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Fighting for the dream

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have roots that span the globe, but their stories of striving and success are uniquely American. As we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we recognize the entrepreneurship and fortitude of individuals who have helped build our country and shape the American dream for centuries.

Generations of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have helped develop and defend the United States, often in the face of tremendous racial and cultural prejudice. Despite these difficulties, AAPI men and women struggled, sacrificed and persevered to build a better life for their children and all Americans.



In the first half of the 19th century many people from Asia, particularly China, immigrated to the United States where opportunities for employment were abundant. This was clearly a condition consistent with a nation that was growing not only geographically but economically as well. By the start of the Civil War, thousands of Asians were living in the United States. Many served with distinction in the U.S. Army.

Image for Joseph L. Pierce

Joseph L. Pierce was a Chinese American who fought for the Union during the Civil War. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.



Joseph L. Pierce

Pvt. Joseph L. Pierce was 21 years old when he enlisted in the 14th Connecticut Infantry in August 1862. Pierce’s regiment participated in the Battle of Antietam, Maryland, Sept. 17, 1862. He suffered some sickness during his time around Washington and was in the hospital. He was assigned to the Quartermaster Department for a short while and rejoined the 14th in time for the Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia in May 1863.

The 14th had a distinguished role in the Gettysburg campaign. It fought on the north part of Cemetery Ridge, July 2, 1863, and was one of the units that helped repel Pickett’s Charge. The 14th was primarily responsible for turning back Brig. Gen. James Pettigrew’s North Carolina division. Contrary to the 14th’s regimental history, Pierce was not the only Soldier of Chinese descent on the battlefield.



During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from East Asia chose to immigrate to the United States, where opportunities for work and a better life beckoned. Despite numerous instances of discrimination, many Asian Americans joined the U.S. Army and served with distinction during World War I on the battlefields of France. Following the war, Soldiers of Asian ancestry were recognized for their contributions to the war effort and were allowed to become naturalized citizens. By the end of World War I in 1918, there were nearly 180,000 Asian Americans living in the United States, including about 100,000 Japanese Americans, 60,000 Chinese Americans and 5,000 Filipino Americans.

Image for Jose B. Nisperos

Filipino Army Pvt. Jose B. Nisperos. Photo courtesy of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.



Jose B. Nisperos

Filipino Army Pvt. Jose B. Nisperos earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in Philippines, Sept. 24, 1911. Nisperos became the first person of Asian heritage to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Nisperos served in the 34th Company, Philippine Scouts. In 1913, having been badly wounded — his left arm broken and lacerated and with several spear wounds preventing him from standing — Nisperos continued to fire his rifle with one hand until the enemy was repulsed, thereby aiding materially in preventing the annihilation of his party.



At the start of World War II in 1941, more than a quarter-million Asian Americans were living in the United States. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Japanese Americans were perceived as a threat to national security based solely on their ethnic ancestry. Consequently, on March 18, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the War Relocation Authority. Thousands of Japanese Americans were moved involuntarily to internment camps created throughout the United States.Despite being subjected to prejudice and discrimination, a large number of Nisei volunteered for service in the U.S. Army. These Soldiers served with great honor in the European and North African campaigns. Their feats of courage, particularly in the Italian campaign, are legendary. Other Asian American groups also answered the call to duty and served with great distinction in the European and Pacific theaters — many taking part in the liberation of their ancestral homelands.

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Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.



Pearl Harbor

  • The U.S. War Department opened a secret language school at Crissy Field under the 4th Army, with four Nisei instructors and 60 students, 58 of which are Nisei. This was the first class of the Military Intelligence Language School, Nov. 1.
  • Japan bombed the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7.
  • U.S. Congressional resolutions allow almost unlimited enlistment and employment of Filipino Americans in war effort, Dec. 20.
Image for US enters WWII in earnest, Filipino Americans distinguish themselves

Sgt. Jose Calugas. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.



