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Pearl Harbor and being sent to an internment camp

Combat and being wounded

Untitled Action

Wounded while rescuing the Lost Battalion

The action that earned him the Medal of Honor

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Sakato was born in Colton, California at a Union Pacific and Southern Pacific hub for the Railroad company. His parents had a barbershop, pool hall and bath house. The train conductors would all come to get a haircut, play pool and get a bath and then go back to their trains. They were there for a few years and then his parents started to get arthritis in their hands and couldn't cut hair as well so they decided to buy a grocery store. Sakato's brother-in-law was a butcher at a grocery store in Riverside. He suggested they buy one in Redland. They bought a fruit stand and market in Redlands, California. Sakato went to high school in Redlands and graduated there in 1941.On December 7 [Annotator’s Note: 1941], they started opening the store when they heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. Soon after, they got orders saying their radios, short wave radios, cameras, rifles, pistols, etc. had to be given up. A few months later they were still in the store. Whether or not they would have to go to a camp was the next question. In February 1942, they were told to move out of the state or get put into a camp. They had just purchased a meat case and had a meat market and fruit stand combination. The person bringing them produce said he would move them to Arizona. Sakato's brother-in-law's brother was working in Arizona on a farm and didn't have to go to camp. They were told in three days to move out. They sold the meat case for $300 and threw in the store. They got in a truck and followed a car into Phoenix, Arizona. They were on the south side of the tracks near the Buddhist Temple. They were told they'd have to move to the North side of the tracks because people in the south were getting sent to a relocation center.They moved again when a fellow on the North Side offered the back of his porch to the family in exchange for work on his farm. They picked cantaloupes in 110 degrees temperature. He had just graduated high school at 165 pounds. At the end of the melon season, he weighed 135 pounds. He worked as a clerk at a grocery store on Grand Avenue since he had worked in a grocery store before. In the meantime, the 100th Battalion, the National Guard of Hawaii was sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for basic training. They were shipped over to Sicily to join General Mark Clark. They went from Sicily to Italy, Anzio, Arno River, and got to Monte Cassino, which was an abbey where Germans could see for miles where troop movements were. The 100th Battalion was ordered to take that hill and so many men were getting hit that they became known as the Purple Heart Battalion. General Mark Clark requested more soldiers like that.In March 1943, Sakato tried to join the Air Force. His draft card said 4-C, enemy alien. He wondered what that meant because he was born in America and was an American. A fellow soldier told him that he couldn't serve in the Army, Navy, or Marines. Well, after Mark Clark requested more Japanese-American men, President Roosevelt made it so that they could join the Army.The Army unit was forming at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. All the volunteers from the camps came there and all the pineapple workers from Hawaii came there too. They formed a unit called the 442nd Regimental Combat Team [Annotators note: from here on, will be typed as 442nd RCT]. They took their basic training there and went overseas to join the 100th Battalion. The 100th Battalion became the 1st Battalion of the 442nd RCT and A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H Companies were 2nd Battalion, H, I, K, L companies became 3rd Battalion, then Cannon Companies, Field Artillery units, etc. [Annotators note: Sakato meant that the 100th Battalion went overseas while the 442nd RCT was still training at Camp Shelby. Troops from the 1st Battalion of the 442nd RCT were used to replace losses from the 100th Bn. When the 442nd RCT was deployed, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions went overseas while the 1st stayed behind to train replacements.] Sakato still wanted to join the Air Force. His brother was drafted in 1939 [most likely 1940, with the 1940 draft] and was at Fort Ord and then moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a clerk in one of the barracks. He was inducted at Fort Douglas, Utah and got on a train to Camp Blanding, Florida. He stepped out and asked where the planes were. He was told he was in the infantry and that the 100th Battalion needed replacements and he'd be one of them. All of the early war draftees had to take their basic training over again too. Sakato remembers being at Camp Blanding for eight weeks of basic training, with the early draftees. Then, they were at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Then they formed a unit and went to Newport News, Virgina for the port of embarkation, although, they did go to Camp Kilmer first. They boarded ships in Virginia and left with three transports for soldiers. They got to sea and he was seasick. He woke up the next day and there were eight or ten more ships. The next day he woke up and there were more. He remembers they eventually had around a hundred ships in convoy to Europe. They would go Southeast and then later would go Northeast in a zig-zag pattern. It took them 28 days to get to Oran, Africa to refuel. From there, they went to Naples, Italy.

