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Friends from Bruyères

The Aloha Spirit transcends language barriers. From the moment the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Clubhouse received 36 students and advisors from Bruyères, France, the Aloha Spirit lit up Turner Hall. It did not matter that most of our visitors could not speak much English.


Bruyères is in the beautiful Vosges area of France that was bloodied during World War II as the 100th/442nd liberated the small towns. This is also the area where the 100th/442nd rescued the "Lost Battalion" (1st Bn, 141st Infantry Regiment) of Texas . The students told us it is a requirement that they study the heroics of the 100th/442nd in their history lessons. When 100th/442nd tour groups visit Bruyères, the Mayor and townspeople come out and parade through the city honoring the 100th/442nd and the visitors to their city. Thus, it was our pleasure and honor to greet our visitors in a Big Way.

Students from Institution Jeanne d'Arc in Bruyères, France

Students from Institution Jeanne d'Arc in Bruyères, France, visit our 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans Clubhouse. [Photo courtesy of: Clyde Sugimoto (nephew of Nolan Miyazaki (B)]


It was so much fun to welcome such well-behaved, knowledgeable, and respectful students in their Junior and Senior years of vocational training. Many of them want to be policemen, firemen and emergency response personnel. They worked hard for the past two years to raise funds to pay for the airfare, and thanks to the generosity of the Hawaiʻi community, were provided lodging, meals, and hospitality, which shows the Aloha Spirit is still alive and well.


The students were thrilled to meet one of the last surviving 100th Battalion veterans, Dr. Takashi Manago (Company A, 100th Bn, 442nd RCT), and some were moved to tears talking to him about his experiences.

100th Infantry Battalion veteran, Dr. Takashi Manago (A), answers questions from the students

100th Infantry Battalion veteran, Dr. Takashi Manago (A), answers questions from the students, and poses with students and members of the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans (Club 100).

We spoke about the history and values of the 100th, and shared ideals about our island culture. To make it come alive, we had a hands-on lesson on how to make Spam musubi. We were grateful that six wonderful Advanced French students from ʻIolani School came to welcome our visitors from France, and demonstrated the fine art of making Spam musubi. The students from Hawaiʻi and France had a blast, giggling as they made the local favorite musubi together. The French students said it was so tasty, taught us that Spam in France is called Pâté de Jambon, and looked it up online so that they could make it when they got home. The 100th gave the students the 100th logo musubi press to take home as a souvenir.

Students from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and Bruyères, France, enjoy a morning of bonding at the Clubhouse.

Students from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and Bruyères, France, enjoy a morning of making Spam musubi at the Clubhouse.


As a special surprise, Jeff Morita, a dear friend of Club 100, presented the 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans organization with a beautifully framed Croix de Guerre avec palme medal — a French military unit decoration. The 100th Infantry Battalion (Separate) was attached to the 133rd Infantry Regiment, 34th Infantry Division (ID) prior to the arrival of the 442nd Infantry Regiment. The 34th ID was awarded the Croix de Guerre avec palme, and as such, the 100th as a sub-unit of the 34th ID also received the unit decoration.

Jeff Morita presents the Croix de Guerre avec palme medal

Jeff Morita presents the Croix de Guerre avec palme medal, beautifully framed with 34th ID patch that the men of the 100th Infantry Battalion (Sep) wore with pride.

It was appropriate that this visit occurred on National Go For Broke Day – observed annually on April 5, in honor of Pfc Sadao Munemori (Company A, 100th Bn, 442nd RCT), who was the first American of Japanese ancestry (AJA) to be awarded a Medal of Honor. Donna Teshima, niece of Pvt Michio Teshima (Company C, 100th Bn, 442nd RCT), who also lost his life on April 5 during the battle at the Gothic Line, delivered short remarks in memory of her uncle in French and English.


Bruyères and Honolulu became sister cities in 1961, due to the bond established when the soldiers of the 100th/442nd liberated Bruyères in World War II. We are honored to have been able to spend our morning with descendants of friends that our 100th soldiers made 80 years ago, and these bonds are still as strong as they were before.


“Go For Broke” is the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT), organized in March 1943 with Americans of Japanese ancestry (AJA) volunteers — about two-thirds from Hawaiʻi, and the rest from the mainland. The motto was adopted by the regiment from a Hawaiian Pidgin phrase that means to wager or risk everything on a single gamble, or to choose the riskiest path of action despite the potential to lose everything, for the chance to achieve one’s goal. Combined with the 100th Infantry Battalion (formed in June 1942 and its motto being "Remember Pearl Harbor"), the 442nd RCT has earned the distinction of being the most decorated unit in U.S. military history for its size and length of service, and is known for being a combat unit composed almost entirely of American soldiers of Japanese ancestry (Nisei) in World War II.


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