Parading the Colors


The color guard of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, US Army, stands tall during a unit awards ceremony somewhere in France during the winter of 1944-45. The 442nd, raised from US citizens of Japanese ancestry—the Nisei—served with unparalleled gallantry in Italy and France, ending the war as the most highly decorated unit of its size in the Army. (There was also a separate infantry battalion made up of Nisei, the 100th, that served with equal valor.) Twenty-one Medals of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 588 Silver Stars, 5,200 Bronze Stars and 9,486 Purple Hearts were awarded to soldiers of the 442nd and the 100th. The 442nd's regimental color was decorated with no less than eight Presidential Unit Citation streamers—still an Army record. During its trial by fire in Italy and France, the Nisei units suffered an overall casualty rate—killed, wounded and missing in action—of 93%. Lest we forget.

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