Edited by Gerald Boerner
The final minority fighting group that we are featuring in this series is a unique one. The 442nd Infantry Regiment was composed of Nisei (second generation) Japanese American young men who had been caught up with the frenzy of fear following the surprise Japanese attack on our naval and air resources at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By Presidential Executive Order, All Japanese Americans were ordered to Interment Camps located on the west coast of the U.S.
These families were forced to go to these camps, often in very inhospitable climates alien to the experience of these families. One example of these camps was Manzanar in the Owens Valley of California. Many young men interred in these camps were very patriotic Americans who wanted to serve their new country.
The administration eventually created a self-contained military unit, the 442nd Infantry Regiment composed of only these Nisei young men. They trained at Camp Shelby in Mississippi. Following their training, these troops were deployed to Europe where they served with distinction. They earned 21 Congressional Medals of Honor, many Distinguished Service Awards, Purple Hearts, and other honors for their brave combat service. They not only made their country proud, but they also made their families proud.
There is probably no way that we can make up the injustice shown to these Japanese Americans who were displaced and subjected to the Interment Camps. A “I’m Sorry” is totally inadequate; prejudice and fear are contagious. We just need to vow not to let it happen again.
In that light, we have come close to treating Muslim Americans in much the same way after 9-11. We stopped short of putting them in camps, but we have questioned their presence in this great country. We need to be careful of our actions in reaction to attacks.
But now, let’s get started with our exploration of the honorable service given to this country by the 442nd Infantry Regiment by these Nisei soldiers… GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 3987 Words ]
Quotations Related to 442nd Regimental Combat Team:
“There were other regiments that could have been used.”
— Sgt. Wally Nunotani
“I always felt safe as long as I had one live Nisei soldier left in my company. They would take care of me.”
— 1st Lt. Robert Foote
“Lt. Marty Higgins, a former “horse soldier” (cavalry), was in command of the Lost Battalion. Higgins formed a strong defensive position on a hill and dug in.”