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The 442nd RCT and 100th Battalion came together in Naples and that is when Sakato joined E Company. After camping at Mussolini's Ranch for a while, they had to board ships in Naples port for Marseilles, France. Sakato just barely made it up the ramp and onto the ship with his barracks bag. After he got down below, he realized all the troops were together. Sakato recalled that going through the Corsica Straits, the waves were going over the ship. He was supposed to be on guard duty and was almost washed overboard.They finally arrived in Marseilles and were about 200 yards away from shore when they had to climb down rope ladders onto Higgins boats. They circled around the boat for an hour until everyone was loaded aboard Higgins boats and going ashore together. When they got ashore, it was quiet. There were no Germans there. They could have gone ashore an hour earlier. Sakato was given a paper bag by a sailor for seasickness, which he had to use.For twenty eight days on ship, they'd have silver 50cent pieces and they'd put them on edge. They'd take a spoon and tap the 50-cent piece down on the edges and try to flatten it out. Then, they'd cut the middle out and have a ring. After a day or two, destroyers came up and started dropping depth charges. Sakato remembers that men were tapping the coins against the ship's hull and he was afraid they had lured in a submarine from the sounds on sonar. After that, they quit making rings. They saw three ships go down that were low in the water and hit by subs. They got to Naples and then to Corsica Strait and to Marseilles. They stayed in a hilly area for bivouac. Sakato recalled Marseilles was off limits and he and a Sergeant wanted to see it. They headed toward Marseilles and were picked up and told it was off limits. The sergeant was demoted to a corporal for disobeying orders and Sakato remained a Private.They got on 40 x 8 train cars and went several miles and back up a few miles. Back and forth the whole way and it was raining the whole way. They got to the foothills of the Swiss Alps. The mud was so high that the trucks couldn't climb the hill. They had to get off and walk. They got to the top of the hill and it was now September. They headed to the top of the hill and Sakato gave his pack to someone and his shovel to someone else. All he had was his rifle and he made it to the top.September 15 [Annotator’s Note: 1944] was the first day of battle. Sakato recalled 1st and 2nd Platoons were up a thousan yards ahead. He could hear machine gun fire, rifle fire and grenades going off. Sakato and his platoon were back in reserve on the top of the hill. Being so new, they couldn't tell what incoming fire was versus outgoing fire. They had a Lieutenant that was fresh from OCS [Annotator’s Note: Officer Candidate School] school that was pacing back and forth, making everyone nervous. In an attempt to add some humor to the situation and break the nerves, Sakato stood up, raised his hand in a Nazi salute and used his other hand to make a Hitler moustache and said, "Sieg Heil, In case we lose!" He thought it would make the Lieutenant laugh, but it didn't. The Lieutenant, named Lieutenant Schmidt [Annotator’s Note: unsure of spelling] was of German descent and chewed Sakato out. Soon after, they heard incoming fire and there was an explosion nearby. He was thrown to the ground and got up black and blue and nicked from artillery fragments. He looked down and saw Sugami Annotator’s Note: unsure of spelling] dead. He was the first Japanese-American to be killed in France. He got hit in the neck along the jugular vein. Every time his heart beat his neck would spurt blood. Sakato tried to put pressure on the wound, but it was choking him. He lost too much blood and died.The next day, third and fourth platoons were on the front of the line trying to take the hill. Sakato was on the far left flank of the hill and most of the travel was on the top of the ridges. There was an explosion suddenly; someone had stepped on a landmine. They now had to get on their bellies and probe inch by inch with bayonets to search for mines. You had to be steady and sweat would be running down your face. Suddenly, someone else hit one up on the top of the ridge. They sweated it out and finally got passed the landmines and took this hill. I Company was in the valley and the 100th Battalion was on the other hill. I Company had to go into a town and use hand-to-hand combat, house to house to take the town. They were chasing the Germans out. Pretty soon Sakato heard a tank heading out of town and it looked like the Germans were leaving. Then he realized that the barrel of the tank was facing towards them. He soon saw a ring of fire around the barrel of the tank and there was an explosion behind him. He realized that the tank was shooting at his position. Sakato recalled they had to run to the other side of the hill to try and dig in. They started trying to dig and after a few feet they hit rocks and tree roots. Sakato remembered crawling down into the hole and holding onto his helmet and trying to get as low as he could. He stuck his foot out to see if he'd get hit. Nothing happened to him. Sakato thought to himself, "I volunteered for this!" The firing stopped and they soon realized that they needed to fall back further to better prepare for a counterattack. They moved down the hill more and attempted to dig in. Soon after, Sakato heard tank tracks and thought that a Sherman tank was moving up. He realized that it was a German Tiger tank coming down the road. He was digging a foxhole and a buddy of his was about twenty feet away digging another. The tank fired a round that went right in between their foxhole positions and went up into the hill. If it had landed in front of them, he would have been killed. The Tiger tank left because it was getting pressure from a bazooka. 

