More than 33,000 Japanese Americans served during World War II in the US Armed Forces.
100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)
Activated in June 1942, the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was the first group of Japanese American World War II combat infantry soldiers composed of members from the Hawai’i National Guard. Their impressive training set the stage for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
442nd Regimental Combat Team
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was a racially segregated unit of Japanese Americans from Hawai’i and the mainland, many of whom came from America’s concentration camps. Activated in February 1943, the 442nd fought in Italy, France and Germany. Together with the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), the 442nd is the most decorated unit in US military history for its size and length of service.
522nd Field Artillery Battalion
The 522nd Field Artillery Battalion primarily supported the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team. However their reputation as one of the most accomplished artillery units in the European Theater Operations for speed and efficiency led the 522nd to assist other units. Towards the end of the war, members of the 522nd helped liberate survivors of a death march near Waakirchen.
1399 Engineer Construction Battalion
The 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion was an all Japanese American non-combat unit stationed in Oahu, Hawai’i, during World War II. When the ranks of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service were filled, Japanese Americans eager to answer the call to duty were honored to serve with the non-combat 1399 Battalion.
232nd Combat Engineer Company
A division of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the 232nd Combat Engineer Company served on the front lines clearing the path from mines and roadblocks, building bridges, and ensuring supplies and the wounded could safely be transported. They also devised a portable hot shower unit!
1800th Engineer General Service Battalion
The 1800th Engineer General Service Battalion consisted of American soldiers of Japanese, German, and Italian descent whom the authorities had deemed “troublemakers.” Despite all of the suspicion and prejudice against them, the unit performed magnificently, and even received an honorary citation for their work.
Military Intelligence Service
Military Intelligence Service soldiers served in secret performing combat intelligence and psychological warfare in the Pacific. They translated enemy documents, interrogated Japanese prisoners of war, intercepted enemy communication, and persuaded enemy units to surrender. The MIS served not only with the US Armed Forces, but also with other Allied armed forces, including those of Australia, Canada, China, Great Britain, India, and New Zealand.
Women’s Army Corps
Japanese American women were not permitted to join the Women’s Army Corps until November 1943. The first group of women trained as translators at the Military Intelligence Service Language School in Minnesota where graduates were assigned to translate captured documents.
Army Nurse Corps & Cadet Nurse Corps
Beginning in February 1943, Japanese American women were allowed to join the Army Nurse Corps (ANC), though the majority of Japanese American women who left concentration camps to help in the war effort participated in the Cadet Nurse Corps.