On Nov. 1, 1941, in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge, the U.S. Army secretly trained and housed the first class of the Fourth Army Intelligence School — the MIS — the forerunner of the renowned Defense Language Institute and Foreign Language Center at the Presidio of Monterey.
Attached to every combat unit in the Pacific Theater, Nisei soldier linguists translated documents, intercepted communications, impersonated the enemy, and gathered key intelligence from prisoners of war. Their intimate knowledge of Japanese language and culture helped gain a tactical advantage over their opponents.
The soldiers of the MIS are credited with shortening the war by two years and helped lay the groundwork for Japan’s democracy during the Allied occupation. Yet their story remains largely unknown.
To honor these men and women on Veterans’ Day weekend, the following events will be held:
10 a.m. — Opening ceremony at MIS Historic Learning Center, honoring MIS and other Nikkei veterans and their families. Keynote speaker: Dr. James McNaughton, U.S. Army Center for Military History. Free and open to the public.
12 p.m. — Luncheon program (RSVP requested) at Presidio Golf Course Clubhouse, 300 Finley Road at Arguello Gate. Special guest: John Tagami, former aide to Sen. Daniel Akaka of Hawaii.
12 to 5 p.m. — MIS Historic Learning Center open to the public. Docent tours, film screenings, exhibits. $10 admission waived on day of celebration.