Pages of History: the 442nd Regiment Combat Team - Go for Broke!

Which of the listed service members would you like to see represented in a Pages of History monthly event?
  • Daniel Inouye
  • Young-Oak Kim
  • Sadao Munemori
  • All of the above
  • I would like to nominate another candidate (comment)
  • None of the above

0 voters

There have been many excellent and storied individuals represented through the Pages of History monthly events so far, and with consideration for the fact that candidacy for representation has been fairly broad and not limited by those who crew vehicles, I would like to suggest the representation of the members of the 442nd Regiment Combat Team.


The 442nd Regiment Combat Team is the most decorated US Army unit of its size, with 21 medals of honor, 33 distinguished service crosses (19 of the original 52 were upgraded to medals of honor), 1 distinguished service medal, 560 silver stars, 22 legion of merit medals, 15 soldier’s medals, 4000 bronze stars, and over 4000 purple hearts. Through heavy fighting and great sacrifice from Italy to France, the 442nd managed to exceed expectations and prejudices about Japanese-American loyalties and capabilities in the US during WW2.

Notable actions undertaken by the 442nd included the combat around Hill 140, Castellina, Bruyères, and Biffontaine. Their most famed action, however, was when they were sent to rescue the Texas National Guard, nicknamed “the lost battalion”. It is in this battle at Vosges where the 442nd would manage to break through the German position and rescue the lost battalion, and somewhat notably, the only known case of a banzai charge against the Wehrmacht that has ever been recorded. Additionally, members of the 522nd Artillery field artillery battalion would go on to liberate portions of Dachau. In 1962, the governor of Texas made all the members of the 442nd “honorary Texans” in honor of their actions at Vosges.


Given the many highly decorated members of the 442nd, there is no shortage of candidates for representation. Consequently, here are a few notable candidates for selection, although I would personally hope to see more than one represented in the future.

Spoiler

Daniel K. Inouye - Bronze Star, Distinguished Service Cross (upgraded to Medal of Honor), and 3 Purple Hearts for his actions at Colle Musatello, where he engaged a German bunker despite sustaining injuries, including taking a rifle grenade to the arm, which he would ultimately lose, but managed to take down the machine gun nest by use of grenade before collapsing. Through his actions, the American forces were able to take control of the hill, and none of his troops suffered casualties. By his discharge in 1947, he earned no fewer than 16 awards. Daniel Inouye would become the first Japanese-American senator and the first elected member of the House of Representatives for Hawaii.

Spoiler

youngokim1961

Young-Oak Kim - Distinguished Service Cross, Italian Bronze Medal for Military Valor, Italian War Cross for Military Valor, for actions and command through Salerno and the liberation of Rome, 2 Purple Hearts, and the French Croix De Guerre, for the liberation of Bruyères and Biffontaine, as well as a plaque in his honor on the Biffontaine church wall. When the Korean War began, Young-Oak Kim, a Korean American, volunteered once again but hid the fact that he spoke Korean to serve in a combat unit. He served as an intelligence officer and de facto operations officer in the 31st infantry regiment, and through his actions, many US and South Korean troops had their lives saved. Through his military career, Young-Oak Kim would earn no fewer than 19 awards, both domestic and foreign, and many, including Daniel Inouye, believed that his Distinguished Service Cross should have been upgraded to a Medal of Honor along with other members of the 442nd.

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Sadao Munemori

Sadao Munemori - Medal of Honor, Bronze Star, Purple Heart; posthumously awarded for actions near Seravezza, Italy. Sadao Munemori was the first and only Medal of Honor awarded to a Japanese American during or immediately after WW2. To quote the citation for his Medal of Honor “He fought with great gallantry and intrepidity near Seravezza, Italy. When his unit was pinned down by grazing fire from the enemy’s strong mountain defense and command of the squad devolved on him with the wounding of its regular leader, he made frontal, one-man attacks through direct fire and knocked out two machine guns with grenades. Withdrawing under murderous fire and showers of grenades from other enemy emplacements, he had nearly reached a shell crater occupied by two of his men when an unexploded grenade bounced on his helmet and rolled toward his helpless comrades. He arose into the withering fire, dived for the missile and smothered its blast with his body. By his swift, supremely heroic action Pfc. Munemori saved two of his men at the cost of his own life and did much to clear the path for his company’s victorious advance.” A statue in his honor is present in Pietrasanta, Italy.

Sources:

Spoiler

https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/442nd-regimental-combat-team
https://goforbroke.org/history/unit-history/442nd-regimental-combat-team/
Medal of Honor Recipient Daniel Inouye Led a Life of Service to His Country | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans
Young Oak Kim
Private First Class Sadao S. Munemori's Medal of Honor | The National WWII Museum | New Orleans
442nd Infantry Regiment (United States) - Wikipedia

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