As Memorial Day approaches, we try to remember and honor all American veterans who gave their lives in sacrifice to our nation. Through the month of May perhaps, we also celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I want to introduce a fantastic American, Terry Shima, who is one hundred years old and who I initial worked closely with for the duration of a Memorial Day occasion. As men and women are living longer, and companies are challenged to locate the proper men and women to fill positions, they would do properly to take into account how to accommodate and employ men and women of all ages who want to function. Companies really should reimagine how they take benefit of the fantastic talent and function-associated experiences of these who are not prepared to absolutely retire. Some of these who continue to function are former military members who have retired from military service, but who stay really capable of serving in our nation’s civilian workforce.
Arlington National Cemetary in honor of Memorial Day May perhaps 27, 2002 in Arlington, VA. Thousands of vacationers, veterans, armed solutions personnel, and relatives visited the cemetery in recognition of Memorial Day. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/ Getty Photos)Getty Photos
On Memorial Day 2009, I had the honor of paying a specific tribute to Japanese-American military members who fought honorably for our nation’s freedom in Planet War II—while their personal freedom and the freedom of their households had been denied. In our Army, we speak about the Warrior Ethos. It is an ethos that states, “I will usually location the mission initial, I will in no way quit, I will in no way accept defeat, and I will in no way leave a fallen comrade.” Even though we use the words of the Warrior Ethos much more usually right now, the notion of in no way leaving a fallen comrade behind is not new.
This Warrior Ethos is powerfully illustrated in a story of two soldiers and the legendary “Lost Battalion” of Planet War II. A single of the most ferocious battles of Planet War II was fought in late October 1944 by the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Group in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France. It was a rescue mission. Two hundred and seventy-eight males of the famed 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, the “Lost Battalion” as it later became identified, had been trapped behind enemy lines. When Hitler was informed, he ordered that the whole unit be annihilated. His message was that these soldiers would not be permitted to fight on what was then occupied German soil. The German forces had been relentless. They attacked the stranded soldiers once again and once again. And with each and every attack, the 141st Infantry Regiment lost much more and much more members of its group. There had been numerous attempts at a rescue by other units, but each and every rescue mission had failed. And then the 442nd was ordered to launch a rescue try. It was now late October. The climate was cold and rainy. Situations had been miserable. But the 442nd produced up of Japanese-American soldiers was undeterred. For 5 days they fought day and evening. And then, on the fifth day they succeeded, reached the stranded males, and saved all two hundred and eleven of the males who had survived the carnage. The Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd did not leave a fallen comrade behind.
Their group exemplified the accurate which means of the Warrior Ethos. With this story as background, I was honored when Terry Shima, a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group, asked me to speak on Memorial Day 2009 at Arlington National Cemetery. I was doubly honored when we had been capable to bring collectively two of the veterans who had been in France, below fire on that deadly October in 1944—Astro Tortolano of the stranded 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment, and Minoru Nagaoka of the 442nd. This was a really specific Memorial Day. And this act of bravery was not the only difficult mission for the 442nd. Japanese-American soldiers, initially component of the 100th Infantry Battalion, had been absorbed into the 442nd Regiment Combat Group, the “Go for Broke” group that became 1 of the most decorated units in U.S. military history. The soldiers of the 442nd earned much more than 18,000 decorations, such as much more than four,000 purple hearts for the four,349 wounded and killed in action, four,000 bronze stars, 271 silver stars, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 21 Medals of Honor, and in significantly less than a month of fighting, they also earned 5 Presidential Unit Citations. Soldiers who served in the 442nd continue to earn medals and honors to this day for their previous heroism. President Harry Truman reviewed the 442nd Regiment Combat Group when it returned from Italy on July 15, 1946, at the Ellipse positioned in Washington, D.C. This ceremony was the initial time a U.S. President reviewed an Army contingent of the size of a Regiment Combat Group.
Truman inspects the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Group. Following the inspection Mr. Truman pinned the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation banner (above) to the colors of the unit. Composed of Americans of Japanese ancestry, the 442nd distinguished itself in combat in Europe.Bettmann Archive
In a ceremony honoring more than 33,000 Japanese-American soldiers, President Clinton stated, “As sons set off to war, so numerous mothers and fathers told them . . . reside if you can, die if you will have to, but fight usually with honor, and in no way bring shame on your household or your nation,” adding that “rarely has a nation been so properly served by a men and women it so ill-treated.” These heroes’ stories evoke inspiring patriotism, sacrifice, and courage. Their legacy continues to demonstrate to this day the fantastic American ideals of liberty and equality for all.
fellow recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal in the East Space at the White Home in Washington.TJEWEL SAMAD/AFP By way of GETTY Photos
Terry and I would function collectively once again on numerous essential projects in the years that followed. And 1 such project would have profound significance and a really specific location in Army history. At the time, I was Director of Personnel for the Army. Some of my duties involved organizing the Boards to assessment combat medals, such as the Medal of Honor, as properly as guaranteeing recognition of these groups of soldiers who may perhaps not have been correctly honored for their achievements in the previous. It was for the duration of this assignment as the Director of Personnel for the Army that Terry contacted me. He wanted to safe a Congressional Gold Medal for the Japanese-American Nisei. Japanese-American Nisei are second-generation Americans or Canadians who had been born in the United States or Canada but whose parents had emigrated from Japan. The Congressional Gold Medal is the most prestigious award offered to men and women from all walks of life. It is bestowed by the United States Congress for considerable achievements and contributions to the Nation. On this occasion, the U.S. Army performed a assessment that resulted in forty 442nd soldiers who did not acquire the Bronze Star medal for the duration of the war. Common Ray Odierno, then Chief of Employees of the Army, and I had been honored to make the presentation to twenty-two 442nd veterans who attended the ceremonies in Washington, D.C.
In 2010—after numerous months of tireless function by Terry, the Japanese-American veterans, and the U.S. Army—Congress authorized the Congressional Gold Medal to honor Japanese-Americans who served in combat. The Japanese-American veterans who had been so recognized incorporated soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Group, and the Military Intelligence Service. Offered my Japanese heritage, it was such an honor to engage with the outstanding members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group households and buddies.
Even at age one hundred, Terry continues to function to make sure the history and the sacrifices of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group are not forgotten. People today are living longer. Lots of will not have the monetary savings needed for a one hundred-year life, and they will require or want to continue operating. If so, companies would do properly to locate a part for these who can nonetheless serve. Some of these workers will require to go back to college to maintain up with the adjustments in small business and technologies. As Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be these who can’t study and create, but these who can’t discover, unlearn, and relearn.” Companies really should take into account producing possibilities that are significantly less than complete-time for these who can add worth to their teams and who want to commit much more time with their households. Offered the shortage of out there men and women in the workforce, retaining workers who are often thought of ”too old and retired” could be a win-win for companies and for these wishing to stay active in our nation’s workforce.
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I served as COO and President, Intrexon Bioengineering. I served as the Commanding Common of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Through this time, I was component of the national response group for Hurricane Sandy. I was the Director for Army Personnel I deployed the 1st Cavalry Division into Iraq, and later led the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq exactly where I was accountable for an $18B building system. Through 9/11, I controlled the nuclear codes in the Pentagon. I serve on the public boards of CSX and Perma-Repair, and on the private boards of Fidelity Investments, HireVue, and Allonnia. I am a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and hold Master of Science Degrees in Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and a PhD in Systems Engineering from George Washington University. I am a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
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