Garfield High School Goes to War » Japanese Americans at War

Japanese Americans at War

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The 442nd Regimental Combat Team and 100th Infantry Battalion

Japanese Americans (Garfield students) served in one of three units, either in the 442nd Regiment or 100th Infantry Battalion, both regular army units composed of Japanese Americans. However, they were anything but regular. The 442nd Regiment (of which the 100th was a part of) had in less than two years, earned more than 18,000 awards. These included 9,486 Purple Hearts, 4,000 Bronze Star Medals, eight Presidential Unit Citations, of which five were earned in a single month, and twenty-one Medals of Honor.


The Military Intelligence Service (MIS)

The third unit that they served in was the Military Intelligence Service. As war with Japan became a possibility in the early 1940s, some military officers realized that there would be a need for Japanese linguists. As a result, the Fourth Army Intelligence School was established in San Francisco in 1941. The school primarily recruited second-generation Japanese Americans, called Nisei. Graduates of the MIS language school (MISLS) were attached to other military units to provide translation, interpretation, and interrogation services.


Because their missions were highly classified and secret, the role of the MIS members was never really known until 1972 when the few records that existed about its activities were finally made available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act. A vast majority of their work is still unknown.

Okura, Yoshiro Frank   39932311
  • Left Garfield as an 11th grader because of Order 9066
  • Sent to Heart Mountain Internment with his family
  • Enlisted June 30, 1944 in the army
  • Private First Class, 100th Infantry, A Company, 442nd Regiment
Kitabayashi, George Ichiro   36468582
  • Graduated with the Summer Class of 1940
  • 1 year of college
  • Enlisted September 9, 1944; Ft. Sheridan, Michigan
  • Private 1st Class; 442nd 3rd Battalion Headquarters Company
Mizushima, John S   39866617
  • Graduated with the Summer Class of 1941
  • 2 years of college
  • Enlisted September 9, 1944
  • Military Intelligence Service
Fujioka, William Teru   19082091
  • Graduated with the Summer Class of 1939
  • Enlisted April 1, 1942; Los Angeles
  • He finished his 2nd year of college
  • Private 1st Class 442nd Regiment, Cannon Company
  • Awards: Bronze Star Medal, 2 Purple Hearts, Combat Infantryman Badge
  • served as one of the first members of the 442nd and had been with them since the beginning
  • He participated in all the battles including the rescue of the Lost Battalion
  • He survived a shelling that killed a close friend driving in the same truck
  • He found the body of a dear cousin on the battlefield
  • As part of the 442nd, he was with the first military personnel that came upon the Nazi death camp, Dachau, and liberated it.

Fukuda, Kozo
  • Graduated with the Summer Class of 1940
  • Military Intelligence Service; 347th Interrogation Team-Sasebo
  • Kozo Fukuda would be released from Heart Mountain in June of 1943 to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he could work and attend college.
  • He finished one year of college when his draft number came up in May of 1944.
  • He left for the army, eventually becoming a lieutenant with the military intelligence service, 347th Interrogation Team, especially with his knowledge of the Japanese language.
  • Just after the end of the war, his unit was sent to Sasebo (a core city located in Nagasaki Prefecture) where they would collect more information from Japanese officers.
Sato, George M.    39937876
  • Graduated with the Summer Class of 1940
  • At Garfield he was: President of the Knights, President of Hi-Yi, on the Board of Commissioners, Achievement Club, B Track Letterman and Ephebian 
  • 1 year of college
  • Enlisted Ft. Douglas, Utah, December 14, 1944
  • MISLS Snelling Class of September 1945
  • Military Intelligence Service
Baba, Katsumi    39158487
  • Graduated with the Summer Class of 1938
  • Enlisted May 20, 1941 in Los Angeles
  • Attended Military Intelligence Language School, graduating from Savage in December 1942
  • Served in military intelligence in India
Kariya, Juette Ikuho    39160061;
  • Graduated with the Winter Class of 1936
  • Enlisted 6/18/1941 in Los Angeles
  • Graduated from MISLS at Savage Camp, June 1942
  • Military Intelligence Service
  • Assigned Alaska (Kiska and Attu)
    The MIS were on the Aleutian Islands campaign and helped in a number of ways. Approximately 16 Nisei linguists served on Attu during the battle there. They translated captured documents -sometimes on the spot, monitored radio transmissions, interrogated captured Japanese POWs and created leaflets to drop from airplanes. The work was severe and deadly. Some MIS crawled into caves where Japanese soldiers were hiding to persuade them to surrender. 
  • Another team of MIS linguists participated in the recapture of Kiska that took place on mid-August 1943, while a another team worked the Alaska Defense Command headquarters at Dutch Harbor.  The men confronted other dangers in the form of booby traps left behind by the Japanese.
  • Juette Kariya is assigned to the Mars Task Force: 475th Cavalry Regiment, Burma
  • July 1944 - February 1945
  • After the fall of Myitkyina in Burma, the US prepared to renew its offensive against the Japanese in northern Burma.
  • In the summer of 1944, the War Department sent two infantry regiments to the China-Burma-India Theater. The 475th Infantry, which absorbed the remaining Merrill's Marauder veterans, and the 124th Cavalry, a former National Guard unit from Texas, joined with the US-trained 1st Chinese Regiment to form the 5332nd Brigade (Provisional)2. The combined units were named the MARS Task Force and were commanded by Brigadier General John P. Willey. The two US regiments each had a team of a dozen Nisei language specialists.
  • The mission of the MARS Task Force, similar to that of the Merrill's Marauders, was to operate around and behind enemy lines, cut off supplies and reinforcements, and clear the Burma Road.
  • 475th climbed mountain trails in Northern Burma, carried packs, weapons and dictionaries
  • Engaged the Japanese in battle
  • Received supplies from airdrops
  • Dug slit trenches and foxholes
  • Helped open the Burma Road