Posts filed under ‘Lessons Learned’

SHAKO:Go For Broke!

April 5 Honors Japanese-American Soldiers

SHAKO 4-4-2019 GO FOR BROKE

The Color Guard of the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team stands at attention while citations are read following the fierce fighting in the Vosges area of France, November 12, 1944. (U.S. Army photo)

Did you know April 5 is National “Go For Broke” Day? At 4GWAR we didn’t either until recently. The phrase comes from Hawaiian pidgen gambling slang. It means roughly “bet it all” or  “wager — and risk — everything for a potential big payoff.”

The term, popularized by Japanese-American soldiers in World War II, is also the motto  of one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history — the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In addition to fighting the Germans in Italy and France in the European Theater of Operations — the soldiers of the 442nd RCT had to battle racial animosity in the wake of the Imperial Japanese Navy’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

Because of the U.S. military was caught completely by surprise, rumors arose that Japanese living in the Hawaiian Islands and the West Coast — most of them citizens — had served as spies and Fifth Columnists for Japan. The Army and FBI found no evidence that Japanese-Americans aided the Pearl Harbor attack. However, a presidential commission created to investigate the disaster noted Japanese “spies” were in Hawaii before the attack, although most were attached to the Japanese consulate in Honolulu, but others had no known connection with the Japanese foreign service. The vagueness of this description led many Americans to conclude there were indeed Fifth Columnists among the Japanese-American population.

Newspaper Japs

(Photo from National Archives and Records Administration)

That prompted the Army — with President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization and the acquiescence of Congress and the Supreme Court — to exile all Japanese, both U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, from the the three West Coast states and parts of Arizona to remote inland internment camps under armed guard and harsh living conditions.

Hundreds of young American-born, ethnic Japanese men, known as Nisei, drafted before war broke out, were discharged or segregated in California. A Hawaiian National Guard unit made up of ethnic Japanese was dissolved. Yet, many Nisei wanted to prove they were loyal Americans by fighting for their country. Many older community leaders encouraged them to enlist in the Army as one of the best ways to convince U.S. officials to release the 120,000 Japanese-American men, women and children from the so-called relocation camps.

The 442nd RCT was activated on February 1, 1943, and was composed of Nisei men who had volunteered from Hawaii and internment camps on the mainland. They trained at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, before deploying to Italy in June 1944, where they joined in combat with the 100th Infantry Battalion — the first Nisei Army unit to be activated in the war — consisting of men from the previously terminated Hawaiian National Guard unit. By mid-August, the 100th officially became part of the 442nd RCT. That’s when “go for broke” became their motto. In 1951, MGM released a motion picture about the 442nd’s combat exploits and battles against racism called “Go For Broke.”

https://4gwar.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/442nd1.jpg

The 442nd at Anzio Beach 1944. (Photo courtesy of Go For Broke National Education Center)

In their two years of service, the 442nd RCT and the 100th Battalion, before it joined the 442nd, earned: 7 Presidential Unit Citations; 36 Army Commendation Medals and 87 Division Commendations.

Individual soldiers were awarded 18,000 decorations, including: 21 Medals of Honor; 29 Distinguished Service Crosses (the second-highest decoration for bravery); 560 Silver Stars (the third-highest bravery medal) and nearly 9,500 Purple Hearts for wounds in battle. The units lost 650 men, more than 3,700 were wounded in action, and 67 were declared missing in action.

On April 5, 1945, the 442nd RCT’s first Medal of Honor recipient, Private First Class  Sadao Munemori, was killed in action near Seravezza, Italy. That’s why April 5 is deemed “Go for Broke” day.

In December 2011, more than 450 Japanese American soldiers of World War II were honored for their heroic actions in combat and steadfast loyalty in the face of discrimination, the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award for service presented out by the U.S.

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SHAKO-West Point cadets

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

 

April 5, 2019 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

SHAKO: Why Elections Matter in 1 Picture and 4 Maps.

Make Sure You Vote … They Did.

soldiers-voting

PENNSYLVANIA SOLDIERS VOTING 1864 .-SKETCHED BY WILLIAM WAUD. (From Harper’s Weekly, October 29, 1864 via  Son of the South website)

The Civil War was the first time the United States had large numbers of soldiers deployed during a presidential election. Politicians of both parties were convinced that the army would vote for the commander-in-chief, Abraham Lincoln, a Republican. As a result, most states with Republican governors and legislatures passed laws enabling soldiers to vote, while most states led by Democrats did not.

 

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A political map of the United States (circa 1856) showing free states in red, slave states in gray and territories in green. (From the Library of Congress)

The Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which the U.S. Supreme Court voided the Missouri Compromise (1820) and made slavery legal in all U.S. territories, exacerbated sectional differences between thos e who wanted to abolish slavery and those who sought to protect the institution. That volatile political climate set the stage for the presidential election of 1860.