US enters WWII in earnest, Filipino Americans distinguish themselves

  • Sgt. Jose Calugas, a first-generation Filipino American, earned the Medal of Honor for heroism in the Philippines during World War II, Jan. 16.
  • U.S. War Department authorized first Filipino infantry battalion from among Filipino Americans, Feb. 19.
  • President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 providing for internment of Japanese Americans, Feb. 19.
Image for The Bataan Death March

A burial detail carries the remains of POWs who survived the Death March, but who later succumbed to exhaustion, disease, or execution after reaching Camp O'Donnell. Thumbnail photo by U.S. Army. Enlarged photo courtesy of the National Archives.



The Bataan Death March

The Battle of Bataan ended, April 9, 1942, when U.S. Gen. Edward P. King surrendered to Japanese Gen. Masaharu Homma. At that point, 75,000 Soldiers became prisoners of war: about 12,000 Americans and 63,000 Filipinos. What followed was one of the worst atrocities in modern wartime history — the Bataan Death March. During the Battle of Bataan, the American Soldiers and Filipino soldiers of U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, or USAFFE, had held out for four months against the Imperial Japanese Army, while every other island and nation in the Pacific and Southeast Asia fell to the Japanese. By March 1942, Japan controlled all of the Western Pacific except the Philippines.

Starving, surrounded and unable to get reinforcements due to the Japanese blockade, the Allied forces could not hold. Once the surrender went into effect, the Japanese rounded up the American and Filipino soldiers on the only paved road that ran down the Bataan peninsula and they began marching them north toward Camp O’Donnell in Tarlac province, 65 miles away. As the emaciated men proceeded north up the highway in the blistering heat, the Japanese guards summarily shot or bayoneted any man who fell, attempted to escape, or stopped to quench his thirst at a roadside spigot or puddle. The Japanese guards killed between 7,000-10,000 men during the death march as they kept no records and no one knows the exact number.

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Activated on February 1, 1943, the 422nd Regimental Combat Team was an Army unit composed of entirely of second-generation Japanese Americans — also known as Nisei — who volunteered from Hawaii and internment camps on the mainland. U.S. Army photo.



442nd Regimental Combat Team

  • The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is activated by President Roosevelt: "Americanism is not and never was, a matter of race and ancestry," Feb. 1.
  • Pvt. Mikio Hasemoto, a Medal of Honor recipient, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, in the vicinity of Cerasuolo, Italy, Nov. 29.
  • Pvt. Shizuya Hayashi, a Medal of Honor recipient, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, Nov. 29.
Image for Heroism in WWII's final year

After the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, the U.S. government forcibly evacuated Japanese immigrants and their families from their homes. The owner of the Wanto Co. grocery store in Oakland, California, protested the removal by posting this large sign over the closed store that proclaimed “I am an American.” Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Related Articles
U.S. House of Representatives, Office of Art & Archives: Internment



Heroism in WWII's final year

  • Staff Sgt. Rudolph B. Davila, a Medal of Honor recipient, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, near Artena, Italy, May 28.
  • Pvt. Barney F. Hajiro, a Medal of Honor recipient, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action in the vicinity of Bruyeres and Biffontaine, eastern France, Oct. 19, 22, and 29.
  • Staff Sgt. Robert T. Kuroda, a Medal of Honor recipient, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, Oct. 20.
  • U.S. War Department ends internment of Japanese Americans, Dec. 27.
Image for Nisei Soldiers posthumously honored

Pfc. Sadao S. Munemori. Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Asian Pacific Heritage Center.



Nisei Soldiers posthumously honored

  • Japanese American Pfc. Sadao S. Munemori earned a posthumous Medal of Honor for saving the lives of others in Italy during World War II, April 5.
  • Joe Hayashi, a Medal of Honor recipient, distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, April 20-22.
Image for 442nd receives presidential distinguished unit citation

President Truman salutes the colors of the combined 100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry, during the presentation of the seventh Presidential Unit Citation. The Regimental Combat Team (less the 552d Field Artillery Battalion) received the Presidential Unit Citation for outstanding accomplishments in combat in the vicinty of Serravezza, Carrara, and Fosdinovo, Italy, from April 5 to April 14, 1945. U.S. Army photo by the Center for Military History.



