The end of World War II brought unexpected challenges for American servicemembers in both Europe and the Pacific. Fighting forces turned into forces of occupation, working to maintain a fragile peace while living amongst former enemies.
International Translation Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to the work of language professionals and their role in bringing about peace. Roughly 6,000 Japanese Americans served as translators and interpreters with the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) in the Pacific, using the language of their parents and grandparents to shorten the war and save lives.
At the end of the war, more than 12,000 American POWs were scattered in camps across the Pacific in desperate shape. From August 30-September 20, 1945, in Operation Swift Mercy, B-17s and B-29s flew 1,000 missions and dropped 4,500 tons of supplies to American troops no longer prisoner, but still trapped.