They were Americans, willing to fight and die for America. And they were “nisei”– “second generation” Japanese who were born and raised here in the USA. Immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt had all of the Japanese-Americans on the west coast of the US rounded up and shipped to internment camps. (Nisei in Hawaii were exempt from this executive order.). Although horribly discriminated against by having their constitutional rights crushed, many of the young men decided to fight for America anyway. This was their home, and the last defense of freedom in the world.
By 1943 the 442 Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Brigades were formed, made up almost exclusively of Japanese-Americans. They were shipped off to Europe in 1944, and there they were sent into battle along the rugged mountain slopes of Italy. They fought in dozens and dozens of tough battles in Italy, southern France, and finally in Germany at the war’s end. How did they do?
These Americans, whose loyalty was doubted by some, earned 21 Medals of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4000 Bronze Stars, and 9,486 Purple Hearts.
They were the single most decorated unit inthe history of the United States Army, and in all of America’s military.