 

1200px-ElectoralCollege1860.svg

Presidential Election 1860. Red shows states won by Lincoln/Hamlin, green by Breckinridge/Lane, orange by Bell/Everett, and blue by Douglas/Johnson
Numbers are Electoral College votes in each state by the 1850 Census. (via Wikipedia)

In the election of 1860, Southern and Northern Democrats split their support among Vice President John Breckinridge of Kentucky and Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas, while others, seeking to ignore the slavery issue, backed former Tennessee Senator John Bell of the Constitutional Union Party. Those divisions put the Republican, Abraham Lincoln, in the White House with less than 40 percent of the popular vote, and put the slave-holding states of the South on the road to disunion and civil war.

Secession_Vote_by_CountyA.0

While eleven states voted for secession between December 1860 and June 1861, support for leaving the Union was not unanimous in many Souther counties as the above map shows. (Map via Vox)

Likewise, the Union army’s support for President Lincoln may not have been as widespread as historians have assumed, argues one academic. Lincoln was re-elected as president in 1864. He ran under the National Union banner against his former top Civil War general, the Democratic candidate, George B. McClellan — who had been very popular with the troops of the Army of the Potomac.

USAMAP1864

(Map created by History Central)

*******488px-Shako-p1000580

SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.

 

November 6, 2018 at 3:35 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (September16, 2018)

Spy Plane Selfie.

FRIFO 9-16-2018 U@-Dragon Lady

(U.S. Air Force photo by Lieutenant Colonel Ross Franquemont)

We confess we’re a little confused as to what we’re seeing here in this photo. The official caption reads: An Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady pilot flies the high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft approximately 70,000 feet above an undisclosed location [on] August 13, 2018. The Dragon Lady is a single-seat, near space reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft that flies so high its pilots must wear a full pressure suit similar to those worn by astronauts.

Jammed with high tech sensors like infrared, and synthetic aperture radar, the Dragon Lady is the latest iteration of the Cold War-era U-2 Spy plane, which caused an international incident back in 1960 when one of the top secret, high-flying jets was shot down by a Russian missile.

U-2 New York Times, May 1960

For an easy-to-understand appreciation of that incident and the times it happened in, we recommend viewing the 2015 Steven Spielberg movie “Bridge of Spies,” starring Tom Hanks.

What confuses us at 4GWAR in this week’s FOTO is the American flag, which appears to be on display inside the U-2 cockpit, or else it is painted on the wing or fuselage and through some trick of light or photography, appears to be inside the plane.

Anybody with knowledge of the the real situation, please let us know.

At any rate, since U-2 photos from inside the super secret cockpit don’t come along very often, we decided to run this Air Force photo as this week’s Friday Foto.

September 16, 2018 at 7:15 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (June 8, 2018)

Like a thunderbolt.

KC-135 refuels A-10's over Afghanistan
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sergeant Corey Hook)

The very landscape of Afghanistan appears to be dressed in camouflage colors as an Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II heads for an aerial refueling rendezvous with a KC-135 Stratotanker.

Longtime visitors to 4GWAR know we are big fans of the Cold War-era A-10, better known by its nickname, Warthog. The 40-plus-year-old attack aircraft, designed as a tank destroyer, has also won the affection of numerous ground troops for its tenacity in close air support in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here’s a closer look at the A-10 …

KC-135 refuels A-10's over Afghanistan

(U.S.Air Force Photo by Staff Sergeant Corey Hook)

These photos were taken May 28, 2018 during an aerial refueling mission over Afghanistan with A-10s from the 163rd Fighter Squadron and a KC-135 Stratotanker from the  340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron.

To see more photos, click here.

June 8, 2018 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (February 2, 2018)

Buonasera!

Jumping into the night sky

(U.S. Army photo by Lieutenant Colonel John Hall)

Like blue petals falling from the sky, soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade conduct a night jump with the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy in the distance on January 24, 2018.

 

 

February 2, 2018 at 1:41 am Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (October 27, 2017)

I Talk to the Trees.

1st LAR prepares for Southern Katipo 17

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sergeant Allison M. DeVries)

Marine Corps Sgt. Jonathan Streit (center), briefs Marines during a ghillie suit and sniper exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California on October 13, 2017. Streit is a squad leader assigned to 1st Marine Division’s 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

The ghillie suit, worn by civilian hunters and military snipers, is designed to look like heavy foliage in a forest or field. It was originally developed by Scottish gamekeepers as a portable hunting blind and first adopted for war in 1916. The name derives from a Scottish word for “lad” or “servant.”

To see more photos of this exercise (it was really hard to pick just one photo this week) click here.

And if you don’t get the Hollywood/Broadway reference in today’s headline, click here to see a scene from Paint Your Wagon, a Big Budget musical western from 1969 — and yes, that is who you think it is singing amid the trees.

October 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (May 5, 2017)

Projecting Power.

FRIFO 5-5-207 F-18s on USS Theodore Roosevelt

(U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Austin Clayton)

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) travels in the Pacific Ocean during a training event off the coast of Southern California on April 30, 2017.

One of the main functions is to project U.S. power into remote areas of the world, a mission flattops have been performing since the 1940s.

Parked on the flight deck are the Roosevelt’s main offensive weapon, the F/A-18C Hornet jet fighter. You can also see the shadow of the helicopter used to take this photo.

 

May 5, 2017 at 1:32 am Leave a comment

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