• MONTEREY, Calif. -- Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center assistant commandant, Air Force Col. Laura Ryan, personally presented each medal to the honorees or a surviving family member. Some Military Intelligence Service veterans had studied Japanese at the MIS language school in Camp Snelling, Minn., the predecessor to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC), and are considered DLIFLC alumni.

    Nisei presented Gold Medals for WWII service

    MONTEREY, Calif. -- Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center assistant commandant, Air Force Col. Laura Ryan, personally presented each medal to the honorees or a surviving family member. Some Military Intelligence Service veterans had...

  • MONTEREY, Calif. -- Rows of Gold Medals awarded to Japanese Americans  for their service to the nation during World War II were on display prior to being presented to recipients or their surviving family members at the Japanese American Citizens League's Monterey Hall on March 4.

    Nisei presented Gold Medals for WWII service

    MONTEREY, Calif. -- Rows of Gold Medals awarded to Japanese Americans for their service to the nation during World War II were on display prior to being presented to recipients or their surviving family members at the Japanese American Citizens...

  • MONTEREY, Calif. -- Astro "Al" Tortolano (at the podium), a member of the "Lost Battalion" that the 442nd Regiment saved in the mountains of France, speaks words of earnest thanksgiving to the members of the regiment and relatives present in the Japanese American Citizens League hall March 4.

    Nisei presented Gold Medals for WWII service

    MONTEREY, Calif. -- Astro "Al" Tortolano (at the podium), a member of the "Lost Battalion" that the 442nd Regiment saved in the mountains of France, speaks words of earnest thanksgiving to the members of the regiment and relatives present in the...

  • MONTEREY, Calif. -- (Left to right) WWII Military Intelligence Service Nisei veterans George Tanaka and Ben Umeda watch as the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Air Force Choir sings "America the Beautiful" to conclude the Congressional Gold Medal Award Ceremony at the Monterey Peninsula Chapter of the  Japanese American Citizens League, in Monterey, Calif., March 4.

    Nisei presented Gold Medals for WWII service

    MONTEREY, Calif. -- (Left to right) WWII Military Intelligence Service Nisei veterans George Tanaka and Ben Umeda watch as the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center Air Force Choir sings "America the Beautiful" to conclude the...

MONTEREY, Calif. -- In a ceremony sponsored by a local organization 35 World War II veterans were recognized March 4 for their truly heroic deeds.

The event, sponsored by the Japanese American Citizens League and the Monterey Peninsula Nisei Memorial Post 1629 Veterans of Foreign Wars and held at the JACL's Monterey Hall, was for Soldiers and family members of deceased members of the Military Intelligence Service, 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team to receive their Congressional Gold Medals.

A special law was passed in 2010 awarding members of the unit, and those of the Military Intelligence Service, a Congressional Gold Medal for which a ceremony was held at the White House in October, followed by local ceremonies in California, Hawaii, and other states where unit members had been unable to make it to Washington, D.C.

In front of a standing-room-only crowd of relatives, visitors and at least one member of WWII's "Lost Battalion," the local Soldiers who were unable to travel to the national's Capital last fall to receive their medals were lauded and feted by local dignitaries for their heroism and dedicated service.

Possibly the most poignant moment was when Astro "Al" Tortolano, a member of the "Lost Battalion" that the 442nd Regiment saved in the mountains of France, spoke words of earnest thanksgiving to the members of the regiment and relatives present in the JACL hall.

Tortolano, a member of the 1st Battalion of the 141st Regiment, traveled from Santa Cruz to Monterey to thank members of this group who had saved his unit and enabled him to return to the United States after the war's conclusion to marry and raise a family.

The ceremony concluded with the 35 Soldiers, or family representative when appropriate, receiving the replicas of the gold medal authorized by Congress.

The 442nd is the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service, with its component 100th Infantry Battalion earning the nickname "The Purple Heart Battalion."

Page last updated Fri March 9th, 2012 at 00:00