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National Asian-Pacific Heritage Month
WWII Medal of Honor Recipients
 
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Photo - JOSE CALUGAS
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JOSE CALUGAS
A battery gun position was bombed and shelled by the enemy until one gun was put out of commission and all the cannoneers were killed or wounded. Sgt. Calugas, a mess sergeant of another battery, voluntarily and without orders ran 1,000 yards across the shell-swept area to the gun position. There he organized a volunteer squad, which placed the gun back in commission and fired effectively against the enemy, although the position remained under constant and heavy Japanese artillery fire.









7th Infantry, was honored for heroism on May 28, 1944, near Artena, Italy. During the offensive that broke through the German mountain strongholds surrounding the Anzio beachhead, (then staff sergeant) Davila risked death to provide heavy weapons support for a beleaguered rifle company.

Caught on an exposed hillside by heavy fire from a well-entrenched enemy force, his machine gunners were reluctant to risk putting their guns into action.

Davila crawled 50 yards to the nearest enemy machine gun nest and opened fire on the enemy from the kneeling position, ignoring return fire that struck his tripod and passed between his legs. Ordering a gunner to take over, he crawled forward to a vantage point and directed fire with hand and arm signals until both hostile machine guns were silenced.

Bringing his three remaining machine guns into action, he drove the enemy back 200 yards. Though wounded in the leg, he dashed to a burning tank and engaged a second enemy force from its turret. Dismounting, he advanced 130 yards in short rushes, crawled 20 yards and charged into an enemy-held house and eliminated the five defenders with a hand grenade and rifle fire. Climbing to the attic, he straddled a large shell hole in the wall and opened fire on the enemy. Although the walls of the house were crumbling, he continued to fire until he had destroyed two more machine guns.


Photo- BARNEY HAJIRO
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BARNEY HAJIRO


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Made an uphill charge against heavy fire in the forests of eastern France remains legendary even among his battle-hardened comrades.

His was among many outstanding acts of bravery during the famous battle to rescue the 'Lost Battalion' (the Texas National Guard 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment), which had been encircled by the enemy and was in imminent danger of annihilation. In that fearful engagement, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team suffered about 800 casualties to save 211 Texans — four Nisei soldiers killed or wounded for each fellow soldier saved.

Hajiro was awarded the Medal of Honor for valor on Oct. 19, 22 and 29, 1944, near Bruyeres and Biffontaine, France.







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100th Infantry Battalion — Distinguished himself on Nov. 29, 1943, near Cerasuolo, Italy. About 40 enemy soldiers armed with machine guns, machine pistols, rifles and grenades attacked the left flank of his platoon. When two enemy machine gunners advanced on him, Hasemoto, an automatic rifleman, challenged them, firing four magazines before his weapon was hit and damaged. He ran 10 yards to the rear, secured another automatic rifle and continued to fire until his weapon jammed.

Hasemoto and his squad leader had killed about 20 enemy soldiers. Hasemoto ran through a barrage of enemy machine gun fire to pick up an M-1 rifle. He and the squad leader killed 10 more enemy soldiers. With only three enemy left, the two GIs charged forward, killed one, wounded another and captured the third. The next day, Hasemoto was killed while repelling an enemy attack.


Photo- JOE HAYASHI
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JOE HAYASHI

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442nd Regimental Combat Team — Was presented the Medal of Honor for gallantry on April 20 and 22, 1945, near Tendola, Italy. Ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village of Tendola, Hayashi led his men to a point within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were
detected and fired upon. After dragging his wounded comrades to safety, he returned alone and exposed himself to small arms fire in order to direct and adjust mortar fire against hostile emplacements.

Boldly attacking the hill with the remaining men of his squad, Hayashi attained his objective and discovered that the mortars had neutralized three machine guns, killed 27 and wounded many others.

While attacking Tendola two days later, Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep terraced hill to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to a hostile machine gun position, he threw a grenade, killing one enemy soldier and forcing the other members of the gun crew to surrender.

Seeing four enemy machine guns firing on his platoon, he knocked out one nest with a grenade and engaged a second, killing four enemy soldiers and forcing the rest to flee. Attempting to pursue the enemy, Hayashi was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pistol fire.




Photo-SHIZUYA HAYASHI
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SHIZUYA HAYASHI

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100th Infantry Battalion — Was cited for heroism on Nov. 29, 1943, near Cerasuolo, Italy. During a flank assault on high ground held by the enemy, he rose alone in the face of grenade, rifle and machine gun fire. Firing his automatic rifle from the hip, he charged an enemy machine gun, killing seven enemy in the nest and two more as they fled. The platoon then advanced about 200 yards when an enemy anti-aircraft gun opened fire on the men. Hayashi returned fire, killing nine enemy soldiers, capturing four and forcing the others to flee.





Photo - DANIEL K. INOUYE
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DANIEL K. INOUYE
Now a U.S. senator, was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism on April 21, 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Inouye directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapons and small arms fire to capture an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. The enemy, emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns.

Inouye boldly crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying it. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest with submachine gun fire.

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 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.


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Updated: 19 May 2004
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