World War II veterans were in the spotlight in the Legislature on Monday when a group of Japanese-American soldiers were honored for fighting on the battlefield while another individual was praised for disobeying an order and refusing to fire a shot.
Rep. Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, got his resolution honoring the Nisei Military Intelligence Service passed after offering a heartfelt tribute to the Japanese-American unit that accomplished a 3,000-foot vertical climb and breached a German fortress in Italy and also rescued more than 200 Texan soldiers while taking on heavy casualties.
Oda, noting how his parents were put in an internment camp in Idaho and how he had an uncle born in one, said the Nisei proved valor comes in all ethnicities and that the resolution was important as a reminder of that.
The House of Representatives, after giving a standing ovation to more than a dozen veterans who stood before the body, then applauded 1st Lt. Marvin Arent, the father of Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek.
The 94-year-old, walking with a cane, stood next to his daughter as she explained how he — as a tank commander — was asked to fire upon a position that was believed to be filled with enemy troops. But he believed there might be American units there and refused the direct order.
“Knowing Dad, I am truly surprised that he would disobey an order,” Arent said. “I am grateful that this one time in his life he risked his career and chose to follow his own intuition. Many veterans, their children and grandchildren are alive today because of that choice.”
The elder Arent, who was also awarded a Purple Heart for being wounded in combat, left the Army as a captain.