"No LOYAL CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES should be denied the democratic right to exercise the responsibilities of his citizenship, regardless of his ancestry.
"The principle on which this country was founded and by which it has always been governed is that Americanism is a matter of the mind and heart.
"Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry.
"Every loyal American citizen should be given the opportunity to serve this country wherever his skills will make the greatest contributionwhether it be in the ranks of our armed forces, war production, agriculture, Government service, or other work essential to the war effort."
President FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT February 3, 1943
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY
In collaboration with the
U. S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
American fighting men are proving, on battlefields around the world, the truth of President Roosevelt's declaration that Americanism is not a matter of race or ancestry, but a matter of the mind and heart. Every race and nation from which our population has been drawn is represented among the young Americans who are fighting side by side to overthrow the Axis powers. Men of German ancestry have been helping to smash the German Nazis; men of Italian descent have participated in the struggle to drive the Axis forces from Italy; men whose parents came from lapan are showing that devotion to America and gallantry in action are not determined by the slant of the eyes or the color of the skin.'
The Honor Roll at the Minidoka Relocation Center, in Idaho, contains the names of 415 young. Japanese Americans who volunteered for combat duty in the United States Army. Many more have been inducted since the memorial was constructed. Miss Fumi Onodera proudly points to the. names of her three brothers, inscribed on the roll. One of the brothers, Pyt. Satoru Onodera, was killed in Italy several months after this picture was taken.
NISEI IN THE ARMY
Before Pearl Harbor, Americans of Japanese descent, commonly called Nisei, (pronounced nee-say") were eligible to volunteer and were subject to induction into the Army through the Selective Service System. Consequently, many young Japanese Americans were already in the Army when the United States went to war with the Axis nations.
After war was declared, however, many Selective Service boards were reluctant to accept the Nisei, while some others continued to induct them. This condition prevailed throughout the spring of 1942 while all persons whose forebears came from Japan were being evacuated from the Pacific Coast and transferred to relocation centers under jurisdiction of the War Relocation Authority. On June 17, 1942with the evacuation virtually completed the War Department advised the Selective Service System to, discontinue Nisei inductions until further notice. Soon afterward, all Nisei were ordered reclassified to IY-C, not acceptable for service because of ancestry.
The first modification of this policy came in the late fall of 1942, when about 160 Nisei volunteers were recruited from relocation centers. The response to the call for volunteers revealed that many young men at WRA centers were eager to prove their loyalty-to the United States.
Meanwhile, in June 1942, a unit composed almost entirely of Nisei from Hawaii, including many men who had served in the Hawaiian National Guard, had been transferred to the mainland for training. This unitthe 100th Infantry Battalion, at Camp McCoy, Wisconsinwas attracting much favorable attention. The evidence was mounting that many Nisei had the spirit and ability to make good soldiers.
On January 28, 1943, the Secretary of War announced that the Army had decided to form a special Nisei combat team, and that volunteers would be accepted both from the continental United States and from the Hawaiian Islands. In February and March, a recruitment program was conducted under Army supervision at all relocation centers. The result of this Nisei recruitment at the WRA centers and elsewhere was the formation of the 442nd Combat Team which began training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, in April, 1943.
Representatives of the War Department, who were assigned to the relocation centers to conduct the recruitment program, explained the reasons for the formation of a distinctively Japanese American unit in the Army. If your strength were diffused through the Army of the United Statesas has al-
ready been done with many other Americans of your blood," they told the young men in .the relocation centers, "relatively little account would be taken of your action. You would be important only as manpowernothing more. But united, and working together, you would become a symbol of something greater than your individual selves, and the effect would be felt both in the United States and abroad. All other Americans would long remember what you had done for the country, and you would be a living reproach to those who have been prejudiced against you because of your Japanese blood."
On December 18, 1943, the War Department, impressed by the excellent showing" made by the 442nd Combat Team in training and by the "outstanding record" of the 100th Battalion which had been transferred to the Italian battle front, revised its policies so as to provide for the induction of Nisei through regular Selective Service procedures. This action, which was publicly announced by the Secretary of War on January 20, 1944, had the effect of calling upon the Nisei to assume one of the highest obligations of American citizenship. Since that time, Japanese Americans at relocation centers and elsewhere, like other young Americans, have been subject to involuntary induction for Army Service.
By the end of 1943 many families had left the relocation centers, and many more were preparing to leave. Dispersing across the country from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Atlantic seaboard, they found new homes and productive employment outside the West Coast exclusion area. These were people who had been carefully screened by the War Relocation Authority. Many of them had husbands, sons, and brothers in the Service. Mainly, they were American citizens by birth, but the aliens who were granted leave, no less than the citizens, had been respectable and law-abiding residents of the communities where they lived before the evacuation. They looked upon the United States as home, and they wanted to continue to live here. Many had remained aliens only because, as Orientals, they could not be naturalized. under our laws.
It has been a common comment of Nisei in the Army that they are fighting two battles: one to smash the Axis dictators; the other to prove that Japanese Americans are basically no different in attitude or loyalty from the majority of our citizens whose forebears came from other :lghd^..
442nd COMBAT TEAM
On JANUARY 28, 1943, the War Department issued a call for 4,500 volunteers to form the 442nd Combat Team which was to be composed, according to the announcement, of men of Japanese descent who qualified for military service. In April, the full complement had been achieved by enlistments from Hawaii and the mainland, and the unit began training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. It included the 442nd Infantry, the 522nd Artillery Battalion, and the 232nd Engineers Company.
