Go For Broke
Franklin D Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 in response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, forcibly relocating over 100,000 people of Japanese descent—many of them American citizens—to internment camps. These people were stripped of their belongings and labeled as “enemy non-aliens,” despite having done nothing wrong.
In 1943, despite the intense discrimination against Japanese Americans, thousands of people living in internment camps answered the US Military’s call for volunteers. As a result, the 442nd Infantry Regiment — consisting almost entirely of Japanese Americans — was formed and deployed to Europe.
The unit’s motto was “Go For Broke”: take big risks and put everything on the line. This was demonstrated at the Gothic Line in Germany; a stalemate occurred between the Allies and the Germans at a hilltop. The opposite side of the hill had a seemingly unscaleable cliff face.
In the dark of night and in full gear, the 442nd Regiment embarked on a difficult climb up the cliff face. Some slipped and plunged to their deaths into the ravine below. They fell in silence, to not give away the position of their comrades. They scaled the wall for 8 hours until they reached the top of the hill. At dawn, they launched their attack on the Germans, taking the hill and ending a 6 month stalemate in less than an hour.
The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, composed of 10,000 soldiers, became the most decorated unit in US military history upon their return. For their service and loyalty, the unit was awarded over 4,000 Purple Hearts, 4,000 Bronze Stars, seven Presidential Unit Citations, and 21 Medals of Honor. Faced with both Axis forces and discrimination at home, their courage and bravery was unwavering.