Featured Document Display: The Purple Heart Battalion

Tuesday, April 16, 2024 - Wednesday, May 15, 2024
East Rotunda Gallery

The 442nd Regimental Combat Team

None of us thought we were coming home alive. —Lawson Sakai

Following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Roosevelt administration required people of Japanese descent living on the West Coast to leave their homes and live in camps. 2,100 of the relocated citizens volunteered for military service. Together with Japanese American soldiers from Hawaii, they formed the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. 

The 442nd fought in seven major European military campaigns. Dubbed the “Purple Heart Battalion,” it is the most decorated American military unit for its size and length of service. The unit received more than 18,000 individual decorations, including 21 Medals of Honor, more than 4,000 Purple Hearts, and the Congressional Gold Medal.

Pocket log book
This pocket log was used to keep a record of the Japanese American infantrymen who were killed in action or died of wounds. In all, the 442nd suffered almost 10,000 casualties and 600 deaths.  

Pocket Log of 442nd Infantry Killed In Action and Died of Wounds
National Archives, Records of the Adjutant General's Office
View in National Archives Catalog

The Featured Document Display is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Verizon.