Featuring more than 200 photographs and negatives taken by Susumu “Sus” Ito (1919-2015), “Before They Were Heroes” documents Ito’s tour of duty in Europe as a soldier in the celebrated all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team’s 522nd Field Artillery Battalion.
Born and raised in Stockton, Ito was witness to significant turning points in the European Theater, including the rescue of the Lost Battalion and liberation of a sub-camp of Dachau. Shot using a prohibited camera, he went to great lengths to preserve his negatives and carried his photos nearly 5,000 miles across Europe, where he had film developed in villages along the way.
Unseen for decades, Ito’s images are presented in this JANM traveling exhibit, offering a rare look into the daily lives of the Japanese American soldiers whose humble and heroic service made the segregated 442nd Regimental Combat Team the most decorated unit of its size in U.S. military history.
The California Museum is located in Archive Plaza at 1020 O St. in Sacramento. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, 12-5 p.m.; closed Monday. Admission: $9 general; $7.50 for college students and seniors with ID: $6.50 for youth (6-13): free for kids 5 and under. Discounts are provided for groups of 10 or more who book seven days or more in advance.
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