[Atlanta: Albert Love Enterprises, 1943]. pp. Profusely illustrated. Publisher's printed cloth. Some rubbing and edge wear, corners worn. Internally clean. Very good. Accompanied by Toshi Kuge's original U.S. Army helmet, two dress caps, and six garrison caps. Item #WRCAM54965
A small archive of World War II service by a Japanese-American medical officer, including a scarce military annual commemorating the training of the famed Japanese-American unit, the 442nd Combat Team. In a dark period of Japanese-American history, this unit - composed almost entirely of second-generation American soldiers of Japanese ancestry, called Nisei - fought with uncommon distinction in Italy, Germany, and southern France. Since the Second World War, the 442nd has become the most highly decorated military unit in the history of the United States Armed Forces, with twenty-one Medal of Honor recipients and 9,486 Purple Hearts. Their motto, "Go for Broke," embodied their spirit and lives on as a testament to their fortitude. The annual opens with the pledge of allegiance, a dedication, a history of the unit, and laudatory quotes by and a photograph of President Roosevelt, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, and Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy. The irony here is, of course, that Roosevelt, Stimson, and McCloy were three of the key figures who decided on the course of Japanese-American internment camps as a "military necessity." Following their remarks, the album is full of photographic illustrations showing the 442nd in training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, regimental and company group shots, articles and photos of the annual's editorial staff, baseball team, swimming team, boxing squad, and about twenty pages of photographs depicting the soldiers in various scenes around the training camp. The owner of the annual and the military headwear that accompanies it, Toshiaki Kuge was a 2nd lieutenant in the medical company of the 442nd Combat Team. Kuge hailed from Portland, Oregon, and attended Oregon State University as a pre-med student in the late 1930s. Shortly after Pearl Harbor, Kuge was interned at Tule Lake War Relocation Center. In order to leave the internment camp, Kuge signed up for the U.S. Army. He would go on to serve in Italy, France, and Germany, winning a bronze star with two oak leaf clusters in 1945 for "meritorious services in combat" in Italy. His unit also earned three Presidential citations. The three most interesting pieces of headwear included here are Kuge's combat helmet, his peaked dress cap, and his veteran's garrison cap. Kuge's helmet includes a "U.S." button on the front over a red embossed label reading, "US AR. RET. COLONEL TOSHI KUGE." The rank is almost certainly tongue-in-cheek. Kuge's peaked cap is full of character; with a small slip of paper under the cap printed with Kuge's name and address in Portland. Kuge's veteran's garrison cap, made of red, white, and blue cloth is printed with yellow letters reading "OREGON NISEI VETERANS" on front and on the back, the famed motto "GO FOR BROKE." The annual is an uncommon and important contemporary record of the training of a brave group of young Japanese-American men, owned by a Nisei soldier who served with valor, accompanied by his helmet, hats, and caps. OCLC reports just eleven copies of the 442nd ALBUM - one in Japan and ten in the United States. OCLC 159584.