The War Years (1941 – 1946): Serving the U.S.
The 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion
The 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion was created on April 26, 1944, and stationed at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu.
The 1399 was formed from the 367th Engineers and four smaller non-combat battalions: the 395th Prewar Quarter Master Battalion, the 370th Engineers, 1536th Dump Truck Battalion, and the 1525th Base Equipment Company.
The only Nisei outfit to serve together in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
An all Nisei non-combat unit, 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion, included men who volunteered for service when the ranks of the 100th, 442nd, and MIS had already been filled. It also included draftees from the April – August 1944 draft. By November 1944, the 1399 peaked at 993 men. It became the only Nisei outfit to serve together in the Pacific Theater.
Dubbed “The Lost and Forgotten Battalion,” the 1399 completed over 54 major projects, including: construction of a million-gallon water tank, jungle training camps, air-strips, warehouses and water lines.4
They were also affectionately known as the “chow hounds” because of their hearty appetites. For fulfilling its Hawaiian defense duties, the 1399 Engineer Construction Battalion was presented with the Meritorious Service award in October 1945. On May 31, 1946, following the end of Pacific War, the unit was deactivated.
4The Hawaii Nisei Project.