The great majority of the mainland volunteers enlisted from the ten relocation centers where they had been living since the spring of 1942, when all persons of Japanese ancestry were evacuated from the West Coast by order of the Commanding General of the Western Defense Command. Many of them left fathers and mothers, or wives and children, living in the centers.
At Camp Shelby, the men of the 442nd Combat Team quickly won the unanimous respect of the officers who commanded them. They trained hard and were alert to learn the duties and obligations of an American fighting man. Like all top-notch units in the United States Army, the 442nd was strong both in physical stamina and in intelligence. "Good soldiers'' was the term invariably used to describe the Nisei volunteers by the military men who knew the record of their accomplishments.
For a slogan they chose a slang phrase, common in Hawaii, "Go For Broke," meaning that they had pledged themselves to go all out for their country^
the United States. They would withhold nothing. They were "shooting the works." This was the spirit that they carried through a year of training at Camp Shelby; it was the spirit that sent them eagerly, confidently to a port of embarkation, in April, 1944. They were heading for the battlefields of Europe to join the 100th Infantry Battalion, which had already won high praises for valor and fighting ability.
Early in July, reports from Italy began to tell about the exploits of the 442nd Combat Team in action against the enemy. Four days after entering the front lines, these Americans with Japanese faces had advanced some 50 miles. Some of them had fought almost around the clock, averaging as little as 2J^ hours of rest each night. Some had got so far ahead of the supply lines that they had been 24 hours without food.
They had paced the thrust, dispatches said, of American troops that "knifed through fiercely defended German lines" in the battle for the important seaport of Livorno. When the city fell on July 19, they were among the first to enter it.
War correspondents reported on the apparently fearless courage and excellent morale of the men. They told of the dismay of German prisoners on learning that they had been captured by Japanese Americans. There could'be no doubt, as the fighting record of the unit unfolded, that at last the 442nd Combat Team was showing on the battlefield the real meaning of its slogan "Go for Broke!"
Three members of the 442nd Combat Team, who are now fighting the Nazis in ItalyHoward Uyehara, Sam Sasaki and David Ito. All native-born Americans, they were evacuated from their West Coast homes in 1942 to relocation centers where they were living when they enlisted during 1943.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
Shown standing at attention on a parade ground at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, these officers and men are members of the 442nd Combat Team which embarked for combat duty in Italy in April, 1944.
American soldiers with Japanese facesEdwin lino, Saburo Ikuta, and Robert Yonemitsu were all born and raised in California where they were educated in American schools. They have never visited Japan. All of them volunteered from relocation centers for service in the United States Army.
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Four Nisei brothersBen, Mike, Tad, and Ike Masaokagg-participated in the liberation of Italy as members of the 442nd Combat Team. In July 1944, Pfc. Tad (second from the right) and Sgt. Ike (right) were wounded. Before his induction, Corp. Mike (second from left) was national secretary of the Japanese American Citizens League. Another brother, Hank, is also in the U. S. Army.
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Pvt. Kay Kusumi drives a truck christened "LiT Amache" to advertise the relocation center where he was living when he joined the Army. Amache is the Post Office designation of the Granada Relocation Center, located on the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado.
Sgt. William Sadatake, former student at City College in Los Angeles and more recently a resident of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, establishes contact with an operations base on the field telephone system. He is a member of the 552nd Field Artillery.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
U. S. Army Signal Corps
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Two former Los Angeles boysStaff Sgt. Frank Saito (right) and Pfc. Shigeru Ogawa (center)prepare to fire a heavy mortar. Both belong to families which were evacuated to the Granada Relocation Center. Pfc-Masao Shigemura (left) was born and educated in Seattle. He volunteered from the Minidoka Relocation Center.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
Three Nisei machine gunners mount the bank of a stream, carrying their equipment. All three volunteered while living in relocation centers after evacuation from their West Coast homes. Left to right: Pfc. Kiyoshi Tomiye, Turlock, Calif.; Pvt. Hiroshi Okawa, Seattle, Wash.; Pfc. Albert Nakashima, Long Beach, Calif.
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A drink of cool water after a long hot march brings a smile of refreshment to the face of Pvt. Richard Chinnen, of Honolulu, former bantam weight boxing champion of the Hawaiian Islands. When the call was made for recruits to fill the ranks of the 442nd Combat Team, 10,000 Hawaiian boys of Japanese ancestry volunteered for service. Assignments in the team were available for only about 2,500.
In fox holes and trenches dug into the soil of southern Mississippi, the members of the 442nd Combat Team learned the ways of modern warfare which they later used against Axis foes. These machine gunners were among the 8,000 members of the Nisei unit that trained at Camp Shelby in 1943.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
Searching with an electrical detector for mines is the business of Pvt. Sam Tomiago who enlisted in 1943 from the Central Utah Relocation Center after his evacuation from Berkeley, Calif.
This cannon squad belongs to the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion which is combined with the 442nd Infantry and the 232nd Engineers to form the 442nd Combat Team. (The unit includes three artillery batteries, a cannon company, an antitank company, and 3 battalions embracing 12 companies of riflemen.)
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U. S. Army Signal Corps
Corp. Samuel Hokari, born in Seattle and a graduate of the University of Washington, where he was a star on the wrestling team, volunteered from the Minidoka Relocation Center.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
Corp. Taro Katayama, a graduate of the University of Utah, volunteered from Central Utah Relocation Center. He has a brother in the Army and a wife in Government service.
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Chaplain George Aki, one of the most popular men in the Combat Team, was commissioned while serving as a minister of the Congregationalist Church in a relocation center.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
Pfc. Arthur Fukuoka, from Stockton, has one sister in the WAC and another who is a professional stage dancer in New York City. His family was evacuated in 1942.
