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Japanese American Military Experience Database

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Kiyoshi K. Muranaga (KIA 06/26/1944)

Birth date
Place of birth
Gardena CA, U.S.A.
Enlistment type
Service branch
Service type
Unit type
Units served
442nd Regimental Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, Company F
Military specialty
Infantryman; Mortar Man
Camp Shelby, MS, USA; Italy
Unit responsibility
Personal responsibility
Mortar man
Major battles (if served in a war zone)
Rome-Arno River Campaign
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit)
Killed-in-Action on June 26, 1944 on the first day of action for the 442nd Infantry Combat Team in Italy. He was one of 21 Americans of Japanese Ancestry awarded the Medal of Honor at White House ceremonies on June 21, 2000. He was previously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC),posthumously, the Army's second-highest medal for valor. By virtue of an act of Congress instigated by Senator Akaka of Hawaii, records of all who were awarded the DSC were reviewed for possible up-grade to Medal of Honor. In June of 2000, it was announced by the Department of the Army that Pfc. Muranaga was one of 22 Asian-Americans whose DSC was up-graded to the Medal of Honor. 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


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

Private First Class Kiyoshi K. Muranaga distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action of 26 June 1944, near Suvereto, Italy. Private First Class Muranaga's company encountered a strong enemy force in commanding positions and with superior firepower. An enemy 88mm self-propelled gun opened direct fire on the company, causing the men to disperse and seek cover. The mortar squad in which Private First Class Muranaga served as gunner was ordered to action, but the terrain made it impossible to set up the mortar. The squad leader, realizing the vulnerability of the mortar position, moved his men away from the gun to positions of relative safety. Because of the heavy casualties being inflicted on his company, Private First Class Muranaga attempted to neutralize the 88mm weapon alone. Voluntarily remaining at his gun position, Private First Class Muranaga manned the mortar himself and opened fire on the enemy gun at a range of approximately 400 yards. With his third round, he was able to correct his fire so that the shell landed directly in front of the enemy gun. Meanwhile, the enemy crew immediately aware of the source of mortar fire, turned the 88mm weapon directly on Private First Class Muranaga's position. Before Private First Class Muranaga could fire a fourth round, an 88mm shell scored a direct hit on his position, killing him instantly. Because of the accuracy of Private First Class Muranaga's previous fire, the enemy soldiers decided not to risk further exposure and immediately abandoned their position.

Private First Class Muranaga'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
'As we lay half-crouched, I told Muranaga to 'fire one,' which landed behind the house; 'fire two,' which landed close to the gun, 'fire three,' a dud! Muranaga then sat up to look for the safety pin to see if he had really pulled it or not. Just then, an 88 shell exploded. I asked Kiyoshi, 'Are you all right?'...Kiyo died in my arms soon after.' excerpted from The Men of Company F: 442nd Regimental Combat Team by Ronald Oba
--Sgt. Wataru Kohashi, Company F Gunner, 442nd Regimental Combat Team
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