100th Infantry Battalion
The 100th Infantry Battalion was the first group of Japanese American World War II combat infantry soldiers originating from Hawaii, formed from the ranks of the 298th and 299th Infantries of the Hawaii National Guard. Officially activated on the docks of Oakland, California, on June 12, 1942, the 100th carved out an exemplary military record during their service in the European theater, paving the way for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which arrived later. The "Separate" designation indicates that the battalion was not attached to a larger regiment.
442nd Regimental Combat Team
This US Army regiment was made up of Japanese Americans from the state of Hawaii and American concentration camps. Activated at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, on February 7, 1943, the 442nd fought in Italy, France, and Germany. The 442nd, together with the 100th Infantry Battalion, is the most decorated unit in US military history for its size and length of service.
522nd Field Artillery Battalion
Part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 552nd Field Artillery Battalion provided artillery for the frontline, using 105mm howitzers. Activated with the 442nd at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, on February 7, 1943, the 522nd has the distinction of liberating survivors of a death march near Waakirchen, Germany, in May 1945.
Anti-Miscegenation Laws prohibited interracial marriage. The laws were first introduced by several of the Thirteen Colonies before the United States was established and remained in place until it was ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by the US Supreme Court. In the United States, various state laws prohibited marriages between whites and blacks, and in many states they also prohibited marriages between whites and Native Americans or Asians.
Assembly centers was the term used for temporary detention centers that housed Americans of Japanese ancestry who had been forcibly removed from their homes along the West Coast in the early months of World War II. These centers served as temporary quarters before detainees were sent to more permanent quarters in American concentration camps. In most cases, these assembly centers were fairgrounds or racetracks with crude barracks and mess hall facilities later added. Primarily scattered around California, but also in Arizona, Oregon, and Washington.
The Bronze Star is a military decoration awarded to any person who, after December 6, 1941, while serving in any capacity with the US Armed Forces, distinguishing himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving aerial flights. The fourth-highest Army decoration.
There were 848 bronze stars awarded to soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, according to Orville C. Shirley, Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team, published in 1946. US Army Regulation 600-8-22 (December 11, 2006) entitles a World War II solider who is a recipient of the Combat Infantry Badge or Combat Medics Badge to receive the Bronze Star. The 848 bronze stars does not include many of the qualified soldiers. To learn more, visit the resource directory.
Civil Liberties Act of 1988
This federal act (Public Law 100-383) granted redress of $20,000 and a formal presidential apology to every surviving US citizen or legal resident immigrant of Japanese ancestry incarcerated during World War II. First introduced in Congress as the Civil Liberties Act of 1987 (H.R. 442) and signed into law on August 10, 1988, by President Ronald Reagan, the act cited "racial prejudice, wartime hysteria and a lack of political leadership" as causes for the incarceration as a result of formal recommendations by the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, a body appointed by Congress in 1980 to make findings on and suggest remedies for the incarceration.
Euphemistically called "relocation centers" by the War Relocation Authority, concentration camps are places where people are imprisoned not because of any crimes they committed but simply because of who they are. During World War II, America’s concentration camps were clearly distinguishable from Nazi Germany’s. Nazi camps were places of torture, barbarous medical experiments, and summary executions; some were extermination centers with gas chambers. Six million Jews and many others including Gypsies, Poles, homosexuals, and political dissidents were slaughtered in the Holocaust. Despite the difference, all concentration camps had one thing in common: the people in power removed a minority group from the general population. Refer to the Japanese American Citizen League’s Power of Words handbook at https://jacl.org/education/power-of-words/.
Distinguished Service Cross
The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to Army personnel for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force. It is the second highest Army decoration, second only to the Medal of Honor.
Exclusion zone are areas described in each Civilian Exclusion Order from which all Japanese Americans were removed. Civilian Exclusion Orders were issued by the Western Defense Command and Fourth Army to implement the provisions of Executive Order 9066.
Executive Order 9066
Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, authorized the War Department to prescribe military areas from which "any and all persons may be excluded." This provided the basis for the exclusion and mass incarceration of all Japanese Americans from the West Coast.
In April 1945, the 442nd led the way to break the Gothic Line, the last important defense of the German Army in Italy during World War II. In a nighttime march up the steep slopes of Mt. Folgorito, the 442nd broke through the German defenses allowing the Allies to chase the German army for another several weeks when it finally surrendered on May 2, 1945.
