Kristen Nemoto Jay

Like many Yonsei, I didn’t know too much about my grandfather’s time fighting abroad during World War II. As I’ve gathered other Yonsei recollections of their grandfathers’ pasts, the consensus was that they purposely kept that part of their lives to themselves – a way to help shield or protect us from the horrors they saw on the battlefield. Only their comrades, their fellow brothers — many of whom didn’t make it home — knew what happened decades ago. But unlike the 100th Infantry Battalion or the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which were designated units and had headquarters where records of awards and decorations were maintained, the men who participated in the Military Intelligence Service and its language schools were sworn to secrecy about their deployments. Even after being discharged, they maintained their oath until the mid-1970s when their contributions were finally made public.

Though there were Nisei already serving as interrogators, interpreters and translators on secret military intelligence missions in the Pacific region prior to America’s entry in World War II, this particular issue highlights the 80th anniversary of the enlistment of large numbers of men who volunteered from Hawai‘i.

Mahalo nui to our MIS soldiers and veterans whose heroic actions helped save countless lives. We honor them in this issue by sharing their stories as it is now up to us — Sansei, Yonsei and Gosei — to continue their memories for many years to come.


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