President's New Year Message
As we leave 2021, we can look back with a sense of accomplishment in sponsoring programs to support all who have or are serving in the US armed forces, their families, and friends; to honor the legacy forged by the valor and patriotism of Japanese American men and women who served in the United States military during World War II; to advocate on behalf of all Asian American veterans. These JAVA programs are our way of thanking all veterans, and all who are serving, for their service in defending our freedoms and keeping us safe.
We start 2022 with great hope and anticipation that we can build on 2021 and continue to expand our membership and increase our programs. We can do this only with the support of JAVA members, volunteers, and donors.
Thank you for your continued support, with a special thanks to the members of JAVA’s Executive Council – Howard High, VP, Michael Omatsu (deceased), Treasurer, Kay Izumihara, Secretary, Dawn Ellenberger, Marty Herbert, George Ishikata (deceased), Jason Kuroiwa, Cynthia Macri, and Mark Nakagawa, -- and Lynn Mariano, Hawaii Regional Representative and Neet Ford, JAVA’s Administrator. I wish everyone the best in the New Year!!!
NARA Archivist locates Documentation for “Most Highly Decorated"
July 13, 1946 Press Release, "Secretary of War Patterson Praises 442nd Infantry Regimental Combat Team." Credit: National Archives and Records Administration.
JAVA Research Team (JRT)
Washington, DC. When speaking about the 100th Infantry Battalion, initially comprised of 1,400 Nisei draftees from Hawaii, and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, comprised of 4,000 volunteers from Hawaii and the Mainland, speakers, writers, officials, press, and the public have referred to them as the most highly or one of the most highly decorated units in the United States Army. By its use, almost everyone, even the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, accepted this statement as fact. No one is known to have questioned its authenticity. JAVA speakers and writers have refrained, up to now, to make this statement because they did not want to face a questioner for documentation.
For the past ten years, JRT has searched for the official origin of this “most highly decorated” statement at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Army Public Relations Offices, U.S. Army Center for Military History, Library of Congress, Pacific Citizen, historians, and others with an absence of results.
While not completely solved, the issue was virtually solved on August 16, 2021. Dr. Eric S. Van Slander, an archivist of NARA, College Park, MD, located a War Department Public Relations Division press release dated July 2, 1946, which said: “. . . 469 (442nd returnees for the Presidential review) have seen combat duty in an outfit that is one of the most highly decorated in the US Army”. While this citation is in a press release pertaining to preparations for the July 15, 1946, Presidential review of the 442nd, the statement confirms that it is owned by the War Department. JRT continues its search for a stand-alone statement and requests readers to advise the JAVA editor if such a document is located.
With relation to this find, JRT wishes to present remarks made by then-MG Alfred M. Gruenther, U.S. Army, and share a letter from the U.S. Secretary of War to the 442nd commander, both of which support the most highly decorated statement. MG Alfred M. Gruenther, Commandant of the National War College and previously Chief of Staff of the U.S. Fifth Army, serving as the official representative of Secretary Patterson at the official welcome home ceremony at Camp Kilmer, NJ on June 11, 1946, told the returning 442nd men, including the 100th, "It was a great honor for me to be able to salute such a distinguished outfit. ...the 442nd's outstanding record of major decorations was unsurpassed by any other unit of comparable size." He enumerated the decorations and awards the unit had won and said that they are "the best evidence of your superb fighting qualities." The other is a letter from Secretary Patterson to LTC Alfred A. Purcell, 442nd Commander, dated July 11, 1946.
Scans of the two press releases and other related documents can be read here.[EdNote: JAVA appreciates Dr. Van Slander, and the National Archives and Records Administration, for their continuing and exhaustive research.]
July 2, 1946 Press Release, "442nd Regimental Combat Team to Parade on White House Grounds" notes in the last paragraph "one of the most highly decorated in the Army." Credit: National Archives and Records Administration
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Nisei Role as America’s “Eyes and Ears” Against Japan During War II and as a “Bridge” Between the Two Nations During the Occupation
Visit JAVA Research Archive to read New Article on Role of MIS in WWII by Clicking Here.
JAVA Member and 442nd Veteran, Terry Shima Speaks about the Japanese American Experience During World War II
Recently the Keese School Lecture Series featured former JAVA Executive Director and JAVA Terry Shima as a speaker at their continuing education series. By way of introduction it was noted that Terry was born and raised in Hawaii. He was drafted in to Army in 1944 and served in the 442nd RCT. After the war, Terry attended and graduated from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and enjoyed a 30-year career in the Foreign Service with postings in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam. In 2012, President Obama awarded Terry the Presidential Citizens Medal. After leaving his official post as Executive Director of JAVA, he has continued to support the research and publication of the Advocate and e-Advocate. In the video Terry explains the origins of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and MIS and highlights examples of Japanese American soldiers bravery and valor in an effort to prove their loyalty to the U.S. Click here to watch or watch below.