442nd receives presidential distinguished unit citation

The 442nd “Go for Broke” Regimental Combat Team receiveed the Presidential Distinguished Unit citation from President Truman in Washington, July 15. The unit was the most decorated for its size and length of service in U.S. military history. The 100th Infantry Battalion, which was later incorporated into the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, was made up of predominantly Nisei members of the Hawaii Provisional Infantry Battalion. 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.



In the years following World War II, Asian Americans gained greater acceptance in American society — thanks in large measure to their outstanding contributions to the war effort. A large number of World War II veterans remained in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. As combat veterans, they helped to train and lead new Soldiers, which included additional Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders into combat against the communist North Korean and Chinese forces.

Image for The next generation serves with distinction in Korea

Hiroshi H. Miyamura and President Eisenhower at the Medal of Honor ceremony. Miyamura's Medal of Honor recognized his conduct in frontline fighting in Korea in 1951. He fought in close quarters combat; and he stayed behind to provide covering fire while his unit withdrew. Thumbnail photo courtesy of the National Archives. Enlarged photo by Department of Defense.



The next generation serves with distinction in Korea

  • Japanese American, then-Cpl. Hiroshi H. Miyamura earned the Medal of Honor in Korean War action, April 25.
  • Pfc. Anthony T. Kaho'ohanohano was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action against the enemy in the vicinity of Chupa-ri, Korea, Sept. 1.
  • Pfc. Herbert K. Pililaau was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near Pia-ri, Korea, Sept. 17.
Image for Daniel K. Inouye elected to Congress

President John F. Kennedy visits with Senator Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii and his family in the West Wing Colonnade, White House, Washington, D.C. Thumbnail photo courtesy of the Daniel K. Inouye Institute. Enlarged photo courtesy J.F.K. Presidential Library and Museum.



Daniel K. Inouye elected to Congress

World War II hero Capt. Daniel K. Inouye became the first Japanese American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and later became a U.S. senator. Daniel K. Inouye was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sept. 7, 1924, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii, and his law degree from George Washington University. During World War II, Inouye served in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team. For his combat heroism, which cost him his right arm, Inouye was awarded the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart with Cluster.

Following the war, Inouye practiced law in Hawaii before entering territorial politics in 1954. When Hawaii became the 50th state, Inouye became one of its first representatives in the U.S. Congress. In 1962 he won election to the U.S. Senate. Senator Inouye gained national distinction in the 1970s as a member of the Senate Watergate Committee and, in 1987, as chairman of the Senate Iran-Contra Committee. He was a longtime member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which he chaired from 2009 to 2012, and also served as the Senate’s president pro tempore from 2010 until his death in 2012. In 2013 Senator Inouye was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, becoming the first — and to date, only — senator to receive both the Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor.



In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders assumed an even greater role and acceptance in American society and culture. In 1956, Dalip Singh from California became the first Asian American elected to Congress. In 1962, Daniel K. Inouye from Hawaii was elected to the Senate, and Spark Matsunaga from Hawaii to the House. Two years later, Patsy Takemoto Mink from Hawaii was elected to the House, becoming the first Asian American woman in Congress. By 1965, immigration law finally abolished national origins as the basis for allocating immigration quotas, giving Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders full legal equality with other groups. The war in Vietnam was intensifying and as in past wars, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders answered the call to duty — serving with great distinction.

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Sgt. 1st Class Elmelindo Rodrigues Smith. Photo by U.S. Army.



Elmelindo R. Smith

Army Platoon Sgt. Elmelindo R. Smith served in the 1st Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor Feb. 16, 1967, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

During a reconnaissance patrol, his platoon was suddenly engaged by intense machine-gun fire. With complete disregard for his safety, Smith moved through the deadly fire along the defensive line, positioning soldiers, distributing ammunition and encouraging his men to repel the enemy attack. Repeatedly struck by enemy fire, Smith perished. The valorous acts and heroic leadership of this outstanding Soldier inspired those remaining members of his platoon to beat back the enemy assaults.

