and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team Merged
A big burden was on the 100th Battalion to show their loyalty to the United States. Thanks to their outstanding service in training and fighting in North Africa and Italy, on January 28, 1943, the call was made for volunteers to the 442nd Regimental Combat Unit. The unit was made up of many men from Hawaii and also from the 120,000 west coast Japanese that were in internment camps in the western U.S. While the 442nd trained at Camp Shelby, the 100th Battalion had already lost many men and only 521 remained. The "Guinea Pig Battalion" that referred to the 100th, was now known as the "Purple Heart Battalion". In the spring of 1944 three waves of replacements from the 442nd arrived to support the 100th Battalion with 555 replacement troops. In June 1944, the 100th (still with the name "100th Infantry Battalion") became part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
As some of the 442nd got to the 100th Battalion, they were already under attack. This was a first time experience for the 442nd. When the seasick 422nd beached at Anzio, Italy, at night on June 7th, German airplanes raided the ammo dumps in and around Anzio. It looked like fireworks on the Fourth of July with bombs and smoke. The 100th and 442nd soldiers ran for cover, and luckily, no one was hurt that night.
Soldiers marching, routine drill, Camp Shelby
The 442nd Regimental Combat
Team left Anzio on June 9th and arrived in Civitavecchia,
north of Rome, on the 10th. A few miles away, the Germans
were dug in and ready for whoever might come that way. The
442nd became attached to the 34th "Red Bull" Division. And
the 100th Battalion, which had been assigned to the 34th
Division, became attached to the 442nd Regimental Combat
Team. But they kept their 100th Infantry name because of
their courage and achievements.
On June 26, the 442nd, with the 100th as its new first battalion, moved into their first combat assignment together. Their job was to secure the town of Belvedere and the road to Sassetta. They walked north to Suvereto to relieve the men of the 517th Parachute Infantry Regiment and the 142nd Infantry Regiment, but heavy enemy artillery fire forced them to stop. A brave private, Kyoshi Muronaga, grabbed a 60 mm mortar and went out alone shooting and pushed back the German battery that was out in front. Muronaga was killed in action and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery. But the Germans on the hills with machine guns still stopped the U.S. from advancing. The 100th and 442nd bravely attacked right up the middle between the 2nd and 3rd battalions. They fought off the Germans. And before the day was over, they had taken Belvedere and cut off the enemy's line of retreat.