The Purple Heart Battalion
The Nisei Veterans Memorial Center (NVMC) announces their summer exhibit, “One Puka-Puka: The Purple Heart Battalion”. The exhibit will be open to the public from June 12, 2017 – August, 26, 2017, Monday – Saturday 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center in Kahului.
The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was formed six months following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The Battalion was comprised almost entirely of Nisei (second generation Japanese) from Hawaii, who were members of the 298th and 299th National Guard units and it was the first group of Japanese Americans to see combat in WWII.
They were in combat for 20 months, from September 29 1943 until Germany surrendered on May 2, 1945. The battalion was awarded three Presidential Unit Citations. The 3,147 soldiers who served in the battalion earned 4,340individual medals and awards, including 1,703 Purple Heart medals (awarded to those wounded or killed in U.S. military service).
The 100th Infantry Battalion’s (Separate) combat record in Italy not only earned them the appellation of “Purple Heart Battalion”, but helped change the minds of military and political leaders who had initially banned the enlistment of Japanese Americans, thus paving the way for the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
NVMC’s mission is to ignite the potential in people by inspiring them to find the hero in themselves through the legacy of the Nisei Veterans.