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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1025/

General Ryder’s faith in the 100th infantry battalion

I think, yes, we were often used in difficult positions because they knew we could do the job, not because they wanted to expend us. In fact in Anzio we didn’t take that many casualties but General Ryder used us to take the key pass when his two regiments had failed to take it. They failed to take Lanuvio and the pass through the Albano Hills - and the First Armor Division was supposed to take advantage of that and make a dash into Rome.

When they failed to take that pass, and one of the regimental commanders was captured, that afternoon he came into the 100th Infantry Battalion - we were a separate battalion, directly under his control - and he told us that we were to take that pass the next morning. And I, as a rather outspoken first lieutenant, cause it was stunned silence, no one else could talk, and I just point blank asked him, I says, “how do you expect one battalion to take a pass where six battalions have failed?” And he very calmly looked at me said, “Because I know the 100th can.” I says, “Well why don’t you commit the 133rd? There’s three battalions.” He said, “Because I question whether they’ll take the path. But you people can.” And we did.


100th Infantry Battalion 442nd Regimental Combat Team Anzio armed forces Charles S. Ryder combat Italy military United States Army war World War II

Date: August 28, 1995

Location: California, US

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Colonel Young Oak Kim (U.S. Army Ret.) was a decorated combat veteran as a member of the 100th Infantry Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team during World War II and a respected community leader. He was born in 1919 in Los Angeles, CA to Korean immigrants.

Following the outbreak of war, he was assigned to the “all-Nisei” 100th as a young officer, but was given a chance for reassignment because the common belief was that Koreans and Japanese did not get along. He rejected the offer stating that they were all Americans. A natural leader with keen instincts in the field, Colonel Kim’s battlefield exploits are near legendary.

Colonel Kim continued to serve his country in the Korean War where he became the first minority to command an Army combat battalion. He retired from the Army in 1972. He was awarded 19 medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, and the French Croix de Guerre.

Later in life, Colonel Kim served the Asian American community by helping to found the Go For Broke Educational Foundation, the Japanese American National Museum, the Korean Health, Education, Information and Research Center and the Korean American Coalition among others. He died from cancer on December 29, 2005 at the age of 86. (August 8, 2008)

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