For Frank Wada in Company E, liberating Bruyères meant securing a hill west of the town. About us. The 100th/442nd Regiment became the most decorated Unit in the History of the US Army (8 Presidential … In Bruyères, the more than 200 enemy troops the 442nd captured offered a glimpse into the global reaches of the war. Conversing in Japanese—their only common language—they became lifelong friends. The one below did not have. Don Seki says that his first kill in Italy brought him face to face with the men that shot at him: “Young fellows they were, the Germans. While the men regrouped, a platoon of tanks came up; supported by direct fire from the 75s, the troops were able to advance some distance in an attempt at infiltration before they were pinned down by the enemy's relentless small arms and mortar fire. An American colonel who has been assisting the U.S. Dept. Hello, Once again our dear 442nd Vets are comming back in the Vosges in July 2009. The morning of the 13th, the regiment took over holding positions on the division left flank, with the 2d Battalion on line and the 3d Battalion in reserve. Frank Wada returned home after leading his squad in France and Italy for the remainder of the war in 1945. It is through their accomplishments that we are here today. The attack launched on the 15th [October] progressed slowly all that day and the next, consisting of a yard by yard advance in the face of a determined enemy. This was indeed, a new and more devastating war than any [of] our troops had previously experienced. Don Seki became one of them. The amputation of his left arm sent Seki on a two-year odyssey of recovery. The battalion took it. From his foxhole in the cold, muddy ground surrounded by heavy timbers, he was able to look down into the French village. By summer, the men were neck-deep in their first combat experiences. 442nd regiment facts. The 100th had dropped back to the right rear of the 3d and was not in a position to attack, due to the narrow conformation of the ridge. There they remained, unable to advance, unable to turn back; they could look for no other support than that which they already had. “Here in San Diego they said each family can have a truck, and we could fill that truck up and did not have to worry. There they remained until the 17th. In a surprise move three thousand yards to the left rear, the 2d Battalion, led by Lieutenant Colonel James M. Hanley, had taken an important hill which the enemy had neglected to secure in sufficient strength. They are only comming over for a week but will spend 4 days in Epin They were confused to see somebody different.” In fact, military authorities preferred to keep the blinds drawn on troop trains with Nisei recruits out of concern over racial unrest. For Assistant Squad Leader Wada, the first taste of enemy gunfire came at a location called Hill 140, just east of Livorno. The following morning, all three battalions mounted a battering-ram attack behind a screen of fire from the 522d and other elements of division artillery. For his part, Frank Wada had no illusions about the perilous position the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor placed him in. Moral support also came from Utah’s Japanese Americans who came to visit from all corners of the state to keep the men company and bring food. They were committed against an enemy whose orders were to hold to the last man. Through it all, they faced difficult terrain, bombed-out roads, near-constant rain and relentless enemy fire and shelling. That was all, because no one else would hire you.”, Halfway across the Pacific on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, second-class citizenship looked very different for Don Seki. Last Name First Name Unit Rank; Abe: Bill: 2nd BN, E Co. Sgt: Abe: Chester Kengo: 3rd BN, M Co. Pvt: Abe: David Y. Growing up Japanese-American before World War I, Before the day that would “live in infamy,” both men grew up in a nation unapologetic in its racist restrictions against Japanese Americans. Progress was slow on the 27th. Like most Americans, Don Seki and Frank Mitoshi Wada remember the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii as a dark day. Consequently, a position that would normally have taken two days to reduce had to be reduced at once. Although they were the enemy, they were so young. Here the men washed, drew new clothes and gradually assumed the semblance of human beings again. One comrade had his home burnt down, another was refused service at a barber shop. The 2d reached the top of the hill and stormed down on the unwary Germans. Finally, at 1500 hours that day, with the 3d and 100th Battalions moving as much abreast as possible, a patrol from I Company, led by Technical Sergeant Takeo Senzaki, made contact with the "Lost Battalion." On his long trek through various hospitals, he met a Nisei soldier from Brazil who had lost both legs, probably in Italy. The impossible had been accomplished.Pushing on After the Lost Battalion The next day the 100th deployed south to protect the right flank and regimental supply route. Signing up to fight for the country that imprisoned them. Battle History. The Gothic Line; German … The 442nd fought for five days and rescued the Texans, but lost more men than they rescued. They carried with them a commendation from the Commanding General, 36th Division, and more important to the men, the respect and admiration of the division's doughboys. By 1000 hours they had passed through the remainder of the 141st, which had been trying to break through to its besieged troops. This task force moved without detection during the night of 20 October to a position in the enemy's left rear. Hill "D" fell to the 3d on the 19th, and Hill "C," now somewhat in the rear of both the 2d and 3d Battalions had now developed into a bedlam, with large pockets of enemy troops (left on Hill "D" and by-passed in the attack) opening fire on the reserve companies and command posts. Bruyères, Belmont, Biffontaine; Rescue of the Lost Battalion; Rhineland Campaign-Maritime Alps: 100th/ 442nd RCT "Champagne Campaign" Central Europe Campaign: 522nd Field Artillery Battalion. This is the story of their part in the Battle of Bruyères and Biffontaine as well as the their successful rescue of the "Lost Batallion" (1st Battalion of the 141st "Alamo" Regiment, 36th Texas-Division). The 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, units of the US Army made up of Americans of Japanese ancestry. At the time he was shot, he thought, “How am I going to fish now?” He was relieved when rehabilitation and prosthesis training at a hospital in Brigham City, Utah included not just eating and grooming, but horse riding and fishing. By noon of the 17th, the 100th Battalion had advanced as far as the first of four conical hills that towered over Bruyeres. Of almost 200 men in K Company, which bore much of the brunt of the fighting, Frank Wada’s brother Ted was one of only 17 who walked out alive and unharmed. 