Technical Sergeant Shinyei Rocky Matayoshi, 442nd RCT, Company G, was awarded today the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross at the Hall of Heroes, Pentagon. This is the 29th DSC awarded to the 100th Battalion/442nd RCT.
In addition to the DSC, Matayoshi’s awards include the Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, the Purple Heart Medal, the Distinguished Unit Citation and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
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The Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii held their 26th Annual Military Recognition Luncheon on May 19th at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The program included a tribute to 442nd Regimental Combat Team and the 100th Infantry Battalion. Five veterans from the 442nd and five from the 100th were among those honored at this luncheon. Representing the 442nd were Bill Thompson, Robert Uyeda, Joe Oshiro, Ed Yamasaki, and Takashi Shirakata. General David Bramlett, US Army (Ret.), spoke about the 100th/442nd and introduced each veteran.
National Veterans Network Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign to Host Two-Day Celebration for Honorees of Congressional Gold Medal
Aratani and Terasaki Foundations Donate $50,000 Each
May 9, 2011 The National Veterans Network (NVN) has begun a fundraising campaign to support a two-day celebration event in Washington, DC in late fall 2011. The celebration commemorates and takes place around the awarding of the Congressional Gold Medal to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service members from World War II (WWII), three groups composed entirely of Japanese American soldiers. The funds raised during this campaign will. help to underwrite the expenses for both the veterans and the events that will recognize their service at a memorial service and a national gala dinner.
As the May 2011 National Asian Pacific American Heritage Month kicks off, it’s especially important to remember those who served in the US Armed Forces. After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the U.S. segregated 120,000 Japanese Americans and placed them in internment camps. Yet, even with families and friends living in these camps and suffering under wrongful suspicion, more than 20,000 Japanese Americans served loyally in the U.S. military.
The 442nd RCT Foundation continues to focus its financial resources to supporting the 442nd Veterans Club Archives. Especially in light of the declining contributions in recent years, the Foundation’s board of directors has consciuosly established the 442 Archives and the collection efforts of the 442nd-related documents from the National Archives & Records Administration (NARA) by the Japanese American Veterans Association (JAVA) as its top funding priorities.
Did you ever wonder how the 1ooth Battalion began? Ted Tsukiyama unfolds the “guinea pig battalion” story in “The One Puka Puka”…
Their Japanese ancestry caused them to be unwanted, feared, distrusted and even despised. An expected Japanese invasion of Hawaii induced their hasty removal from their beloved island home. The Army didn’t know what to do with them after 14 months of training, even after their dispatch to North Africa. They were the Army’s “orphan outfit,” playing “guinea pig” for Japanese Americans in military service. Finally, after assignment to the 34th Division they gained the opportunity to engage in combat as the first and only segregated, all-Japanese infantry unit.
Soon they earned the reputation as the “Purple Heart Battalion” as the most decorated unit of its size and time in battle in the American Army of World War II. They not only proved the “Americanism is not a matter of race or ancestry” but also won for other Niseis the right to fight for their country.
That is the heart-warming “Cinderella story” of the original 100th Infantry Battalion (separate), proudly identified by the men of the 100th as “The One Puka Puka.”
The true origins of the 100th must trace back to 1909 and 1920 when immigrant Japanese field workers staged a general strike for fair wages and decent working conditions, which erupted into bitter racial hostility and denigrated the entire Japanese population to be treated for the next 20 years as an economic, political, and national security threat to Hawaii. Statehood was denied because of its large Japanese population and the questionable loyalty of even the American-born Japanese youth. After Japan attacked Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941, the question was directed at every Nisei, “Who you going shoot?” and the men of the 100th knew in their hearts that the burden fell upon them to answer this challenge emphatically and for all time, on behalf of every Nisei everywhere.
A nice article on Lt. Col. John D. Porter from the Go For Broke Bulletin (Vol. XLVIII No. 3 – July – September 1997) by Ron Oba.
It’s funny how one reminisces and start to treasure the days of old. As one ages, the urge to recapture youth through the acquaintances you haven’t seen or heard from since. It’s as if that the remembrances of old friends and the telling of your life story with the joy of coupling the stories with the names of soldiers you’ve lived with will somehow keep immortality alive. Maybe that is the reason so many of the veterans are now coming in to the Archives for their oral histories so that their legacy will live forever through the retelling of their stories.
John D. Porter, who volunteered for the 442nd from the 34th Division, is one of them. He was here on Oahu at the Waianae R and R Center with his family. He called to say how he remembered the men of the 2nd platoon, Capt. Akins, Capt. Hill, and others. You couldn’t stop him for relating how proud he is as a veteran of the F Co. 442nd. But let him tell you himself in the following taped resume (shortened for the bulletin) and anecdotes he has sent to F Company and the Archives for posterity.
The Sons & Daughters of the 442nd RCT held their annual General Membership Meeting at Treetops Restaurant in Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii. Approximately 50 people attended the dinner meeting. The causal setting allowed long time members to socialize. It also gave everyone the opportunity to meet a few new members as well.
One of the main functions of the meeting was the election of the officers for the organization for 2011. The following slate of officers were nominated and voted into office:
President: Wes Deguchi
1st Vice President: Anita Nihei
2nd Vice President: Wade Wasano
Treasurer: Shirley Igarashi
Secretary: Susan Yoshitomi
The following images of the event are compliments of Wayne Iha:
From the Go For Broke Bulletin Archives, here is an article on a tour of Italy and France taken in 2004 to see former battlefields and remember the the challenges that were faced and honor the memories of the fallen.
Go For Broke Bulletin Volume 55, No. 3 – April – June 2004
The Battlefields Tour: May 2004
By Sadaichi Kubota & Andy Ono
The Italian Phase of the Tour: I could not resist the K Co sponsored tour – May 18 – June 3 – because I had promised myself I would one day make the pilgrimage to honor our buddies who fell along the way.
A press conference was held today on the grounds of Iolani Palace, Honolulu, Hawaii. Retired Major General Robert Lee provided an update on the Congressional Gold Medal Award events planned for both Washington DC and Hawaii. The press conference officially kicks off a fund-raising campaign for a gold medal celebration to be held at the Hawaii Convention Center on December 17, 2011. The event will include a parade through Waikiki, luncheon at the convention center, a video showing of the DC ceremony, and presentation of CGM replicas to all attending veterans.
A number of veterans attended today’s press conference. March 28th is a special date. 68 years ago, over 10,000 people gathered at Iolani Palace to bid farewell to the men of the 442, as they began their journey into history.
For more information about the upcoming CGM events, contact the 100th and 442nd veteran organizations.
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Christine Sato-Yamazaki, Chairperson of the National Veterans Network writes:
Here is the latest on the Congressional Gold Medal planning: Speaker meeting: We finally secured a meeting with Speaker Boehner’s staff on March 22nd. We will be meeting with the Speaker’s Director of Scheduling and Special Events to begin discussion on the ceremony date, venue and attendee requirements. Since the U.S. Mint will not complete the minting of the Congressional Gold Medal until September (if all goes well), we are planning to push for an October ceremony date. We will also advocate for a large venue that accommodates 1,000 people, in the hopes that the Speaker will allow all registered living veterans, widows, next of kin of KIA and next of kin of deceased veterans to attend the awards ceremony. We do not anticipate having all the answers at this meeting, but we do expect discussions to begin on this very important subject.