Major Orville Shirey, 442nd Veteran
Major Shirey was born in Cumberland, Maryland, and graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 1942. While at Maryland, Orville participated in the ROTC program and was editor of the school newspaper, Diamondback. Following the activation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated Japanese American unit in 1943, he served as the S-2 Regimental Intelligence Officer during the unit’s entire historic combat role. Immediately after the war, in 1946, Major Shirey's book Americans: The Story of the 442nd Combat Team, was published by the Infantry Journal Press, where he worked as Assistant to the Editor. Shirey's book continues to be one of the most authoritative sources on the combat record of the segregated Japanese American troops.
Shirey considered his military service in 442nd Regimental Combat Team as being a high point in his life. During the memorial service for Orville, Yeiichi Kelly Kuwayama, a Combat Medic in Company E of the 442nd, remarked, "Major Shirey was held in high respect by the men and officers of the Japanese American 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team for his intelligence, honesty, integrity, and devotion to duty." Shirey's son, Michael, noted that, while his father did not discuss details of his war years, it was clear that "serving with the 442nd was the proudest and most rewarding experience in his lifetime. He loved you guys." Major Shirey’s military awards included the Legion of Merit, Combat Infantryman Badge, Distinguished Unit Badge, and the Medaglia al Valore Militare (Medal of Valor) from the Italian Government.
After the end of World War II, Mr. Shirey went on to enjoy a successful career in marketing consulting. While working at the Infantry Journal Press (now Army magazine), his boss asked him to lead the firm’s mail order service. He became fascinated with this line of work and in 1953 left the Press to open his own direct marketing consulting firm. Eventually, he would have as his clients the US News and World Report, the National Geographic Society, and the Air Force Association. He became the president of the Direct Marketing Association of Washington and editor of its newsletter for ten years.
Maud Shirey graduated in 1939 from Allegany High School in Cumberland, Maryland, and graduated from Western Maryland College in 1943. She majored in English Literature with a minor in Library Science. Following graduation, Maud moved to New York City and landed a job as a radio engineer at Voice of America and the Armed Forces Radio for three years until the war ended. After the war, Maud returned home to Cumberland, married Orville Shirey, and moved to the Washington, D.C. area. In addition to raising and caring for her family, she served on the founding boards of Grace Episcopal Day School and Grace Episcopal Church’s Pennyworth Shop, where she volunteered faithfully for over 40 years.