Tag Archives: Hawaii

Privates Barney F. Hajiro & George T. Sakato and the “Lost Battalion” (October 29, 1944)

On October 24, 1944, the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment – part of the 36th Infantry Division – was cut off and surrounded by the Nazis in France’s Vosges Mountains. Two attempts were made to break through to the unit known as the “Lost Battalion”. Those attempts failed.

On October 26, the all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American) 442nd Regimental Combat Team was ordered to break through to the Lost Battalion. Over five days of intense fighting, the 442nd finally saved about 230 of 1-141’s soldiers, and suffered at least 800 casualties in the process.

Two of the 442nd’s soldiers earned the Medal of Honor for their heroism during the battle.

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Captain Francis B. Wai, USA (October 20, 1944)

Francis Brown Wai was born on April 14, 1917 in Honolulu, Hawaii. His father was a Chinese immigrant and his mother a native Hawaiian. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with the class of 1939 where he excelled both at academics and sports.

Wai joined the Hawaii National Guard after his UCLA graduation and was activated for federal service with the United States Army prior to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. He was able to break through some of the anti-Asian prejudices of the day, attended Officer Candidates’ School, and was commissioned in 1941.

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Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda, USA (October 20, 1944)

Robert Toshio Kuroda was born in Aiea, Hawaii on the island of Oahu on November 8, 1922. His parents were Japanese immigrants, making him a Nisei, or second-generation (native born) Japanese-American. He graduated from vocational school and was an electrician, but found it difficult to find work with World War II raging and prejudices against people of Japanese descent. He was drafted on March 23, 1943 and volunteered for the United States Army‘s all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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Private Masato Nakae, USA (August 19, 1944)

Masato Nakae was born in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii on December 20, 1917. He was drafted into the United States Army on February 8, 1942 and volunteered for duty with the all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American) 100th Infantry Battalion, later part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

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