Oldest man in the 442nd Service Company is Mess Sergeant Joseph Itagaki (at left below) who was managing a large restaurant just outside Schofield Barracks at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. He immediately volunteered for service in the Territorial Guards. Before his induction he was active in Hawaiian civic affairs, a member of the North Oahu Lions Club.
TJ. S. Army Signal Corps
When Maj. Gen. Emil Reinhardt, Commander of the Ninth Army Corps, inspected the 442nd Combat Team'just before its departure for overseas, he complimented Sgt. Yutaka Semba on the orderliness of his stockroom. Sergeant Semba was born in Tacoma and attended the University of Washington. His parents were evacuated to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho.
U. S. Army Signal Corps
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In the stern of a rubber boat, Capt. Pershing Nakada (named for General Pershing) helps a squad of men to paddle across a stream. Captain Nakada commands the 232nd Engineers Company and is the highest ranking Nisei officer (outside the medical detachments) in the Combat Team.
A signpost, bearing the insignia of the Third Army, provides a background for Pfc. Noyama, standing guard at the entrance to the field headquarters of the 442nd Combat Team at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
Building pontoon bridges to get the fighting men of the Combat Team across streams and other water obstacles in the briefest possible time is an important responsibility of the 232nd Engineers under Captain Nakada.
On his tunic, Second Lt. Richard Hay-ashi (formerly of Stockton, Calif.) displays a campaign ribbon testifying to his service in the South Pacific before he was returned to the United States to receive his commission. His mother, two brothers, and a sister were evacuated to the Rohwer Relocation Center in Arkansas. .
The two medical detachments of the Combat Team are equipped to give services in the field ranging from dental care to transfusions of blood plasma. A number of the Nisei doctors and surgeons in uniform have been transferred to other units of the Army where there was greater need for them than in the Combat Team.
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Mail call is just as welcome in the Combat Team as it is in any other branch of the armed forces. Letters from mothers, fathers, wives, and sweetheartsmany of them in relocation centersare received regularly.
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The favorite pastimes of the men in the Combat Team are the same as those that other fighting men enjoy. Pfc. George Tsujimoto, a native of Tracy, Calif., volunteered from the Gila River Relocation Center in Arizona.
On leave in New York City, three boys from the Combat Team take in the sights from the top of a Fifth Avenue bus.
Easter services at Camp Shelby. All the chaplains of the Combat Team are Christian pastors.
Is Resented by U. Â§. Japanese
Troops in Camp Shelby Unit Ask Action in Pacific to Prove Their Loyalty
The intense desire of many loyal Americans of Japanese descent to be called and thought of as Americans rather than Japanese has been voiced by many of them serving in the 442d Infantry Regiment at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. A number of troops from this regiment recently visited the Soldiers* and Sailors* Club, 283 Lexington Avenue, while on furlough, and in a letter of thanks to Miss Lillian Myles, a hostess at the club, one of them has even recorded their hope they could even fight the Japanese, instead of Germans, to prove their loyalty.
I*m of Japanese ancestry, but by all rights of birth an American,** he wrote. I*ve always considered myself an Amer-
ican but by reasons of racial color some people have referred to me as a Jap. There are nearly two regiments of us here in Shelby and that remark has hurt every one of us. Why cant Americans (regardless of racial differences) consider us true Americans, like they are?
America isnt a nation of one nationality. It has a more cosmopolitan population than any other nation in this world. Then why should they have such terrible race prejudice on a minority? Looking back. on American history we find that English have fought English and the consequence was the birth of a new nation, America. Then again in 1812 Americans of English ancestry willingly took up arms against Englishmen.
In the first world war Americans of German and Italian ancestry fought against Germany, now in this war we find Americans of Italian, German and Japanese ancestry more than glad that they can fight the common enemy. Then why cant all Americans see that blood isnt as thick as the principles of democracy. Every single one of us, Americans of Japanese ancestry in the 442d Infantry Regiment, would rather fight the Japs than the Germans to prove our loyalty.
There already is a battalion of Americans of Japanese ancestry from Hawaii in combat in Italy. Many of the boys in
the 442d have brothers and other relatives in that battalion but still were called Japs. We would like nothing better than to join them right now, but as yet our training isnt completed. Though I havent a brother in a combat zone yet, there are two of them in service. One a technical sergeant in Camp Savage, Minnesota, and the other in the service company of the 442d.
On Dec. 7, 1941,1 saw the havoc and bloodshed at Pearl Harbor and helped bury the dead. I tried to volunteer then but was refused. Then in March of this year the Army called for 1,500 volunteers of Japanese Americans to form a unique combat team. Though quota was set at 1,500 nearly ten thousand men volunteered. Many of my friends actually cried because they were rejected or werent able to receive an examination because the quota was filled.
Skeptics insisted that only a couple of hundred would volunteer but they certainly were mistaken. Many here on the mainland of the United States think we were drafted or that we volunteered because we didnt have jobs. I volunteered for one purpose, and that is to do my part, though how insignificant it may be, to preserve American democracy. Incidentally, previous to my induction I received more than $10 a day as an electrician.
Sgt. Shug Madokoro, formerly of Alameda, Calif., joins hands with his bride to cut their wedding cake. He entered the Army before Pearl Harbor, and has never been in a relocation center. Mrs. Madokoro lived in Santa Maria, Calif., before she was evacuated to the Gila River Relocation Center with her family.
The USO's in the relocation centers are usually kept busy providing entertainment for Nisei boys on leave to visit their parents, wives, and sweethearts. Red Cross units are also active at the centers, raising funds, assisting the families of service men, and performing practically all the ordinary Red Cross functions.
