanese communications, often making quick translations of war messages and orders from Japanese officials. On Okinawa and Saipan, Japanese-American soldiers were able to convince some Japanese soldiers to surrender, and tried to reason with the panicked civilians whom the Japanese said they committed terrible atrocities at the hands of the incoming Americans Expect it

Over time, Japanese-American soldiers will be recognized for their bravery and sacrifice. After fifty five years, twenty members of the 442nd will finally be awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor of our country. No one can again question the loyalty of Japanese Americans, or doubt their contribution to winning the war.

Soldiers distributed candy and cigarettes donated by an aerial pineapple company. 1943.

Soldiers receive training on heavy weapons. 1943.

Trained in building the 442nd soldier and attacking a pontoon bridge. July 1943.

The soldiers enjoy guitar music while waiting for orders. 1943.

Private Jack Y. Otto purchased war bonds worth $ 2,500 from his company commander. June 1943.

Private Harry Hamada dances Hula with musical accompaniment. June 1943.

Soldiers of the 442nd dance with Japanese-American women from Jerome and the Rohor Relocation Center at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. 1943.


Soldiers at the time of the 442nd assassination at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. June 1943.

442nd member on March in the Chambois sector of France. 1944.

Shiro Yamato and Ginchi Masumotoya wash their uniforms in their helmets behind the lines during the invasion of Italy. October 1943.

442nd unit along the front lines near Saint Die, France. November 13, 1944.

A soldier from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team makes a post near St. Die, France, which is equipped with an antitank rocket rocket. November 17, 1944.

The soldiers fired mortars on German snipers in Italy. August 25, 1944.

Soldier drives a jeep in rural France riding a supply trailer. October 1944.

Soldiers fired 105 mm shells at German positions to support an infantry attack in France. October 18, 1944.

Soldiers fired mortar shells at German troops in France. October 1, 1944.

Soldiers of the 442nd dash for cover during a German artillery attack in Italy. April 4, 1945.

Soldiers build a machine gun nest in eastern France. September 1, 1944.

A soldier of the 442nd cleaned a barrel of 81 mm mortar near St. Die, France. November 17, 1944.

Leader of a squad of 442nd watches for German troops in France. November 1944.

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