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Honors and Awards

Never numbering more than 4,500 men, the 100th/442nd consisted of extraordinarily aggressive fighters. By war's end, the combined unit, composed almost entirely of Japanese Americans, was the most decorated U.S. military unit for its size and length of service. The soldiers of these units earned a total of 18,143 individual decorations and took a casualty rate of 300 percent.

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100th/442nd Unit Honors and Awards

7 Major Campaign Streamers
7 Presidential Unit Citations
36 Army Commendations
87 Divisional Commendations
Meritorious Service Plaques for Medical Detachment and Service Company

Individual Awards

1 Congressional Medal of Honor *
52 Distinguished Service Crosses
1 Distinguished Service Medal
560 Silver Stars with 28 Oak Leaf Clusters
22 Legion of Merit Medals
16 Soldier's Medals
4,000 Bronze Stars with 1200 Oak Leaf Clusters
3,600 Purple Hearts including 500 Oak Leaf Clusters

Foreign Awards

12 French Croix de Guerre with 2 Palms
2 Italian Crosses for Military Valor
2 Italian Medals for Military Valor

*In June 2000, 20 additional Medals of Honor were awarded to men of the combined 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team for their service during World War II.

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When his squad leader was wounded, Private Sadao S. Munemori took command and led his men through a minefield to within 30 yards of a strongly entrenched machine-gun position. Armed with only a half dozen grenades, Munemori moved through the heavy fire and destroyed both machine guns and wounded two of the German gunners. Returning to his squad, a grenade bounced off his helmet. Munemori fell on the grenade and smothered the explosion with his body. The Medal of Honor commemorating Munemori's heroism was presented to his mother, Mrs. Nawa Munemori, on March 13, 1946.

Next Gallery: Ironies of Service

Smithsonian - National Museum of American History - Behring Center