Image for Rodney James Tadashi Yano

Sgt. 1st Class Rodney J.T. Yano. Photo by U.S. Army.



Rodney James Tadashi Yano

On Jan. 1, 1969, then-Staff Sgt. Rodney Yano was the acting crew chief and one of two door gunners on his company’s command-and-control helicopter as it fought an enemy entrenched in the dense Vietnamese jungle near Bien Hao. While in position as a gunner, he was also able to toss grenades that emitted white phosphorous smoke at their positions so his troop commander could accurately fire artillery at their entrenchments.

Unfortunately, one of those grenades exploded too early, covering Yano in the burning chemical and causing severe burns. White smoke filled the chopper, and the pilots weren’t able to see to maintain control of the aircraft. Yano refused to give up. The initial grenade explosion partially blinded him and left him with the use of only one arm, but he jumped into action, kicking and throwing the blazing ammunition from the helicopter until the flaming pieces were gone and the smoke filtered out.

One man on the helicopter was killed, and Yano didn’t survive his many injuries. But his courage and concern for his comrades’ survival kept the chopper from going down, averting more loss of life. For that, Yano was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to the rank of sergeant first class.

Image for Herbert Choy becomes first Asian American federal court judge

Judge Herbert Choy. Official portrait by the U.S. Department of Justice.



Herbert Choy becomes first Asian American federal court judge

Newly graduated from Harvard, Choy’s life forever changed on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor. The next day, he enlisted in the Army. As a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, he entered the Army as a lieutenant and left as a captain. He served in both Japan and Korea, part of the time as a member of the Army Reserve’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Choy later retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1946. In 1971 he was nominated and appointed as a judge to the ninth circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.



In 1979, the United States and its erstwhile World War II ally, China, resumed diplomatic relations. In 1980, more than 2.5 million Asian immigrants entered the United States. In 1990, the number of immigrants to the U.S. from Asia was second only to Latin America. Many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders joined the U.S. Army - where they contributed immeasurably to the security of the United States and to the end of the Cold War. Many were promoted to senior officer ranks, including some to general officer. In 1991, Asian American and Pacific Islander Soldiers fought valiantly during Operation Desert Storm (also known as the Gulf War), helping to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein's invasion forces from Iraq.

Image for John Liu Fugh becomes first Asian American general

Maj. Gen. John Liu Fugh, the first Chinese American to obtain general officer rank in U.S. Army. Photos by U.S. Army.



John Liu Fugh becomes first Asian American general

Born in Beijing, China in 1934, John Liu Fugh came to the United States as a teenager in 1949. After graduating from law school he joined the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in 1960. For the next thirty-two years, Fugh soldiered as a judge advocate and made history in 1984 as the first American of Chinese ancestry to reach flag rank. When Maj. Gen. Fugh retired from active duty in 1993, he was the top lawyer in the Army and one of only two Chinese-Americans to reach two-star rank.

Image for Roy Matsumoto inducted into U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame

Gen. Frank Merrill awards Roy Matsumoto the Legion of Merit for his heroic actions in the Burma Campaign during World War II. Photo by U.S. Army.



Roy Matsumoto inducted into U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame

Like many Japanese Americans, Master Sgt. Roy Matsumoto was interned during America’s entry into World War II. While at the Jerome Relocation Center in Arkansas, he volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army’s Military Intelligence Service. He went on to fight in Burma with the 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional), popularly known as Merrill’s Marauders. Matsumoto was assigned to the Blue Combat Team of the 2nd Battalion.

In March 1944, near Walawbum, Burma, then-Sgt. Matsumoto discovered and tapped a Japanese phone line. He determined the location of an enemy ammunition dump. The coordinates were relayed his headquarters and the ammunition dump was destroyed. In another intercept the same day, Matsumoto located a large Japanese force moving in the direction of the road block. Forewarned, the 2nd Battalion was able to evacuate in time to avoid confrontation with a nominally superior enemy force. For these two intelligence accomplishments a promoted Staff Sgt. Matsumoto was awarded the Legion of Merit.