Hawaii Democratic Revolution
The Hawaii Democratic Revolution of 1954 was a nonviolent revolution that took place in Hawaii consisting of general strikes, protests, and other acts of civil disobedience. The revolution culminated in the territorial elections of 1954 with the long reign of the Hawaii Republican Party in the legislature coming to an abrupt end: they were voted out of office to be replaced by members of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.
Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee
The Heart Mountain Fair Play Committee was a membership organization of draft-age Nisei men at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center that advocated for a restoration of Nisei civil rights as a precondition for compliance with the military draft and counseled noncompliance with the draft in order to create a test case of the lawfulness of conscripting the incarcerated Nisei.
The state of being in prison or being confined.
Internment camps were administered by the Justice Department for the detention of enemy aliens (not US citizens) deemed dangerous during World War II. Most of the several thousand people in these camps were Issei and Kibei *who had been rounded up after the attack on Pearl Harbor because they were perceived as "dangerous." "Internment camp" is used by some to describe the "American concentration camps." However, the term "internment" is problematic when applied to US citizens. Technically, internment refers to the detention of enemy aliens during time of war, and two-thirds of the Japanese Americans incarcerated were US citizens. *Kibei are American-born persons of Japanese ancestry sent to Japan for formal education and socialization when young and later returned to the United States.
The first generation of immigrant Japanese Americans, most of whom came to the United States between 1885 and 1924. The Issei were ineligible for US citizenship and considered "enemy aliens" during World War II.
Japanese American Citizens League (JACL)
Founded in 1929, the Japanese American Citizens League is the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in the United States. The league monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to effect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community.
1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment of the 36th (Texas) Division that was surrounded by German troops in the French Vosges Mountains in October 1944. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was sent in to rescue the Lost Battalion, which it accomplished after a grueling battle that resulted in hundreds of casualties.
Loyalty questionnaire is a euphemism for the “Application for Leave Clearance” issued by the War Department and the War Relocation Authority in February 1943. It was generally understood to be a loyalty questionnaire because it “tested” whether individuals of Japanese descent were “loyal” or “disloyal” to the US. Every resident held in an American concentration camp was required to complete one of two questionnaires issued: the first for draft-age Nisei men and the second for all others.
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force, which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the US Armed Services. It is normally presented to its recipient by the president of the United States of America in the name of Congress.
In 2000, 20 Japanese American World War II soldiers were upgraded to the Medal of Honor as a result of legislation in 1995 that required the US Army and US Navy to review Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross or Navy Cross for possible upgrade. Counting Sadao Munemori, 21 Medals of Honor were awarded to Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Military Intelligence Service
The Military Intelligence Service is a US Army branch in which many Japanese Americans served during World War II, utilizing their language skills. Japanese American soldiers in the Military Intelligence Service translated enemy documents, interrogated Japanese prisoners of war, intercepted enemy communication, and persuaded enemy units to surrender.
American-born children of Japanese immigrants; second-generation Japanese Americans.
Presidential Unit Citation
The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of the US Armed Forces and allied nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after December 7, 1941. According to the Department of Defense, the unit “must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission as to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of a Distinguished Service Cross to an individual.” Prior to 1957, the Presidential Unit Citation was known as the Distinguished Unit Citation.