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Sakato recalled that they took that hill finally and had to take a few others [Annotator’s Note: during fighting in Italy in September 1944]. The Germans were shooting at them and he was shooting back. He remembered a Sergeant saying, "Let's Go" from the top of the hill. He was at the bottom of the hill and had nobody to carry his pack so he had to carry it. He went about 10 feet or so and caught his breath. Then he did it again and the Germans started shooting at him again. He returned fire and eventually got to the top of the hill. When he got to the top, he realized the platoon was nowhere to be seen and figured that they thought he had been shot down at the bottom of the hill. He was mad and got on the other side of the hill and into a big group of bushes. He cut a few branches to camouflage his position. He sat there an hour until he heard some talking. It sounded German and a German patrol soon walked by on the ridge. Sakato didn't even breathe. After an hour or so, there was more talking and he recognized US helmets. He shouted asking which company was there and they challenged him with the password. Sakato explained he didn't know the password and had been there about six hours or so. It was F Company and they lead the way for Sakato to rejoin E Company. The Sergeant informed the Captain that he could cross Sakato off the Missing in Action list.In the meantime, a college educated guy had written up a citation for someone that had done something extra on the hill they had just taken. He was writing up the citation for him and a Captain explained that a Colonel from the 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division wanted to know where his men are. They were sent out to go look for him and the GI writing the citation had to pack what he was writing in his pocket. In the meantime, a GI had just killed a chicken and was getting ready to put it on a camp stove.They had to get to the top of this hill and when they get up there, this Colonel directed them to this ridge where he thought his men were. Sakato and the group headed out and found the missing GIs in their foxholes. The Lieutenant of the squad asked them to go find out where the Germans were at. He wondered why this Lieutenant couldn't send his own men out to find them since they had to come and find the missing men. They went out about a thousand yards and a machine gun opened up. Sakato hit the deck and rolled over behind a bush. Other guys with him were all out in the open. The German machine gunner had a sniper with him with a telescopic lens. As soon as one of the GIs looked up, he got shot in the head. Another looked up and his helmet went flying off. The third got a round through the helmet. Sakato realized that the sniper was looking for him next. The sniper couldn't see him because he was behind a bush. He crawled back and asked the men with the 36th Division why they didn't move up to help. They explained that they didn't have orders to, which infuriated Sakato. They had to leave the three bodies there and got called back by their captain. Later on, they found two of the three bodies. The GI with all the info in his pocket had gotten killed and the Germans had taken his body and the information.They went back and had to take more hills. And at Belmonte [Annotator’s Note: unsure of spelling] they were on a ridge and a machine gun opened up on them. Sakato noticed something and told the guys that he was going to cross the road and went down below. He told the guys that the Germans would have to get out of their foxholes to shoot at him. They were to cover him as he did this. He did this and as he moved he saw a tree trunk he could get behind for cover. As he headed for it, he saw two Germans moving up the hill and assumed they were the machine gunners. He fired up the hill over this tree and missed them. He continued watching them and all of the sudden he noticed a slight movement on his left side an inch at a time. Pretty soon, he saw a machine gun and then two hands. On the other side, he saw two hands slowly coming up. The machine gunners were hiding behind that tree and they scared him more than he scared them. That is where he got pistol, from the Lieutenant. The rest of the platoon finally took that hill and had a few hills left to take.They had to keep going hill after hill. They got to one area and there was a meadow there with railroad tracks on one side. It was full of rocky ledges on the way down. They discussed how to take or bypass the hill. Orders came down to take the hill, called Hill 617. They couldn't get across the open field and so they got on trucks, went around the 7th Army and and crossed into enemy territory toward the back of the hill. The Germans were on the front