100th Infantry Battalion

 


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The 100th Infantry Battalion was a segregated battalion of Americans of Japanese Ancestry (AJA) which was formed in May 1942, six months after Japan attacked the naval base at Pearl Harbor and other military facilities on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

The original contingent of 1432 enlisted men and officers (senior officers were mostly Caucasian) left Honolulu on June 5, 1942. Because the Army was undecided how to use these men, the battalion underwent 15 months of training before finally being shipped to the European war zone. The 100th’s outstanding training record was one of the factors leading to the formation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in February 1943. It was an all-volunteer unit consisting of AJA men from Hawaii and the mainland United States.

Sustaining heavy casualties during their first five months in combat, the 100th became known as the Purple Heart Battalion. It was attached to the 442nd RCT in June 1944 after the regiment’s arrival in Italy. The 100th/442nd became the most highly decorated army unit for its size and length of service. These AJA soldiers fought to prove they were loyal Americans.

After the war, the veterans of the 100th formed Club 100, headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii. A newsletter called “The Puka Puka Parade” was published beginning in April 1946. These newsletters are a chronicle of the lives and activities of the club’s members and contain many articles written by the veterans about their training and combat experiences and their decades-long friendships.

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