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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Help Me Celebrate National "Go For Broke" Day!

Did you know that the phrase "Go for broke" is derived from the Hawaiian pidgin phrase used by crap shooters risking it all on one roll of the dice? The phrase also happens to be the motto of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army and the reason this day is celebrated. Comprised of
mainly American soldiers of Japanese descent these men were fighting for a country that had interred many of them in detention camps. I can only imagine what kind of courage and determination that took. 

"Go for broke" was the unit's motto and from what I could determine, that was exactly what they did. On April 5, 1945 the unit's first Medal of Honor recipient, Private First Class Sadao Munemori was killed in action near Seravezza, Italy. He sacrificed his life to save two men and clear a path for his company's advance when they were pinned down by enemy fire near Seravezza. The battle continued until April 14 and the 442nd fought so valiantly that they received the Presidential Unit Citation for outstanding accomplishments in combat. According to the research I was able to track down, this was one of eight they would be awarded.

The accolades didn't stop there. According to the National Calendar Days website there were also 21 Medals of Honor, 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, 1 Distinguished Service Medal, 560 Silver Stars, 22 Legion of Merit Medals, 15 Soldier's Medals, 4,000 Bronze Stars and 9,486 Purple Hearts awarded.

Not too shabby for a unit that came about in no small part because of lobbying from significant supporters of the Japanese-American community and the efforts of the Varsity Victory volunteers in Hawaii, who for years provided volunteer labor for the US Army. Early in 1943 the War Department called for volunteers for a segregated unit. About 1,500 Japanese-Americans came from the mainland, most from internment camps and 10,000 volunteers from Hawaii.

While there seemed to be some friction from both sets of volunteers, the one thing both the mainland and Hawaiian recruits struggled with was the racism that was so pervasive in the Deep South where they were sent to train. Horrified by what they saw, their frequent outbursts and intervention on behalf of the African-American community soon reached the point where their officers had to reprimand and warn them that they couldn't end Jim Crow on their own. I give them points for trying.

These brave men were and still are a shining example of the America we were all taught to revere. I don't mind admitting that I shed a few tears while reading about this team. I can't help but marvel that in the face of so much adversity, they were still determined to do the right thing.Their heroic feats are too numerous to give adequate accolades in this post meant to celebrate their actions on this day in 1945. If you'd like to know more about the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, here's a website that I think might interest you:

Go For Broke National Education:

Personally, I plan on going for broke the entire year and anytime I falter, I'm going to remember these guys. I'm writing in new genres, attending a conference in May and hopefully reinventing a career that seems to have faltered along the way. It seems like a small thing compared to what I've written about today but in the end, it's all about believing in what you're doing.    

I've asked you to help me celebrate "Go For Broke" Day and while I don't have a story about the 442nd, last year, as part of the Romance Books '4' Us, Entice Me anthology, I contributed a paranormal romance with a WWII setting. Leave a comment today and let me know what you'll be doing that follows the "Go for broke" theme and at the end of the day, I'll choose someone to win a copy of the Entice Me anthology.

I'll Be Seeing You
By Paris Brandon
Copyright 2015


Jack Howland, part of an elite group of OSS special agents can’t resist the pull of the moon or widowed USO hostess, Lulu Lane. After the war, while chasing a Nazi war criminal, their paths cross again. Will the truth about what Jack is send Lulu screaming into the night or back into his arms?
Heat Rating: 2 chili peppers


I’ll Be Seeing You by Paris Brandon (PG)

May 1944

There were girls in soft summer dresses, all pink and flowery, smiling and perfumed. None of them would have turned down the handsome lieutenant. Why ask her?
She placed a hand on his solid chest. “Did somebody put you up to this? Did you lose a bet or something?”
He loosened his grip and took a deep breath right before he slid her left hand to his shoulder. When his fingers brushed over the third finger of her right hand, and detected the evidence she was a widow, he uttered a harsh, whispered word that might have been a vehement curse in another language.
“Or something,” he said very clearly, his breath warm against her ear. “Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your mind?”
“Daily. What’s that got to do with you asking me to dance?”
“What’s your name?”
“Lulu Lane. What comes after Lieutenant?” she asked, trying not to get lost in the sensation of being moved around the floor by a handsome man while people stared.
“Jack. Jack Howland,” he snapped, but then he snugged her tighter to his chest and his hand drifted over her back as if he were soothing a wound.
“Asking me to dance doesn’t seem to be making you very happy. Why did you?”
He looked as if he were losing an argument only he knew about.
“I leave in two days. I shouldn’t have spoken to you, let alone asked you to dance, because no matter what I say, it’s not going to come out right.”
“It’s not going to come out at all if you keep talking in riddles.”
He looked surprised for a moment and she was gratified that she could at least break through his maddening, mysterious behavior. “I’ve got forty-eight hours left on a three-day pass and I want to spend it with you. Clear enough for you?”
It took a few moments for what he’d said to sink in, and even then she had trouble believing him. This had to be some kind of a joke.
“You’re smart, Howland; I’ll give you that. You picked out the only wallflower in the bunch—”
“I don’t want to scare you, Lulu, but you don’t fool me. I’m glad nobody else has sense enough to see past the glasses and sensible shoes. You’re an open book for the lucky somebody willing to peel back the cover.
“I’m not looking for romance. I’m looking for forty-eight hours with someone who looked back at me the same way I was looking at them.”

Until Next Month,
Happy Reading!
Paris Brandon


Cara Marsi said...

What a great story of courage.Thanks, Paris. I love "I'll Be Seeing You."

Tina Donahue said...

Good for you, Paris - go for it. Try new things. Succeed. I know you can do it. Loved your excerpt. :)

stanalei said...

Thank you for sharing this awesome bit of history, Paris. I believe it's important to remember these things from our past that will help us stand and be strong in the present.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Paris! What a very interesting blog post. I had no idea from where the phrase originated. There were so many sacrifices by so many young people and sadly, their stories are leaving us. I grew up surrounded by WW2 soldiers. My father shared little. One uncle a little more. I wanted my children to remember their sacrifices. Thank you, vb

jean hart stewart said...

Thanks for the information. Our internment of the Japanese is a shameful fact of our history. Loved the excerpt, of course!

Melissa Keir said...

What a fabulous post. I hadn't heard for the "Go For Broke" group and I really am glad that you shed some light on this wonderful group of men. My family lost two boys in WW2. I recently received the old family bible with their birth and death dates in it. Because the two brothers died, my own grandfather didn't have to go fight. I would love to find out more information on how they died and where, both died in 1944.

All the best with your book!

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