ThE first Nisei unit to engage in active combat was the 100th Infantry Battalion which had -been organized around a cadre of national guardsmen from two Hawaiian infantry regiments. Many of the men in the 100th Battalion had gone through the attack of December 7, 1941, in the Honolulu area. One Nisei soldier had been killed by the attackers. Two others assisted in capturing the operator of a one-man submarinf.f, which had grounded on a reef off the island of Oahuthe first Japanese prisoner to be taken by the United States in World War II. Still another led a detachment of soldiers that took into custody a Japanese aviator who landed on the island of Niihau and terrorized the natives there before his capture.
In June, 1942, the 100th Battalion was transferred from Hawaii to the mainland for training, first at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, and later at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. It embarked for Africa in early August, 1943, and joined the invasion army at Salerno, Italy, in late September.
About one month later, on October 21, the War Department issued a release stating that the battalion had come through its "first test under Nazi fire with colors flying." An Army officer, reporting on a visit to the unit, observed that "these soldiers are as far away from the stereotyped picture of the: evil-doing sons of Japan as the all-American boy is from a headhunter. It's in their faces. They obviously believe in what they're doing, and look calmly secure because of it."
The 100th Battalion participated in ,i|fe landing at Salerno ancLin every major action inHtaly after the landing. It made four drives across^! Yolturno River, and aided in the capture of Cassino. It took an active part in the march on Rome, and spearheaded the American attack on Livorno, in the campaign to expel the Nazis from the upper: ranges of the Italian Peninsula.
On July 27, 1944, for its "outstanding performance of duty in action" at Belvedere and Sasseta in breaking up the' enemy's defenses, Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark, Commander of the Fifth Army, conferred on it the War Department's Distinguished Unit Citation. At that time, individual members of the
battalion had received Ilf Distinguished- Service Crosses, 44 Silver Stars, 31 Bronze Stars, and 3 Legion gf Merit decorations. Fifteen battlefield commissions had been conferred for superior leadership in combat.
In" addition to these citations and promotions for valor and military proficiency, more than 1,000 Purple Hearts had been awarded as a result of the casualties suffered by the Unit. Not all of the men for i whom the medals were authorized were able to receive them in person; many had died on the battlefield.
In Honolulu, on March 11, 1944, Col. Kendall J. Fielder, Chief of Staff for Military Intelligence in the Central Pacific, presented Purple Hearts to the -nearest of kin of 60 of these Nisei soldiers who had fallen on Italian soil. "This is not a happy occasion for you or for me, but it is a proud one," he said. "You are the mothers and fathers, the wives, the sisters and brothers of American soldiers who gave their lives for our Country Your boy was an American and he fought and died as hosts of good Americans have always done and always will do when the cause of freedom is threatened He knew the sweetness of liberty and he knew the foulness of the totalitarian system for he had seen both of them at first-hand.
"He knew also, as you must know, that there are some good Americans who, out of righteous anger, were slow to accept the fact of his whole-hearted Americanism. He didn't need to ||ie to prove it to himself, or to you, or to other Americans that he was fine and loyal and brave. His willingness to serve America by fighting for her proved that."
The officers directly associated wiM the 100th Battalion have been unanimously enthusiastic about the quality and spirit of the men. Lt. Col. Farrant L. Turnl, who commanded them before he was invalided home, stated that he had "never had more whole-hearted, serious-minded cooperation from any troops." War correspondents have reported extensively and in highly complimentary terms on many exploits of the unit in combat with the enemy. These fighting Americans have given proof, far beyond the argument of words, that they are good Americans.
On a map of Italy, Lt. Shigeru Tsubota points to the spot, near Salerno, where the 100th Infantry landed with the Allied invasion army. Tsubota, a graduate of the University of Hawaii, received a severe leg wound, on September 30, 1943, while directing the placement of machine guns to secure the flank of his unit. He hopes to be able to rejoin his unit when he recovers from his wound.
A patrol from the 100th Infantry advancing across a small bridge in Italy with rifles ready. For its performance in action, this battalion was awarded the War Department's Distinguished Unit Citation.
These 11 men were the sole survivors of a Nisei platoon (normally about 50 men) that captured an important road junction from the Germans in Italy. When the platoon leader was killed by an enemy tank, a sergeant took command. A bazooka gunner disabled the tank, and other members of the platoon shot the escaping crew. Then they stormed the enemy machine-gun nest at the road junction, and overwhelmed it.
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On a battlefield in Italy, a Caucasian captain and two Nisei soldiers pause for a meal of "K" rations.
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Christmas packages from home are distributed to these members of the 100th Battalion in Italy.
On the road to Rome, after the fall of Cassino, which they helped to wrest from the Nazis, a group of Nisei infantrymen from the 100th Battalion move up to a new line of battle in the vicinity of Velletri, Italy.
V. S. Army Signal Corps
Jack Wilkes, Life Magazine
PFC. OMIYA PROVES
Soldier of Japanese Descent Back Blinded After Brave Role in Italian Fighting
AN EAST COAST PORT, Jan. 17 (U.P.)Pfc. Yoshinao Omiya of Honolulu, a Japanese-American who fought bravely until both eyes were blown out by a land mine, was among battle wounded of the Tunisian, Sicilian and Italian campaigns who have been flown from this port to the Memphis General Hospital by the troop carrier command of the Army Air Forces.
Private Omiyas parents were Japanese. His father is dead but his mother and two sisters are waiting anxiously for him to return home. He entered the Army before Pearl Harbor. He is 24 years old and his comrades call him Turtle.
With a smile, he told of his days at McKinley High School and of his interest in sports.
