100th Infantry Battalion
Military Training: Camp Shelby
At Camp Shelby, Moriso becomes a member of an 81mm mortar squad in the 1st Battalion.
By April 1944, the 442nd is deemed ready for overseas duty. The 1st Battalion is renamed the 171st Cadre Training Battalion and is held back at Camp Shelby to train new recruits.
The 100th Infantry Battalion joins the 442nd RCT in their place. In acknowledgement of its performance, the 100th is allowed to retain its designation and the team becomes the 100th/442nd RCT.
[The following text is excerpted from "My Legacy: The Inheritance of a Will" by Moriso Teraoka.]
After settling in Camp Shelby, Mississippi, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team started our infantry training in May of 1943.
Thirteen weeks of basic infantry training was the first order; the basic priorities were learning to march in cadence, learning to disassemble and reassemble our rifles and other infantry weapons, and learning to fire those weapons at the firing range.
Moriso Teraoka posing with rifle in front of living quarters. Camp Shelby, Mississippi. February 1944.
An infantry battalion consists of three rifle companies and one heavy weapons company. This company supported the rifle companies with heavy machine guns and 81 mm mortars.
I was a member of a 81 mm mortar squad. We learned to assemble, align the mortar to a given target and be prepared to fire a mortar shell. Teamwork was essential, and each member of the squad learned each other’s assigned task.
At the firing range we used live ammunition and saw the results of our training. Advanced drills involved hours and hours of practice, day and night, exercising with your buddies in a squad, platoon, company, battalion, and finally as a combat team.
We learned to endure and, persevere, and finally by April of 1944, the Regimental Combat Team was deemed ready for overseas duty.
The combat team left Camp Shelby for Europe without some members of the 1st Battalion. I was part of a cadre that remained behind to train new recruits. All of us felt let down because we were not able to go, but orders were orders, and we had to endure another miserable summer of chigger bites and heat rash.
Chiggers are red flea-like insects and no bigger than a pinpoint. They bury themselves along the waistline and ankle. Scratching for relief only caused the waist to get infected; ointment brought temporary relief. Heat rash had to be endured because we were never dry throughout the muggy and humid summer.
"My Legacy: The Inheritance of a Will" was reprinted with the permission of Moriso Teraoka. Photographs courtesy of Moriso Teraoka.