December 17, 2012

Senator Daniel Inoue (D, Hawaii) September 7, 1924 – December 17, 2012

A truly great American has left us.




He enlisted in the army as soon as the ban on citizens of Japanese ancestry serving was lifted. He served in the legendary 442nd Infantry a segregated Nisei unit that is considered the most decorated infantry unit in the history of the US Army. During the Italian campaign he was given a field promotion from Sergeant to Lieutenant for his incredible courage during the epic relief of the "Lost Battalion".

In 1945, while leading a charge against a heavily defended hill, he was gravely wounded but refused to be evacuated while his troops were under fire . He continued fighting untill they won, at one point taking out a pillbox with his last grenade...which he first had to extract from the death grip of his own severed arm.

From his Medal of Honor citation:

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army. 


Despite the loss of his arm he remained in the Army until 1947. He was elected to the Senate representing Hawaii in 1962 and has served ably ever since.

Farewell Senator, and thank you for your service.


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