It has been 70 years since the legendary 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team comprised almost entirely of young Americans of Japanese descent went onto the battlefields of war for their country, for their people, for each other, and for themselves while most of their families were unjustly incarcerated behind barbed wire prison camps under armed guard back at home.
They went for broke. In the fall of 1944, they fought gallantly and their numbers were decimated on a suicide mission to rescue “The Lost Battalion” along other battles in and around the areas of Bruyeres, Epinal, and Biffontaine in the Vosges Mountains in France, and onto Italy, to the Gothic Line. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team is the highest decorated combat unit of its size in American history and received seven Presidential Unit Citations.
The 442nd/100th Battalion 70th Anniversary Tour of France took place from July 12 to July 17. Shigeyuki “Shig” Doi, of Richmond, California, went on the tour accompanied by his grandson Shawn Doi of Seattle. Shig served in (I) Company, 3rd Battalion of the 442nd. He was one of the few survivors to partake in the rescue of The Lost “Texas” Battalion. At 94, Doi is sharp and continues pass on his history to younger generations, as well as his grandson Shawn.
Doi shared his stories on the tour, and one of Doi’s main objectives was to honor and visit the grave of his Company Commander Captain Joseph Lawrence Byrne. Beloved by his men, Capt. Byrne was the only Caucasian officer who could pronounce the Japanese names of his men perfectly, recalled Doi. Unfortunately the captain was killed in action one day before they rescued the Lost Battalion. One could certainly see the love and respect that Doi holds for Capt. Byrne, and one could certainly see the pain.