side of the hill and going into the valley. There were other hills on the other side of the valley and the "Lost Battalion" [Annotator’s Note: 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division] was there. They stayed on the opposite side of the hill and had to travel at night in single file, quietly holding the pack of the man in front of you. He had to look up and find tree branches to avoid hitting the tree trunks. They were single file weaving back and forth between the trees all night. At dawn, they gathered, spread out and started their attack. They made a clean sweep of the hill and chased the Germans off. Artillery started coming in so they had to jump in the German foxholes. Sakato had to go to the side of the hill and dig a foxhole. The medic, with a red cross on his helmet, got shot by a bullet that hit his helmet, spun around on the inside and singed his hair and came out. He was fixing someone's leg and had he been hit at another angle or another inch away, he could have been killed. Sakato stayed on the far flank on the side of the hill with a Thompson submachine gun to cover the rest of the platoon. Artillery shells burst in the trees and sent shrapnel flying. Calls for a medics started sounding all over the place. Eventually, the artillery stopped and the Americans knew the Germans would be preparing to counterattack.The Germans had been pushed off of the surrounding hills. G Company had worked their way around the hilltops and was in front of E and F Companies and bypassed the valley. Most all of the remaining Germans were in the valley. I Company was in the valley and near the Lost Battalion. Out of 50 men, seven guys were still standing with I Company. K Company had 17 men. Out of the whole battle for Hill 617, 800 men were killed or wounded to rescue 281 men with the "Lost Battalion".After they had taken Hill 617, the Germans counter attacked. Sakato had his Thompson submachine gun with two twenty-round magazines taped together, one upside down from the other. When you round out of ammunition in one magazine, you flipped the clip. Sakato fired in bursts at the Germans and was running out of ammunition when a German came running towards him. It was raining and Sakato's web belt was so wet he had trouble getting another magazine out. The German was about to try and throw a grenade at him when he picked up a German rifle and tried to fire it. It didn't have any bullets in it so he pulled his pistol and fired three rounds. The German hit the dirt. There was no further counterattack so Sakato got into his hole and started replenishing his magazines with ammo.In the meantime, the Germans grouped together and went around him and up the hill. Sakato relayed to the men nearest him that the Germans were trying to surround them and take the hill back. The Germans made it to the high ground and killed a friend of Sakato's. He had been shot in the jugular vein and the heart. Sakato was mad and cried. He held the man for a second and let him go. He was so mad that he dropped his pack and took his Thompson and zigzagged his way up the hill. He held the Thompson sideways so that he could fire it sideways. As he began to fire at the Germans, the gun pulled from side to side and he ran up the hill firing and yelling for others to follow. They finally took the hill back. Some of the remaining Germans on the hill started to surrender. Sakato was told he shot 12 guys and then they captured some 34 of them. But, he was mad and went back down to his buddy's body. His friend had a silver dollar from 1921, the year they were both born. He kept that as a souvenir and brought it home.They had to go and rescue the Lost Battalion 

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Sakato had to go and rescue the "Lost Battalion" [Annotator’s Note: 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, in October 1944 near Biffontaine, France]. They went across the valley to the ridge and moved forward with the other companies. Just two days into the fight to rescue and save them, Sakato was wounded by an artillery shell. That was the second time he got blown up. He tried to dig in and couldn't lift his left arm. He had an overcoat he had bundled up in his pack. There was a hole going through it and through the jacket he was wearing. He noticed a trickle of blood running down his spine and notified the Sergeant that he had been hit. The Sergeant told him he hadn't and to just keep digging. But, then he came and saw Sakato and sent him to the aid station. Artillery was still coming in and he got blown up again. This time only the concussion bothered him as the shrapnel hit his trouser leg and didn't hurt him. He finally got to the aid station and they took him to a hospital where he had to check his pistol in. After a few