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Japanese American History from Early Immigration to Present Time

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Japanese American Soldiers: 442nd Regimental Combat Team and 100th Battalion

February 1st 1943- The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated all-Nisei unit, was activated. A call for volunteers yielded vastly different results in Hawaii than on the mainland: some ten thousand Hawaii Nisei volunteered within days, while only 1,256 mainland Nisei came forward from the camps.

June 12th 1943- Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion made up of members of the National Guard 298th and 299th are activated as the 100th Infantry Battalion “Separate”

September 2nd 1943- After nearly a year and a half of training, the 100th Infantry Battalion, an all-Nisei unit from Hawaii, finally landed in Oran, North Africa. There they are met by the 442nd RCT and in June 1944, the 100th Battalion and 442nd merge into a single unit.

October 1944- In the Voges Mountains in Southeast France, 275 members of the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry from Texas known as the “Lost Battalion” are cut-off and surrounded by Germans. Elements of the 141st and 143rd Regiments fail in a rescue attempt, and with just two days of rest, the 442nd RCT are asked to attempt a rescue. On the 4th day of the rescue mission, the first patrols reach the 211 survivors and for another 9 days after, the 442nd pursues the Germans. As a result, the 442nd suffered 216 dead, 856 wounded. After the war, the 100th Battalion became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” and the 442nd became the most highly decorated military unit in the history of the United States Armed Forces, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients.

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