When President Roosevelt called for volunteers for a segregated Japanese American unit of the U. S. Army, nisei in the internment camps debated serving the country that had imprisoned them. The immediate response in martial-law Hawaii, where issei and nisei lived free, albeit under martial law and local prejudice, was more positive. Nisei from the mainland and Hawaii stepped up to serve the ideals of their country and formed the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team, which became the most highly decorated unit of the U. S. Army for its size and length of time served. The nisei also served bravely in the Military Intelligence Service, helping to turn the tide of war in the Pacific. Together, the nisei won more than 4,000 Purple Hearts and eight Presidential Unit Citations, including one awarded to the MIS in 2000. The soldiers also won twenty-one Medals of Honor, all but one presented by President Clinton, as well as the Nisei Soldiers of World War II Congressional Gold Medal (2011).
The resources linked below offer oral histories, documents, images, stories, bibliographies, and lesson plans to help you discover the remarkable story of the nisei soldiers, as well as the considerable deliberations of those who chose not to serve. *Accessible to younger readers