days, he was riding in an ambulance in a robe with a German belt holding it on. He eventually got on a plane for England. Before leaving, he was sitting on a pile of ropes and had to get off because a storm was coming. His records went with that plane, but he had to get off. He was back in the hospital again through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. At the hospital in England he heard a groaning sound coming through the air and then it stopped. All the patients and doctors were ducking under beds and tables. They told him to get under a table and soon after he heard the explosion. It was a buzz bomb coming over from the Netherlands.It went over the hospital and hit the town of Coventry, the next town over.Finally, Sakato got aboard ship and got to New York City and saw the Statue of Liberty. He thought it was the most beautiful sight. He went to Camp Kilmer and then to Chicago to a hospital and then Vancouver, Washington hospital. His kid brother from Redlands sent him a letter with a newspaper clipping saying he'd received the Distinguished Service Cross. He looked at it and was confused by it. Sakato said something to the Chaplain and he said he would look into it.Sakato was transferred to a hospital in San Diego, closer to his home in Phoenix. He was in there in June and July of 1945. He was discharged in July and the day he was discharged, the Distinguished Service Cross came in. He was told he had to stay behind for a parade the next day and medal ceremony. He was riding with a few guys that had flights to catch from Phoenix to Hawaii and couldn't be delayed. They pinned the medal on Sakato's pocket right there in the office and sent him home. He came home and his brother was discharged. They decided they needed to go see the country. They got a car and drove up to Colorado and then to Indianapolis, Indiana and saw friends along the way. They then went to Chicago and stayed with a cousin for a few days and then back down to Denver. He was introduced to some girls and stayed a week. They ran out of money and had to wire home for money to get home. He had met his wife to be in Denver and wrote back and forth to her and eventually asked her to marry him. They got married and went to Los Angles. He went to school there to become a diesel mechanic. He then got offered a job in Coolidge, Arizona after graduating, where it was 110 to 120 degrees and converted Marine Diesel engines into water pumps.Eventually he had to return to Denver with his wife because her sister was having a baby. Sakato looked for work, but places wanted ten years of experience, which he didn't have because he'd been in the Army. They told him he was “Jap” and wouldn't hire him. While he was back in school in Los Angeles he worked at the post office at night. Since he couldn't get hired for work, he went to the Post Office looking for employment. They hired him and he worked there 3 years. Some 55 years after he left the Army, he got a call from the Pentagon requesting he come to Washington, D.C. because they were going to upgrade his Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor. Sakato was shocked and surprised. He was told only ten in the family could go. He requested they just send him his medal. The General on the line said they'd figure something out. Sakato's family was able to go there along with some of his friends. It just so happened that a Saudi princess came to Washington and they put a big tent behind the White House for her. There were chandeliers inside, air conditioning, flowers and shrubs and over 500 people attending. They were given pictures with their citations on them. They had a great time and came home. Retirement looked good, but then he got requests to go different places with the Medal of Honor. He's been traveling back and forth all over the place. The worst place he had traveled was in Oklahoma and had to go to various terminals and finally made it to Oklahoma City on a small plane. Then, he had to travel some 90 miles to Vance Air Force Base. He spoke to the troops there, stayed the night and came home with the same fiasco. 

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Sakato mentions there was a recent reunion in Texas with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Battalion and with the air force group that dropped containers on the 442nd RCT and the Lost Battalion. These containers would roll down the hill to the Germans a lot of times when they were dropped. Sakato wanted to go, but he had already committed to see his niece in California. He had other events being planned too. The reunion group in Houston talked him into coming and he invited his niece to come. Sakato spends the rest of this segment talking about a hernia operation and his daughter having an upcoming one.