Private Barney F. Hajiro
Private Barney F. Hajiro distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 19, 22, and 29 October 1944, in the vicinity of Bruyeres and Biffontaine, eastern France. Private Hajiro, while acting as a sentry on top of an embankment on 19 October 1944, in the vicinity of Bruyeres, France, rendered assistance to allied troops attacking a house 200 yards away by exposing himself to enemy fire and directing fire at an enemy strong point. He assisted the unit on his right by firing his automatic rifle and killing or wounding two enemy snipers. On 22 October 1944, he and one comrade took up an outpost security position about 50 yards to the right front of their platoon, concealed themselves, and ambushed an 18-man, heavily armed, enemy patrol, killing two, wounding one, and taking the remainder as prisoners. On 29 October 1944, in a wooded area in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France, Private Hajiro initiated an attack up the slope of a hill referred to as "Suicide Hill" by running forward approximately 100 yards under fire. He then advanced ahead of his comrades about 10 yards, drawing fire and spotting camouflaged machine gun nests. He fearlessly met fire with fire and single-handedly destroyed two machine gun nests and killed two enemy snipers. As a result of Private Hajiro's heroic actions, the attack was successful. Private Hajiro's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private First Class Frank H. Ono
Private First Class Frank H. Ono distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 4 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. In attacking a heavily defended hill, Private First Class Ono's squad was caught in a hail of formidable fire from the well-entrenched enemy. Private First Class Ono opened fire with his automatic rifle and silenced one machine gun 300 hundred yards to the right front. Advancing through incessant fire, he killed a sniper with another burst of fire, and while his squad leader reorganized the rest of the platoon in the rear, he alone defended the critical position. His weapon was then wrenched from his grasp by a burst of enemy machine pistol fire as enemy troops attempted to close in on him. Hurling hand grenades, Private First Class Ono forced the enemy to abandon the attempt, resolutely defending the newly won ground until the rest of the platoon moved forward. Taking a wounded comrade's rifle, Private First Class Ono again joined in the assault. After killing two more enemy soldiers, he boldly ran through withering automatic, small arms, and mortar fire to render first aid to his platoon leader and a seriously wounded rifleman. In danger of being encircled, the platoon was ordered to withdraw. Volunteering to cover the platoon, Private First Class Ono occupied virtually unprotected positions near the crest of the hill, engaging an enemy machine gun emplaced on an adjoining ridge and exchanging fire with snipers armed with machine pistols. Completely disregarding his own safety, he made himself the constant target of concentrated enemy fire until the platoon reached the comparative safety of a draw. He then descended the hill in stages, firing his rifle, until he rejoined the platoon. Private First Class Ono's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private First Class Joe M. Nishimoto
Private First Class Joe M. Nishimoto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 November 1944, near La Houssiere, France. After three days of unsuccessful attempts by his company to dislodge the enemy from a strongly defended ridge, Private First Class Nishimoto, as acting squad leader, boldly crawled forward through a heavily mined and booby-trapped area. Spotting a machine gun nest, he hurled a grenade and destroyed the emplacement. Then, circling to the rear of another machine gun position, he fired his submachine gun at point-blank range, killing one gunner and wounding another. Pursuing two enemy riflemen, Private First Class Nishimoto killed one, while the other hastily retreated. Continuing his determined assault, he drove another machine gun crew from its position. The enemy, with their key strong points taken, were forced to withdraw from this sector. Private First Class Nishimoto's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private First Class Kaoru Moto
Private First Class Kaoru Moto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. While serving as first scout, Private First Class Moto observed a machine gun nest that was hindering his platoon's progress. On his own initiative, he made his way to a point ten paces from the hostile position, and killed the enemy machine gunner. Immediately, the enemy assistant gunner opened fire in the direction of Private First Class Moto. Crawling to the rear of the position, Private First Class Moto surprised the enemy soldier, who quickly surrendered. Taking his prisoner with him, Private First Class Moto took a position a few yards from a house to prevent the enemy from using the building as an observation post. While guarding the house and his prisoner, he observed an enemy machine gun team moving into position. He engaged them, and with deadly fire forced the enemy to withdraw. An enemy sniper located in another house fired at Private First Class Moto, severely wounding him. Applying first aid to his wound, he changed position to elude the sniper fire and to advance. Finally relieved of his position, he made his way to the rear for treatment. Crossing a road, he spotted an enemy machine gun nest. Opening fire, he wounded two of the three soldiers occupying the position. Not satisfied with this accomplishment, he then crawled forward to a better position and ordered the enemy soldier to surrender. Receiving no answer, Private First Class Moto fired at the position, and the soldiers surrendered. Private First Class Moto's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private First Class Kiyoshi K. Muranaga
