Michael Mitsuo Ide
442nd Regimental Combat Team
3rd Battalion, M Company
Michael Mitsuo Ide was born on August 1, 1921, in Kaneohe, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii. He was one of nine children born to Eikichi and Rai (Masumoto) Ide. His siblings were Charlotte Chiyoko, Kenneth Katsuto, Edward Yukio, Edith, Gladys Yoshie, Ayme, Florence, and Yoshio. Eikichi emigrated from the village of Kamo, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan; arriving on October 8, 1907, aboard the Asia Maru at Honolulu. Rai emigrated from Hiroshima Prefecture; arriving at Honolulu in 1908.
Eikichi initially was a day laborer doing odd jobs. By 1916, he was operating his own banana farm on the windward side of Oahu, and by 1930, he was also working as a carpenter. By 1940 Eikichi owned his own farm.
Michael graduated from McKinley High School. He registered for the draft on February 14, 1942, at Local Board 1, Benjamin Parker School in Kaneohe. He was working for the City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply. His point of contact was his mother; he was 5’9” tall and weighed 158 pounds and he lived with his family on Paleka Road in Kaneohe.
On March 25, 1943, Michael enlisted in the U.S. Army. His civilian occupation was listed as “skilled boilermakers.” He was sent to the “tent city,” known as Boom Town, at Schofield Barracks. All the men assembled at Schofield were given a farewell aloha ceremony by the community at Iolani Palace on March 28. On April 4, the new soldiers left on the S.S. Lurline for San Francisco enroute to Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Michael was assigned to 3rd Battalion, M Company.
Following over a year of basic and specialized unit training, Michael left Camp Shelby with the 442nd on April 22, 1944, for Camp Patrick Henry, Virginia. The Regiment shipped out to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations from nearby Hampton Roads in a large convoy of troop ships on May 2, and arrived at Naples, Italy, on May 28 to join in the Rome-Arno Campaign.
Michael first entered combat on June 26, when the Regiment engaged German forces at Suvereto. Second and Third Battalions were the first to engage the enemy, in a fierce firefight. Until July 25, the 442nd encountered heavy resistance from each town until they reached the Arno River.
On September 11, the 442nd was detached from the Fifth Army and then attached to the 36th Infantry Division of the Seventh Army to engage in the battles to liberate France from the Nazis. The Combat Team was pulled from the front lines on the Arno River and sent to Naples. They convoyed by ship from Naples to the south of France, landing near Marseilles on September 30. After a short time to prepare, they traveled 500 miles north through the Rhone Valley, by truck and by rail boxcar, arriving October 13 at the front lines in the Vosges Mountains near the German border.
On October 14, 1944, the 442nd began moving into position in the late afternoon preparing to assault Hills A, B, C, and D that surrounded Bruyères. These hills were strong enemy defensive positions that had to be defeated in order to drive the Germans out and secure the city and valley rail and road network. After liberating Bruyères, the Regiment went on to liberate nearby Biffontaine and Belmont. Then they were pulled off the battle line to rest and recuperate. After less than two days in reserve, the 442nd was ordered back into battle to rescue the “Lost Battalion,” two miles east of Biffontaine.
After days of non-stop fighting that caused many more killed and wounded, the Combat Team was victorious over the Nazis and rescued the “Lost Battalion” of the 141st Infantry Regiment from Texas. But victory had been at high cost to the Nisei, with many soldiers now in battlefield hospitals or cemeteries. However, the Nisei continued to fight down the ridge line where the rescue had occurred – the Nazis had to be completely driven out. Michael was wounded during this operation.
Following these deadly battles through the Vosges Mountains the 442nd had lost half its soldiers and therefore could no longer be combat effective. It needed replacements and time to rebuild. To accomplish this, the 442nd was sent south to the Maritime Alps and the French Riviera. The 442nd guarded and patrolled a twelve- to fourteen-mile front line segment of the French-Italian border, mostly very high mountain terrain. The 442nd experienced additional losses as patrols sometimes ran into enemy patrols, or stepped on enemy and allied land mines. Occasionally, soldiers of the 442nd captured spies and saboteurs.
On March 23, 1945, the 442nd (less the 522 Field Artillery Battalion which was sent to fight in Germany), shipped out from Marseilles to Livorno, Italy, where it was attached to the 92nd Division of the Fifth Army. The Allied armies had been stalemated at the Gothic Line in Italy for the prior five months. The 442nd faced extremely tough terrain, where the saw-toothed Apennine Mountains rose up from the Ligurian Sea. Starting from the northeast, the peaks hugged the east coast of Italy and stretched diagonally southward across Italy – a natural defensive line that had been heavily fortified by the German Army. To the north and east, on the other side of the mountains, was the wide, flat Po River Valley that led to the Austrian Alps – the last barrier to Germany. The 442nd mounted a surprise diversionary attack on the west flank of the Gothic Line. The objective was to draw off critical German Army forces weakening their defenses of the center of the line where the main Allied attack would occur.
On April 3, the 442nd moved into position under the cover of nightfall to hide from the Germans who had good sight lines from their location on the mountain ridges and tops. The next day, the 442nd waited in hiding until day turned into night. They then climbed the steep mountains in total silence. At 5:00 a.m. the following morning, they were on the top and ready to strike. A little over 30 minutes later objectives “Georgia” and Mount Folgorito were taken, cracking the Gothic Line. They achieved complete surprise and forced the enemy to retreat. Not satisfied with this victory, the 442nd rapidly continued the attack, driving the Nazis from the mountains and achieving a complete breakthrough of the Gothic line, liberating the west of Italy to Turin with the aid of Italian partisans.
Michael was wounded during these battles. The hospital admission record for April states that he was wounded in the thigh by artillery shell fragments. He was discharged from the General Hospital during April.
In the days that followed, Germans began to surrender in the hundreds and thousands to the Allied Armies. This was 442nd’s final World War II combat action in Italy. On May 2, the war ended in Italy, followed six days later by victory in Europe.
During occupation duties in Italy, Michael was with the Combat Team in May and June at Ghedi Air Field processing German POWs. In late July, the 442nd moved south to Livorno for duty guarding German POWs and the seaport.
For his military service, Staff Sergeant Michael Mitsuo Ide was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four bronze stars, World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge. He was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on October 5, 2010, along with the other veterans of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. This is the highest Congressional Civilian Medal.
After his discharge from the Army, Michael returned to employment with the City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply. By 1950, he was the Operating Engineer. He retired as the Plant Operations Superintendent.
Right: Kimiyo Asato Ide’s wedding photo, August 25, 1951
On August 25, 1951, he married Kimiyo Asato at the Olaa Hongwanji Mission on Hawaii island. They moved to 2258-A Mahalo Street in Honolulu and in 1955, they built their home on Alewa Drive. Over the years they raised a family of four daughters. He was an active member of the 442nd Veterans Club.
Ide at a 442nd Veterans Club Banquet in later years
Michael died on May 20, 2014, in Honolulu. He was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl), Section K, Site 8-B. Michael was survived by his wife, four daughters, and one grandchild.
Michael’s brother, Edward Yukio Ide, served as a Private in the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), and was killed in action.
Researched and written by the Sons & Daughters of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in 2022.