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Sakato discusses a Vietnam veteran that edits and tapes oral histories.He recalls that before the attack on Pearl Harbor there was no animosity or ill treatment due to being Japanese Americans. Some of his high school friends were sorry his family had to leave when the war started. Customers would come over to shop at their store, even when a Piggly Wiggly [Annotator’s Note: grocery store chain] was nearby. This happened until they were told they had to move to a camp.Initially, he wanted to join the US Army Air Corps because when he was a kid he sold daily newspapers and Saturday Evening Post magazines. When he saved up enough money, an old World War I pilot had an old "Jenny" there and would take you up flying around the town for a dollar. Sakato had a joystick where he sat and the pilot would let him fly a little as long as he didn't pull too much. They would fly for a while and slip here and there. Sakato enjoyed flying. Roscoe Turner came to that field too with a Ford Trimotor plane. He was a pilot and used to race around the country.Sakato's brother was in the regular Army at Fort Ord before the war started and had a desk job. He was a Sergeant and when he was moved to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri then he had to redo basic training. His brother ended up in B Company in 100th Battalion. They saw each other the day before George was wounded. The first day of combat was hectic. Sakato discusses the September 15th [Annotator’s Note: 1944] battle. To ease the tension while they were waiting in reserve, they talked some about what they would do after the war.Sakato discusses his wounds. The shrapnel that hit his pack and went into his back ricocheted near his spine and he still has a piece near his lungs. They were going to operate, but decided against it. He then had to learn to exercise and get use of his left arm again. Cold weather and sudden changes in weather will make his arm and back ache from his wounds.So many men got killed trying to rescue the Lost Battalion; it didn't do all that much for the 442nd since they lost so many men. When he was sent to go locate that platoon and they were asked to locate the Germans, they questioned a lot of why they were doing things and what they were supposed to do. Why were they the ones being sent in?He speaks a little on the actions of the 442nd RCT after he was wounded. [Annotator’s Note: Most of the details are very general since he wasn't there.]Sakato talks about the 442nd and 100th Battalion joining up with the 34th Division and the British fighting up the boot heel of Italy. He talks about their actions too at Mount Belvedere although he wasn't there as he had already been wounded. 

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During the actions that lead to Sakato receiving the Medal of Honor, he wondered, "What am I doing here? Why did I volunteer?" He felt he had to do it though and felt he wanted future generations of his family to not be looked down upon or discriminated against. He felt he was fighting a war against discrimination too.He remembered traveling on the ridge and the Sergeant said something to him and he turned to hear what he was saying when a bullet came by his head and hit the tree nearby. He remembers being tired and taking cat naps at night in combat areas. After several weeks of being on the line and not getting much sleep, it would catch up with him and he'd have a hard night's sleep. Sometimes he would wake up and his buddies would have new machine-guns or grenades and he had missed out on getting them.Sakato talks about Kelly Kuwayama , another veteran interviewed by the National World War II Museum that he served with. He recalled at Hill 617, they swept down and took the hill and he remembered Kelly was working on a GI's knee when he drop in a hole near him. The medic story he told earlier about the bullet hitting the helmet of a GI and spinning around was Kuwayama.Sakato recalled a friend of his also had the BAR [Annotator’s Note: Browning Automatic Rifle] and the Sergeant gave it away to another squad that needed it. This friend of his was given a grenade launcher/bazooka. This guy said he felt sick and Sakato urged him to go to sick call, but he refused. When out on the line, this man stood up for a second and got hit by a sniper and was killed. Sakato wondered what he should do, but everything happens so fast. One night a cow came walking around the group and they thought it was a German patrol. They heard several twigs breaking in one area. They threw out a grenade and killed the cow.Sakato went Santa Fe, New Mexico after he got married; an Indian girl that was a waitress refused to serve them. He remembers being places and having people turn their heads when he was there. He also recalls years later in Texas seeing Navajo Indians at a pow-wow. One Indian asked Sakato what tribe they were with and he told him they were Japanese American. He thought this man was Asian too.After the war when people still mistreated him for his ethnic background, he just had to "grin and bear it". He applied for a job but they didn't want to hire an oriental. Sakato feels it is much better in modern America. There are Japanese American lawyers, doctors, and Senator Daniel Inouye is a Senator. He mentions too a well known local lawyer that was of Japanese descent.Sakato feels it is important to build an Army and he believes in a draft and would like to see it come back. That way there will always be an Army. Everything is volunteer now and if you had a drafted Army, you wouldn't have to send people back as many times, etc. A lot of the volunteers that have to go back get "shell shock" [Annotator’s