A Look Back at the 442nd RCT
In Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Establishment of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, we offer these selected facts and resources, many perhaps well known to you already with others less so, related to the brave and honorable men of the 442nd. Any errors are inadvertent and the responsibility of the E-/web editor.
◊ U.S. Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall approves formation of Nisei combat team on January 1, 1943. The combat team is formally authorized by President Roosevelt on Feb. 1.
◊ The call for volunteers is issued on January 28, 1943 by the War Department, with a proclamation in Hawaii and by posters, press and other means on the U.S. mainland and later by recruiting teams, and the 442nd is activated on February 1 at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
◊ Volunteers for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in the Territory of Hawaii are given an aloha ceremony on March 28, 1943 at Iolani Palace while on the mainland, officers and enlisted men had already begun reporting to Camp Shelby in small groups and individually from February 1.
◊ We must not forget that many mainland Nisei of the 442nd volunteered from internment camps. Read this series of articles by law professor Geoffrey R. Stone published in the Huffington Post in 2017: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5a10b5e2e4b0e6450602eb9c (Part I), https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/it-can-happen-here-the-75th-anniversary-of-the-japanese_us_5a121186e4b023121e0e9439 (Part II) and https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/it-can-happen-here-the-75th-anniversary-of-the-japanese_us_5a135f12e4b05ec0ae8444e2 (Part II) (accessed 2.8.2018).
◊ Volunteers from Hawaii depart on April 4, 1943 for Camp Shelby, arriving 2,686 strong on April 13.
◊ The 442nd RCT begins basic training on May 10, 1943.
◊ The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), who had arrived at Camp Shelby in January 1943 from Camp McCoy (Wisconsin), leave Camp Shelby on August 11 and ship out for North Africa on August 21, 1943 where the Battalion joins the 34th Division.
◊ Basic training ends for the 442nd RCT on August 23, 1943 and platoon and company level training begins in October followed by battalion training in November.
◊ Ten officers and 165 enlisted men from the 442nd RCT are transferred to be replacements for the 100th Inf Bn in January 1944 with another 20 officers and 210 enlisted men transferred in February.
◊ The 442nd RCT is reviewed by Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall on March 4, 1944.
◊ Another 10 officers and 155 enlisted men are transferred to be replacements for the 100th Inf Bn in (month).
◊ The 442nd RCT (short one infantry battalion) leave Camp Shelby on April 22-23, 1944 and board Liberty ships on May 1. On May 2 the 442nd ship out from Virginia via convoy for Naples, Italy. The remainder of 1st Battalion stay at Camp Shelby to later become the 171st that trains replacement personnel for the 442nd for the duration of the war.
◊ The 442nd, minus most of 2nd Battalion whose ships had detoured to Oran (Algeria), arrive at Naples on May 28, 1944. Most of 2nd Battalion join the rest of the 442nd, who were on the move, on June 17 near Tarquinia, Italy.
◊ The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) becomes part of the 442nd RCT on June 11, 1944 and is redesignated the 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry on Aug 10, 1944 (instead of being designated the 1st Battalion).
◊ The 442nd RCT enters combat on June 26, 1944 near Belvedere, Italy as part of the 34th Infantry Division.
◊ The Anti-Tank Company is detached from the 442nd from July 13-Oct 24, 1944 during which time the men become “glider troops.”
◊ The 442nd RCT take part in the Vosges Campaign (including the liberation of Bruyeres and Biffontaine) and the fighting to rescue the “Lost Battalion” in October and November 1944.
◊ The 100th is detached from the 442nd from Nov 10-28, 1944 and make their way to Menton in Southern France.
◊ The 442nd (less the 522nd FAB) help break the Gothic Line in the Po Valley Campaign in March 1945.
◊ The 522nd FAB is detached from the 442nd on March 15 and pursue German troops into Germany along with other American units. The 522nd encounter those who had been held in Nazi death camps and sub-camps near Dachau.
◊ The war in Europe ends on May 8, 1945. Men of the 442nd start being sent back to the U.S. and then on home to their families.
◊ Members of the 442nd RCT march to the White House Lawn on July 16, 1946 and the RCT is presented a seventh Presidential Unit Citation by President Truman.
◊ The 442nd RCT is deactivated in August 1946 but is reactivated in July 1947 as part of the Army Reserve.
◊ The Album, 442nd Combat Team 1943 created by the 442nd (includes photos of each company at Camp Shelby in 1943) and Americans: The Story of The 442d Combat Team by Orville C. Shirey are available online via Peter Wakamatsu’s website at https://www.the442.org/home.html (accessed 2.8.2018)
◊ A selection of photograph’s from the 442nd 10th Anniversary gathering courtesy of the family of Kazutoshi Fujino, Easy Co., is available on the S&D website at this link.
◊ An electronic copy of the 442nd 50th Anniversary booklet, Go For Broke 1943 * 1993 (accessed 2.8.2018), is available on the Densho website in two files at https://ddrstage.densho.org/media/ddr-csujad-1/ddr-csujad-1-207-mezzanine-acdcfc588a.pdf (first file) and at https://ddrstage.densho.org/media/ddr-csujad-1/ddr-csujad-1-207-mezzanine-acea0781ac.pdf
(second file) and an electronic copy of the picture booklet recapping the 50th Anniversary events is found at https://ddrstage.densho.org/media/ddr-csujad-1/ddr-csujad-1-195-mezzanine-0f028d0279.pdf (accessed 2.22.2018).
1995 Homecoming event at Camp Shelby https://ddrstage.densho.org/media/ddr-csujad-1/ddr-csujad-1-46-mezzanine-6e161c6818.pdf (accessed 2.22.2018)
◊ Select Unit Decorations (out of a total of 7)
General Orders awarding the 442nd RCT (less the 522 FAB) a Presidential Unit Citation: https://www.442.us.com/images/GO_34-442_less_522.pdf (accessed 2.7.2018)
General Orders for one of the two Presidential Unit Citations awarded to the 100th Inf Bn: https://www.442.us.com/images/GO_360-100_Oct_44_.pdf (accessed 2.7.2018)
Extract of General Orders awarding the 2nd Bn a Distinguished Unit Citation: (Japanese American Veterans Association file accessed 2.6.2018)
General Orders awarding the 3rd Bn a Presidential Unit Citation: https://www.442.us.com/images/GO_317-3rd_Bn.pdf (accessed 2.7.2018)
General Orders awarding Fox and Love Companies 3rd Bn a Presidential Unit Citation: (Japanese American Veterans Association file accessed 2.6.2018)
General Orders awarding the 232nd Engineers (with the 111th Engineer Combat Bn) a Presidential Unit Citation: https://www.442.us.com/images/GO_425-232_Eng.pdf (accessed 2.7.2018)
442nd Veterans Club website, https://www.442.us.com
Go For Broke National Education Center website, https://www.goforbroke.org/index.php
442nd Regimental Combat Team website, https://www.the442.org
Americans: The Story of The 442d Combat Team, Orville C. Shirey, 1946. (see link above)
University of Hawaii Japanese American Veterans Collection material, https://manoa.hawaii.edu/library/research/collections/archives/manuscript-collections/japanese-american-veterans-collection/
Boyhood To War: History and Anecdotes of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Dorothy Matsuo, 1992.