Then, after a pause, he told about advancing with his machine-gun platoon after crossing the Volturno River. He said the first man in the column tripped over a wire which set off a land mine. Private Omiya was the fourth man in the column and the blast caught him full in the face. The first man in the column received only slight scratches.
Listening to the radio in the Walter Reed Hospital, Pfc. Kanchi Heyada can forget temporarily that he must go through life with only one leg. He lost the other when a shell burst near him on the Italian battle front.
Near Capriati, Italy, Pfc. Masao Okumura went ahead of his outfit to do reconnaissance work, walked into a mine field. That was the last he remembered until he regained consciousness in a field hospital.
A German dive bomber was responsible for the wounds that brought an award of the Purple Heart to Pfc. Mack Fukusaki. He suffered a serious leg wound, and another in his right arm that paralyzed two of his fingers.
American-Born Japs Rescue Paratroopers
NEW YORK, Oct. 11 (AP)The United Nations radio at Algiers said tonight a detachment of American-born Japanese soldiers, after four days under fire recently near Benevento, finally entered the town and rescued 22 U. S. parachute troops who had been behind enemy lines more than two weeks.
Capt. Taro Suzuki, a native of Honolulu, was leading his force forward in that hotly disputed area when their fire baptism came, said the English-language broadcast, recorded by the U. S. foreign broadcast intelligence service.
/Three machine guns opened up on us, Suzuki was quoted. But we took care of them. Subsequently the Nazis opened everything they hadthey let go with mortars and artillery, but our mortars subdued all this Nazi wrath.
The honor of taking their first prisoner was shared by Sgt. Edward Kiota of Honolulu and Sgt. Daniel Wada of Kawaihae, as patrol leaders, the broadcast said. It added the squad which rescued the parachute troops was led by Sgt. Yutaka Nazu.
The action marked the first fighting participation of American-born Japanese soldiers in this war.
Capt. Tato Suzuki, for 13 years a reserve officer in the United States Army, was the first Nisei officer to be called to active service in World War II. In November 1943, during the battle for Italy, a piece of shrapnel severed a nerve in his right arm and completely paralyzed his hand.
In the Moore General Hospital at Swannanoa, N. C., Pfc. Kiyoshi Yonemori shares a letter from home with a fellow patient. Yonemori was severely wounded when his company spearheaded an attack on the Germans after crossing the Vol-turno River in Italy.
Cassino, the card game, and Cassino in Italy, where Nisei soldiers spearheaded the attack of Lt. Gen. Clark's Fifth Army, have nothing in common but a name for Pvt. Kazuto Yqshioka (left) and Pvt. Wallace Hisamoto. Yoshioka lost an arm in the Italian fighting. Hisamoto, at Walter Reed Hospital, is learning to use an artificial leg.
There is no envy in the smile of Air WAC Cherry Nakagawara as she admires the chevron on the sleeve of her husband, Sgt. Yosh Nakagawara.
The unusual spectacle of two Army units composed almost entirely of Americans of Japanese descent has naturally centered attention from the first on those units and on the Italian front, where the 100th Infantry went into action in September, 1943. Many other Nisei soldiers, however, were and still are scattered through other branches of the Army, including the Air Corps, the Parachute Troops, and the Medical Corps, and many are serving in parts of the world far removed from the European war theater.
American soldiers of Japanese ancestry are participating in the struggle to crush the armed forces of Japan, and to drive them from the vast areas that they overran in the Pacific and in Asia. Men whose fathers and mothers came from Japan assisted in the capture of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands; they helped to rout the enemy from Kwajalein Atoll and other
Lt. Noboru Tashiro, U. S. Army Air Forces, forecasts the weather and flying conditions for the Army flyers at the La Junta, Colorado, Air Field. He was born in Rocky Ford, Colo., and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines in 1941.
Pvt. Ben Moriwaki and Sgt. Fred Tanakatsubo, back from the desolate, fog-swept Aleutians, where they participated in the military operations that resulted in the recapture of Attu and Kiska Islands, by American forces, visit their families in the Central Utah Relocation Center.
islands in the Marshall group; they are serving with the American forces in India and Burma.
Wherever Americans are fighting, Nisei soldiers are among them helping to win victory for the United States and the Allied Nations. Many have been decorated for valor and meritorious service, and many have been killed or wounded.
Although the overwhelming majority of Nisei in uniform are in the Army, there are a few in the Marines and the Coast Guard. Furthermore, enlistments in the Army are not limited to men; since July 1943, a considerable number of Nisei girls have joined the Women's Army Corps. Others are serving as Army nurses.
These Nisei WAC's and nurses are widely scattered, since no action has been taken to gather them into one unit or one locality. 'Some of the nurses are overseas.
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Pfc. Thomas Tsuyuki was one of the first Nisei to earn the right to . wear the silver wings of a United States paratrooper. He enlisted
k m >T ,i|s ^%,from tl|g^Colqjado River Relocation Center in western Arizona.
Pvt. Shizuko Shinagawa joined the WAC from Pvt. Alice Shimoyama, a native of Kent, Wash., carries the guidon the Colorado River Relocation Center. As- at the head of her WAC company at Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. She signed to recruiting, she considers it "an op- has a sister who is also in the Women's Army Corps, and a brother portunity to help my country and my people." in the United States Army.
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Sgt. Ben Kuroki, veteran of 30 bombing missions over Nazi-held territory, bids good-bye to his ground crew before returning to the United States for new assignments.
THE WEEKLY NEWS MAGAZINE
February 7, 1944
Ben Kuroki, American West Coast draft boards got orders last week to start reclassifying their U. S.-born Japanese for induction into the armed forces. The announcement was not even of academic interest to one member of the Nisei, 25-year-old Ben Kuroki.
