SCV Veterans History Project: Medal of Honor: WWII Hero George T. (Joe) Sakato, US Army Nisei Combat Team in Europe
Veterans History Project: Santa Clarita Valley Edition
Featuring: George T. “Joe” Sakato, Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient; World War II Veteran; member of the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe
Host: Leon Worden
Taped November 8, 2009, at the Agua Dulce Women’s Club in Agua Dulce, California
SEE ALSO: 2009 Agua Dulce Veterans Day Celebration with George Sakato
Official Medal of Honor citation:
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 the enemy 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 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.
Of the 21 Medal of Honors awarded to members of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII, George T. “Joe” Sakato is the last one surviving.
He is 94 years old and lives in Colorado with his daughter.
His story is not only one of an American hero, but also depicts the governmental racial segregation of Japanese-Americans during WWII. What happened is a part of our history, but in order for us to move forward, we must learn from our past.
Proudly, I believe our nation is “blending” into a people with less prejudice, but should be mindful under duress, fear can awaken this past quality.
Thank you to George Sakato for his service, and to SCVTV and COC for continuing to shed this guiding light.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.
Thank You for Your Service Sir.
Joe is the man fighting for us to have freedom in America