Private First Class Kiyoshi K. Muranaga distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 26 June 1944, near Suvereto, Italy. Private First Class Muranaga's company encountered a strong enemy force in commanding positions and with superior firepower. An enemy 88mm self-propelled gun opened direct fire on the company, causing the men to disperse and seek cover. Private First Class Muranaga's mortar squad was ordered to action, but the terrain made it impossible to set up their weapons. The squad leader, realizing the vulnerability of the mortar position, moved his men away from the gun to positions of relative safety. Because of the heavy casualties being inflicted on his company, Private First Class Muranaga, who served as a gunner, attempted to neutralize the 88mm weapon alone. Voluntarily remaining at his gun position, Private First Class Muranaga manned the mortar himself and opened fire on the enemy gun at a range of approximately 400 yards. With his third round, he was able to correct his fire so that the shell landed directly in front of the enemy gun. Meanwhile, the enemy crew, immediately aware of the source of mortar fire, turned their 88mm weapon directly on Private First Class Muranaga's position. Before Private First Class Muranaga could fire a fourth round, an 88mm shell scored a direct hit on his position, killing him instantly. Because of the accuracy of Private First Class Muranaga's previous fire, the enemy soldiers decided not to risk further exposure and immediately abandoned their position. Private First Class Muranaga's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private First Class Sadao S.Munemori
He fought with great gallantry and intrepidity near Seravezza, Italy. When his unit was pinned down by grazing fire from the enemy's strong mountain defense and command of the squad devolved on him with the wounding of its regular leader, he made frontal, l-man attacks through direct fire and knocked out 2 machineguns with grenades Withdrawing under murderous fire and showers of grenades from other enemy emplacements, he had nearly reached a shell crater occupied by 2 of his men when an unexploded grenade bounced on his helmet and rolled toward his helpless comrades. He arose into the withering fire, dived for the missile and smothered its blast with his body. By his swift, supremely heroic action Pfc. Munemori saved 2 of his men at the cost of his own life and did much to clear the path for his company's victorious advance.
Private First Class William K. Nakamura
Private First Class William K. Nakamura distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 4 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. During a fierce firefight, Private First Class Nakamura's platoon became pinned down by enemy machine gun fire from a concealed position. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura crawled 20 yards toward the hostile nest with fire from the enemy machine gun barely missing him. Reaching a point 15 yards from the position, he quickly raised himself to a kneeling position and threw four hand grenades, killing or wounding at least three of the enemy soldiers. The enemy weapon silenced, Private First Class Nakamura crawled back to his platoon, which was able to continue its advance as a result of his courageous action. Later, his company was ordered to withdraw from the crest of a hill so that a mortar barrage could be placed on the ridge. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura remained in position to cover his comrades' withdrawal. While moving toward the safety of a wooded draw, his platoon became pinned down by deadly machine gun fire. Crawling to a point from which he could fire on the enemy position, Private First Class Nakamura quickly and accurately fired his weapon to pin down the enemy machine gunners. His platoon was then able to withdraw to safety without further casualties. Private First Class Nakamura was killed during this heroic stand. Private First Class Nakamura's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private George T. Sakato
Private George T. Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 October 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the enemy fire, Private Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners. By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission. Private Sakato's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private Joe Hayashi
Private Joe Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 20 and 22 April 1945, near Tendola, Italy. On 20 April 1945, ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi skillfully led his men to a point within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were detected and fired upon. After dragging his wounded comrades to safety, he returned alone and exposed himself to small arms fire in order to direct and adjust mortar fire against hostile emplacements. Boldly attacking the hill with the remaining men of his squad, he attained his objective and discovered that the mortars had neutralized three machine guns, killed 27 men, and wounded many others. On 22 April 1945, attacking the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep, terraced hill to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to a hostile machine gun position, he threw a grenade, killing one enemy soldier and forcing the other members of the gun crew to surrender. Seeing four enemy machine guns delivering deadly fire upon other elements of his platoon, he threw another grenade, destroying a machine gun nest. He then crawled to the right flank of another machine gun position where he killed four enemy soldiers and forced the others to flee. Attempting to pursue the enemy, he was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pistol fire. The dauntless courage and exemplary leadership of Private Hayashi enabled his company to attain its objective. Private Hayashi's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private Masato Nakae
