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GlobalSecurity.org In the News

The San Diego Union Tribune September 4, 2015

What was the motto of famed 100th?

By Adrian Vore

San Diego is a military town, so it's understandable readers are passionate about the Bravery in Battle: The Medal of Honor feature that runs Sundays on the Military + Defense page.

Lisa Deaderick, who has written all the stories since they began about two years ago, said she regularly hears from readers who believe they have spotted an inaccuracy. Some are history buffs, others say they know someone who was there, and others say they were in the theater of battle themselves.

Last Sunday, Deaderick's story on Medal of Honor recipient Army Pvt. Shizuya Hayashi generated such a call.

Hayashi was a second-generation American. He served with the 100th Infantry Battalion, which comprised Japanese Americans, most of whom served in the Hawaii National Guard. He was presented with the Medal of Honor – in 2000 – for his valor in battling German soldiers in 1943 in Italy.

Deaderick uses multiple sources. The primary one is the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, which provides the official accounts of the recipients' courage.

When she feels the story needs more information, such as added details of a battle, she turns to other reliable sources – websites for the military branches and obituaries by The New York Times, Los Angeles Times or Washington Post. She'll also visit public libraries for books. One reference is "Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty" by Peter Collier, in which recipients were interviewed one-on-one.

While researching Hayashi, she learned from the Portraits of Valor book that the motto for the 100th Battalion was "Remember Pearl Harbor." This made an impression on Deaderick. "It spoke to their inclusion as Americans," she said. "They defined that for themselves."

She found another source for the motto and included it in her story.

I took a call Monday from reader Mitch Himaka. Longtime readers might recognize the name. He's a former courts reporter who worked at the San Diego Union from 1961 to 1990. He also was president of the Japanese-American Historical Society of San Diego for five years. He said the motto was incorrect; it actually was "Go For Broke."

He put me in touch with Frank Wada of Spring Valley who fought in the Army's 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Italy and France. After the battle in which Hayashi distinguished himself, the 100th Battalion hooked up with the 442nd and became the regimental combat team's first battalion.

I set up a date to talk with Wada, but in the meantime I did some research myself.

From the website GlobalSecurity.org: "The 442nd Infantry Regiment was the largest Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) unit. Fighting in Italy and southern France, the unit was known for its bravery and determination, as reflected by the unit motto, "Go for broke!"

The site also contains this: "The first all-Japanese American Nisei military unit was the 100th Battalion. ... They adopted the phrase 'Remember Pearl Harbor' as their motto."

A timeline on the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Education Center website shows this for June 20, 1943: "100th receives its battalion colors and motto, 'Remember Pearl Harbor,' as requested by the unit."

It turns out the 100th had its own motto of "Remember Pearl Harbor," and the 442nd had "Go For Broke."

Wada said he couldn't say for sure on what the 100th's motto was, but he was clear on the 442nd's. He proudly displayed "Go For Broke" on a host of mementos. Wada, 94, is a Nisei. He was born in Redlands. After the war began he was sent to an internment camp in Poston, Ariz. From there he volunteered for the Army. He spent 1943 through '45 in combat with the 442nd. He was wounded, spent more than two months in a hospital in Naples, and then returned to the fight.

After meeting him, I thought of a new motto: "Remember the Americans Who Went For Broke."

Copyright 2015, The San Diego Union Tribune