Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

As Memorial Day approaches, we try to remember and honor all American veterans who gave their lives in sacrifice to our nation. Through the month of Could, we also celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I want to introduce a excellent American, Terry Shima, who is one hundred years old and who I very first worked closely with through a Memorial Day occasion. As individuals are living longer, and corporations are challenged to obtain the correct individuals to fill positions, they would do nicely to contemplate how to accommodate and employ individuals of all ages who want to operate. Corporations need to reimagine how they take benefit of the excellent talent and operate-associated experiences of these who are not prepared to entirely retire. Some of these who continue to operate are former military members who have retired from military service, but who stay pretty capable of serving in our nation’s civilian workforce.

Arlington National Cemetary in honor of Memorial Day Could 27, 2002 in Arlington, VA. Thousands of vacationers, veterans, armed solutions personnel, and relatives visited the cemetery in recognition of Memorial Day. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/ Getty Pictures)Getty Pictures

On Memorial Day 2009, I had the honor of paying a particular tribute to Japanese-American military members who fought honorably for our nation’s freedom in Globe War II—while their personal freedom and the freedom of their households have been denied. In our Army, we speak about the Warrior Ethos. It is an ethos that states, “I will normally spot the mission very first, I will by no means quit, I will by no means accept defeat, and I will by no means leave a fallen comrade.” While we use the words of the Warrior Ethos a lot more usually currently, the idea of by no means leaving a fallen comrade behind is not new.

This Warrior Ethos is powerfully illustrated in a story of two soldiers and the legendary “Lost Battalion” of Globe War II. 1 of the most ferocious battles of Globe War II was fought in late October 1944 by the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Group in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France. It was a rescue mission. Two hundred and seventy-eight males of the famed 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, the “Lost Battalion” as it later became recognized, have been trapped behind enemy lines. When Hitler was informed, he ordered that the complete unit be annihilated. His message was that these soldiers would not be permitted to fight on what was then occupied German soil. The German forces have been relentless. They attacked the stranded soldiers once again and once again. And with each and every attack, the 141st Infantry Regiment lost a lot more and a lot more members of its group. There had been many attempts at a rescue by other units, but each and every rescue mission had failed. And then the 442nd was ordered to launch a rescue try. It was now late October. The climate was cold and rainy. Circumstances have been miserable. But the 442nd produced up of Japanese-American soldiers was undeterred. For 5 days they fought day and evening. And then, on the fifth day they succeeded, reached the stranded males, and saved all two hundred and eleven of the males who had survived the carnage. The Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd did not leave a fallen comrade behind.

Their group exemplified the accurate which means of the Warrior Ethos. With this story as background, I was honored when Terry Shima, a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group, asked me to speak on Memorial Day 2009 at Arlington National Cemetery. I was doubly honored when we have been in a position to bring collectively two of the veterans who had been in France, beneath fire on that deadly October in 1944—Astro Tortolano of the stranded 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment, and Minoru Nagaoka of the 442nd. This was a pretty particular Memorial Day. And this act of bravery was not the only difficult mission for the 442nd. Japanese-American soldiers, initially element of the 100th Infantry Battalion, have been absorbed into the 442nd Regiment Combat Group, the “Go for Broke” group that became a single of the most decorated units in U.S. military history. The soldiers of the 442nd earned a lot more than 18,000 decorations, which includes a lot more than four,000 purple hearts for the four,349 wounded and killed in action, four,000 bronze stars, 271 silver stars, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 21 Medals of Honor, and in much less than a month of fighting, they also earned 5 Presidential Unit Citations. Soldiers who served in the 442nd continue to earn medals and honors to this day for their previous heroism. President Harry Truman reviewed the 442nd Regiment Combat Group when it returned from Italy on July 15, 1946, at the Ellipse positioned in Washington, D.C. This ceremony was the very first time a U.S. President reviewed an Army contingent of the size of a Regiment Combat Group.

Truman inspects the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Group. Following the inspection Mr. Truman pinned the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation banner (above) to the colors of the unit. Composed of Americans of Japanese ancestry, the 442nd distinguished itself in combat in Europe.Bettmann Archive

In a ceremony honoring more than 33,000 Japanese-American soldiers, President Clinton stated, “As sons set off to war, so lots of mothers and fathers told them . . . reside if you can, die if you need to, but fight normally with honor, and by no means bring shame on your family members or your nation,” adding that “rarely has a nation been so nicely served by a individuals it so ill-treated.” These heroes’ stories evoke inspiring patriotism, sacrifice, and courage. Their legacy continues to demonstrate to this day the excellent American ideals of liberty and equality for all.

fellow recipients of the Presidential Citizens Medal in the East Area at the White Residence in Washington.TJEWEL SAMAD/AFP By means of GETTY Pictures

Terry and I would operate collectively once again on many significant projects in the years that followed. And a single such project would have profound significance and a pretty particular spot in Army history. At the time, I was Director of Personnel for the Army. Some of my duties involved organizing the Boards to overview combat medals, which includes the Medal of Honor, as nicely as guaranteeing recognition of these groups of soldiers who might not have been effectively honored for their achievements in the previous. It was through this assignment as the Director of Personnel for the Army that Terry contacted me. He wanted to safe a Congressional Gold Medal for the Japanese-American Nisei. Japanese-American Nisei are second-generation Americans or Canadians who have been born in the United States or Canada but whose parents had emigrated from Japan. The Congressional Gold Medal is the most prestigious award offered to individuals from all walks of life. It is bestowed by the United States Congress for considerable achievements and contributions to the Nation. On this occasion, the U.S. Army performed a overview that resulted in forty 442nd soldiers who did not get the Bronze Star medal through the war. Basic Ray Odierno, then Chief of Employees of the Army, and I have been honored to make the presentation to twenty-two 442nd veterans who attended the ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

In 2010—after lots of months of tireless operate by Terry, the Japanese-American veterans, and the U.S. Army—Congress authorized the Congressional Gold Medal to honor Japanese-Americans who served in combat. The Japanese-American veterans who have been so recognized incorporated soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, the 442nd Regimental Combat Group, and the Military Intelligence Service. Offered my Japanese heritage, it was such an honor to engage with the exceptional members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group households and pals.

Even at age one hundred, Terry continues to operate to make certain the history and the sacrifices of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group are not forgotten. People today are living longer. A lot of will not have the economic savings important for a one hundred-year life, and they will need to have or want to continue operating. If so, corporations would do nicely to obtain a function for these who can nevertheless serve. Some of these workers will need to have to go back to college to hold up with the adjustments in business enterprise and technologies. As Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be these who can’t study and create, but these who can’t discover, unlearn, and relearn.” Corporations need to contemplate generating possibilities that are much less than complete-time for these who can add worth to their teams and who want to invest a lot more time with their households. Offered the shortage of offered individuals in the workforce, retaining workers who are often viewed as ”too old and retired” could be a win-win for corporations and for these wishing to stay active in our nation’s workforce.

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I served as COO and President, Intrexon Bioengineering. I served as the Commanding Basic of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Through this time, I was element of the national response group for Hurricane Sandy. I was the Director for Army Personnel I deployed the 1st Cavalry Division into Iraq, and later led the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq exactly where I was accountable for an $18B building plan. Through 9/11, I controlled the nuclear codes in the Pentagon. I serve on the public boards of CSX and Perma-Repair, and on the private boards of Fidelity Investments, HireVue, and Allonnia. I am a 1978 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and hold Master of Science Degrees in Civil Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and a PhD in Systems Engineering from George Washington University. I am a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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