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98-year-old Masao Rokui to receive Congressional Gold MedalJanuary 12th, 2012 at Thu, 12th, 2012 at 5:02 pm by Gabrielle Nomura
Japanese American veteran, Masao Rokui, 98, of Seattle, will receive a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the nation, Jan. 14.
In September of 2010, Congress passed Bill S1055, which awarded the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese American WWII veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service. President Obama signed the Bill into law in 2010, and the official award ceremony was held in Emancipation Hall in Washington, DC, on Nov. 2, 2011.
The 100th Infantry Battalion was formed of Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) volunteers in Hawaii. They became known as the “Purple Heart Battalion” due to their high casualty rate. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team was later formed and was the largest Nisei unit, consisting of Nisei volunteers from Hawaii and the Mainland. In June of 1944, the 442nd joined forces with the 100th Infantry Battalion in Europe and incorporated the 100th into the 442nd. Due to the heavy combat duty they faced, the 100/442nd RCT became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.
The Seattle Congressional Gold Medal Celebration will be held at Meany Hall, on the University of Washington Campus at 2 pm on Saturday, January 14. The event is sponsored by the Seattle Nisei Veterans Committee .
Masao was born and raised in Oahu, Hawaii and is now a resident at Nikkei Manor, an assisted living community in Seattle’s International District.