Washington DC – Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) earlier this week attended President Barack Obama’s White House signing of S. 1055, an act to grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II.
“I’m proud of the fact that about two-thirds of the heroes we’re celebrating today were born and raised in Hawaii,” said Congresswoman Hirono, who represents Hawaii’s 2nd District. “Witnessing a Hawaii-born president sign into law a bill that honors the heroism and unquestioned loyalty of these Japanese-American World War II veterans was a tremendous honor.”
The U.S. House passed S.1055 on September 23rd. The Congressional Gold Medal will recognize Nisei soldiers — Japanese-Americans born of immigrant parents — who fought in Europe and the Asia-Pacific theatre at a time when the U.S. government sent their families to internment camps throughout the country. Six Japanese-American World War II veterans attended today’s signing ceremony, including:
U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye, Member of 442nd Regiment
Osamu “Sam” Fujikawa, President, 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans
Grant H. Ichikawa, Veteran of WWII and Korean War
Jimmie Kanaya, Veteran of WWII
Terry Shima, Member of 442nd Regiment and Executive Director, Japanese American Veterans Association
Yeiichi “Kelly” Kuwayama, Member of 442nd Regiment
The 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team became the most decorated units in United States military history for its size and length of service. Combined, the 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team received 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier’s Medal, and over 4,000 Purple Hearts.
Once designed and minted, the Congressional Gold Medal will be on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institute.
From the Office of Rep. Mazie Hirono, Washington D.C.