(CLICK ABOVE FOR ENLARGEMENT – – The Color Guard of the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team stands at attention while citations are read following the fierce fighting in the Vosges area of France, November 12, 1944 – – Department of Defense)
An estimated 33,000 Japanese-Americans served in the military during and immediately after World War II, about 18,000 in the 442nd and 6,000 as part of the MIS (Military Intelligence Service).
by Joshua Axelrod, The ARMY TIMES, April 5, 2019:
National “Go For Broke Day!”
That phrase was allegedly coined by Hawaiian Pidgin craps players to mean “bet everything on a single roll.” But it was popularized as the motto of the Army’s famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II.
In fact, National “Go For Broke” Day is celebrated on April 5 every year likely because it was on April 5, 1945, that Pfc. Sadao Munemori — the 442nd RCT’s first Medal of Honor recipient — was killed in action near Seravezza, Italy, according to a Department of Defense history of that highly decorated unit.
The 442nd RCT was made up entirely of Japanese-American soldiers and was formed during a time when that ethnic group was banned from military service after the attack on the naval base at Pearl Harbor.
The Army eventually allowed Japanese-Americans (known as “Nisei”) to serve through the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, the Military Intelligence Service and the 442nd RCT, which was officially activated on Feb. 1, 1943.
After finishing their training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the soldiers of the 442nd RCT deployed to Italy in June 1944 to fight alongside the 100th IB. By mid-August, the 100th was absorbed into the 442nd and the “go for broke” motto became an ingrained part of the unit’s identity.
In September 1944, the 442nd was reassigned to southern France where they helped liberate a few cities from German control. They were reassigned again in March 1945 and helped — along with the 92nd Infantry Division, an all-black unit — drive German forces out of northern Italy.
Their accomplishments in battle inspired the U.S. to reinstate the draft in Japanese-American internment camps back home to allow them to fight as well:
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