After the Marauders were disbanded on August 10, 1944, Matsumoto served with the 475th Infantry Regiment (Long Range Penetration, Special) and later in China and Japan as an interpreter supporting war crimes trials. Matsumoto retired from active duty in 1963, attaining the rank of master sergeant. The 475th and Merrill’s Marauders are lineage units to today’s 75th Ranger Regiment. In 1993, Matsumoto was inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame for his outstanding contributions.

Operations Iraqi Freedom
and Enduring Freedom


Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders were among the victims and heroes of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. As America's resolve led way to the current overseas contingency operations, as in wars past, many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders answered the call of duty to defend America by serving in the U.S. Army.

In May 2003, President Bush expressed his gratitude to Asian American and Pacific Islander citizens and Soldiers, proclaiming that "the values and traditions of the Asian/Pacific American community; love of family, entrepreneurship, excellence in education, and community service have strengthened us as a nation. Generations of Asian/Pacific Americans have proudly served our nation with honor and courage in wars and conflicts, including most recently in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Today, as in the past, their dedication and service to advancing peace in a troubled world upholds the values that make our country strong."

Image for Eric Shinseki becomes the Army's 34th chief of staff

Gen. Eric Shinseki is welcomed to Fort Gordon, Georgia, by Maj. Gen. John P. Cavanaugh, Commander, USA Signal Center & School and Mrs. Cavanaugh. U.S. Army photo.



Eric Shinseki becomes the Army's 34th chief of staff

Gen. Eric Shinseki was sworn in as the the Army’s 34th chief of staff, June 22. Born in 1942 on the island of Kauai, Hawaii, Shinseki graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1965. He served two combat tours and was wounded in action in Vietnam. He served with distinction in Europe, the Pacific and stateside, eventually becoming the Army’s senior leader from June 1999 to June 2003. Shinseki’s military decorations include three Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts.

As chief of staff, Shinseki initiated the Army Transformation campaign to address both the emerging strategic challenges of the early twenty-first century and the need for cultural and technological change in the Army. Shinseki would retire from active duty in 2003. Shinseki had previously served as the U.S. Army’s 28th vice chief of staff, from 1998 to 1999.

Image for Shinseki becomes veterans affairs secretary

Eric Shinseki speaks to President Obama in the Oval Office. Thumbnail photo by Department of Veterans Affairs. Enlarged photo courtesy of the White House.



Shinseki becomes veterans affairs secretary

Retired Army Gen. Eric K. Shinseki was sworn in as the seventh secretary of veterans affairs, Jan. 21, serving until 2014 in the Obama administration. During Shinseki’s tenure, veteran homelessness dropped by 24 percent.

Image for Tulsi Gabbard becomes first American Samoan woman elected to Congress

Tulsi Gabbard during her promotion to major. Photos by U.S. Army.



Tulsi Gabbard becomes first American Samoan woman elected to Congress

Tulsi Gabbard is the first American Samoan, the first Hindu member and one of the first female combat veterans in the U.S. Congress, representing Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district from 2013 to 2021. Gabbard was the first female Distinguished Honor Graduate at Fort McClellan’s Officer Candidate School and voluntarily deployed to Iraq with the 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

Image for Tammy Duckworth becomes first Thai American elected to Congress

Official portrait of U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Senate.



Tammy Duckworth becomes first Thai American elected to Congress

Tammy Duckworth is the first Thai American woman, one of the first female combat veterans and the first disabled woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress. In 2004, then-Maj. Duckworth was deployed to Iraq as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot for the Illinois Army National Guard. She was one of the first Army women to fly combat missions during Operation Iraqi Freedom until her helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade on Nov. 12, 2004. Duckworth lost her legs and partial use of her right arm in the explosion and was awarded a Purple Heart for her combat injuries.

