Feb. 13, 2016 Meeting
Friends and Family of Nisei Veterans (FFNV), a Japanese-American WW II veterans organization, will host a meeting on February 13, 2016, at the rear building of the Morgan Hill Buddhist Community Center, 16450 Murphy Avenue, at 12:30 PM. Potluck lunch will be served at 11:30 AM. The public is invited.
The highlight of this meeting is to feature four speakers on the subject of a legendary segregated Japanese-American unit (442nd Regimental Combat Team – 442nd RCT) rescuing the “Lost Battalion.” The 442nd RCT, formed in 1943, was initially engaged in Italy and quickly became a formidable and well-respected fighting unit. “Go For Broke” was its motto. For its size and the length of service, the 442nd RCT became the highest decorated unit in U.S. Army history with 21 Medal of Honor awards.
On October 24, 1944, the 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Division (originally the Texas National Guard), became surrounded and trapped by German forces in the Vosges Mountains, France. The 1st Battalion was deemed “lost” because repeated attempts by 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 141st Infantry Regiment failed to rescue the 1st. The Division Commander then ordered the 442nd RCT to rescue the “Lost Battalion.” Even though the 442nd RCT just came off bitter battles to liberate nearby towns and thus was severely short of manpower, they smartly saluted and valiantly pressed on. It was another opportunity to prove their loyalty to America after being classified as “enemy alien” after Pearl Harbor. On October 30, after taking extremely heavy casualties, the 442nd RCT broke through and rescued the “Lost Battalion.”
Tom Graves (professional photographer/author of “Twice Heroes”) will introduce other speakers. He will give the overview of the 442nd RCT. He will present the importance of the battle to rescue the “Lost Battalion.” He will also comment on why this rescue lives on in history.
Franz Steidl (author of “Lost Battalions”) will give an introduction to the regional military situation, military motives behind the battle and its results. He will also make an audiovisual presentation.
Al Tortolano (soldier of the 1st Battalion, 141 Infantry – the “Lost Battalion”) will talk about his side of the battle, what his fellow soldiers faced and knew and what they went through before the rescue by the 442 RCT.
Lawson Sakai (a 442nd RCT vet) will talk about the Regiment itself – its origin and training. He will then focus on his role during the battle to rescue the “Lost Battalion.”
Questions may be directed to Brian Shiroyama at [email protected] or (408) 896-1021.