Private Masato Nakae distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 19 August 1944, near Pisa, Italy. When his submachine gun was damaged by a shell fragment during a fierce attack by a superior enemy force, Private Nakae quickly picked up his wounded comrade's M-1 rifle and fired rifle grenades at the steadily advancing enemy. As the hostile force continued to close in on his position, Private Nakae threw six grenades and forced them to withdraw. During a concentrated enemy mortar barrage that preceded the next assault by the enemy force, a mortar shell fragment seriously wounded Private Nakae. Despite his injury, he refused to surrender his position and continued firing at the advancing enemy. By inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy force, he finally succeeded in breaking up the attack and caused the enemy to withdraw. Private Nakae's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private Mikio Hasemoto
Private Mikio Hasemoto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 November 1943, in the vicinity of Cerasuolo, Italy. A force of approximately 40 enemy soldiers, armed with machine guns, machine pistols, rifles, and grenades, attacked the left flank of his platoon. Two enemy soldiers with machine guns advanced forward, firing their weapons. Private Hasemoto, an automatic rifleman, challenged these two machine gunners. After firing four magazines at the approaching enemy, his weapon was shot and damaged. Unhesitatingly, he ran 10 yards to the rear, secured another automatic rifle and continued to fire until his weapon jammed. At this point, Private Hasemoto and his squad leader had killed approximately 20 enemy soldiers. Again, Private Hasemoto ran through a barrage of enemy machine gun fire to pick up an M-1 rifle. Continuing their fire, Private Hasemoto and his squad leader killed 10 more enemy soldiers. With only three enemy soldiers left, he and his squad leader charged courageously forward, killing one, wounding one, and capturing another. The following day, Private Hasemoto continued to repel enemy attacks until he was killed by enemy fire. Private Hasemoto's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private Shinyei Nakamine
Private Shinyei Nakamine distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 2 June 1944, near La Torreto, Italy. During an attack, Private Nakamine's platoon became pinned down by intense machine gun crossfire from a small knoll 200 yards to the front. On his own initiative, Private Nakamine crawled toward one of the hostile weapons. Reaching a point 25 yards from the enemy, he charged the machine gun nest, firing his submachine gun, and killed three enemy soldiers and captured two. Later that afternoon, Private Nakamine discovered an enemy soldier on the right flank of his platoon's position. Crawling 25 yards from his position, Private Nakamine opened fire and killed the soldier. Then, seeing a machine gun nest to his front approximately 75 yards away, he returned to his platoon and led an automatic rifle team toward the enemy. Under covering fire from his team, Private Nakamine crawled to a point 25 yards from the nest and threw hand grenades at the enemy soldiers, wounding one and capturing four. Spotting another machine gun nest 100 yards to his right flank, he led the automatic rifle team toward the hostile position but was killed by a burst of machine gun fire. Private Nakamine's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Private Shizuya Hayashi
Private Shizuya Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 November 1943, near Cerasuolo, Italy. During a flank assault on high ground held by the enemy, Private Hayashi rose alone in the face of grenade, rifle, and machine gun fire. Firing his automatic rifle from the hip, he charged and overtook an enemy machine gun position, killing seven men in the nest and two more as they fled. After his platoon advanced 200 yards from this point, an enemy antiaircraft gun opened fire on the men. Private Hayashi returned fire at the hostile position, killing nine of the enemy, taking four prisoners, and forcing the remainder of the force to withdraw from the hill. Private Hayashi's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
The oldest and most recognized US military decoration awarded to members of the US Armed Forces, the Purple Heart is a combat decoration awarded to those who are wounded in action by an instrument of war at the hands of an enemy.
There were 3,600 Purple Hearts awarded to soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, according to Orville C. Shirley, Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team, published in 1946. This number does not include Purple Hearts awarded to members of this unit wounded in action, who were hospitalized and transferred to the Zone of the Interior. At the end of the war, 442 RCT records showed there were 4,349 battle wounds and killed in action, and 4,881 combat-induced casualties (e.g. frost bite, battle fatigue, trench foot) for which the Purple Heart is not awarded. Subsequently, research conducted by the Japanese American Veterans Association indicates there is a higher number of purple hearts. Visit the resource directory for additional information.
Redress and reparations
Redress and reparations refers to efforts to obtain the restitution of civil rights, an apology, and/or monetary compensation from the U.S. government during the six decades that followed the World War II mass removal and confinement of Japanese Americans. Early campaigns emphasized the violation of constitutional rights, lost property, and the repeal of anti-Japanese legislation. 1960s activists linked the wartime detention camps to contemporary racist and colonial policies. In the late 1970s three organizations pursued redress in court and in Congress, culminating in the passage of the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing a national apology and individual payments of $20,000 to surviving detainees.
Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye
Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper's bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
A strip of cloth, approximately one meter in length, traditionally decorated with 1,000 stitches, each made by a different woman, given as a gift to protect soldiers on their way to war.
Awarded to a member of the US Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself by gallantry in action, the Silver Star is the third-highest Army combat decoration.
