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Japanese Americans in America's Wars: A Chronology

1868 First Japanese Immigrants arrive in Hawai'i.

1898 Spanish American War. Seven Issei are among the 268 men killed aboard the U.S.S. Maine.

1917 All-Japanese Company D, 1st Hawian Regiment of Infantry, is formed in Hawai'i to serve in World War I.

1922 The Supreme Court ruling in the Ozawa Case prohibits Japanese from becoming naturalized citizens of the U.S. on the basis of race.

1924 President Coolidge signs the 1924 immigration bill, ending Japanese immigration to the U.S.

May 25, 1925 U.S. Supreme Court strips Hidematsu Toyota of his U.S. citizenship, granted in 1921 after his service in World War I.

June 24, 1935 President Roosevelt signs Nye bill into law, granting U.S. citizenship to 500 World War I veterans of Asian descent.

October-November 1941 Curtis B. Munson is commissioned by President Roosevelt to gather information on Japanese American loyalty. His report concludes that Japanese Americans are loyal and would pose little threat.

Military Intelligence Division opens a secret language school under the Fourth Army at the Presidio of San Francisco, with four Nisei instructors and 60 students, 58 of whom are Japanese American.

December 7, 1941 Japan bombs the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. FBI agents and police began arresting Japanese American community leaders in Hawai'i and on the mainland.

December 11, 1941 The newly formed Hawai'i Territorial Guard (HTG), made up of ROTC cadets and volunteers from Honolulu high schools, the majority of Nisei, is placed under direct Army command.

January 19, 1942 The 317 Nisei members of the HTG are discharged without explanation, and classified as 4-C, "enemy-aliens."

January 23, 1942 Japanese Americans in the military on the mainland are segregated out of their units.

February 19, 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066, setting the stage for the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese Americans in camps throughout the United States.

February 23, 1942 The all-Nisei Varsity Victory Volunteers (Triple V) is formed in Hawai'i as part of the 34th Combat Engineers Regiment.

March 30, 1942 A War Department order discontinues the induction of Japanese Americans in the armed services on the West Coast.

May, 1942 Graduates of the first class of the MIS Language School are sent to the Aleutians and the South Pacific.

May 25, 1942 MIS Language School is moved from San Francisco 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 order establishing the Hawai'i Provisional Infantry Battalion, made up of Japanese Americans from the Hawai'i National Guard.

June 12, 1942 1432 members of the Hawai'i Provisional Infantry Battalion are moved from Honolulu to San Francisco and activated as the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate).

June 17, 1942 The War Department announces that it won't "accept for service with the armed forces Japanese or persons of Japanese extraction, regardless of citizenship status or other factors."

June 26, 1942 The Army Chief of Staff G-2 Section recommends the formation of a Board of Military Utilization of U.S. Citizens of Japanese Ancestry, to determine whether a Japanese American unit ought to be sent to fight in Europe.

September 14, 1942 The formation of a Japanese American unit is rejected "because of the universal distrust in which they are held."

October 31, 1942 Twenty-six men from the 100th (Company B, Third Platoon) leave Camp McCoy for Ship Island and Cat Island off the Mississippi Gulf coast, on special assignment to be used to train dogs to recognize and attack Japanese, based on their supposedly unique scent.

January 6, 1943 The 100th Infantry Battalion leaves Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for Camp Shelby, Mississippi.

January 31, 1943 At the request of the men of the Triple V, the unit is deactivated so that its members can enlist in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT).

February 1, 1943 The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is activated by President Roosevelt; "Americanism is not and never was, a matter of race and ancestry."

March 28, 1943 The Honolulu Chamber of Commerce throws a farewell ceremony at the Iolani Palace for 1,686 Nisei volunteers for the 442nd RCT.

May, 1943 The 442nd RCT begins training in Mississippi.

August 21, 1943 The 100th Infantry Battalion leaves for active duty in Europe, landing at Oran, North Africa, on September 2.

September 22, 1943 The 100th Infantry Battalion lands on the beach at Salerno, Italy traveling north.

September 29, 1943 Baseball star Shigeo "Joe" Takata is the first member of the 100th Infantry Battalion to be killed in action and the first to receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

October, 1943 Japanese American women are accepted into the Women's Army Corps. During WWII and the post-war period more than 300 Nisei women serve in the WAC.

November 3, 1943 The 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Division and the 100th Infantry begin offensive attacks against the Germans along the Volturno River, south of Naples.

January 24, 1944 The Battle of Cassino begins. It takes four major assaults and four months to take Cassino. The 100th Infantry Battalion fights in the first two assaults.