Duckworth spent the next year recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. As one of the highest-ranking patients, she quickly became an advocate for her fellow Soldiers and testified before Congress about caring for our Veterans and wounded warriors. In 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth to be assistant secretary of veterans affairs. Duckworth served as the representative for Illinois’ 8th congressional district from 2013 to 2017 and has served as one of Illinois’ senators since 2017.

Military Unit & Program History

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442nd Regimental Combat Team

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service during the entire history of the U.S. military. The 4,000 men, who initially came in April 1943, had to be replaced nearly 3.5 times. In total, about 14,000 men served, ultimately earning 9,486 Purple Hearts, 21 Medals of Honor and an unprecedented eight Presidential Unit Citations.

The motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team was "go for broke." It is a gambling term that means risking everything on one great effort to win big. The Soldiers of the 442nd needed to win big. They were Nisei — American-born sons of Japanese immigrants. They fought two wars: the Germans in Europe and the prejudice in America.

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100th Infantry Battalion

"Remember Pearl Harbor" — that was the motto of the 100th Infantry Battalion. The men were there on that day of infamy, when Japan bombed their city, harbor, country and home. At that time, the men were loyally serving in the Hawaii National Guard. They guarded the shores, cleared the rubble, donated their blood and aided the wounded.

The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was activated, June 12, 1942, composed of more than 1,400 American-born Japanese called "Nisei"(NEE-say), or second generation. The War Department had removed them from Hawaii out of fear of renewed Japanese attacks. The War Department had also stopped accepting Nisei for military service. The battalion commander and some of the company-grade officers were Caucasian; the rest of its officers and enlisted men were Nisei. After training at Camp McCoy, Wis., and Camp Shelby, Miss., the battalion deployed to the Mediterranean in August 1943.

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Korean Augmentation to the U.S. Army (KATUSA)

The severe shortage of front-line Soldiers led to the formation of KATUSA during the Korean War. They were Korean stragglers who joined U.S. Army units in the battlefield, primarily for rations; some also acted as interpreters and enhanced U.S. combat readiness.

The KATUSA program was initiated during July 1950 by an informal agreement between South Korean President Rhee Syng-man and Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Sixty years have passed since the agreement but the KATUSA program still continues due to the commitment for freedom and democracy by both nations.

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The U.S. Army's Philippine Scouts

These were Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Soldiers, who fought America's first battle of World War II — the Philippine Division — probably the best trained and possibly the best prepared U.S. Army division at the outset of the war.

Some of them were farm boys from California and Kansas, and Italian Americans from New Jersey, as depicted in the black and white movies made during and after World War II. However, many of them were professional Filipino soldiers serving in the U.S. Army, commanded by American officers. They were special men in special units, officially designated Philippine scouts, a term applied both to the Filipino enlisted men and to their American officers. For a young Filipino man, acceptance into the Philippine scouts was a distinct honor — as was service in the scout units for American officers.

This website was made possible through a collaboration between the U.S. Army Center for Military History and the Office of the Chief of Public Affairs


For longer than Hawaii has been a state he has served the islands, but at the age of 88, Senator Daniel Inouye died from respiratory complications.

This video depicts the story of the Distinguished 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Combat Regimental Team. The men in these units, comprised almost entirely of persons of Japanese ancestry, fought with uncommon bravery and valor against our nation's enemies on the battlefields in Europe and Asia, even while many of their parents and kin were held in internment camps.

U.S. National Archives: "Images of Internment: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II". The Executive Order 9066 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which led to the incarceration of 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II, including approximately 80,000 American citizens. This video slideshow shares images captured by WRA photographer Dorothea Lange of communities affected during that time.

The American Veterans Center proudly presents Hiroshi Miyamura in an AVC Tribute Video. After the Chinese attacked Seoul, Miyamura struck back, killing 50 enemy soldiers. Afterward, in an attempt to find his fellow Americans, he unwittingly stumbled into enemy territory. He remained a POW until 1953 and was awarded the Medal of Honor by Dwight D. Eisenhower.