There were 342 Silver Stars awarded to soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, according to Orville C. Shirley, Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team, published in 1946. Subsequently, research conducted by the Japanese American Veterans Association indicates a higher number of silver stars. Visit the resource directory for additional information.
Staff Sergeant Allan M. Ohata
Sergeant Allan M. Ohata distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 and 30 November 1943, near Cerasuolo, Italy. Sergeant Ohata, his squad leader, and three men were ordered to protect his platoon's left flank against an attacking enemy force of 40 men, armed with machine guns, machine pistols, and rifles. He posted one of his men, an automatic rifleman, on the extreme left, 15 yards from his own position. Taking his position, Sergeant Ohata delivered effective fire against the advancing enemy. The man to his left called for assistance when his automatic rifle was shot and damaged. With utter disregard for his personal safety, Sergeant Ohata left his position and advanced 15 yards through heavy machine gun fire. Reaching his comrade's position, he immediately fired upon the enemy, killing 10 enemy soldiers and successfully covering his comrade's withdrawal to replace his damaged weapon. Sergeant Ohata and the automatic rifleman held their position and killed 37 enemy soldiers. Both men then charged the three remaining soldiers and captured them. Later, Sergeant Ohata and the automatic rifleman stopped another attacking force of 14, killing four and wounding three while the others fled. The following day he and the automatic rifleman held their flank with grim determination and staved off all attacks. Staff Sergeant Ohata's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Staff Sergeant Kazuo Otani
Staff Sergeant Kazuo Otani distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 15 July 1944, near Pieve Di S. Luce, Italy. Advancing to attack a hill objective, Staff Sergeant Otani's platoon became pinned down in a wheat field by concentrated fire from enemy machine gun and sniper positions. Realizing the danger confronting his platoon, Staff Sergeant Otani left his cover and shot and killed a sniper who was firing with deadly effect upon the platoon. Followed by a steady stream of machine gun bullets, Staff Sergeant Otani then dashed across the open wheat field toward the foot of a cliff, and directed his men to crawl to the cover of the cliff. When the movement of the platoon drew heavy enemy fire, he dashed along the cliff toward the left flank, exposing himself to enemy fire. By attracting the attention of the enemy, he enabled the men closest to the cliff to reach cover. Organizing these men to guard against possible enemy counterattack, Staff Sergeant Otani again made his way across the open field, shouting instructions to the stranded men while continuing to draw enemy fire. Reaching the rear of the platoon position, he took partial cover in a shallow ditch and directed covering fire for the men who had begun to move forward. At this point, one of his men became seriously wounded. Ordering his men to remain under cover, Staff Sergeant Otani crawled to the wounded soldier who was lying on open ground in full view of the enemy. Dragging the wounded soldier to a shallow ditch, Staff Sergeant Otani proceeded to render first aid treatment, but was mortally wounded by machine gun fire. Staff Sergeant Otani's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda
Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, on 20 October 1944, near Bruyeres, France. Leading his men in an advance to destroy snipers and machine gun nests, Staff Sergeant Kuroda encountered heavy fire from enemy soldiers occupying a heavily wooded slope. Unable to pinpoint the hostile machine gun, he boldly made his way through heavy fire to the crest of the ridge. Once he located the machine gun, Staff Sergeant Kuroda advanced to a point within ten yards of the nest and killed three enemy gunners with grenades. He then fired clip after clip of rifle ammunition, killing or wounding at least three of the enemy. As he expended the last of his ammunition, he observed that an American officer had been struck by a burst of fire from a hostile machine gun located on an adjacent hill. Rushing to the officer's assistance, he found that the officer had been killed. Picking up the officer's submachine gun, Staff Sergeant Kuroda advanced through continuous fire toward a second machine gun emplacement and destroyed the position. As he turned to fire upon additional enemy soldiers, he was killed by a sniper. Staff Sergeant Kuroda's courageous actions and indomitable fighting spirit ensured the destruction of enemy resistance in the sector. Staff Sergeant Kuroda's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Technical Sergeant Ted T. Tanouye
