442nd Regimental Combat Team (“Go for Broke” Regiment)

Because of the 100th's success during basic training and advanced training, the United States Army began the activation of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team on February 1, 1943. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the formation of the 442nd RCT with the famous words, "Americanism is not, and never was, a matter of race or ancestry."

The call to arms was sounded, and those that answered astounded and probably shocked the Army. The original plan called for a quota of 3,000 volunteers from the mainland and 1,500 from Hawaii. Nearly 10,000 Hawaiian Nisei (second generation Japanese Americans) volunteered, and over 2,600 were accepted. From the Japanese in the internment camps on the mainland, only 1,256 Nisei volunteered. There were some 23,606 Nisei of draft age in the camps. From the camp volunteers, around 800 were inducted into the Army.

The 442nd RCT consisted of the following units: 442nd Headquarters Company, Anti-tank Company, Cannon Company, Medical Detachment, Service Company, 100th Battalion (Company A-D), 2d Battalion (Company E-H), 3d Battalion (Company I-M), 522d Field Artillery Battalion (Company A-C), 206 Army Band, and 232nd Combat Engineer Company.

By June 1943, the 442nd RCT arrived at Camp Shelby where the 100th Battalion was just finishing up advanced training. There were reunions of cousins and old friends in addition to some sibling rivalry. The island boys were known as "buddhaheads" (a pidgin English and Japanese term, buta-head, meaning "pig headed"), and Nisei mainlanders were called "kotonks" or "stone head." Kotonk is sometimes described as the sound of an empty head hitting the ground.

Many fights between the mainlanders and the Hawaiians broke out during their time together at Camp Shelby, but slowly a mutual respect developed, and soon the 100th Battalion was called and sent overseas while the 442nd started their training.

In July of 1943, the 100th Infantry Battalion received its colors emblazoned with the motto, "Remember Pearl Harbor." It was time for the men of the 100th Battalion to set off and prove themselves. On August 11, 1943, they left Camp Shelby for North Africa. It would be nine long months of heavy fighting before the 442nd would team up with the 100th in Italy.