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Hawaii Nikkei Legacy Exhibit

War in Europe

The 100th Infantry Battalion, formed in June 1942, entered combat in September 1943. The 100th, known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” due to the high number of casualties it sustained, was incorporated into the 442nd RCT in June 1944 when the RCT arrived in Europe. The 100th was allowed to retain its unit name due to its outstanding combat record.

The 442nd RCT, formed in February 1943, remains the most decorated combat unit in the U.S. Army for its size and length of service. About two-thirds of its initial 4,500 volunteers were from Hawaii.

These Nisei fought in Italy, France and Germany. More than 14,000 men served in the 442nd RCT which earned eight U.S. Presidential Unit Citations.

In April and May 1945, the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion, a unit of the 442nd RCT, helped liberate hundreds of Jewish prisoners from a sub-camp of the German Dachau concentration camp and from the Dachau Death March.