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The Story of the American Japanese Who Fought Against the Japanese in WWII

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
May 15, 2024 3:01 am

The Story of the American Japanese Who Fought Against the Japanese in WWII

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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May 15, 2024 3:01 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, Major General James Mukoyama rose from his blue collar Chicago neighborhood to become the first Asian-American to command a US Army division. General “Mook” is the author of Faith, Family & Flag: Memoirs of an Unlikely American Samurai Crusader. Here he is to tell the story of the Japanese who fought for the United States in WWII.

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Ryan Blaney will win voice of NASCAR, the motor racing network. And we continue with our American stories. Major General James Mukayama rose from his blue collar Chicago neighborhood to become the first Asian American to command a US Army division. General Mukayama, as he's known, is the author of Faith, Family and Flag Memoirs of an Unlikely American Samurai Crusader.

Here he is to tell the story of the Japanese who fought for the United States in World War Two. I have a daily standard mantra, which is every day is a great day. I have my faith, my family and live in the finest country in the world. I say that every day, every chance I get. But although I'm extremely positive and grateful, having been born in the United States, I tell people when I was born here, I hit the lotto. So when I say that mantra, sometimes I get pushback about the finest country in the world part. And I say, listen, I've been around the block a few times.

You know, it does, it does help to be around about eight decades. And so I tell them, you know, when I joined the military, there had never been an Asian American admiral or general in our armed forces. Now I was not the first, I was about the third or fourth.

The club isn't real large. Now, has our country made mistakes? Obviously. But I'll tell you what, number one, we're the only country that I know of that had a civil war to abolish slavery, costing over half a million lives to settle that situation. And our president who ran on that platform was assassinated. He gave up his life.

Abraham Lincoln, knowing full well the risk he was taking. The military is a perfect example. President Truman in 1948 integrated our military services. Prior to that, we had segregated units. The black units in World War II, we had the Japanese American unit, which I might add was the 100th Battalion, 442nd Retromental Combat Team, which fought in Europe. To this day, it's the most highly decorated infantry unit of its size in length of service. It was a unit that everybody wanted them assigned to them because of their bravery. By the way, in a combat unit, a theater operation like the European theater of operation, we probably had nine million guys who served in that area during the war.

And the reputation of good units spreads like wildfire in combat zones, as well as the bad units. And the 442nd, their reputation was crazy. In fact, back in the late 90s, the Army selected the 10 most important battles in the history of the United States Army. And one of them was the one in which the 442nd saved a Texas Army National Guard battalion in the mountains of France. The Germans had surrounded them. It was called the Lost Battalion. Hitler had ordered the annihilation of that unit.

And they were in a very wooded area, surrounded. And so they tried to send units in to rescue that battalion, but nobody could break through. The 100th 442nd had just come off an operation.

And normally, when you have a major operation, you're given a little rest time to reconstitute and get replacements and things like that. But the 100th 442nd was ordered to go save the lost battalion, or rescue the lost battalion. They succeeded. But in doing so, they saved, I think, 200 soldiers from that battalion who were remaining, who were still alive. In so doing, the battalion took 800 casualties in order to get through. So when that happened, you know, the word spread like crazy.

It was there back in the States, too. So the veterans after World War II, when they came back, and they heard people bad mouthing Americans of Japanese ancestry, i.e. Japanese Americans, the veterans would say, stop saying that. These people are loyal Americans. And President Truman honored them at the White House with a parade where he awarded their seventh presidential unit citation to them.

And he said, you know, you guys fought two fights against fascism, but also against racism. And so that, I'm very proud to tell you that I had an uncle who was in that. I had relatives who served. And we had Japanese American soldiers who fought in the Pacific, which was very, nobody knows a lot about them.

It was called the military intelligence service. And they were translators and interpreters. And they actually went forward with the Marines and the Army soldiers into battle. They were at Iwo Jima, they were at Guam. You know, they fought in the jungles of the Pacific. And they helped break the Japanese code, the imperial code, which led to our victory at Midway and turned the tide in the Pacific.

In fact, General MacArthur's chief of intelligence basically said after the war that breaking that code shortened the war by two years. And you've been listening to Major General James Mukayama, General Mook, and he's the author of Faith, Family and Flag, Memoirs of an Unlikely Samurai Crusader. And what a story he tells about Japanese service during World War II. The story of the American Japanese who fought against the Japanese in World War II, here on Our American Stories. This is Lee Habib, host of Our American Stories, the show where America is the star in the American people.

And we do it all from the heart of the South, Oxford, Mississippi. But we truly can't do this show without you. Our shows will always be free to listen to, but they're not free to make. If you love what you hear, consider making a tax-deductible donation to Our American Stories. Go to

Give a little, give a lot. That's I'm Katja Adler, host of The Global Story. Over the last 25 years, I've covered conflicts in the Middle East, political and economic crises in Europe, drug cartels in Mexico. Now I'm covering the stories behind the news all over the world in conversation with those who break it. Join me Monday to Friday to find out what's happening, why and what it all means. Follow The Global Story from the BBC wherever you listen to podcasts.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-05-15 04:38:57 / 2024-05-15 04:42:33 / 4

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