JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA –
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA – Charlie Company, 100th Battalion 442nd Infantry Regiment uncased its colors in an official ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) Monday, October 18th.
For over three decades, both Bravo and Charlie Company of the 100/442 has called Pago-Pago, American Samoa home. Each year, American Samoa provides a large number of new recruits for the Army as a whole. However, in recent years it has been difficult to meet the recruiting targets for two U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) Infantry Companies.
“The re-stationing of C CO to JBLM has opened a large recruiting population for the battalion, not only from the Washington state area, but across the continental U.S. Currently we have Soldiers from California, Oregon, Idaho, New Mexico, Connecticut, New Jersey, and many more areas,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Arakawa, commander of C CO 100/442.
“It is my belief that the re-stationing of C CO to JBLM increased the battalion's sphere of influence, promoted awareness of the unit, and provided a reasonable commute for infantry Soldiers from all components (active-duty, national guard and USAR) wishing to serve in a Light Infantry Battalion,” said Arakawa.
Arakawa was named commander of C CO in an unofficial ceremony following the un-casing ceremony. For Arakawa, the move to JBLM is beneficial to both recruiting as well as training opportunities.
“In regards to training, JBLM offers world class training facilities, ranges, and training areas. My intent is to leverage these assets to our full advantage in order to facilitate quality and realistic training that improves the company's proficiency and overall lethality,” added Arakawa.
Arakawa has a long history with the 100/442, having served and deployed as an enlisted Soldier with the unit prior to commissioning as an infantry officer. He has also served in a variety roles as an Army civilian with the unit.
“I am advantaged with seeing the world through the lens of my Soldiers, with the insight to understand the challenges my Soldiers endure, what resources they need to succeed, what I expect of them, and what they expect of me,” said Arakawa. “I will rely heavily on my experiences as an enlisted Soldier, Non-Commissioned Officer, and Commissioned Officer to mentor future leaders, create a common purpose, promote a shared understanding, and develop a mutual trust, so that in the event of less than ideal circumstances, the company will still be able to fight and win on the battlefield.”
For Arakawa, being of Japanese ancestry adds special significance to being a leader with the ‘Go for Broke’ battalion. As during WWII the unit was comprised completely of Japanese Americans.
“My ancestral linkage to the battalion is of very important significance to me,” said Arakawa. “As the company commander it is now my responsibility to educate this newly formed company of Soldiers, originating from across the U.S. on the battalion's storied history, which is one defined by honor, courage, and sacrifice”
“My expectation is that every Soldier carries themselves in a manner befitting of our Unit legacy, specifically, they will not shame themselves or the unit; in everything they do, they will do it to the best of their ability, they will ‘Go for Broke’,” surmised Arakawa.