442nd Facts. The paths of Frank Wada and Don Seki first crossed in 1943 in Camp Shelby south of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where the 442nd Infantry Regiment trained. Instead, they lived under martial law and heavy surveillance. The 100th crossed the ridge preparatory to launching an attack on Biffontaine on the other side. When asked what his service and sacrifices in World War II mean to him now, Frank Wada modestly answers, “Nothing.” And yet his Spring Valley, California home is brimming with photos, documents and artifacts from that time, ranging from his original Army shirt and the 442nd regimental banner to a stunningly detailed wooden model he built of the internment barracks where his family was sent to live after Pearl Harbor. But a few local villagers had made their own contribution to the battle, Don Seki remembers: “One kid stayed with us, he helped us pretty good, showed us how the terrain is. Relief must be effected immediately. Ceremony october 2011 France Vosges Bruyères with US Army 442rct 100Bn and vétérans and families from Hawaii and California. Resistance along the railroad embankment had developed somewhat slowly, but when the battalions were in complete contact with the enemy position, the battle mounted in fury. Suffice it to say that the 442d Combat Team contributed mightily to the drive of the Seventh Army when its contribution was needed most. Wada learned about President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive order 9066 from February 19th, 1942—ordering the internment of all Americans of Japanese descent—from a lamppost notice. Average company strength in the regiment was 35 men. Training. Others served in the Pacific theater with intelligence operations and as linguists interviewing POWs. They then proceeded with the day's work of blasting out the tangle of logs, wire, and mines that made the road impassable. History Reads features the work of prominent authors and historians. few had traveled to Japan or spoke Japanese. Living in San Diego at the time, he remembered that “we used to go to a football game every Sunday…and then we heard it [the attack] on the radio, and we decided that day to better not go—because this was a Navy town.”. On the 29th, the regiment jumped off again, cleared one knoll, and ran into the enemy's main defensive position thrown astride the ridge where it was so narrow that maneuver was impossible. That was the day the city drained and cleaned the basin for the white children to enjoy the rest of the week. Caught in this deadly pincers, those enemy troops not killed by small arms or caught in the devastating artillery fire, fled. But with only three Japanese-American families in his town, Wada said, he had no choice but to adjust: “Who were you going to complain to?”, Working hard and doing well in school made no difference. His younger brother Ted fought in another company of the same battalion. L Company of the 3d Battalion had also pushed into the north end of Bruyeres and was proceeding to a linkup with the 143d Infantry, which had attacked the town from the south. Don Seki inside the Japanese-American WWII Association building, 2005. The 2d Battalion on the right kept pace, driving back two determined counterattacks and launching an attack on Hill "B," second of the four hills. Getting Started . In what became known as the Rescue of the Lost Battalion, the 100th/442nd RCT, supported by the … His good friend and Kendo partner George Sakato only received his Medal of Honor in June 2000 for his one-man charge in the liberation of the Lost Battalion—along with 19 other Nisei who had previously been denied this highest recognition for military valor. At the end of the day, the regiment was 1,500 yards nearer to the "lost battalion," but only at [a] terrible cost in men and material. Wada had reunited with these men by chance in Italy when they were supposed to replace his unit. Bypassed groups of enemy made supply difficult; in the case of the 100th, it was almost impossible. At the time of the attack, the 3d Battalion was directly under the enemy positions. Yosh served in “H” Co., 442 nd RCT. The task force sustained only two casualties, so great was the surprise they enjoyed. For once, there was no counterattack, only the interminable artillery. Their battle cry? 442nd RCT. In destroying this enemy, the Combat Team was so badly battered that it was impossible to go on without reinforcements, and these were not forthcoming. President Harry Truman inspects the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team on July 15, 1946. You either worked on the farm, or you worked in the produce company, or you became a gardener, or you went fishing. Consequently, when the leading elements were held along the railroad line two kilometers east of Bruyeres, the reserve companies slowly reduced the resistance in the rear. Four days after the 442nd had reached the lost Texas Battalion, his L Company was conducting “mop-ups” at night when it happened: The Germans were pretty clever. In a push down the long heavily-wooded ridge that extended southeast and dominated the valley from Biffontaine to La Houssiere, the 1st had overextended itself and had been cut off by strong enemy forces. There was one chance left. Boy… I, the enemy? The wartime events in Northeastern France confirmed the reputation of the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team as the fiercest fighting … Thank you for helping maintain the memory of the 100/442nd RCT. The 442nd (less the 522nd FAB) help break the Gothic Line in the Po Valley Campaign in March 1945. A librarian can suggest “subject headings” to find the … You are also invited to come to Bruyères to participate in the rededication of the 1947 monument and the addition of the new element. Hill "A" fell to the 100th at 1400 hours that day, yielding more than 30 prisoners, and by the end of the day, Hill "B" had fallen to the combined efforts of the 2d and 3d Battalions. Battle Honors. The relief was effected at 0300 hours on 26 October on the extreme left of the division sector. Ted Wakai – Paris, France, 442nd. There, they were to join the Rome-Arno campaign pushing German troops out of Italy. South of the Arno river, they had a break, Seki recalls: Oh, what a break. In spring of 1944, Seki and Wada made the monthlong voyage on a troop ship across the Atlantic to North Africa and Naples, Italy. But the Sekis were hardly alone at the bottom of the archipelago’s colonial plantation economy. Four Japanese-American servicemen riding in a jeep, towing a supply trailer on a rural road in France during World War II. “It was the damndest thing, you know. For these two “Nisei” (American-born children of Japanese immigrants), December 7th, 1941 was darker than for most, since it led to their being labeled “enemy aliens.”. 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