The Library of Congress Veterans History Project, a program of the American Folklife Center, features the first-hand recollections of eight war veterans in “Going for Broke,” a Web feature that commemorates Asian Pacific American Heritage month. The presentation can be found online at www.loc.gov/topics/asianpacific/
“Asian Pacific Americans made significant contributions to America’s wartime efforts. Eight stories from World War II, Korea, Vietnam and Iraq comprise this set of veterans’ experiences,” said Bob Patrick, director of the Veterans History Project. “The 442nd Regimental Combat Team, also known as the “Go for Broke” outfit of Japanese-Americans, fought valiantly in Europe during World War II. Many of these men put their lives on the line for their country while their families were confined to internment camps back in the states.”
The 442nd included Warren Tsuneishi, Grant Hirabayshi and Norman Ikari, all of them residents of the West Coast in 1942 when thousands of Japanese Americans were rounded up and relocated. Each man chose to serve the United States in uniform rather than remain in a relocation camp. Tsuneishi and Hirabayashi served in intelligence jobs in the Pacific Theater, translated captured documents and helped interrogate prisoners. Ikari was part of the 442nd unit assigned to combat in the European Theater, where he was wounded in action near Pisa, Italy.
Carolyn Tanaka was a young girl when her family lost their home in Guadalupe, Calif., during the massive relocation of 1942. She enlisted in the Army to serve as a nurse in Vietnam. Friends questioned why she wanted to serve a country that had wronged her family. She replied that she had a skill that was needed in Vietnam, “and I am going there to do my duty for my country.”
Matthew Braiotta was born in Korea but reared in the U.S. by adoptive parents. He joined the Army after high-school graduation in 1999, and he served in Bosnia and Iraq as part of an armored cavalry unit. Though badly wounded by a roadside explosive device, Braiotta credits his military experience with giving his life purpose and direction.
The Veterans History Project is always seeking volunteers to record the first-hand recollections of war veterans for the growing archive within the American Folklife Center. Those interested can download a VHP Field Kit from the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets/
, request a kit via email at [email protected]
or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.