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Japanese American Military Experience Database

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George Taro "Joe" Sakato

Gender
Male
Birth date
1921-2-19
Place of birth
Colton CA, U.S.A.
Inducted
1943-3-1, Glendale AZ
Enlistment type
Volunteer
Service branch
Army
Service type
War
Unit type
Combat
Units served
442nd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, Company E
Military specialty
Infantryman
Stationed
Camp Blanding, FL; France
Unit responsibility
Infantry
Personal responsibility
Rifleman
Major battles (if served in a war zone)
Rhineland Campaign
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit)
One of 22 Asian Pacific American awarded the Medal of Honor at White House ceremonies on June 21, 2000. He previously was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's highest medal for extraordinary heroism. His citation for the Medal of Honor states:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to

PRIVATE GEORGE T. SAKATO,UNITED STATES ARMY

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Private George T. Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 October 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding this fire, Private Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners. By continuously ignoring the enemy fire and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission.

Private Sakato'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.

Additional information
'How I got the medal, I don't know. I saw only 90 days of actual combat. Others deserve this much more. But I'll take it for the guys who didn't come back.' (June 22, 2000, The Honolulu Advertiser)
--Pvt. George T. Sakato

The mayor, Nancy M. Heil, of the city of Westminster, Colorado, on behalf of the entire City Council and Staff, proclaimed July 11, 2000 as
GEORGE 'JOE' SAKATO DAY
in recognition of the recently received Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor in combat.

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