As Memorial Day approaches, we don’t forget and honor all of America’s veterans who gave their lives in sacrifice for our nation. Through the month of May perhaps, we also celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I want to introduce you to a fantastic American, Terry Shima, who is one hundred years old and who I initially worked closely with in the course of the Memorial Day occasion. As individuals reside longer and enterprises are challenged to uncover the proper individuals to fill positions, they would do effectively to take into consideration how to accommodate and employ individuals of all ages who want to perform. Enterprises need to rethink how they tap into the fantastic talent and perform knowledge of these who are not prepared to totally retire. Some of these who continue to perform are former soldiers who have retired from military service but are nevertheless incredibly capable of serving in our country’s civilian workforce.

Arlington National Cemetery in honor of Memorial Day on May perhaps 27, 2002 in Arlington, VA. Thousands of vacationers, veterans, members of the armed forces and relatives visited the cemetery to mark Memorial Day. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Pictures) Getty Pictures

On Memorial Day 2009, I had the honor of paying a particular tribute to the Japanese American service members who fought honorably for our nation’s freedom in Planet War II — even though their personal freedom and that of their households was denied. In our army, we speak about the Warrior Ethos. It is an ethos that reads: “I will normally place the mission initially, in no way give up, in no way accept defeat, and in no way leave a fallen comrade behind.” Despite the fact that we use the words Warrior Ethos far more and far more these days, the notion of in no way leaving a fallen comrade is not new.

This warrior ethos is powerfully illustrated in the story of two soldiers and the legendary “Lost Battalion” of Planet War II. One particular of the fiercest battles of Planet War II was fought in late October 1944 by the Japanese-American Combat Group of the 442nd Regiment in the Vosges Mountains of eastern France. It was a rescue mission. Two hundred and seventy-eight males from the renowned 1st Battalion of the 141st Infantry Regiment, the “Lost Battalion” as it later became recognized, have been trapped behind enemy lines. When Hitler was informed, he ordered the complete unit to be destroyed. His message was that these soldiers would not be permitted to fight on what was then German soil. The German forces have been relentless. They attacked the stranded soldiers once more and once more. And with every attack, the 141st Infantry Regiment lost far more and far more members of its group. There have been a number of rescue attempts by other units, but every rescue mission failed. And then the 442nd was ordered to launch a rescue try. It was now the finish of October. The climate was cold and rainy. The circumstances have been miserable. But the 442nd, produced up of Japanese-American soldiers, was not contained. They fought day and evening for 5 days. And then on the fifth day they succeeded, reached the stranded individuals and saved all two hundred and eleven individuals who survived the massacre. The Japanese-American soldiers of the 442nd did not leave behind a fallen comrade.

Their group exemplified the accurate which means of the Warrior Ethos. With this story as a backdrop, 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 capable to bring collectively two veterans who have been in France below fire that deadly October 1944 — Astro Tortolano of the stranded 1st Battalion, 141st Regiment, and Minoru Nagaoka of the 442nd. This was a incredibly particular Memorial Day. . And this act of bravery was not the only difficult mission for the 442nd. The Japanese-American soldiers, initially element of the 100th Infantry Battalion, have been absorbed into the 442nd Regimental Combat Group, the “Go for Broke” group that became one particular of the most decorated unit in US military history. Soldiers of the 442nd earned far more than 18,000 decorations, such as far more than four,000 Purple Hearts for four,349 wounded and killed in action, four,000 Bronze Stars, 271 Silver Stars, 29 Distinguished Service Crosses, 21 Medals and Ho Battle Medals, and also earned 5 Presidential unit. The soldiers who served in the 442nd are nevertheless winning medals and awards for their heroism so far. President Harry Truman evaluations the 442nd Regimental Combat Group as they return from Italy on July 15, 1946, at the Ellipse in Washington, DC. The ceremony marked the initially time a US president had reviewed a military contingent the size of a regimental combat group.

Truman inspects the renowned 442nd Regimental Combat Group. Soon after the inspection, Mr. Truman pinned the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation banner (above) to the unit’s colors. Comprised of Japanese-Americans, the 442nd distinguished itself in combat in Europe. Batman Archive

At a ceremony honoring far more than 33,000 Japanese-American soldiers, President Clinton mentioned, “As sons went off to war, so several mothers and fathers told them . . . reside if you can, die if you will have to, but normally fight with honor and in no way disgrace your family members or your nation,” adding that “seldom has any nation been so effectively served by a individuals so mistreated.” The stories of these heroes evoke inspiring patriotism, sacrifice and courage. Their legacy to this day exemplifies the fantastic American ideals of freedom and equality for all.

fellow recipients of the Presidential Medal for Citizens in the East Area of the White Home in Washington.TJEVEL SAMAD/AFP By way of GETTY Pictures

Terry and I would perform collectively once more on a number of significant projects in the years that followed. And one particular such project would have fantastic value and a particular spot in the history of the Army. At the time I was the Director of Personnel for the Army. Some of my duties incorporated organizing a assessment board for combat medals, such as the Medal of Honor, as effectively as delivering recognition to these groups of soldiers who could not have been correctly rewarded for their achievements in the previous. Terry contacted me in the course of this assignment as Director of Personnel for the Army. 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 immigrated from Japan. The Congressional Gold Medal is the most prestigious award provided to individuals from all walks of life. It is awarded by the United States Congress for considerable achievements and contributions to the nation. On this occasion, the US Army performed a assessment that resulted in 442 soldiers who did not obtain the Bronze Star in the course of the war. Basic Ray Odierno, then-Chief of the Army Employees, and I had the honor of producing a presentation to the twenty-two veterans of the 442nd who attended the ceremonies in Washington, DC

In 2010 — just after several months of tireless perform by Terry, Japanese American veterans and the U.S. military — Congress authorized the Congressional Gold Medal to honor Japanese Americans who served in combat. Japanese-American veterans so recognized incorporated soldiers from the 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Group and Military Intelligence. Provided my Japanese heritage, it was a fantastic honor to perform with the households and good friends of the outstanding members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group.

Even at one hundred years old, Terry continues to perform to guarantee that the history and sacrifices of the 442nd Regimental Combat Group are not forgotten. Persons are living longer. Numerous will not have the economic savings essential to reside to one hundred, and will will need or want to continue operating. If so, corporations would do effectively to uncover a function for these who can nevertheless serve. Some of these workers will will need to go back to college to maintain up with modifications in business enterprise and technologies. As Alvin Toffler wrote, “The illiterates of the 21st century will not be these who can’t study and create, but these who can’t study, unlearn, and study once more.” Enterprises need to take into consideration developing significantly less than complete-time possibilities for these who can add worth to their teams and who want to devote far more time with their households. Provided the lack of obtainable individuals in the workforce, retaining workers who are normally regarded as “also old and retired” can be effective for enterprises and these who want to stay active in our nation’s workforce.

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I was COO and President of Intrekon Bioengineering. I served as the commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Through that time, I was element of the National Hurricane Sandy Response Group. I was director of military personnel I deployed the 1st Cavalry Division to Iraq and later led the Army Corps of Engineers in Iraq exactly where I was accountable for an $18 billion building plan. Through 9/11 I controlled the nuclear codes at the Pentagon. I serve on the public boards of CSKS and Perma-Fik, as effectively as on the private boards of Fidelity Investments, HireVue and Allonnia. I graduated from the US Military Academy in 1978 and received a master’s degree in civil and mechanical engineering from Stanford University and a doctorate in systems engineering from George Washington University. I am a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

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