Welcome to the official website of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans organization, established in December 1945 in Hawaiʻi under the name "Club 100," by the World War II veterans of the 100th Infantry Battalion.
The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate), formed in June 1942, was initially comprised almost entirely of Hawai‘i-born Americans of Japanese Ancestry, many of whom were already serving in the U.S. Army prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The battalion became the first Japanese American World War II unit to engage in combat in the European-African-Middle Eastern theater. It headed into combat at Salerno in southern Italy on the night of September 26, 1943. On September 29, the unit engaged in active combat for the first time, and lost its first two men when they were killed in action. The valor of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Sep) in its first weeks in Italy convinced the War Department that American soldiers of Japanese descent could be trusted in combat, thus clearing the way for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team to join the 100th Infantry Battalion in Italy, in June 1944. The high rate of casualties the 100th Infantry Battalion (Sep) suffered during its first few months in combat, would earn it the moniker of “The Purple Heart Battalion."
On June 11, 1944, the battle-tested 100th Infantry Battalion was attached to the 442nd RCT, performing the role of the regiment’s 1st Battalion. Due to its outstanding record in combat, the unit was allowed to keep its numeral designation, and was formally integrated into the 442nd as the "100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry" on August 10, 1944. The men of the 100th Infantry Battalion overcame suspicion and prejudice due to looking like the enemy, and proved their patriotism to America and their worthiness of equal rights, with their stellar U.S. Army combat record.
When the 1,432 men of the then-named "Hawaiian Provisional Infantry Battalion" shipped out from Honolulu Harbor on June 5, 1942, they did not know what their future or their destination would be. They quietly departed Honolulu in much secrecy, with no announcement of their departure in the newspapers or on the radio. Upon arriving in Oakland on June 12, 1942, they were redesignated as the "100th Infantry Battalion (Separate)," and transferred to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, for training.
The men of the 100th chose "Remember Pearl Harbor" as their battalion’s motto, as a reminder of the devastating attack on their homeland, and the event that brought the United States into the war. In everything they set out to do, they always kept the people of Hawai‘i in their hearts. The attack on Pearl Harbor launched the men of the 100th into a series of unrelenting trials - first in the quest to earn trust and respect as a battalion formed with Americans of Japanese ancestry, and then in the fight to defend their country. They valiantly stood up to face those trials with their unwavering dedication towards protecting the Territory of Hawai‘i and the United States of America, where their families, friends, and loved ones resided. This motto also serves as a symbol to never forget the countless adversities and challenges that the 100th Infantry Battalion overcame, as they became inspirational contributors to our societies, and carved a path towards a better world for the future generations.
The origins of "Club 100" took root at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, where the men of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Sep) were sent for training in 1942. Dr. Katsumi Kometani, the 100th Infantry Battalion's morale officer, was credited by Executive Officer Major James Lovell as the person who initiated the proposal to form a postwar organization, including a clubhouse, where members could continue their camaraderie. Members of the battalion voted to accept this proposal. Subsequently, each month, the clerk of every company would collect $2 from the soldiers' paychecks, towards realizing this dream. They found comfort in knowing that their comrades who survived World War II would have a means to receive support from each other and remain in the presence of one another, with whom they had shared and endured experiences that only they could ever understand. They also found solace in trusting that the men who survived the war would carry on their dream of establishing an organization and a clubhouse, to serve as a living memorial to those who gave their lives in the war and provide support to the families of those men.
As the funds accumulated, a decision was made to send the money to Charles Hemenway, a prominent community leader in Hawaiʻi and a strong supporter of the Japanese community. Hemenway drew up an agreement setting forth the purposes of the organization, naming Hawaiian Trust Bank as Trustee. The document was sent to the battalion while it was in Italy, and adopted on August 12, 1944, after being signed by about 600 members. By the end of the war, $50,000 had been accumulated. The organization was incorporated under the name, “Club 100” in December 1945, and the organization was temporarily located in Nu‘uanu.
In its original Charter of Incorporation, the members stated that the purposes of this organization are:
To continue and perpetuate the identity of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) and its successor in combat action, the 100th Battalion of the 442nd Infantry Regiment;
To preserve and uphold the high traditions of such combat units and to develop and maintain appropriate records of their heroic achievements;
To encourage and assist its regular members in a steadfast endeavor
(1) to promote unity among all of the people of their respective communities,
(2) to advance the social welfare of all people throughout the Territory of Hawai‘i,
(3) to participate in and support activities designed to build and strengthen patriotism and loyalty to the United States of America, and
(4) generally to do all lawful things that reasonably may assure that the sacrifices made in combat by the regular members of this corporation and by their comrades who died on the field of battle in the cause of liberty and justice shall not have been made in vain.
Through "Club 100," the veterans also sought to promote mutual assistance and social relationships amongst its members, their families, and the families of their comrades who gave their lives in the war. The members pledged to never forget those who had paid the supreme sacrifice on the battlefields of Europe, and to support their families. The members diligently worked towards carrying out these objectives quietly and effectively, while carrying on their everlasting camaraderie and legacy.
In April 1946, the members issued their first club bulletin, in order to keep members informed and connected. The name "Puka Puka Parade" was selected for the bulletin, and it has been in continuous publication ever since.
Property was acquired and the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Clubhouse was completed in July 1952, where it has been in continual use and still stands today. The men were overjoyed that the dream that sustained them during the war, had finally been realized. A few weeks before the clubhouse was completed, a committee of officers, club members, and prominent members of the community met over lunch to discuss a club motto. The organization's motto "For Continuing Service," reflective of what the 100th stood for, was unanimously adopted by those in attendance.
Today, the purpose of this organization remains to perpetuate the identity and legacy of the 100th Infantry Battalion; to promote community service, patriotism, and social welfare for the people of Hawai‘i; and to provide a support network for the veterans of the 100th, including those who gave their lives in World War II, and their families. Membership is comprised of veterans, their wives and widows, their lineal descendants/bloodline relatives and spouses, and honorary members.