Note: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD] and dru problems. Sakato feels it is important that they talk about it and get it out of their system. He feels that if he had to hold everything in, he'd be in a "nut house" in Pueblo, Colorado.Sakato still wakes up from nightmares at times. He dreams he is back on the front line or that he's been stabbed in the back. He'll be lying on his back and it will hurt. Now he wakes up and knows he's home so it doesn't bother him that much. But, if he had to keep it to himself, it would be worse. Talking about it helps and that's why he goes to all these conventions and things. Sakato also talks briefly about having to keep dry socks and how they cleaned them and dried them to keep from getting trench feet. He has to wear blankets on his leg and feet when it is cold so that he can stay warm due to poor circulation in his legs.Sakato feels it is important to have museums like the National World War II Museum so that modern day students can come in and see things from the war and read stories about the war. His local college radio station has a man that talks about veterans of all wars on the radio for the students. He also goes to high schools and talks to them too.Sakato says he doesn't wear the Medal of Honor for being a hero. He says he isn't a hero and that he wears the medal for those that didn't come back. He also wears it for a German soldier he shot. They went on patrol and got pinned down. They heard a German talking and giving out information. A machine gun went off and one of the GIs got his pack shot. Then Sakato saw the German giving information and shot him in his leg/hip area. The German saw him and made the mistake of picking up his rifle. Sakato shot him again, but this time in the stomach. He started crying out and soon after he and the Americans pulled back to their previous position on top of the hill. All the while, Sakato could hear him crying and crying. Eventually he heard an explosion and didn't hear anymore crying. He couldn't understand what happened. After they had taken the hill back, Sakato went back to him and saw that the German had put a grenade under his head and killed himself since nobody would come to his aid. His own medic didn't even help him. He'll never go home, so Sakato wears it for him too. His Medal is for those that didn't come back. He's no hero. If he wouldn't have been so mad and crying he wouldn't have taken that hill. He lost it and was so mad. He told one reporter that today it’s called road rage. He was invited up t the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. He saw President Bush and other Presidents. He started dozing off and someone woke him up and told him the President was talking about him and his reference to road rage. 

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Sakato returned to Hill 617 where there is now a gate. He couldn't get on the hill because it was private property. It was like he remembered. He describes again the German defenses there. Sakato again discusses taking the hill.[Annotator’s Note: The tape ends, but continues to run due to something from capturing.]

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Sakato was born in Colton, California at a Union Pacific and Southern Pacific hub for the Railroad company. His parents had a barbershop, pool hall and bath house. The train conductors would all come to get a haircut, play pool and get a bath and then go back to their trains. They were there for a few years and then his parents started to get arthritis in their hands and couldn't cut hair as well so they decided to buy a grocery store. Sakato's brother-in-law was a butcher at a grocery store in Riverside. He suggested they buy one in Redland. They bought a fruit stand and market in Redlands, California. Sakato went to high school in Redlands and graduated there in 1941.On December 7 [Annotator’s Note: 1941], they started opening the store when they heard on the radio that Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. Soon after, they got orders saying their radios, short wave radios, cameras, rifles, pistols, etc. had to be given up. A few months later they were still in the store. Whether or not they would have to go to a camp was the next question. In February 1942, they were told to move out of the state or get put into a camp. They had just purchased a meat case and had a meat market and fruit stand combination. The person bringing them produce said he would move them to Arizona. Sakato's brother-in-law's brother was working in Arizona on a farm and didn't have to go to camp. They were told in three days to move out. They sold the meat case for $300 and threw in the store. They got in a truck and followed a car into Phoenix, Arizona. They were on the south side of the tracks near the Buddhist Temple. They were told they'd have to move to the North side of the tracks because people in the south were getting sent to a relocation center.They moved again when a fellow on the North Side offered the back of his porch to the family in exchange for work on his farm. They picked cantaloupes in 110 degrees temperature. He had just graduated high school at 165 pounds. At the end of the melon season, he weighed 135 pounds. He worked as a clerk at a grocery store on Grand Avenue since he had worked in a grocery store before. In the meantime, the 100th Battalion, the National Guard of Hawaii was sent to Camp McCoy, Wisconsin for basic training. They were shipped over to Sicily to join General Mark Clark. They went from Sicily to Italy, Anzio, Arno River, and got to Monte Cassino, which was an abbey where Germans could see for miles where troop movements were. The 100th Battalion was ordered