Ben Kuroki is a technical sergeant in the U. S. Army Air Forces, a qualified turret gunner in B-24 Liberator bombers, veteran of 30 heavy bombing missions against the enemy, survivor of the ruthless, costly raid on the Ploesti oilfields of Rumania, winner of two Distinguished Flying Crosses, wearer of the coveted Air Medal with four oak-leaf clusters.
Ben Kuroki may have been the first person of Japanese descent to watch the Pacific surf curl on the beach of Santa Monica since the great evacuation of Japanese from California after Pearl Harbor. He was
there last week, vyith several hundred other battle-weary U. S. airmen, resting in the luxury of the former Edgewater Beach Club, now an Air Forces redistribution center. Like his comrades, he slept late, guzzled orange juice and fresh milk, tried to unwind and get toned up.
Earned Repose. He had earned his rest. Few men can ever have gone through more plain hell trying to find a place in the special hell of battle. Ben Kurokis father was a seed-potato grower in Hershey, Nebr., a town of about 500 people. Ben and his kid brother Fred (now overseas with an
engineer outfit) volunteered for the Army two days after Pearl Harbor, were accepted a month later. Ben landed in the Air Forces and started to run his personal gauntlet at Sheppard Field, Tex.
It seemed like everybody was cold, Ben remembered. Maybe I was self-conscious but it kind of got to working on my mind.
He was isolated in a barracks corner. Other soldiers stared at him glumly. He feared the drunks most; they always wanted to fight. Ben tried first For; air cadet, then for mechanic. He was sent to clerical school in Colorado, then shipped to Barksdale Field, La,, one of 40 new clerks. As usual he was the last to be assigned, spent a miserable 15 days on the dirtiest of K. P. jobs. ,
Then he got his first break: assignment as communications clerk in one of four Liberator squadrons in Brigadier General Ted Timberlakes group, now famed as Teds Flying Circus (Time, Oct. 18). Ben kept his fingers crossed, never even went to nearby Shreveport for fear of getting into trouble. Twice when the squadron moved (to Florida, then England)
they talked of leaving him behind. Both times he begged to go, made it.
Earned Action. In England he volunteered for gunnery training. Once trained, he coaxed a strictly temporary training assignment. He was good. A month later he was taken on as waist gunner by 23-year-old Major J. B. Epting. On their first combat mission, over Bizerte in Tunisia, the tail gunner was wounded and Ben moved aft. Steady behavior and crack gunnery in combat had done the job. He belonged.
Ben earned one D. F. C. for 25 combat missions, another for the Ploesti raid.
We went in at 50 feet into terrible antiaircraft fire, he remembers. Our planes would crash and we could see our buddies burning in their planes. Our group commanders plane was hit and he gunned it up so his men could get out. I saw three chutes leave, but I dont think two of the men landed alive. Then the commander dove his plane right into the biggest building in town. No man who went to Ploesti will ever forget it.
Only two of the nine Liberators in Bens
Eager Beaver squadron came back. The sight of empty bunks and mess lines haunted him; he could not sleep for three nights. Yet when his prescribed 25 missions had been fulfilled, he turned down a chance to fly home, volunteered instead for an extra five.
Four of them were over Germany, and on the last one his luck almost ran out. He was flying as top-turret gunner over Munster when a flak burst hit the turret dome, shattered his goggles, tore off his oxygen mask. Copilot and radioman pulled him down and revived him with an emergency mask. After that, Ben got his orders for home.
When he is ready for combat again,-Ben Kuroki hopes to go to the Pacific theater. His roommate at Santa Monica now is Tail Gunner Edward Bates, who lost a brother in the Pacific. Says Ben: I promised him the first Zero I get will be for his brother.
Editor's note: During the spring of 1944, Sergeant Kuroki received ovations before the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco and in three relocation centers.
Wounded in battle with the Japanese enemy in the South Pacific, Sgt. Kazuo Komoto was returned to the United States for hospitalization. On a visit to his family at the Gila River Relocation Center, he displays his Purple Heart to an admiring younger brother.
Four stars are in the service flag of Mr. and Mrs. Ichim-atsu Matsushita of the Colorado River Relocation Center. They have three sons and one son-in-law, all volunteers, in the Army of the United States. They are former residents of Watsonville, Calif.
A Selection of Newspaper Clippings
General Reveals Japanese Americans Took Part In Capture of Kwajalein Atoll
Japanese American soldiers from the United States and Hawaii participated in the invasion of the Marshall Islands and the successful capture of Kwajalein, Maj. Gen. Charles H. Corlett, whose Seventh Army Division participated in the invasion, declared in an Associated Press interview dated February 17 from the U. S. Army Headquarters in the Central Pacific.
General Corlett, whose troops are veterans of Attu, praised the work of Japanese Americans with the invading American forces.
This dispatch, published widely in U. S. newspapers, was the first official Army report of the role of Japanese Americans in the Pacific fighting, although previously published reports have indicated that Japanese Americans are fighting in the South Pacific and took part in the successful recapture of Attu and Kiska.
KLAMATH FALLS HERALD & NEWS
Jap-American Volunteer From Tule WRA Center Fights Nips in India
A Japanese American volunteer from a WRA center is today fighting in the India-Burma theater as a member of the U. S. Armys First Air Commando group, according to an army-censored dispatch to the Pacific Citizen from somewhere in India.
The soldier is Staff Sgt. Tom Taketa, who volunteered for the Army in 1942 from Tule Lake relocation center.
