442nd Infantry Regiment WW2 Veteran’s Story

Colonel Jimmie Kanaya served in the 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II. The 442nd was a segregated Japanese American unit, and distinguished themselves as the most decorated unit in the history of the U.S. military. He was captured by the Germans and held as a Prisoner of War (POW) in search of the “Lost Battalion”. Colonel Kanaya later served in the Korean War and Vietnam. He retired in 1974 from the military.

After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Japanese Americans were classified as “Enemy Aliens” and were not allowed to enlist in the military. In addition, the American government forced many Japanese Americans to relocate to internment camps. In 1943, President Franklin D.Roosevelt, decided to allow Japanese Americans to serve in an entirely Japanese-American battalion. The 442nd Infantry Regiment eventually totaled approximately 4,500 troops. Many of these volunteers chose to fight in the war because they wanted to show their dedication and loyalty to America through their military service.

Their battle cry was, “Go for Broke!” the 442nd fought in eight major campaigns in Italy, France, and Germany, but are most famous for their rescue of the “Lost Battalion” in Southern France. The 4442nd Infantry Regiment lost more than 800 troops as they liberated 211 men of the Texan Lost Battalion.

For their valor the 442nd Infantry Regiment has been recognized as the most decorated unit in American history. The 442nd soldiers earned more than 18,000 awards, including 9,500 Purple Hearts, 5,200 Bronze Star Medals, 588 Silver Stars, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 7 Distinguished Unit Citations, and one Congressional Medal of Honor.

To learn more about the 442nd Infantry Regiment check out the following:

Courtesy of World War II in the Classroom.

Ten quotes from those who lived in Japanese Internment Camps during the war CLICK HERE

Or read a first=hand account by Mrs. Hagiwara CLICK HERE

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