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Urasoe eyes replacing 442nd Club building

Date Posted: 2011-02-25

Urasoe City and the U.S. military have struck a deal to replace the 442nd Club building, an old, single house located behind housing towers at Camp Kinser to clear the way for urban renewal.

Japan Update, in its February 17th edition, erroneously identified the building as belonging to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post. In fact, the building has been a local community gathering spot for World War II veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, later re-designated the 442nd Infantry.

The 442nd was made up predominantly of soldiers of Japanese-American descent. The unit fought in Europe, and has been designated the most decorated military unit in history, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients. The 442nd fought in Italy, southern France and Germany, with the motto "Go for Broke". The unit's composition of mostly Japanese Americans who were displaced following the attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7th, 1941, began in Hawaii as a volunteer unit, then was officially accepted by the War Department and training for the Japanese-American volunteers began in Mississippi.

Since the war, many 442nd veterans have returned to Okinawa and Hawaii, and close bonds continue among the former servicemen.

The 442nd Club building is to be replaced at Urasoe City taxpayer expense to facilitate construction. Opposition to the move is coming from Socialist and Communist Party politicians who contend the group, which doesn't fall under the SOFA umbrella, should not receive money from Japan to relocate the facility. The U.S. military has dispelled rumors that the facility would be used as a community center open to armed forces personnel and families.

Japan Update regrets the missed identification error. The 442nd has a distinguished record with the U.S. armed forces, and the local veterans are integral members of the community.

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