Nakamine, Shinyei.

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Nakamine, Shinyei, born 21-01-1920 in Waianae Oahu, Hawaii  Nakamine was born to Japanese immigrant parents. He is a Nisei, which means that he is a second generation Japanese-American. One month before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Nakamine joined the US Army in November 1941. Nakamine volunteered to be part of the all-Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion.

This army unit was mostly made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland. The 100th Infantry Battalion, nickname “Purple Heart Battalion”   of the United States Army who received the United States’ highest decoration for valor, The Medal of Honor, for actions in La Torreto, Italy during World War II. Nakamine received the medal for advancing on enemy forces when his own unit was pinned down. Nakamine was subsequently killed during this engagement and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross which was eventually upgraded to the Medal of Honor upon military review in June 2000. Shinyei Nakamine (far right) and other soldiers warm themselves by the fire at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin

The 100th Infantry Battalion was activated on 12-06-1942, composed of more than 1,400 American-born Japanese called “Nisei” (NEE-say), or second generation. The War Department had removed them from Hawaii out of fear of renewed Japanese attacks.

Private Shinyei Nakamine distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 02-06-1944, near La Torreto, Italy. During an attack, Private Nakamine’s platoon  B Company, became pinned down by intense machine gun crossfire from a small knoll 200 yards to the front. On his own initiative, Private Nakamine crawled toward one of the hostile weapons. Reaching a point 25 yards from the enemy, he charged the machine gun nest, firing his submachine gun, and killed three enemy soldiers and captured two. Later that afternoon, Private Nakamine discovered an enemy soldier on the right flank of his platoon’s position. Crawling 25 yards from his position, Private Nakamine opened fire and killed the soldier. Then, seeing a machine gun nest to his front approximately 75 yards away, he returned to his platoon and led an automatic rifle team toward the enemy.

Death and burial ground of Nakamine, Shinyei.

  Under covering fire from his team, Private Nakamine crawled to a point 25 yards from the nest and threw hand grenades at the enemy soldiers, wounding one and capturing four. Spotting another machine gun nest 100 yards to his right flank, he led the automatic rifle team toward the hostile position but was killed by a burst of machine gun fire. Private Nakamine’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army. Shinyei Nakamine is buried on the National Cemetery o/t Pacific, Hawai, Honolulu. Section D, Grave 402.

Soldiers present the Nakamine family with Shinyei’s medal.


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