1018001008.gif 1018001002.jpg 1018001002.jpg 1018002001.gif

When Shig Henmi passed away recently, it meant that there were one fewer living Japanese American veterans who served during WWII in the Triad Ė the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), the 100th Infantry Battalion and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Members of these or-ganizations set out to prove their loyalty to the United States and were willing to die for their country despite friends and families being relocated to internment camps and facing prejudice because they were of Japanese ancestry.

The 100th Infantry Battalion was made up of soldiers from the Hawaii National Guard, already established before the attack on Pearl Harbor. After 16 months of training, the unit landed in Italy and fought in the bloody battles at Salerno and Monte Cassino. The unit suffered may casualties during the Italian Campaign, reduced from 1,432 to 521 men. Although remaining a separate unit, the 100th later became a part of the 442 RCT.

The 442nd RCT was established as a segregated Japanese American combat unit. Although having a pool of over 12,000 volunteers to choose from, the unit was made up of 2,686 men from Hawaii and 1,500 from the mainland. The unit fought in Italy and France, rescuing the Lost Battalion and the liberating prisoners at the Dachau Concentration Camp. The unit earned the respect of Gen. Mark Clark and was called upon to undertake the most challenging missions. The 442nd RCT became the most decorated unit for its size in the U.S. Armyís history.

Resident Minister: Rev. Naomi Seijo Nakano
6996 Ontario Rd., SLO
The role of the MIS was classified until 1974. Over 6,000 Japanese American soldiers served as interpreters, interro-gators, document analyzers and communication monitors. MIS personnel were assigned to Army, Navy, Marine and Air Corps units throughout the Pacific Theater and also loaned to British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, Chinese and Indian combat units. Their work was credited with saving over a million lives and shortened the war by two years.

Shig Henmi was drafted into the U.S. Army while detained in the Gila River Internment Camp. While undergoing basic training, he was transferred to the Armyís language school in Monterey, California and upon completion, boarded a ship bound for the Phillipines. The war ended while en-route and Shig soon found himself in Japan working with the occupation forces trying to help the Japanese recover and rebuild the country.

On November 2, 2011, veterans of the Triad and next of kin of those who were killed in action or had later passed away were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM) in Washington D.C. The CGM is the nationís highest civilian award bestowed by Congress. Many did not attend the ceremony including Shig who was honored a few years ago with the CGM in a special and simple presentation at SLOBC.

Today, the number of veterans who served with the Triad and are still alive has diminished dramatically. However, their courage and commitment to duty, honor and country will be remembered forever. They have written a chapter in our history that our future generations will continue to revisit.

 Nov. 11: Eitaikyo Service (11am)


                      "INTRO TO BUDDHISM"