Asian-American soldiers into the
Pentagon's Hall of Heroes
By Army Secretary
"Today we are inducting them into the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, a shrine to the most honored soldiers in our nation's military history," Caldera said during the Pentagon ceremony. "It is fitting that we have such a place, so that the memory of their deeds will be forever enshrined in the long annals of our country's history."
the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes
Staff Sgt. (later 2nd Lt.) Rudolph B. Davila, 7th Infantry
Pvt. Barney F. Hajiro, 442nd Combat Team
Pvt. Shizuya Hayashi, 100th Infantry Battalion
1st Lt (Later Capt) Daniel K. Inouye
Tech. Sgt. Yeiki Kobashigawa, 100th Infantry Battalion
Tech. Sgt. Yukio Okutsu, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Pvt. George T. Sakato, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
marked by one gold star
Pfc. Kaoru Moto, 100th Infantry Battalion
Pvt. Masato Nakae, 100th Infantry Battalion
Pfc. Joe M. Nishimoto, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Sgt. (later Staff Sgt.) Allan M. Ohata, 100th Infantry Battalion
Tech/Sgt, Army medic, James Okubo, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Pfc. Frank H. Ono, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Tech. Sgt. Ted T. Tanouye, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
marked by two gold stars
Pvt. Mikio Hasemoto, 100th Infantry Battalion
Pvt. Joe Hayashi, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Staff Sgt. Robert T. Kuroda, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Staff Sgt. Kazuo Otani, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Pfc. Kiyoshi K. Muranaga, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Pvt. Shinyei Nakamine, 100th Infantry Battalion
Pfc. William K. Nakamura, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Capt. Francis B. Wai, 34th Infantry
"Many of the Japanese-Americans who served in those units volunteered from internment camps where their families had been relocated," Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K. Shinseki pointed out.
The 442nd fought in eight major campaigns in Italy, France and Germany. These included the battles of Monte Cassino, Anzio and Biffontaine. At Biffontaine, the unit fought perhaps its most famous battle, the epic "Rescue of the Lost Battalion," in which the Japanese-American unit sustained more than 800 casualties to rescue 211 members of the 1st Battalion of the 141st Regiment, a Texas National Guard outfit.
"These quiet men, small in stature, performed unbelievable acts of bravery; they& were tigers in battle," Shinseki said. "You and the recipients who are no longer with us, served this nation over 50 years ago, but you are serving it again today. You are serving the nation by accepting this recognition."
The best-known of the 22 heroes is.
1st Lt (Later Captain) Daniel K. Inouye
Senator of Hawaii
"I am deeply grateful to my nation for this extraordinary award," he said in a brief statement after learning he had been selected for the nation's highest award for valor. The making of a man involves many mentors. If I did well, much of the credit should go to my parents, grandparents and the gallant men of my platoon.Thisis their medal. I will receive it on their behalf."
According to his Senate biography, Army Sgt. Inouye "slogged through nearly three bloody months of the Rome-Arno campaign with the U.S. Fifth Army and established himself as an outstanding patrol leader with the 'Go-For-Broke Regiment.'
Inouye's unit shifted from Italy to the Vosges Mountains in France and "spent two of the bloodiest weeks of the war rescuing 'The Lost Battalion,' the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, of the Texas National Guard, which was surrounded by German forces," according to his biography.
The Japanese-American unit sustained more than 800 casualties to rescue 211 Texans. The rescue is listed in the Army annals as one of the most significant military battles of the century.
Inouye lost 10 pounds, became a platoon leader and earned the Bronze Star Medal and a battlefield commission as a second lieutenant," the bio states.
The regiment went back to Italy, and Inouye was cited for heroism while leading his platoon against the enemy at San Terenzo on April 21, 1945. Though hit in the abdomen by a bullet that came out his back and barely missed his spine, he continued to lead the platoon and advanced alone against a machine gun nes that had pinned down his men.
"He tossed two hand grenades with devastating effect before his right arm was shattered by a German rifle grenade at close range," according to the senatorial bio. "Inouye threw his last grenade with his left hand, attacked with a submachine gun and was finally knocked down the hill by a bullet in the leg."
After 20 months in Army hospitals, Inouye returned home as a captain with a Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest award for military valor; the Bronze Star Medal; a Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster and 12 other medals and citations.
He became Hawaii's first congressman in 1959 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Inouye, a native of Honolulu, was re-elected to a fullterm in 1960 and won election to the U.S. Senate in 1962.
The upgrading of the medals stems from efforts by Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, who authored the provision of the 1996 Defense Authorization Act requiring a review of the service records of Asian-Pacific Americans who received the Distinguished Service Cross "The number of nominations made by the Army and approved ... by the president underscores the reason I sought this review: to dispel any doubt about discrimination in the process of awarding the Medal of Honor," Akaka said in a press release. He noted that the 100th and 442nd fought with incredible courage and bravery in Italy and France, well befitting the unit motto, "Go for Broke!"-- Hawaiian slang for "shoot the works."
and 442nd Regimental Combat Team
The 100th, comprised mostly of Japanese-American National Guardsmen from Hawaii, was the first all Japanese-American combat unit. While the 442nd was being formed in 1943, the 100th Battalion was already fighting in Italy. The 100th merged into the 442nd in 1944 and became the regiment's first battalion though it retained its unit designation.
When the 100th arrived in Europe, the unit was almost twice the size of a normal battalion with nearly 1,400 soldiers. As the campaign wore on, companies with up to 190 men were reduced to as few as 16.
Its heavy casualties earned it another nickname -- "Purple Heart Battalion." Nearly 700 soldiers were killed and 9,500 Purple Hearts were awarded to men wounded in combat.
In two years of fighting, the 100th and 442nd earned more than 18,000 individual citations and eight Presidential Unit citations, and became the \ most decorated unit in U.S. military history.
"Unfortunately, Asian-Pacific Americans were not accorded full consideration for the Medal of Honor at the time of their service," said Akaka, who praised the Army and Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera for a "tremendous job conducting" the records review.
A prevailing climate of racial prejudice against Asian-Pacific Americans during World War II precluded this basic fairness, the most egregious example being the internment of 120,000 Japanese-Americans," Akaka said. "The bias, discrimination and hysteria of that time unfortunately had an impact on the decision to award the military's highest honor to Asian and Pacific Islanders."
maintained by Paul D. Henriott
Last updated 18 October 2012