Seen as the Enemy: The 442nd Regimental Combat Team

Dec 17, 2020
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is an infantry regiment of the United States Army , part of the Army Reserve. The regiment was a fighting unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry who fought in World War II. Most of the families of mainland Japanese Americans were confined to internment camps in the United States interior. Beginning in 1944, the regiment fought primarily in Europe during World War II, in particular Italy, southern France, and Germany. The 442nd Regiment was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare. The 4,000 men who initially made up the unit in April 1943 had to be replaced nearly 2.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, earning 9,486 Purple Hearts. The unit was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations (five earned in one month). Twenty-one of its members were awarded Medals of Honor. Its motto was "Go for Broke". (wikipedia- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Infantry_Regiment_(United_States)
442nd go for broke
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service during the entire history of the U.S. military. The 4,000 men, who initially came in April 1943, had to be replaced nearly 3.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, ultimately earning 9,486 Purple Hearts, 21 Medals of Honor and an unprecedented eight Presidential Unit Citations. The motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was "go for broke." It is a gambling term that means risking everything on one great effort to win big. The Soldiers of the 442nd needed to win big. They were Nisei - American-born sons of Japanese immigrants. They fought two wars: the Germans in Europe and the prejudice in America. The motto was invented by the high-rolling Nisei Soldiers, who came from the Hawaiian islands. The Hawaii-born Nisei, also known as "Buddhaheads," made up about two-thirds of the regiment. The remaining third were Nisei from the mainland. In April 1943, the islanders and mainlanders arrived for training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Immediately, they fought with each other because of different perspectives based on where they grew up. The Army discharged all the Japanese-Americans in the ROTC - and changed their draft status to 4C - "enemy alien," Jan. 19, 1942. The Nisei cadets felt such despair that the very bottom of their existence fell out. But community leaders convinced the demoralized students to turn the other cheek. One hundred and seventy students petitioned the military governor saying, "Hawaii is our home; the United States our country. 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." In 1944, the 100th Infantry Battalion became part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. (https://www.army.mil/asianpacificamericans/history/ [caption id="attachment_7746" align="aligncenter" width="467"]
Nisei World War II Veterans from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team attend the WWII Nisei Veterans Program National Veterans Network tribute to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service Nov. 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/ Released)
Nisei World War II Veterans from the 442nd Regimental Combat Team attend the WWII Nisei Veterans Program National Veterans Network tribute to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service Nov. 1, 2011 in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Teddy Wade/ Released)[/caption]

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