/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Iraq-bound Soldiers honor Japanese-American WWII veterans

By Marc Ramirez
Seattle Times staff reporter

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division honors the aging members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the Japanese-American unit attached to the 34th during World War II The 442nd became one of the most decorated in US military history even though the families of many of its Soldiers had been sent to internment camps

In an International District meeting room, walkers and crutches rested next to tables topped with sandwiches and cookies

There, in the offices of Seattle's Nisei Veterans Committee, aging Japanese-American members of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team broke bread on Friday with far younger counterparts - national guardsmen bound for Iraq

Though separated by generations, they are united in history

The Minnesota National Guard's 34th "Red Bull" Division paid tribute to the 442nd, the mostly Japanese-American unit that had served under the division's command during some of the toughest fighting in World War II

"It's a real honor," said Tosh Okamoto, 83 "Even after 60 years, they still recognize the association between our two units"

The division, with about 1,000 Minnesota-based Soldiers, just finished two months of training at Fort Lewis before deploying for Iraq, starting next week

Commemorative coins were presented A proclamation from Minnesota Gov Tim Pawlenty was read, declaring April 10 as Nisei Veterans Committee Day A documentary was shown, detailing the history and impact of the 442nd and its 100th "Nisei" Battalion

"We just felt we had to be here for these guys," said commanding officer Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, among the brass attending the ceremony

It has been more than 60 years since the Soldiers of the 442nd earned distinction as the most decorated unit in US military history, given its size and length of service The feat - including 21 Medals of Honor - is all the more notable considering the circumstances: After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, many of their families had been herded into detention camps

The so-called "Go For Broke" unit suffered 600-plus casualties, with more than 9,400 wounded As President Clinton said at a June 2000 event for Asian-American Medal of Honor recipients: "Rarely has a nation been so well-served by people it has so ill-treated"

After the war, many Nisei found they were unwelcome in veterans groups such as Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Undaunted, they helped form Nisei Veterans Committee, which made Friday's lunchtime brotherhood all the more special

The meeting had come about by chance: Vietnam veteran Ted Yorita, a former Marine, had been at Fort Lewis for a gathering of color guards when he took a break at the local burger joint A few tables away, something familiar caught his eye

It was a patch he knew well, on the shoulders of several lunching 34th Division Soldiers Yorita, a member of the Nisei Veterans Committee, had to ask: Had they heard of the 442nd?

Which, it turned out, was like asking if these guys had heard of their own uncles

One phone call led to another, and on Friday, the Iraq-bound Soldiers honored men such as Kim Muromoto, who was there in April 1945 when the 442nd helped break the Germans' impenetrable "Gothic Line" high in the Italian mountains "The Allies couldn't penetrate the line," Muromoto said The breakthrough marked the end of the war in Europe

The unattached 442nd, which incorporated the famed but depleted 100th "Nisei" Battalion, had bounced around without a home for a bit before bonding with the 34th Division for good amid the final push of the war "We all had admiration for the 34th's bravery and courage," said Frank Nishimura, 85 "We had to live up to that standard"

The victory at Italy's Mount Folgorito was among several campaigns that distinguished the unit throughout 1944 to '45, including the fighting at Anzio Beach, the liberation of Jewish prisoners at Dachau and the legendary "Rescue of the Lost Battalion," an Army division trapped behind German enemy lines in France

For the older veterans, it was a chance to say thanks and to recall the bonds they still share with the 34th "It feels good that I can actually thank them myself," Nishimura said "It's a different generation But I'm confident they can live up to their predecessors"

Marc Ramirez: 206-464-8102 or mramirez@seattletimescom

Article source: www.SeattleTimes.NWSource.com

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day to recognize women veterans

Posted: 2018-08-27  12:34 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The Minnesota State Fair's eighth annual Military Appreciation Day will take place Tuesday, August 28, and provide an educational opportunity for all fairgoers to learn about Minnesota's military community. This year's theme is honoring Minnesota's women veterans.

"The Minnesota State Fair is a great opportunity to bring our community together to show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our state's veterans," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, The Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "This year, I am proud to stand with women veterans as we highlight their stories and contributions to our armed forces."

Minnesota Guardsmen learn survival skills, train with Norwegian counterparts

Posted: 2018-07-03  01:36 PM
NOREX 45 Over the course of 10 days, 100 Soldiers and Airmen from the Minnesota National Guard who traveled to Norway June 17-26, 2018, for the 45th Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange learned valuable survival skills and shared their knowledge with members of the Norwegian Home Guard. This year's exchange was the second to take place during the summer months in the history of the longest-running military partnership between two nations.

"It was a great experience for both the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard," said Capt. 'Kiwi' HorgA�ien, the senior Norwegian instructor. "A cultural exchange, a social exchange and military exchange all packed into one."

The 45th exchange got off to a late start, with flight delays causing the trip to be shortened from its normal length of two weeks. The delay meant that the Minnesota Guardsmen jumped right into training, heading out to the field after just a few hours of sleep.

133rd Airlift Wing Emphasizes Combat Readiness Training

Posted: 2018-06-29  10:48 AM
Alpena ALPENA, Michigan - Approximately 300 U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 133rd Airlift Wing participated in a readiness exercise at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center, Alpena, Mich.

The exercise, tagged as Iron Ore, was designed test the Airmen abilities to set up operations at an unfamiliar location and receive in depth training on Ability-To-Survive and Operate (ATSO) principles while supporting airlift and aeromedical flight operations.

To ensure mission success and readiness, Airmen had to complete training at home station prior to leaving for Alpena. Some of this training included weapons qualification, gas mask fit testing, Mission Oriented Protective Posture (MOPP) familiarization, self-aid and buddy care and career field training.

Red Bulls Kickoff Division Warfighter

Posted: 2018-06-13  01:38 PM
DIV WFX CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - "A Warfighter is an exercise that allows the Division to evaluate their ability to maneuver assets in a battle," said Master Sgt. Greg Weaver, the Operations Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge for the Division Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion. "It is designed to focus on particular areas and specific objectives to be evaluated or tested."

The Division has geared its' planning and training efforts in preparation for Warfighter since July 2017. Coordinating transportation for Soldiers and equipment was often on the mind of Maj. David Johansson, the logistics officer for the 34th ID. With the coordination of Johansson and his team, troops and equipment all converged on Camp Atterbury, enlisting the help of 89 railcars, 280 tractor-trailers, and nearly 50 buses for the movement.

"I like to say my job is to 'quiet the noise'". Johansson continued, "The noise being a real life logistical problem that could impede the exercise."

Article archive