Historical Timeline: 1942
The next day, the Hawai’i Territorial Guard is reformed without any Nisei members.
January 23, 1942
Japanese Americans in the military on the mainland are segregated out of their units.
January 25, 1942
The Roberts Commission Report is issued, citing widespread espionage in Hawai’i by Japanese consular agents and Japanese residents in Hawai’i. Later, the allegations prove completely false.1
January 28, 1942
The first Japanese American deaths of WWII occur when a Japanese submarine attacks the transport ship Royal T. Frank, carrying former Hawai’i National Guardsmen, off the coast of Hana, Maui. Eight of the nine survivors of the “Torpedo Gang” would later join the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).2
February 19, 1942
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, setting the stage for the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans in War Relocation Authority incarceration camps throughout the United States.
February 21, 1942
About 200 detainees at Sand Island in Hawai’i are transferred to mainland detention centers. Meanwhile, those held at camps on the neighboring islands are transferred to Sand Island.
Within the next two years, more detainees from Sand Island are shipped out to the mainland.
February 23, 1942
A Japanese submarine fires at an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, in the first of four authenticated attacks on the US mainland during WWII. There is little damage.3 The other three attacks are minor and result in little damage as well, but they impact the overall sense of fear among the public.
February 25, 1942
The all-Nisei Varsity Victory Volunteers (Triple V) is formed in Hawaii as part of the 34th Combat Engineers Regiment.
The Navy orders those living on Terminal Island, near the Los Angeles Harbor, to leave within 48 hours. They are the first large group of Japanese Americans to be forcibly removed from their homes.
In Bataan, Philippines, Richard Sakakida and Arthur S. Komori handwrite and distribute surrender appeals for Japanese soldiers in one of the war’s earliest attempts at psychological warfare.4
March 11, 1942
President Roosevelt issues Executive Order 9095, establishing the Office of the Alien Property Custodian, which freezes the assets of those deemed as aliens.5
March 24, 1942
Public Proclamation #3 is issued, setting an 8 pm – 6 am curfew for all “enemy aliens” and persons of Japanese ancestry in designated military areas.
March 30, 1942
A War Department order discontinues the induction of “Japanese or persons of Japanese extraction, regardless of citizenship status or other factors” in the armed services.
A Selective Service confidential telegram directs all local boards to reclassify Nisei registrants as “IV-C” or “enemy aliens”.6
May 25, 1942
The Fourth Army Intelligence School is moved from San Francisco, California, to Camp Savage, Minnesota, because of the exclusion order restricting all people of Japanese ancestry from military zones.
May 26, 1942
General George C. Marshall issues an order establishing the Hawai’i Provisional Infantry Battalion, made up of Japanese Americans from the Hawaii National Guard who were retained in the 298th and 299th Infantries.
October 2, 1942
Elmer Davis, Office of War Information Director, recommends to President Roosevelt that Japanese Americans be allowed to enlist for military service. This provides the initiative for the formation of an all-Nisei military unit.8
Mid-October, 1942 MIS Nisei join Allied forces for the Papua campaign, which lasts through mid-February. At Buna-Gona and Port Moresby, they translate captured documents and interrogate POWs in grueling jungle conditions.
November 6, 1942
Twenty-seven hand-picked Nisei from B Company, 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), arrive in Mississippi to begin a secret assignment to train dogs to first detect and then attack Japanese based on their allegedly distinctive scent.9 The Nisei remain at Cat Island for five months, before the experiment is deemed a failure and is shut down.
Hung Wai Ching takes Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy to Kolekole Quarry to see the Varsity Victory Volunteers hard at work. Some say that this helped convince officials in Washington that Nisei were sincere in wanting to serve.
- 1Ted Tsukiyama, “Our Four Pre-War Nisei Intelligence ‘Senpai,'” Secret Valor: MIS Personnel World War II Pacific Theater (Honolulu, HI: Military Intelligence Service Veterans, 1993), p. 31.
- 2Lyn Crost, Honor by Fire: Japanese Americans at War in Europe and the Pacific (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1997), pp. 11-12.
- 3“The War Relocation Authority and the Incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII,” Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, accessed on February 3, 2015, http://www.trumanlibrary.org/whistlestop/study_collections/japanese_internment/1941.htm.
- 4James C. McNaughton, Nisei Linguists: Japanese Americans in the Military Intelligence Service during World War II (Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 2006), p. 207.
- 5See Cary Stacy Smith, The Patriot Act: Issues and Controversies (Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 2009), pp. 86-87.
- 6McNaughton, p. 49.
- 7Ibid, p. 66.
- 8Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians (Washington, DC, and Seattle, WA: Civil Liberties Education Fund and University of Washington Press, 1997), pp. 188-189.
- 9Ray Nosaka, “Secret Mission: Dog Training,” The Hawaii Nisei Story: Americans of Japanese Ancestry during WWII, accessed on January 29, 2015, http://nisei.hawaii.edu/object/io_1153256967265.html; and Kat Bergeron, “Cat Island’s Mystery Lures PBS,” 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Education Center, reprinted from the Sun Herald, October 25, 2008, accessed January 29, 2015, http://www.100thbattalion.org/archives/puka-puka-parades/mainland-training/secret-missions/cat-island/cat-islands-history-lures-pbs/.