Technical Sergeant Ted T. Tanouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 July 1944, near Molino A Ventoabbto, Italy. Technical Sergeant Tanouye led his platoon in an attack to capture the crest of a strategically important hill that afforded little cover. Observing an enemy machine gun crew placing its gun in position to his left front, Technical Sergeant Tanouye crept forward a few yards and opened fire on the position, killing or wounding three and causing two others to disperse. Immediately, an enemy machine pistol opened fire on him. He returned the fire and killed or wounded three more enemy soldiers. While advancing forward, Technical Sergeant Tanouye was subjected to grenade bursts, which severely wounded his left arm. Sighting an enemy-held trench, he raked the position with fire from his submachine gun and wounded several of the enemy. Running out of ammunition, he crawled 20 yards to obtain several clips from a comrade on his left flank. Next, sighting an enemy machine pistol that had pinned down his men, Technical Sergeant Tanouye crawled forward a few yards and threw a hand grenade into the position, silencing the pistol. He then located another enemy machine gun firing down the slope of the hill, opened fire on it, and silenced that position. Drawing fire from a machine pistol nest located above him, he opened fire on it and wounded three of its occupants. Finally taking his objective, Technical Sergeant Tanouye organized a defensive position on the reverse slope of the hill before accepting first aid treatment and evacuation. Technical Sergeant Tanouye's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Technical Sergeant Yeiki Kobashigawa
Technical Sergeant Yeiki Kobashigawa distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 2 June 1944, in the vicinity of Lanuvio, Italy. During an attack, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa's platoon encountered strong enemy resistance from a series of machine guns providing supporting fire. Observing a machine gun nest 50 yards from his position, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa crawled forward with one of his men, threw a grenade and then charged the enemy with his submachine gun while a fellow soldier provided covering fire. He killed one enemy soldier and captured two prisoners. Meanwhile, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa and his comrade were fired upon by another machine gun 50 yards ahead. Directing a squad to advance to his first position, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa again moved forward with a fellow soldier to subdue the second machine gun nest. After throwing grenades into the position, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa provided close supporting fire while a fellow soldier charged, capturing four prisoners. On the alert for other machine gun nests, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa discovered four more, and skillfully led a squad in neutralizing two of them. Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Technical Sergeant Yukio Okutsu
Technical Sergeant Yukio Okutsu distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 April 1945, on Mount Belvedere, Italy. While his platoon was halted by the crossfire of three machine guns, Technical Sergeant Okutsu boldly crawled to within 30 yards of the nearest enemy emplacement through heavy fire. He destroyed the position with two accurately placed hand grenades, killing three machine gunners. Crawling and dashing from cover to cover, he threw another grenade, silencing a second machine gun, wounding two enemy soldiers, and forcing two others to surrender. Seeing a third machine gun, which obstructed his platoon's advance, he moved forward through heavy small arms fire and was stunned momentarily by rifle fire, which glanced off his helmet. Recovering, he bravely charged several enemy riflemen with his submachine gun, forcing them to withdraw from their positions. Then, rushing the machine gun nest, he captured the weapon and its entire crew of four. By these single-handed actions he enabled his platoon to resume its assault on a vital objective. The courageous performance of Technical Sergeant Okutsu against formidable odds was an inspiration to all. Technical Sergeant Okutsu's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo
Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 28 and 29 October and 4 November 1944, in the Foret Domaniale de Champ, near Biffontaine, eastern France. On 28 October, under strong enemy fire coming from behind mine fields and roadblocks, Technician Fifth Grade Okubo, a medic, crawled 150 yards to within 40 yards of the enemy lines. Two grenades were thrown at him while he left his last covered position to carry back wounded comrades. Under constant barrages of enemy small arms and machine gun fire, he treated 17 men on 28 October and 8 more men on 29 October. On 4 November, Technician Fifth Grade Okubo ran 75 yards under grazing machine gun fire and, while exposed to hostile fire directed at him, evacuated and treated a seriously wounded crewman from a burning tank, who otherwise would have died. Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
War Relocation Authority
The War Relocation Authority was the US government agency charged with administering the concentration camps in which Japanese Americans from the West Coast were imprisoned during World War II.
Western Defense Command
The Western Defense Command established on March 17, 1941, was the Army command charged with the defense of the western portion of the United States, including the Pacific Coast. Under the leadership of its first Commanding General, John L. DeWitt, the WDC advocated for the mass forced removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast, and its leaders successfully persuaded the War Department and president to adopt that view; the WDC also went on to implement that forced removal.
Women's Army Corps
This US Army unit was created during World War II to enable women to serve in noncombat positions.