Nikkei story inscriptions
“THE 442ND REGIMENTAL COMBAT TEAM
‘...we know but one loyalty and that is to the stars and stripes. We wish to do our part as loyal Americans in every way possible, and we hereby offer ourselves for whatever service you may see fit to use us.’
- Nisei Cadets, petitioning to join the U. S. Army
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the loyalty of all American Japanese was questioned. Young “Nisei,” second-generation American-born men, were to enlist for military service. Nisei were place in segregated units. The 100th Battalion became the first of these units.
In Europe, the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were comprised of American Japanese soldiers in the Pacific Theater. American Japanese soldiers were assigned to the U. S. Military Intelligence Service. On both fronts, these soldiers displayed supreme bravery, patriotism and dedication to duty throughout their military service to the United States of America.
The 442nd was dispatched to the European Theater, where they fought with honor and distinction in Italy, France, and Germany. In France, they participated in the fight to liberate Bruyeres and rescued the ‘Lost Battalion’ in a famous battle at Biffontaine. Over five days of the Battle at Biffontaine, the 442nd suffered more than 800 casualties while resuing the 141st Infantry which had been surrounded by German forces in the Vosges Mountains.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the entire history of the U. S. Military. The 4,000 man force suffered so many casualties that 14,000 soldiers ultimately served in its ranks during World War II. Their list of decorations is extensive.
21 Medals of Honor
52 Distinguished Service Crosses
559 Silver Stars with 28 oak leaf clusters (in lieu of second silver stars)
8 Presidential unit citations
1 Distinguished Service Medal
22 Legion of Merit Medals
15 Soldier’s Medals
4000 Bronze Stars with 1,200 oak leaf clusthers (in lieu of second Bronze Stars)
9,486 Purple Hearts
12 French Croix de Guerre with 2 Palms (in lieu of second Bronze Stars)
2 Italian Crosses for Military Valor
2 Italian Medals of Military Valor
Over 100 Nisei from Placer County served in the 442nd. Many of these American Japanese who fought so valiantly to defend our country endured, along with their families. The hardships of internment and relocation camps many would later say that they served to prove their loyalty to America.”
Their Motto: “Go For Broke"
"DEDICATED TO ALL WORLD WAR II ERA AMERICANS OF JAPANESE ANCESTRY
'MAY WE NEVER FORGET THEIR SUPREME BRAVERY, PATRIOTISM AND DEDICATION TO OUR COUNTRY'
For all our Nikkei (of Japanese ancestry) friends and family, who served in the Pacific Theater as members of the military intelligence service (MIS), and those who endured the injustice of internment in their own country.
- Japanese American Citizens League
The Imperial Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Seventy-four days later, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the now infamous executive order # 9066 that authorized as a “military necessity” the internment of many Nikkei citizens who lived in the Western United States.
More than 120,000 Nikkei were detained in American internment camps which were located in the harshest and most desolate regions of the nation. Despite this injustice many of these internees volunteered for military service in the Pacific Campaign where they made invaluable contributions in military intelligence (MIS). They helped decipher the Imperial Japanese military’s top secret communication code which dramatically turned the war in favor of the Allied Forces. The Nikkei proved their loyalty as patriotic Americans through their dedication to duty and through their heroic deeds on the battlefield.
As General Willoughby, Intelligence Commander under General MacArthur, stated at the victory celebration, “The Nisei soldiers’ contribution in the Pacific war not only saved many thousands of Allied Forces’ lives, but were also instrumental in shortening the overall Pacific war by two years.”
These MIS Nikkei were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation, but due to the secrecy surrounding their operations, their accomplishments were not publicly recognized for decades.
Finally, in a ceremony in Washington D.C. held on November 2, 2011 the Nikkei veterans of World War II – including members of the MIS and the 442nd /100th Battalion – were awarded Congressional Gold Medals for distinguished service.
We thank the “Greatest Generation” of Nikkei for defending our nation and for enduring their many hardships. These brave men and women never wavered in their patriotism and their belief in the American way.
'We as a generation have been blessed to have the opportunities that this generation was denied. All Americans owe much to the dedication and to the spirit of these loyal and brave Americans.'
- E. Ken Tokutomi, Project Chairman - 2012
SPONSORED BY PLACER BUDDHIST CHURCH, PENRYN, CA"