Following is the army-censored dispatch from Staff Sgt. Tom Taketa of the First Air Commando group:
The First Air Commando groupthat name would strike a familiar chord in your minds. Surely you have read about the great doings of this outfit. I dont know what the newspapers have said about the First Air Commando group and its undertakings, but whatever was written must have made good reading material. I may be prejudiced because I happen to be one of its members, the
only Nisei with this group, but I assure you that whatever I say about this outfit is with the deepest sincerity, and is shared by each and everyone of us.
A year and a half ago, I was one of the evacuees in Tule and little did I realize at the time of my enlistment that I would be fortunate enough to join such an outfit as the one Im in now.
Our old man the C. O., incidently, he isnt very old, and in his thirtiesis a hard-fighting leader. Hes a go-getter, and thats one of the main reasons that weve accomplished so much in such a short time. Our men are taking the war to the enemy, and I am more than certain that the enemy is feeling the might of our punches. I know it may sound incredible when I say that were fighting a war of our own, but thats exactly what were doing; that is, with as much free-wheeling as were allowed.
I have just finished reading Harold Lavines article on West Coast prejudice against Japanese-Americans in the Jan. 21 issue of PM.
I have had constant dealings with Japa-nese-American boys serving in our Army. When I first arrived in this theater of operations, I was an enlisted man and I shared a tent with one of these boys. There were a number of other Japanese-Americans in the company and there wasnt a single man in that outfit who didnt like and respect these boys. They are all courageous, sincere, loyal and swell fellows.
At my present station where I am serving with a Marine unit, we have a group of these Japanese-American boys. They are, like the previous group I mentioned, good Americans and well liked.
If there are any groups of Americans who have reason to hate and distrust Japs, they are the Marine and Army units who have been in combat with them. Yet, all of these Marines and Army boys will swear by the integrity and loyalty of the Japanese-American soldiers.
Many of these boys have parents and sisters and brothers in relocation centers. They are there not because they arent loyal Americans, but because the Government has seen fit to put them there as purely precautionary measures. Though they are not happy about it, the Japanese-American soldiers understand and appreciate the necessity for such action under the circumstances.
My own sentiments and that of others with whom I have discussed Mr. Lavines article are that Japanese-Americans should have the same rights guaranteed to them as are guaranteed to any other Ameri-.cansthe right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
I would like to see jailed and convicted for making murderous threats the members of those organizations who wrote District Attorney Houser of Los Angeles County that they have pledged to kill any Japanese who come to California now or after the war.
2D Lt. Morris Kritz
Somewhere in the South Pacific
P.S. Just as I was on the last paragraph of this letter, one of our Japanese-American boys walked in to see howm I doing.
Japanese-Yanks Prove To Be Poison to Germans in Italy
WITH THE FIFTH ARMY IN ITALY, July 9 (Delayed) (AP) Built up from a single battalion to a full-sized regiment, Japanese-American doughboys are back in the line operating against the Germans with the motto, go for broke, the crap-shooters equivalent of shoot the' works or bet the roll.
This is the 442nd Regiment, complete with engineers and artillery, which was created by a special War Department order after Selective Service had refused to induct Americans of Japanese ancestry.
The first of these soldiers in action was the now famous 100th Battalion, which made the first actual contact with the enemy in Italy as part of the 34th Division, then distinguished itself at the Anzio beachhead and has continued the same sort of fighting farther north.
For instance, there was the youngster from this outfit who was out with a bazooka the other day, just north of Castellina. A Jerry tank came along and the bazooka went off a couple of times. The score was one kayoed tank, with 20 dead Germans ip the neighborhood.
Then there was the outfit consist': ing of two squads that Lt. Jim Boodrv;. Clinton, Mass., took out into the fed-hot dction around Bolgheri, wherg-.'the enemy put up a blazing battle to keep the doughboys from taking Highway 68. Three Hawaiians went to a ridge from which the Nazis had been throwing a lot of fire.
When the shooting was over the lead trio and their' mates had run up a total of some 30 Nazi dead, 46 captured and had a collection of enemy material including 5 machine guns, 30 machine pistols and a few hundred potato masher grenades, according to Lieutenant Boodry.
All in all, the regiment charged some 50 miles in 4 days after going into the line. Some of them averaged as little as two and a half hours sleep a night, and some were so far out ahead of the supply lines they were without food for 24 hours.
THE DENVER POST October 13, 1943
JAPANESE-AMERICAN FOUGHT NIPS ON ATTU
U. S.-Born Sergeant Home From Alaska to Take Bride, Tells of Fighting on Visit to Parents At Heart Mountain
Heart Mountain, Wyo., Oct. 13. (I. N. S.)Japanese soldiers of American birth, in addition to fighting Nazis in Italy, have fought against Nipponese soldiers in the Pacific theater of war, it was disclosed Wednesday.
Sergt. Kunihiro Nakao, a Japanese-American formerly of
Sacramento, Calif., arrived at the war relocation center at Heart Mountain
as a veteran of hand-to-hand combat at Attu.
Sergeant Nakao and his bride of a few days, the former Kuni Muto of San Fernando, Calif., spent part of their honeymoon at the WRA camp visiting his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Kamjiro Nakao, recent transferees from the Tulelake, Calif., camp of the WRA.
Despite his reluctance to talk of his experiences, Sergeant Nakao revealed to fellow Japanese that he had been stationed in Alaska for about a year, and that he was among those who landed on Attu where he said he was frequently under fire.
Revea I Husband of\ Cle veland Japanese Saved U. S. Generali
A 26-year-old Japanese-American sergeant, whose wife and brother are living in Cleveland, today was credited with helping to save the life of an American general in hand-to-hand combat with Japanese forces in the South Pacific.
