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December 17, 2012
Longtime Senator From Hawaii Daniel Inouye Dead At The Age Of 88
His long Senate career began in 1963 (date corrected) but was also a highly decorated WWII veteran.
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.
He was shot, then lost an arm to a grenade, all while continuing to attack the enemy and lead his men...American hero.
Day by day we lose more of these great Americans, thankfully new generations of American heroes continue to step forward to continue the tradition of excellence and honor.
RIP Senator, from a grateful nation.
[UPDATE] Inoyue didn't just throw grenades at the Germans, he threw one after he lost his arm...by prying it out of the hand on his nearly amputated arm.
"I looked at it, stunned and disbelieving. It dangled there by a few bloody shreds of tissue, my grenade still clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore," Inouye wrote in his 1967 autobiography, "Journey to Washington," written with Lawrence Elliott.
Added: Inouye was featured in Ken Burns "The War". An amazing reminder that some people loved America when America didn't always love them. I'm always awed by the stories of men like Inouye and black WWII vets who served, fought and often died for a country they were not always able to participate in fully. They knew that the promise of America was real and would be kept someday. They fought to ensure that it has been.
Via David Leonhardt
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