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Nisei War Heroes Receive Long-Delayed Recognition

Military: Seven Asian American veterans, including Sen. Daniel Inouye, will be awarded Medals of Honor this week.

June 18, 2000|BRUCE DUNFORD | ASSOCIATED PRESS

For Sen. Akaka, the review of the Nisei combatants' records provided a special dividend.

"The stories documented for each of the 104 DSC recipients," he said, "will astonish and humble all who read them and underscore our faith in a nation that produces such heroes."

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Associated Press writers Dara Akiko Williams in San Diego and Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.

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Medal of Honor Honorees

Nearly six decades after their battlefield actions, 21 Asian American soldiers will receive the Medal of Honor at the White House on Wednesday.

Living recipients are:

* Staff Sgt. Rudolph Davila, 7th Infantry, who protected a company of 130 men caught in the open by heavy German fire and later silenced two enemy machine guns; at Artena, Italy, May 28, 1944.

* PFC Barney F. Hajiro, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who wiped out two machine gun nests and killed two snipers before being wounded by a third machine gun; in France's Vosges Mountains, Oct. 29, 1944.

* Pvt. Shizuya Hayashi, 100th Infantry Battalion, who charged up a hill toward German positions, killed 20 enemy soldiers and captured four; near Cerasuolo, Italy, Nov. 29, 1943.

* 1st Lt. Daniel Inouye, 442nd, who, despite multiple wounds, crawled up a hill and used grenades and his submachine gun to knock out three German machine-gun nests; near Terenzo, Italy, April 20, 1945.

* Tech. Sgt. Yeiki Kobashigawa, 442nd, who led his platoon in destroying four German machine gun positions; near Lanuvio, Italy, June 2, 1944.

* Tech. Sgt. Yukio Okutsu, 442nd, who used grenades and his submachine gun to neutralize three German machine gun positions; on Mt. Belvedere in Italy, April 7, 1945.

* Pvt. George T. Sakato, 442nd, who killed five Germans and captured four as he charged enemy positions that had pinned down his platoon; at Biffontaine in France, Oct. 29, 1944.

Those receiving the medal posthumously:

* Pvt. Mikio Hasemoto, 100th Infantry Battalion, who killed 27 Germans in one battle and four in another; Cerasuolo, Italy, Nov. 29, 1943.

* Pvt. Joe Hayashi, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, who knocked out two machine guns before being killed; Tendola, Italy, April 22, 1945.

* Staff Sgt. Robert T. Kuroda, 442nd, who was killed by a sniper while rescuing a party of litter bearers removing wounded soldiers; Bruyeres, France, Oct. 20, 1944.

* Pfc. Kaoru Moto, 100th, who attacked a machine gun nest and took over a house used as an observation post, defending it despite wounds; Castellina, Italy, July 7, 1944.

* Pfc. Kiyoshi Muranaga, 442nd, who used a mortar with such accuracy and intensity that the Germans withdrew an antitank 88mm gun; Suvereto, Italy, June 26, 1944.

* Pvt. Masato Nakae, 100th, who defended an outpost position; Pisa, Italy, Aug. 19, 1944.

* Pvt. Shinyei Nakamine, 100th, who was killed attacking machine gun nests; La Torreto, Italy, June 2, 1944.

* Pfc. William K. Nakamura, 442nd, who attacked a machine gun nest pinning down his platoon and then was killed holding off enemy gunners as his unit withdrew; Castellina, Italy, July 4, 1944.

* Pfc. Joe M. Nishimoto, 442nd, who was killed in action after leading a breakthrough of a three-day stalemate; at La Houssiere, France, Nov. 7, 1944.

* Sgt. Allan M. Ohata, 100th, who, with a comrade, killed 27 Germans and took one prisoner; Cerasuolo, Italy, Nov. 25, 1943.

* Pfc. Frank Ono, 442nd, who took out a machine gun nest, killed a sniper and helped rescue a wounded man; Castellina, Italy, July 4, 1944.

* Staff Sgt. Kazuo Otani, 442nd, who drew enemy fire while covering his pinned-down platoon's advance, then was killed while tending a wounded soldier; at Pieve di S. Luce, Italy, July 15, 1944.

* Tech. Sgt. Ted T. Tanouye, 442nd, who, though suffering wounds that would be mortal, stayed with his unit through several firefights; at Molina a Ventoabbto, Italy, July 7, 1944.

* Capt. Francis Brown Wai, 34th Division, who was killed leading a beach assault at Leyte as Gen. Douglas MacArthur returned to liberate the Philippine Islands, Oct. 20, 1944.

A Medal of Honor recommendation for the late James Okubo of Los Angeles was preliminarily approved, but Congress still must waive a statutory time limit for his case. Okubo, an Army medic, saved the lives of members of the 100th and 442nd while repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire; near Biffontaine, France, October and November 1944.

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