Roy W. Harmon was born in 1915 (or 1916) in Talala, Oklahoma. He possessed a grade-school education and was working as a farmhand in Pixley, California when he was drafted into the United States Army on November 17, 1942.
Seventy years ago today on July 7, 1944, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team – predominately comprised of Nisei (2nd generation, born-citizen Japanese-Americans) – continued the fight for Hill 140 near Castellina, Italy. Two of the regiment’s soldiers had already exhibited heroism worthy of the Medal of Honor.
On July 4, 1944 two Privates First Class of the regiment went above and beyond the normal call of duty in the face of our Nazi German enemies and received our Nation’s highest honor.
Kiyoshi K. Muranaga was born in Los Angeles, California on February 16, 1922 to Japanese immigrant parents. An American citizen by birth, he was living in Gardena, California when he was interred with his family in the Granada War Relocation Center in Colorado.
Records indicate he was drafted into the United States Army on May 29, 1943 and he was trained as a mortarman and placed in Company F, 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Nisei (second generation Japanese-American) unit. Continue reading Private First Class Kiyoshi K. Muranaga, USA (June 26, 1944)
On June 2-3, 1944 near Valmontone, Italy, soldiers of the 3rd Infantry Division‘s 15th Infantry Regiment were ambushed by a Nazi mixed infantry and armor force. Two of the men caught in the ambush – both privates – on their own initiative sacrificed their own lives in lone attacks that diverted the enemy’s attention and allowed their comrades to escape.
In the late 1990s, the United States Army began a review of the service records of Japanese-Americans who had been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor during World War II to determine if any of them had been denied the Medal of Honor due to racial prejudice.
Two of the soldiers whose decorations were found to be insufficient and thus upgraded to our nation’s highest honor were Yeiki Kobashigawa and Shinyei Nakamine, who fought as part of the all-Nisei (born Japanese-Americans and citizens, sons of Japanese immigrants) 100th Infantry Battalion attached to the 34th Infantry Division in Italy on June 2-3, 1944.
Furman L. Smith was born in Six Mile, South Carolina on May 11, 1925. He was drafted into the United States Army on July 28, 1943 at age eighteen. Like so many young Americans ripped from their civilian lives to fight in distant lands, Smith held just a grammar school education and had been a farm hand in Central, South Carolina.
William Wylie Galt was born on December 19, 1919 in Geyser, Judith Basin County, Montana. I wasn’t able to determine how he joined the United States Army for service in World War II, but by May 29, 1944 he was a Captain and the operations officer (S-3) with the 1st Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment of the 34th Infantry Division.
Rudolph B. Davila was born in El Paso, Texas on April 27, 1916. His enlistment record indicates he was a high school graduate and working as a carpenter in Los Angeles, California when he was drafted for service in the United States Army on March 6, 1941.
Salvador J. Lara was born during 1920 in Riverside, California. His enlistment record indicates that he was a farm hand who left high school after three years and was drafted into the United States Army on July 7, 1942 for World War II service.