National Go for Broke Day is on April 5, and we are excited to celebrate a day marked in honor of one of the finest American military units that fought for peace and saw to the end of World War II — the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army. Did you know that the members of this military unit were all American Japanese? Yes, and their grit and commitment to duty made them a well-reckoned unit worthy of remembering.
History of Go For Broke Day
‘Go for broke’ originated from Hawaiian Pidgin slang used by craps players, which means to ‘wager all’ or ‘bet everything in a single roll.’ The inception of the slang as a motto by the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army, in addition to the great deeds they performed during World War II, solidified the phrase in the heart of everyone as a catchphrase for commitment, perseverance, hard work, and integrity.
It embodies giving your all into whatever it is you find yourself doing, and pressing on no matter the odds or challenges you face. During World War II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, concerns arose from the government and citizens alike towards the Japanese Americans living within America who were also called Nisei. In less than a few weeks after the attack, all Japanese American men of draft age were regarded as enemy aliens and put under the scrutiny of suspicion by all and sundry.
This gave rise to the patriotic efforts of the Nisei as they strove to fight against racial discrimination and also make known their commitment, love, and willingness to serve the country. After several lobbying efforts, many Japanese-Americans (known as ‘Nisei’) were given the opportunity to serve America through the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 1399th Engineer Construction Battalion, the Military Intelligence Service, and the 4442nd Regimental Combat Team.
The 100th Infantry Battalion formed in June 1942 — it was the War Department’s way of ascertaining whether soldiers of Japanese descent could be trusted in battle. This unit performed brilliantly and became known as the Purple Heart Battalion. They removed all doubts and questions of loyalty, and this resulted in the eventual deployment of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in June 1944.
The 4442nd R.C.T. proved their strength and patriotism on the battlefield, fighting against numerous odds and winning landslide victories for the country. By the end of the war, they became the most decorated regiment in the country with over 18,000 individual soldiers decorated. They received seven presidential unit Citations, two Meritorious Service Plaques, 36 Army Commendation Medals, 87 Division Commendations, 21 Medals of Honor, nearly 4,000 Purple Hearts, and more.
Go For Broke Day timeline
Japan attacks the United States Naval base at Pearl Harbor in a bid to dissuade them from joining World War II — leading to the loss of lives of over two thousand people and a wide range of destruction.
The 442nd R.C.T. along with other American Japanese military units attend training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
Pfc. Sadao Munemori sacrifices his life for his fellow soldiers in Italy and becomes the first Medal of Honor Recipient — setting the day for the unit's honor several years later.
Robert Pirosh writes and directs a Hollywood movie that is inspired by the bravery and actions of the 442nd R.C.T.
Go For Broke Day FAQs
Where is National Go for Broke Day celebrated?
The day is celebrated every April 5 in the U.S., commemorating the 442nd Regimental Combat Team for their valiant efforts.
Is the 442nd R.C.T. still the most decorated unit in the U.S. Army?
Yes. Even after years of their disbandment, they still hold the position as the most decorated military unit in the U.S. Army history getting thousands of decorations after serving for merely two years.
When was the 442nd R.C.T. disbanded?
The battalion was made inactive in 1946 but reactivated in 1947 in the U.S. Reserve Army. Today, they are one of the only two ground combat units of the Army Reserve.
How to Observe Go For Broke Day
Read about men of the 4442nd R.C.T.
This is a good time to immerse yourself in history about the patriotism of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Go online or get a book detailing their deployments, struggles, and how they overcame them all.
Watch the “Go for Broke” movie
Can’t read up on them or feel bored doing so, no problems. Watching the movie which depicts the life and struggles of these soldiers can be an immersive experience. You get to follow them through their fears, challenges, wins, and successes on the big screens as if you were there with them.
Share and celebrate them on social media
Join the bandwagon celebrating the heroic exploits of these soldiers. Post on social media using the hashtag #GoforBrokeDay, and sensitize all who care to ask about the wonderful Niseis and their contribution to the end of World War II.
5 Important Facts About The 442nd R.C.T. That You Should Know
They were a Japanese American unit
All the members of the 442nd R.C.T. were American citizens born to Japanese families, making them a unique military unit.
The most decorated in the army
The unit had the most decorations for its size and years of service, getting an unprecedented seven Presidential Unit Citation in just less than two years of action.
Purple Hearts Battalion
The unit was nicknamed by others as the Purple Hearts Battalion, due to the award of over 4,000 Purple Hearts Medals amongst other decorations its soldiers received.
The unit fought in eight major campaigns in France, Italy, and Germany, and was instrumental to the victories on each battlefield.
The rise of the Nisei
The activities and bravery of the unit gave rise to the trust accorded to all Japanese Americans as an integral part of the country at the time and till this day in America.
Why Go For Broke Day is Important
A celebration of our hero’s past
The members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team were heroes in every facet of the world, making them worthy of celebration. They proved their strength and grit on the battlefield and also back at home in the intelligence unit where they helped hijack, decode, and interpret Japanese communications, hastening the end of the war.
A remembrance of the sacrifice
This day reminds us of the sacrifice of those who fought for the peace we currently enjoy today. This unit is just one of the several that were instrumental to ending World War II and ensuring safety in our homes.
The power of courage and bravery
This day reminds us of the power of courage and bravery and how it can help us achieve great things in life. It shows us that we can achieve whatever it is we set our mind upon if we choose to press towards it despite the odds and challenges, going for broke.
Go For Broke Day dates