Nisei Veterans Bill Headed to President’s Desk

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From left, Hiro Nishikubo, Sameshima, Seki, Abe and Akune salute as a color guard of soldiers from today’s 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry of the U.S. Army Reserves, Hawaii posts the American flag in November 2009.

WASHINGTON.— Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) on Friday applauded the passage of S.1055, companion legislation to a bill Rep. Schiff introduced in the House to pay tribute to the U.S. Army 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, commonly known as the “Go For Broke” regiments, as well as the Military Intelligence Service, comprised of Japanese American troops who fought in Europe, and the Asia-Pacific theater during WWII.

The legislation will now go to the President to be signed into law. It awards these brave troops the Congressional Gold Medal for their dedicated service to our nation. The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’ highest civilian honor and requires two-thirds of the House and the Senate to cosponsor the legislation before it can be voted on. The elite medal has been given selectively since 1776, when George Washington was awarded the first, and other honorees include Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers, Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama. The legislation originated in the House (H.R. 347) and passed last year with nearly 300 cosponsors.

“These brave Japanese Americans enlisted to fight to protect our Nation despite segregated training conditions, the relocation of families and friends to internment camps, and repeated questions about their combat abilities,” Rep. Schiff said. “Man for man they were the most highly decorated combat units of the war; I can’t imagine a group more deserving of this accolade, and I applaud this recognition of their service and patriotism.”

“I am so pleased that Congress is honoring these courageous veterans with a Congressional Gold Medal for their service to the United States during World War II,” Sen. Boxer said. “These brave Japanese American enlisted in the Army and fought for their country even as many of their family members and friends were sent to internment camps. This recognition of their service and patriotism is long overdue.”

“On behalf of all our veterans, I want to thank Congressman Adam Schiff and Sen. Boxer for their help, and for being such loyal and faithful supporters,” said Gary Yamauchi, a member of the Board of Directors for the Go For Broke National Education Center. “I know that our veterans are going to be extremely delighted and in their own quiet way, very, very proud.”

The Nisei regiments earned several awards for their distinctive service in combat, including: 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier’s Medals, 4,000 Bronze Stars and over 4,000 Purple Hearts, among numerous additional distinctions.

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