[Congressional Record Volume 158, Number 26 (Thursday, February 16, 2012)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E220]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                             HON. JIM COSTA

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                      Thursday, February 16, 2012

  Mr. COSTA. Mr. Speaker, I am joined by my colleagues Mr. Cardoza, Mr. 
Denham, Mr. Honda, Ms. Matsui and Mr. Schiff, to pay tribute to the 
outstanding military service and patriotism of the Japanese American 
men and women who served in the United States military during World War 
II. Over thirty-thousand second-generation Americans of Japanese 
ancestry, also known as ``Nisei'' served in the various branches of the 
U.S. military while their families were living in barbed-wire enclosed 
internment camps scattered throughout remote regions of the country.
  On February 19, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive 
Order No. 9066, essentially allowing the forcible relocation and 
internment of Japanese Americans across the United States; citizens and 
non-citizens alike. As a result, more than 120,000 Americans of 
Japanese ancestry, mainly from parts of Washington, Oregon, California 
and Arizona, were detained for nearly three years without charges or 
trials and without the basic civil liberties guaranteed to all 
Americans by the Constitution.
  Prior to that, on January 19, 1942, six weeks after the Imperial 
Japanese Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans were 
reclassified by the Selective Service as enemy aliens, ineligible to be 
drafted. Subsequently, the U.S. Department of War chose to activate the 
100th Battalion, a racially-segregated unit composed of Nisei 
volunteers from Hawaii who passed loyalty tests to fight in the 
European Theater. This unit became known as the Purple Heart Battalion 
due to its high casualty rate. With these Japanese-Americans setting 
the example, the War Department established the 442nd Regimental Combat 
Team, a racially-segregated unit composed of Nisei volunteers from 
confinement sites.
  The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which came to include the 100th 
Infantry Battalion, spearheaded numerous battles, fought valiantly and 
courageously and is widely regarded as the most decorated unit in 
American history for its size and length of service, with seven 
Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished 
Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars, 4,000 Bronze Stars and more than 
4,500 Purple Hearts. The 442nd is forever linked to the 36th Texas 
Division, when it rescued the ``lost battalion'' in the Vosges 
Mountains of eastern France during the fall of 1944. Japanese American 
troops were also part of the advance Allied troops that liberated the 
Dachau concentration camp.
  When the war ended and the United States declared victory, President 
Harry Truman, presented the 442nd Regimental Combat Team with its 
seventh President Unit Citation on the White House lawn and aptly 
observed: ``You have fought not only the enemy, but prejudice and you 
have won.''
  Along with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, another cohort of 
Japanese-Americans served in the Military Intelligence Service 
(''MIS''), made up of approximately 6,000 Nisei soldiers attached to 
combat units in the Pacific Theater. These soldiers intercepted radio 
transmissions, translated enemy documents, interrogated enemy prisoners 
of war, volunteered for reconnaissance and covert intelligence 
missions, and persuaded enemy combatants to surrender. Eventually, some 
of these MIS soldiers went on to serve during the post-war occupation 
of Japan, assisting with the country's transition to a democratic form 
of government, and helping to maintain a stable relationship between 
Japan and the United States.
  On October 5, 2010, the United States Congress unanimously passed 
Public Law 111 254, the law conferring the Congressional Gold Medal, 
the nation's highest civilian honor, to members of the 100th Battalion, 
442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service. 
President Obama signed the law, and on November 2, 2011, Members of 
Congress presented these medals to a number of Nisei veterans at 
Emancipation Hall in Washington, DC.
  Approximately 500 Nisei soldiers from Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings 
and Tulare Counties served in the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd 
Regimental Combat Team, Military Intelligence Service, Counter 
Intelligence Corps, Women's Army Corp and other military units, 
  S. Sgt. Kazuo Komoto of Sanger (MIS), the first Nisei Purple Heart 
recipient of World War II; Sgt. Mac Nobuo Nagata of Sanger (MIS), 
Legion of Merit recipient who led the 1st linguist team to Southwest 
Pacific Command; S. Sgt. Kazuo Otani of Visalia (442 RCT) and PFC Joe 
Nishimoto of Caruthers (442 RCT), recipients of the Medal of Honor and 
among 24 Nisei soldiers from Central California killed in action.
  PFC Jay Shiroyama of Laton (442 RCT), one of eight men from I Company 
that first made contact with the 121 men of the 141st Texas Regiment 
(Lost Battalion); PFC Tom Uyeoka of Salinas (522nd Field Artillery 
Battalion), settled in Fresno after the war, and helped liberate Jews 
at the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp; and S. Sgt. Mikio Uchiyama 
of Fowler (MIS and CIC), an attorney during the war crimes trials in 
Japan, who later became the first Asian-American judge in Fresno 
  On February 19, 2012, the Central California District Council of the 
Japanese American Citizens League, the oldest and largest Asian 
American civil rights organization in America, with the support of the 
Clovis Veterans Memorial District, Veterans of Foreign Wars Sierra 
Nisei Post 8499, Nisei Farmers League and Sun-Maid Growers of 
California, will host a Day of Remembrance observing the 70th 
anniversary of Executive Order 9066, and honoring all Nisei veterans of 
World War II with a local ceremony for the presentation of the 
Congressional Gold Medal.
  Mr. Speaker, we ask our colleagues to join the Central California 
District Council of the Japanese American Citizens League, to 
commemorate and pay tribute to all the Nisei soldiers of World War II, 
who not only fought fascism abroad but prejudice at home, and won.