L: The 442nd Regimental Combat Team received a citation for its battlefield gallantry. France, 1944. Courtesy National Archives. R: Nisei Congressional Gold Medal obverse. Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal
Nearly seven decades after the beginning of World War II, the Congressional Gold Medal—the nation’s highest civilian award—was bestowed collectively on the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service for their extraordinary accomplishments in the war. The men in these units, comprised almost entirely of persons of Japanese ancestry, fought with bravery and valor against America’s enemies on the battlefields in Europe and Asia, even while many of their parents and other family members were held in internment camps. The National Veterans Network has partnered with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program to share this extraordinary story during an exclusive seven-city tour. The Congressional Gold Medal and accompanying educational app, available at cgm.si.edu, will highlight the stories of these important and honored Americans.
American Heroes: Japanese American World War II Nisei Soldiers and the Congressional Gold Medal was developed by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in collaboration with the National Veterans Network and circulated by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Accompanying educational materials were developed by the National Veterans Network in partnership with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
Cole Chemical is the lead sponsor for the national tour. Additional support provided by AARP, Comcast/NBC Universal, the Japanese American Veterans Association, Pritzker Military Library, the Shiratsuki Family, Southwest Airlines, and the Spirit Mountain Community Fund.