My name is Donna Fujimoto Cole, I am a 3rd generation Japanese American. Born in Colorado and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. I currently reside in Houston, Texas as a business owner and represent the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation.
My father is a 442nd service man and his brother was in the Military Intelligence in the Pacific. While my Mother’s brother was a Medic in the 442nd in the Italian battles.
I am here to ask for your serious consideration to add the Japanese American 442nd regimental combat team and the Japanese American Military Intelligence Service to the Social Studies history section of our text books:
Recommendation to the: Revision on 19 TAC chapter 113
Texas Essential Knowledge and skills for Social studies
Subchapter B. Middle School
113.16.Social Studies, Grade 5, Beginning with School Year 2011-2012
(5) History. The student understand important issues, events and individuals of the 20th and 21st centuries in the United States The student is expected to:
(A) analyze various issues and events of the 20th century such as urbanization, industrialization, urbanization, increased use of oil and gas, the Great Depression, world wars, the civil rights movement, and military actions such as those in which the Tuskegee Airmen participated; the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service
Proposed Revisions to 19 TAC Chapter 113,
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Social Studies,
Subchapter C, High School
§113.32 41. United States History Studies Since 1877 Reconstruction (One Credit), Beginning with School Year 2011-2012. High School recommendation to insert
“and the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service” …..after the Navajo Code Talkers;
(F) explain the home front and how American patriotism inspired exceptional actions by citizens and military personnel volunteerism and military enlistment , including high levels of military enlistment; volunteerism; American Indian Code Talkers, purchase of war bonds,; Victory Gardens, ; the bravery and contributions of the Tuskegee airmen, the Flying Tigers, the Navajo Code Talkers, and the Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service; the Double V campaign, and opportunities and obstacles for women and ethnic minorities.
The 100th Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team formed during World War II was comprised of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland.
All together the 442nd fought in 8 major campaigns in Italy, France and Germany and key battles at places such as Cassino, Luciano, Bruyeres, Belmont and Biffontaine. Where the 442nd/100th fought one of its key battles in rescuing the Texas 36th National Guard known as the Lost Battalion. The 442nd suffered 800 casualties including 140 killed in rescuing the remaining 211 Texans.
Two schools were opened one in San Francisco and moved to Minnesota because of the executive order of the exclusion of Japanese Americans from the west coast. Japanese Americans were recruited to study all things related to Japan to serve as United States Military Intelligence Service (MIS) team.
The Japanese American Members of the MIS played a significant role in dealing with the Japanese military forces in the Pacific.
The students will learn the meaning of patriotism, loyalty of citizenship, and the courage of these men while many of their families were at internment camps, they were unlikely liberators, fighting for freedom in Europe while their own families were behind barbed wire based on race.
The Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Norman Mineta after 9/11 advised the President and the Cabinet that racial profiling is unconstitutional when their discussions centered around the fear of the large Muslim concentrations in major US cities. Secretary Mineta, a 2nd generation Japanese American was reminded of the time when he was 10 years old and his family was interned due to the fear and hysteria caused after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
It is our patriotic duty to teach young Americans historical facts-whatever these may be—above all else. Otherwise young Americans will be hindered as they grow into adults and take our place as leaders in society.
Ladies and gentlemen, it has taken decades for Japanese Americans to remove the stigma of shame that the internment brought upon us. Do not dilute it. Do not refute it. Please commit to teaching it. For it is indeed an American story of tragedy, patriotism, faith and courage. Thank you for your time.