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Tech Fifth Grade James Okubo

Date of Award: June 21, 2000
Conflict: World War II
Branch: U.S. Army

Tech. Fifth Grade James Okubo portraitJames Okubo and his family spent two years in concentration camps, before settling in Detroit. Okubo, his two brothers and two cousins volunteered to join the military during World War II. Technician Fifth Grade Okubo served with the 100th Battalion’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team evacuating and treating soldiers wounded during battle. On October 28, 1944, however, Okubo displayed inordinate courage, risking his life to treat over two dozen wounded men caught between heavy enemy fire, and saving a soldier from a burning tank.

Although he was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions, Okubo was originally awarded the Silver Star under the mistaken belief that medics were not eligible for higher awards. In a ceremony held at the White House in 2000, Okubo’s surviving family; along with 21 other Asian-American soldiers, were awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton.

Citation: “On 4 November, Technician Fifth Grade Okubo ran 75 yards under grazing machine gun fire and, while exposed to hostile fire directed at him, evacuated and treated a seriously wounded crewman from a burning tank, who otherwise would have died.”

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