had it so good, being given three meals a da’, a bed, medical attention,rnand no requirement to ‘work’ for any of this and [somernof them] actually wept when the relocation centers were closed.rnThis meant these men were going from non-labor back tornstoop labor.”rn^ ^ ” • y ^ f asked to name arn^ / World War II unit,rnf^^/ most schoolchildrenrnin this country would probably name thern442nd, so ingrained in their minds isrnthis hallowed group. It has been toutedrnas the fiercest American fighting unitrnever assembled. James Michener, in hisrnnovel ){im\, has none other than Hitlerrnhimself shaking in his boots at the newsrnthat the 442nd has been lined uprnagainst his Panzer divisions.rnRemember, all that the evacuees were required to do to bernreleased from the relocation centers—and from the dances,rndinners, concerts, parties, schools, and graduation ceremoniesrnthat the centers pro’ided the children and their families at taxpayers’rnexpense, which Japanese-American lobbyists in thern1980’s described as “pain and hardship”—was to pledge alleeiancernto the United States and to resettle in one of the 44rnornavailable states not designated a military zone. Een MasrnOdoi, president of the 442nd Memorial Association, admittedrnin testimony before a United States Senate hearing in 1984 thatrnthe evacuees were by no means “imprisoned” in “concentrationrncamps,” that they were free to leave upon certifying their loyaltyrnto this country, that the “majority of people that are activern[in the redress and reparations movement] are the Sanseis andrnyoung Niseis who were not born or were small children at therntime,” and that the Personal justice Denied report by the Commissionrnon Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians isrn”very biased” and “decidedly pro-redress because the moderaternvoices [in the Japanese-American community] have been largelyrnsquelched.”rnControversy also remains over the number of personalrndecorations reportedly won by soldiers of the 442nd. An Augustrn7, 1945, report bv the 442nd itself put the total number ofrnawards at 1,002. A May 1,1946, report bv the Infantry JournalrnPress of Washmgton, D.C., cited 3,915. In Max Herman’s 1974rnbook Japanese in America, the total was 5,969. In an April 1986rnNational Geographic article, the award count had climbed torn18,000. The Personal justice Denied report put the total atrn18,143, and this is the figure cited in Chester Tanaka’s 1974rnbook Go For Broke.rnThe number of Purple Hearts awarded the 442nd varies asrnwell. Most accounts today cite a total of 9,486, but CaptainrnOrville Shirley (one of the Caucasian soldiers of the 442nd)rndocumented in a 1946 report by the Infantry Journal Press arntotal of 2,490, roughly the same number of Purple Heartsrnawarded each of the Marine Corps regiments participatingrnin the Battle of Iwo Jima, which is astounding when onernremembers that Iwo Jima was one of the Marines’ bloodiestrnbattles. And again, what is rarely pointed out is that 724 ofrnthese Purple Hearts went to Caucasian members of the 442nd,rnnot Nisei.rnMoreover, this hgure of 9,486 casualties confounds ShelbyrnL. Stanton’s research in his exhaustive World War U: Order ofrnBattle. Stanton lists the average regimental casualty totals ofrnthe three divisions the 442nd served with (the 34th, 36th, andrn92nd) as J 000 per regiment. In other words, the 442nd todayrnclaims nine and a half times more casualties than the average ofrnall other regiments in those three divisions. This revelationrn(long covered up because of racism? the high body counts thernresult of attempted genocide?) should be cause for a congressionalrninvestigation.rnSo, how did the number of medals increase from 1,002 inrn1945, and from 3,915 in 1946, to 18,143, as is now claimed?rnAnd how did the casualtv count increase from 2,490 in 1946 tornthe current figure of 9,486? 1 tried to get answers to these questionsrnby contacting the experts in this field: Harry Akuno,rnChairman of the 442nd Association of Los Angeles; authorrnChester Tanaka; and Mas Odoi in Seattle—no response fromrnany of them. I then posed these questions in a letter to PhilrnColeman, Senior Librarian of the Japanese-American Libraryrnin Lomita, California. He replied: “Today, the U.S. is reconcilingrnits awards of medals for Vietnam soldiers. We can factuallyrnsay that more Vietnam War medals have been issued today,rnfor a variety of reasons, than since the end of the war. Thatrnis true for the Nisei units during World War II. After reconcilingrnthe types and numbers of medals that were not issuedrn(again for a variety of reasons), the number has correctly beenrnadjusted upwards.” In real numbers, this means the 442ndrnRegiment has received J 7, J 4 J more medals since the end of thernwar (or ]4,228 more medals if using the 1946, not 1945, figures),rnincluding an astounding 6,996 more Purple Hearts.rnIn a March 28,1984, article in a Los Angeles newspaper, MasrnOdoi explained that “my brother and I wrote the CongressionalrnMedal of Honor citation for Pfe. Sadao Munerori after it hadrnbeen rejected. Wc helped to win numerous awards for thernheroes of the 100th Battalion of the 442nd Regiment by laboringrnfrom morning until late at night for months.” If true,rnthis lobbying method is a far cry from the time-honored procedurernthat requires a written recommendation for awardsrnand medals from a superior officer who had witnessed therngallant deed.rnThe 442nd was indeed a crack outfit. But many WW-‘IIrnArmy and Marine Corps regiments were crack outfits.rnFor example, soldiers of the 30th Infantry Regiment earnedrn8,144 personal decorations, and to my knowledge this figure hasrnnot undergone a threefold increase since 1945. In other words,rnthe old story about the 442nd being the “most decorated” unitrnof the war must be seen in the proper light. This claim reportedlyrncame from General Mark Clark of the 5 th Army,rnwith the qualihcation “for its size and length of service.” Sincern24/CHRONICLESrnrnrn