“442nd Unit Fight Song” Analysis

Four-Forty-Second Infantry

We’re the boys of Hawai’i nei

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We’ll fight for you

And the Red, White and Blue, And go to the front.

And back to Honolulu-lulu.

Fighting for dear old Uncle Sam

Go for broke!


We don’t give a damn!

We’ll round up the Huns

At the point of our guns,

And vict’ry will be ours!




FOUR-FOUR-TWO! And vict’ry will be ours!

Just as many historical songs are wont to be subjected to select refinements, the 422nd Unit Fight Song is no exception. Primitively the song had the phrases “One-Puka-Puka” in place of what is currently “Four-Forty-Second” suggesting the song was originally written for the 100th Battalion instead of the 442nd. It would also explain the deep affection demonstrated for Hawaii in the phrases, “Hawaii nei” which means “Beautiful Hawaii”.

The fighters in the 100th Battalion were from Honolulu which would again explain the mentioned vows to return to Honolulu. Initially this all Asian-American dominated war unit was called the 100th Battalion, but as time progressed, it merged with the all-Nisei populated 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

The term “Nisei” refers to people of Japanese descent who were born and educated in either the United States or Canada. The 100th Battalion was composed of mostly Japanese-Americans, most of who initially enlisted to escape the relocation camps establishments in Hawaii who were targetingJapanese people alongside Jewish people. The 100th Battalion fought so bravely during WWII, they consequently became the most decorated Regiment in U. S. history to the extent of being nicknamed after the very awards they received in abundance in repercussion for murder; the Purple Heart Battalion.

The majority of Japanese fighters were U. S. citizens, however, this fact was completely nullified in the eyes of the government after Pearl Harbor was attacked and all Japanese people were categorized as “enemy aliens”. Pearl Harbor was a United States naval base located on Hawaii which suffered an unannounced bombing on the morning of December 7, 1941conducted by the Japanese Navy via aircraft. Casualties included: 2,402 deaths, 1,282 wounded, 4 U. S. Navy battleships, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 1 anti-aircraft training ship, and 1 minelayer.

Japanese losses were dramatically less evere consisting of: 29 aircraft decapitations, 5 midget submarines lost, 65 killed and or wounded, (there were no specifics) and one Japanese sailor was captured. Ultimately, these events lead to the United States involvement in WWII. The general public, in its unfortunate predictability, directed all blame for Pearl Harbor’s abuse towards the entire Japanese race. Thus all Japanese-American citizens were classified as “unfit for combat”, or “enemy aliens” and more than 110,000 were rounded up to be distributed into relocation camps by decree of Executive Order 9066.

Hawaii, however, was a unique exception. Most of the population on Hawaii consisted of Japanese-Americans; hence it was declared impracticable to sentence Japanese to concentration camps since the economy depended in large part to the continued work of the dramatically discriminated people. General Delos Emmons dismissed his ever diligent and loyal Japanese troops following the War Departments sudden and completely absurd national recall of the entire Japanese American race.

However, Emmons retained more than 1,300 Japanese American soldiers in the 298th and 299th regiments, and even went as far as to allowing his dismissed troops to form a volunteer group to aid the war effort after they petitioned for such a noble right. The group was called the Varsity Victory Volunteers and focused on mostly construction work for the army. On June 5, 1942 the 298th and 199th regiments were combined and consequently renamed the Hawaiian Provisional Battalion. They were shipped to Oakland, California and a couple day later to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin to begin training.

On June 15, 1942 the Hawaiian Provisional Battalion was renamed the 100th Infantry Battalion – the One Puka Puka. Barney F. Hajiro was a Japanese American who fought so valiantly during WWII in the 100th Battalion that he was awarded the Army’s second highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross by President Bill Clinton. Hajiro was born to a large immigrant family who relocated from Hiroshima to Maui. As the eldest son, Hajiro renounced schooling in order to better help his family with economical sustenance by performing menial tasks on a sugarcane plantation for 10 cents an hour.

Hahiro joined the army not long after Pearl Harbor was bombed. In March 1943, Hajiro joined the all Nisei populated 442nd Battalion. While in the army, Hajiro repeatedly exposed himself to enemy gunfire and ambushed an 18-men patrol unit with a comrade. He also single handedly destroyed two German machine gun emplacements before suffering a gunshot to his arm. In repercussion, his arm was partially paralyzed but Hajiro became recognized for his incredible bravery and dedication. Thus on June 21, 2000 President Bill Clinton awarded Hajiro the Army’s second highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Not to be outdone, the French also awarded him one of their highest decorations in the form of the Legion d’honneur. The 100th Battalion became the most decorated unit in U. S. military history for its sheer strength in numbers, military extradinaire, and impressive loyalty despite all persistent attempts of alienation. Undeterred by the United States misdirected prejudice, Japanese Americans continued to serve and protect their country regardless of the limited respect shown to their families and themselves.

Many of the soldiers families were detained in concentration camps after PEarl Harbor was bombed, and still the 100th Battalion continued to fight for a country who outwardly despised them. Such loyalty and nobility would have been commendable even if the Battalion was populated with an array of raving lunatics as the general public outwardly to treat them as. Like icing on the metaphorical cake however, the 100th Battalion was above such petty qualms and possessed extraordinary fighting capabilities.

Awards were substantial in the forms of: 21 Medals Of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 19 of which were later upgraded to Medals of Honor, 1 Distinguished Service Medal, 560 Silver Stars, 1,228 Oak Leaf Clusters, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldiers Medal’s, 4,000 Bronze Stars, and 9,486 Purple Hearts. The Purple Hearts awarded to numerous soldiers was so substantial that the 100th Battalion became nicknamed as the “Purple Heart Battalion”.

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“442nd Unit Fight Song” Analysis. (2018, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/wwii-442nd-battalion-essay/