The 442d Regimental Combat Team was originally manned by Japanese American volunteers from Hawaii and the U.S. mainland, along with soldiers already serving in uniform. In July 1944, it combined with the 100th Battalion (Separate), which had been assembled after Pearl Harbor from Japanese Americans in the 298th and 299th Infantry Regiments of the Hawaiian National Guard, and which had already distinguished itself in combat in the Italian campaign. In the fall of 1944, the 100th/442d entered the Vosges mountains in eastern France, where the American VI Corps had run into fierce German resistance. A turning point in the Vosges campaign was the 100th/442d’s “rescue of the Lost Battalion” of the 36th Division at the end of October 1944.
November 1, 1944: After less than a month of fighting, more than half of the men in the 442d were casualties. As the depleted troops of the Combat Team advanced farther and higher into the Vosges, the weather grew worse and the slopes more treacherous.
November 12, 1944: The weary troops of the 442d assembled in the snow near Bruyères, France. The five Distinguished Unit Citations that the 442d earned in a month in the Vosges were an unparalleled achievement in the American Army in World War II.
July 15, 1946: President Harry S. Truman saluted the 442d at the Ellipse in Washington, D.C., and awarded the Combat Team its seventh Distinguished Unit Citation.