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Soldier's Life

"First and foremost, they were Americans. They were like other American GIs... They ate K-rations and cursed the man who invented them. They blasted the guys in the rear echelons... They drank warm beer and were glad to get it."Chet Tanaka, Go For Broke




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Chet Tanaka: Your Helmet is Your Security (oral history transcript)




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Chet Tanaka: How Can You Love a Gun? (oral history transcript)




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Clothing the men of the 100th/442nd proved difficult. The average Japanese infantryman was 5' 4" in height and 125 pounds... The smallest standard sizes available were requisitioned. Even so, many of the uniforms had to be tailored after issue. In some cases WAAC blouses were ordered and cut down. Footwear posed a special problem; little could be done to alter a pair of combat boots. One man, Private Takeshi Kazumura of Hilo, Hawaii, wore size 2 1/2 EEE shoes. —Lyn Crost, Honolulu Star-Bulletin





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"As far as food was concerned, [the Nisei soldiers] wanted a great deal more rice than was provided in the normal GI diet... When we were overseas, the supply and mess sergeants did everything they could, going to other units to exchange potatoes for rice..."
—Lyn Crost, Go For Broke

Chet Tanaka: B is for Breakfast (oral history transcript)




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The infantrymen of the combined 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team spent the majority of their time abroad in combat. Veterans attributed their constant willingness to engage the enemy to the support of their chaplains and medics. Men armed only with a prayer book or a medic's bag became an essential element in unit morale. To some members of the 100th/442nd these "non-combatants" were one of the U.S. Army's secret weapons.




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Smithsonian - National Museum of American History - Behring Center