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October 30, 2011

Japanese-American veterans to receive Congressional Gold Medal

Filed under: Dachau, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 12:39 pm

Today, there were 23 news stories on Google News about the Japanese-American veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who will receive the Congressional Gold Medal in Washington, DC next week.  Curiously, only one of these news articles mentioned that the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team liberated a sub-camp of Dachau near the end of World War II.

Here is a quote from this newspaper which I found in my google search:

The 100th was the first combat unit to be comprised exclusively of Japanese-Americans from Hawaii, according to the National Veterans Network, a coalition of Japanese-American veteran and civic organizations. The men had been drafted for the Hawaii National Guard before the Pearl Harbor attack, and in the weeks that followed they guarded Hawaii’s beaches and coastlines, the organization said. The 442nd was organized in March 1943, after a call for volunteers from the War Department.

“Today, the 100th and 442nd, known as the Go for Broke regiment, still stand as the most highly decorated units in United States Army history for size and length of service in battle,” the veterans network said in a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

“It was these men who rescued the Lost Battalion, fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino, broke through the Gothic Line, liberated a Dachau subcamp … ,” the letter continued.

I learned from the many news articles that 39 members of the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team and Military Intelligence Service will receive a Bronze Medal next week in Washington, D.C., for their service. The 100th Infantry Battalion will receive the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor next Wednesday at Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.

I also read in the news that the 442nd was an all Japanese-American unit that fought in Europe during World War II, beginning in 1944. Many of these soldiers’ families were in internment camps in America. The 442nd was a self-sufficient fighting force and fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, southern France and Germany, according to the news. The unit became the most highly decorated regiment in the history of the U.S. armed forces. Its roster included 21 Medal of Honor recipients.  But what about the liberation of one of the sub-camps of Dachau?  Why was this left out of the news?

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World War II veteran recalls “pilots mistakenly bombing and strafing their own troops”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:22 am

Curtis Peters, a 93-year-old American veteran of World War II, recently gave an interview to a newspaper reporter, which you can read here.  He told the usual stories about the atrocities that he witnessed when he was taken to see the Dachau concentration camp in May 1945.

This quote from his interview caught my attention:

The Army at the time was suffering heavy casualties from pilots mistakenly bombing and strafing their own troops.  Peters was put to work marking the army unit locations on maps to  pilot briefings.

The major I was working for said “These pilots killed a whole bunch more of our men than the enemy, and we’ve got to do something to stop the slaughter,” Peters said.  “I like to think I helped save a few of our guys.”

Peters arrived at Dachau too late to see the train with open gondola cars filled with bodies of prisoners that had been killed when American planes strafed the train. (One of the survivors of the train testified at the trial of the SS man in charge of the train that American planes had strafed the train.) He only saw the bodies of the prisoners who had died from typhus and were being taken by horse-drawn wagons to Leitenberg hill for burial.  Photos of these events are shown below.

Bodies of typhus victims were hauled out of Dachau camp in horse-drawn wagons

Bodies found on the "death train" at Dachau by the American liberators on April 29, 1945

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