February 1944 Merrill's Marauders, fourteen of whom are Nisei linguist/infantrymen, operate behind enemy lines in North Burma.

March 26, 1944 The 100th lands at Anzio beachhead, second front between the Gustav Line and Rome. The 100th attacks Anzio in April and then moves on to Rome. Rome falls on June 5.

April 1944 The 1399th Engineering Cornstruction Battalion is formed to work on non-combat construction and maintenance projects in the Hawaiian islands.

June 2, 1944 The 442nd arrives at Naples harbor and on June 10th meets the 100th in Civitavecchia, northwest of Rome.

June 26, 1944 Attached to the Fifth Army's 34th Division, the 442nd, now including the battle-tested 100th Infantry Battalion, goes into combat, heading for Belvedere.

July 1944 Five Nisei MISers are part of the "Dixie Mission," sent to Yenan, the wartime headquarters of the Chinese Communists, to gather military intelligence.

August 1944 MIS Language School is expanded and moved from Camp Savage to Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

September 26, 1944 The 442nd RCT leaves Naples for France.

September 30,1944 The 442nd RCT is joined by the 36th Division (aka the Texas Division).

October 15, 1944 The 442nd RCT, now attached to the 36th Division of the Seventh Army, enters the battle of Bruyeres in the Vosges Mountains.

October 16, 1944 At Bruyeres, after three days of fighting, the 100th takes Hill A, the key to Bruyeres, the 2nd Battalion takes Hill B, and enters the town.

October 22, 1944 The 100th Infantry Battalion takes Biffontaine, suffering many casualties.

October 26-31, 1944 The 442nd RCT rescues the "Lost Battalion," which was cut off and surrounded by the enemy. There are 800 Nisei casualties in order to save 211 lives.

February 19, 1945 More that 50 MIS Nisei soldiers land with the U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima, one of the last battles in the Pacific.

March 1945 The 522nd Field Artillery Battalion is detached from the 442nd RCT, and sent to assist the Seventh Army's assault on the Siegfried Line between central France and Germany.

March 28, 1945 The 442nd RCT leaves France for Italy.

April 1, 1945 The Battle of Okinawa is shortened by the work of Nisei MIS linguists who translate Japanese documents revealing defense plans, troop positions, and maps of artillery posotions.

April 5-6, 1945 The 442nd RCT makes a surprise attack on Nazi mountainside positions in Italy, breaking through the Nazi Gothic Line in one day.

April 5, 1945 Sadao Munemori saves the lives of two other American soldiers by diving on a German grenade. He is the only Japanese American awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor during World War II.

April 29, 1945 Members of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion encounter survivors of Dachau concentration camp.

September 2, 1945 Nisei serve as interpreters aboard the U.S.S. Missouri when Japan signs the Instruments of Surrender ending the War in the Pacific and World War II.

October 29, 1945 1399th Engineering Construction Battalion is awarded a Meritorious Service Plaque for "superior performance and record of accomplishment and exceptional devotion to duty."

July 15, 1946 The 442nd RCT is received by President Truman on the lawn of the White House; "You fought not only the enemy but you fought prejudice--and you have won."

June 25, 1950 The Korean War begins when troops from Communist North Korea invade South Korea. Many Nisei veterans are recalled to duty, now serving in an integrated military.

October 27, 1953 Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura receives the Congressional Medal of Honor from President Eisenhower along with seven other Korean War heroes.

February 16, 1955 The opening of Hawai'i's 28th legislature marks the first time the Democratic Party controls both houses.

November 1962 442nd veteran Daniel K. Inouye is the first Japanese American elected to the U.S. Senate. 442nd veteran Masayuki "Spark" Matsunaga is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1965 United States forces enter the Vietnam War. The next generation of Japanese Americans also serve in this war.

January 1, 1969 Sergeant First Class Rodney Yano, helicopter crew chief in Vietnam, although severely wounded in a grenade explosion, continues to hurl ammunition from his helicopter. Yano is awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously.

March 20, 1969 Cpl. Terry Kawamura's unit's quarters area in Vietnam is infiltrated and fired upon by the enemy. Kawamura throws himself on a charge in order to save the lives of two fellow soldiers. He is awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously.

1973 Secret materials concerning the Military Intelligence Service are declassified.

May 9, 1980 Three buildings at the Defense Language Institute, Presidio of Monterey are named for Nisei MIS soldiers killed in action during World War II.

August 10, 1988 President Ronald Reagan signs H.R.442, providing an official apology for the government's WWII incarceration of Japanese Americans and compensation payments to surviving internees.

 

 

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