WASHINGTON — The Congressional Gold Medal was presented collectively today to the U.S. Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion (INF BN), the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (RCT) and the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) – also known as Nisei Soldiers of World War II – during a ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center’s Emancipation Hall. The medal, designed and struck by the United States Mint, is in recognition of the Nisei Soldiers’ dedicated service during World War II.
The medal’s obverse (heads side) was designed by United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program Master Designer Joel Iskowitz and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Charles L. Vickers. The design features Nisei (second–generation Americans of Japanese ancestry) Soldiers from both the European and Pacific theaters. The 442nd RCT color guard is depicted in the lower field of the medal. The inscriptions on the outer rim are NISEI SOLDIERS OF WORLD WAR II and GO FOR BROKE, the motto of the 442nd RCT, which was eventually used to describe the work of all three units.
The medal’s reverse (tails side), designed and sculpted by United States Mint Sculptor–Engraver Don Everhart, depicts the insignias of the 100th INF BN, 442nd RCT, and MIS. The 100th INF BN insignia features a taro leaf and a traditional Hawaiian helmet, both of which are emblematic of the unit’s Hawaiian roots. The “Go for Broke” Torch of Liberty shoulder patch epresents the 442nd RCT. The sphinx, a traditional symbol of secrecy, represents the MIS insignia. The inscriptions on the outer rim are the abbreviated titles of the three units represented on the medal – the 100th INF BN, 442nd RCT, and MIS. In addition, the years 1941–1946, the defined years of World War II according to the Department of Defense, are inscribed in the upper right field of the medal. A decorative ribbon connects the outer rim with the inscriptions ACT OF CONGRESS and 2010. The three stars positioned along the border represent the three units being honored.
Public Law 111–254, which authorizes the production of the Nisei Soldiers of World War II Congressional Gold Medal, also authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to strike and sell three–inch and one–and–one–half–inch bronze reproductions of the medal. The three–inch medals are priced at $44.95 and the one–and–one–half inch at $7.95 each, and will be available from the United States Mint beginning on November 2, 2011, at noon Eastern Time. Customers may order online at http://www.usmint.gov/catalog or at 1–800–USA–MINT (872–6468). Hearing– and speech–impaired customers with TTY equipment may order at 1–888–321–MINT (6468).
The United States Mint, created by Congress in 1792, is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage and is responsible for producing circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated and commemorative coins; Congressional Gold Medals; and silver, gold and platinum bullion coins.