Gil Asakawa's Nikkei View | KABC’s David Ono honors Nisei soldiers of 100th/442nd RCT w/ terrific series of 4 short documentaries
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KABC’s David Ono honors Nisei soldiers of 100th/442nd RCT w/ terrific series of 4 short documentaries

It was great to see the Nisei heroes of the 100th Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team receive Congressional Gold Medals on Nov. 2 in Washington DC (watch the C-Span feed of the ceremony), and the media coverage of the long-overdue honor and recognition of these men’s patriotic achievements over 60 years ago.

Of all the media coverage, though, hats off to KABC in Los Angeles and to KABC anchor David Ono.

He’s produced a four-part documentary that the station should sell as a DVD, it’s that good and that powerful as an educational tool. The station sent Ono to Europe to interview people in Italy and France that remember the heroism of the diminutive Japanese American soldiers — it seems everyone was caught off-guard initially by the men’s height. He interviewed veterans and family members (the last segment is a real heartbreaker), and compiled an impressive amount of archival material for the reports.

I don’t know how long he had to produce this series, but he Ono deserves an award for this documentary. Here’s the link to the series on KABC, “witness: American Heroes.” Have some tissues handy….

One of the many powerful highlights of Ono’s reporting is this segment, which sheds light on two little-known aspects of the Nisei veterans: Nisei were the first to reach and release prisoners from Dachau (the fact wasn’t publicized because it looked better to show white soldiers liberating the death camp) and the story of the Military Intelligence Service, the Japanese-speaking soldiers who fought as intelligence officers in the Pacific Theater.