Senate approves bill to award Congressional Gold Medal to Nisei vets

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WASHINGTON — On Aug. 3, the U.S. Senate approved S.B. 1055, legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese American soldiers of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service (MIS). The bill must be approved again by the U.S. House of Representatives before it can be submitted to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.

According to the National Veterans Network, the House is expected to take that action in September.

The Congressional Gold Medal is Congress’ highest civilian honor. Initially introduced by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) initiated the legislation in the House as H.R. 347 and it was passed with approximately 300 co-sponsors in May 2009. The National Veterans Network supported Boxer’s work on behalf of the legislation with a nationwide grassroots campaign.

Commonly known as the Go For Broke regiments, the 100th/442nd is the most highly decorated unit for its size and length of service in U.S. military history. Among the many awards and distinctions earned by this unit are: 7 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 560 Silver Stars with 28 Oak Leaf Clusters, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier’s Medals, 4,000 Bronze Stars and more than 4,000 Purple Hearts.

The contributions of the 6,000 Japanese American soldiers in the MIS were not known until passage of the Freedom of Information Act in 1974. Their work proved vital to U.S. military successes in the Pacific Theatre. The MIS has been credited with shortening the war in the Pacific and saving countless Allied lives.

President Bill Clinton honored the MIS with a Presidential Unit Citation in 2000.

The National Veterans Network is an alliance of 22 World War II veterans’ organizations and nonprofits throughout the United States whose missions are to serve the interests of the Japanese American World War II veterans or to preserve the Japanese American WWII experience.

For more information about the National Veterans Network, contact Christine Sato-Yamazaki at Christine@yamazaki-assoc.com.

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