Sgt. Tomas Sakamoto, whose wife is a civil service employee of the War Department, has been mentioned in dispatches from the South Pacific as the first of his race to be cited for action against the Japanese. Mrs. Sakamoto, 23, lives at 11102 Lorain avenue, while Sgt. Sakamoto's brother, Prank, 22, lives at 1906 E. 93d street.
Sakamoto was the only noncommissioned officer in an assault party led by Brig. Gen. William Chase. The party was attacked by a Jap group, headed by the Japanese island commander.
In the ensuing fighting the entire Jap group except two were killed.
Sgt. Sakamoto is a native of San Jose, Cal. He has been in the Army three years and met his wife in Minneapolis, Minn., while he was at Camp Savage.
Captured Japanese rations proved a welcome addition to the emergency fare on which Sergeant Nakao and his buddies were existing, and the Caucasians learned to relish enemy delicacies, the camp newspaper reported, in disclosing Nakaos return to the United States via plane to become a bridegroom. The marriage took place at Salt Lake City. Following the honeymoon, Sergeant Nakao will return to his army post in Alaska.
SUN (Baltimore, Md.) November 20, 1943
JAPANESE TELLS OF PACIFIC WAR AT RIVERS CAMP
One Jap sniper who tried his best to kill a Japanese American doughboy never lived to tell of his failure.
The Japanese American soldier, Staff Sgt. Kazuo Komoto, is back in America after a slug from the snipers machine gun had shattered his knee. He visited his parents at the Rivers Relocation Center last week.
The sergeant in recounting his experience in the toughest fighting in the world said that he had been without sleep for a week, and had climbed out of his fox hole behind the front lines to rest. Some twenty minutes later the sniper, who had infiltrated and camouflaged himself in a tree, opened on him and several other American soldiers near him. A few seconds later the sniper was riddled by American fire.
Later, on a hospital ship, his commanding general presented him with the Purple Heart award. With a soldiers disdain for what he terms a cripples medal, Komoto shrugs off congratulations. Completely recovered from his knee wound, he is ready for action again.
On the Line
We were down here to appear on the Army's radio program which is called Vising Hour"written by our old pal, Sergt. Jerry Lewis, and produced by Maj. Andre Baruch, one of the better men of radio. The program, one of the best on the air, we think, is the idea of Maj. Gen. Norman T. Kirk, Surgeon General of the Army. General Kirk is using this program to introduce the wounded veteran to the public. He is doing just that.
There was one boy on the program who startled even the legless, armless boys in the audience. He was (and is) a Japanese-American, born in Honolulu.
His mother and father were born in Japan. His name is Wallace Y. Hisamoto. We asked him what was on his mindone of the lively stock questions of the program.
Well," he said, Tomorrow is I Am An American Day,' and Id like to say that despite the fact that both of my parents were born in Japan, Im an American, too."
Wallace lost his leg in the battle that followed the crossing of the Volturno River, in Italy. He served with the 100th Infantry Battalion of the Thirty-fourth Division, composed mainly of Japanese-Americans. Wally yesterday was carried on to the stage, as a baby is carried, by Corpl. Mark Austaad of Ogden, Utah.
When my people tried to settle down in some places in this country they were driven out," the legless boy protested. I went to war because the Japanese rulers and the Nazis were trying to prove that there is a super-race. America doesn't believe that, and yet my people, who are American like me, can't stay put because their skin isn't white. It doesn't make sense.
The inconsistency of it all reminded him of his favorite athlete, Sergt. Joe Louis.
Our people feel just like Louis does," he said. When the heavyweight champion landed in England, somebody said to him Why are you so happy to be in uniform, your country isn't so nice to your people. Joe looked at the man -and said, Mister, I know that there are things wrong with my country, but its nothing Hitler can fix. We Americans whose parents were born in Japan feel the same way. Maybe there is something wrong in America, but its nothing To jo can fix, either."
DES MOINES REGISTER, March 24, 1944
High Praise for Doughboy and the Nisei
By C. C. Clifton.
Maj. James J. Gillespie, 32, who fought with the famous 34th Division from the beach landing at Algiers to the mountains before Cassino, came home Thursday singing the praises of the infantry and the Hawaiian Japanese he commanded in Italy.
Landed at Salerno.
Major Gillespie, who went into Italy at Salerno beach in the battalion commanded by Lt. Col. Lloyd Rockwell of Council Bluffs which took the key road center of Benevento, was placed in command of the Hawaiian Japanese battalion after Benevento.
These Hawaiians, all of Japanese descent and American citizens came in to replace a battalion which was removed from the division before the North African invasion.
They were flanked in all their fighting, which included two crossings of the Volturno river and the mountain fighting before Cassino, by two battalions of Iowans.
On one side was Rockwells third battalion of the 133d infantry and on the other was the first battalion of the 133d.
These Hawaiian Japanese, Gillespie said, call themselves Hawaiians or just plain Americans. Theyve earned the right to call themselves anything they damn well please. Ive never been so mad in my life as I have been since I returned to the United States and have heard cracks made about Japs fighting on our side in Italy.
Anybody who calls these doughboys Japs is the most narrow minded person I know of. These kids, so far as Im concerned, are just as much Americans as I am. Id like to hear anybody foolish enough to disparage them do it when the two Iowa battalions that fought with them and got shot at with them could hear it.
The men of these battalions will tell anybody what good men they are and how extremely loyal they are. Theyre as good as any outfit Ive ever been with.
The Hawaiian battalion was organized in Hawaii, trained 15 months in the United States, and joined the 34th Division at Oran, Africa, before the division went to Italy. At the front they were under constant fire, day in and day out, battling mud and rain and terrific terrain.
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