About the Medal
On October 5, 2010, President Barrack Obama signed S.1055, a bill to grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and Military Intelligence Service, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II.
The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award bestowed by the US Congress. The decoration is awarded to an individual or unit who performs an outstanding deed or act of service to the security, prosperity, and national interest of the United States.
On November 2, 2011 the Congressional Gold Medal was officially awarded to the three segregated Japanese American Army units amidst much fanfare and celebration in Washington, DC. Speaker of the House John Boehner led a list of dignitaries in congratulating the veterans.Click here for a link to the medal ceremony.
Previous awardees include President George Washington, South African President George Mandela, humanitarian Mother Theresa, and soldiers from other segregated Army units, including the Tuskegee Airmen and Navajo Codetalkers.
The medal's obverse (heads side) was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Charles L. Vickers. The design features Nisei (second-generation Americans of Japanese ancestry) Soldiers from both the European and Pacific theaters. The 442nd RCT color guard is depicted in the lower field of the medal. The inscriptions on the outer rim are NISEI SOLDIERS OF WORLD WAR II and GO FOR BROKE, the motto of the 442nd RCT, which was eventually used to describe the work of all three units.
The medal's reverse (tails side), designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor-Engraver Don Everhart, depicts the insignias of the 100th INF BN, 442nd RCT, and MIS. The 100th INF BN insignia features a taro leaf and a traditional Hawaiian helmet, both of which are emblematic of the unit's Hawaiian roots. The "Go for Broke" Torch of Liberty shoulder patch represents the 442nd RCT. The sphinx, a traditional symbol of secrecy, represents the MIS insignia. The inscriptions on the outer rim are the abbreviated titles of the three units represented on the medal - the 100th INF BN, 442nd RCT, and MIS. In addition, the years 1941-1946, the defined years of World War II according to the Department of Defense, are inscribed in the upper right field of the medal. A decorative ribbon connects the outer rim with the inscriptions ACT OF CONGRESS and 2010. The three stars positioned along the border represent the three units being honored.
The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation's sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.