In early 1943, he volunteered to join the new US 442nd Infantry Regiment/Regimental Combat Team, composed entirely of Nisei - the children of Japanese immigrants. The 442nd Infantry served with distinction in Europe, and became the most decorated unit for its size in US Army history. For the approximately 14,000 Americans who served in the unit, 9,486 received Purple Hearts and the regiment as a whole earned an unprecedented eight Presidential Unit Citations. The motto of the 442nd was "Go For Broke". Twenty-one of its members were recognized with our highest decoration, the Medal of Honor.
Initially, Barney Hajiro received the second-highest award for his wartime courage: the Distinguished Service Cross. During the 1990s, the Department of Defense reviewed the records of all African- and Asian-American recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross and Navy Cross to determine if any of them were denied the Medal of Honor due to racial discrimination.
On June 21, 2000, Barney Hajiro was one of six living Asian-Americans who received their long-overdue recognition as being among our Nation's greatest heroes from President Bill Clinton at the White House. From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II: