Up to more than 1500 Japanese American Soldiers, widows, family members that are associated with the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service will be receiving the Congressional Gold Medal this November, following a three-day event at the World War II Memorial, U.S. Capitaol Emancipation Hall and the Washington Hilston, as reported by Rob McIlvaine for Army.mil. The event is held to recognize “many whose families spent years in prison as a result of political persecution.”
A little background on the 442nd Regimental Combat Team:
As one of the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the United States, they team have fought in Italy, southern France and Germany. There were more than 18,000 soldiers who were awarded for bravery, 9500 Purple Hearts and seven Presidential Distinguished Unit Citations.
A battalion of first generation born Japanese-American volunteers was formed in May of 1942. They quickly joined the 34th Division in war.
McIlvain wrote, “Because of the success of Nisei in combat, the draft was re-instated in January 1944 for Nisei in the detention camps. The effort was meant to bolster the ranks of the 442nd. Eventually, the 442nd RCT consisted of the 2nd, 3rd, and 100th Battalions; the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion; the 232nd Engineering Company; the 206th Army Band; Anti-Tank Company; Cannon Company; and Service Company.”
Fast forward into 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan eventually signed a legislation and apologizes for the “internment on behalf of the United States government.” They admitted that the actions set forth by the government were very much based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.” America soon awarded $1.6 billion to the Japanese Americans affected (interned) and their families.
To read more about the individual veteran stories, head over to the link provided below.
A non-profit organization by the name of Honor Flight Network will be responsible in transporting the 442nd veterans to attend the Congressional Gold Medal ceremonies in Washington, D.C next month.