to take that hill and so many men were getting hit that they became known as the Purple Heart Battalion. General Mark Clark requested more soldiers like that.In March 1943, Sakato tried to join the Air Force. His draft card said 4-C, enemy alien. He wondered what that meant because he was born in America and was an American. A fellow soldier told him that he couldn't serve in the Army, Navy, or Marines. Well, after Mark Clark requested more Japanese-American men, President Roosevelt made it so that they could join the Army.The Army unit was forming at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. All the volunteers from the camps came there and all the pineapple workers from Hawaii came there too. They formed a unit called the 442nd Regimental Combat Team [Annotators note: from here on, will be typed as 442nd RCT]. They took their basic training there and went overseas to join the 100th Battalion. The 100th Battalion became the 1st Battalion of the 442nd RCT and A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H Companies were 2nd Battalion, H, I, K, L companies became 3rd Battalion, then Cannon Companies, Field Artillery units, etc. [Annotators note: Sakato meant that the 100th Battalion went overseas while the 442nd RCT was still training at Camp Shelby. Troops from the 1st Battalion of the 442nd RCT were used to replace losses from the 100th Bn. When the 442nd RCT was deployed, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions went overseas while the 1st stayed behind to train replacements.] Sakato still wanted to join the Air Force. His brother was drafted in 1939 [most likely 1940, with the 1940 draft] and was at Fort Ord and then moved to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri as a clerk in one of the barracks. He was inducted at Fort Douglas, Utah and got on a train to Camp Blanding, Florida. He stepped out and asked where the planes were. He was told he was in the infantry and that the 100th Battalion needed replacements and he'd be one of them. All of the early war draftees had to take their basic training over again too. Sakato remembers being at Camp Blanding for eight weeks of basic training, with the early draftees. Then, they were at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Then they formed a unit and went to Newport News, Virgina for the port of embarkation, although, they did go to Camp Kilmer first. They boarded ships in Virginia and left with three transports for soldiers. They got to sea and he was seasick. He woke up the next day and there were eight or ten more ships. The next day he woke up and there were more. He remembers they eventually had around a hundred ships in convoy to Europe. They would go Southeast and then later would go Northeast in a zig-zag pattern. It took them 28 days to get to Oran, Africa to refuel. From there, they went to Naples, Italy.

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The 442nd RCT and 100th Battalion came together in Naples and that is when Sakato joined E Company. After camping at Mussolini's Ranch for a while, they had to board ships in Naples port for Marseilles, France. Sakato just barely made it up the ramp and onto the ship with his barracks bag. After he got down below, he realized all the troops were together. Sakato recalled that going through the Corsica Straits, the waves were going over the ship. He was supposed to be on guard duty and was almost washed overboard.They finally arrived in Marseilles and were about 200 yards away from shore when they had to climb down rope ladders onto Higgins boats. They circled around the boat for an hour until everyone was loaded aboard Higgins boats and going ashore together. When they got ashore, it was quiet. There were no Germans there. They could have gone ashore an hour earlier. Sakato was given a paper bag by a sailor for seasickness, which he had to use.For twenty eight days on ship, they'd have silver 50cent pieces and they'd put them on edge. They'd take a spoon and tap the 50-cent piece down on the edges and try to flatten it out. Then, they'd cut the middle out and have a ring. After a day or two, destroyers came up and started dropping depth charges. Sakato remembers that men were tapping the coins against the ship's hull and he was afraid they had lured in a submarine from the sounds on sonar. After that, they quit making rings. They saw three ships go down that were low in the water and hit by subs. They got to Naples and then to Corsica Strait and to Marseilles. They stayed in a hilly area for bivouac. Sakato recalled Marseilles was off limits and he and a Sergeant wanted to see it. They headed toward Marseilles and were picked up and told it was off limits. The sergeant was demoted to a corporal for disobeying orders and Sakato remained a Private.They got on 40 x 8 train cars and went several miles and back up a few miles. Back and forth the whole way and it was raining the whole way. They got to the foothills of the Swiss Alps. The mud was so high that the trucks couldn't climb the hill. They had to get off and walk. They got to the top of the hill and it was now September. They headed to the top of the hill and Sakato gave his pack to someone and his shovel to someone else. All he had was his rifle and he made it to the top.September 15 [Annotator’s Note: 1944] was the first day of battle. Sakato recalled 1st and 2nd Platoons were up a thousan yards ahead. He could hear machine gun fire, rifle fire and grenades going off. Sakato and his platoon were back in reserve on the top of the hill. Being so new, they couldn't tell what incoming fire was versus outgoing fire. They had a Lieutenant that was fresh from OCS [Annotator’s Note: Officer Candidate School] school that was pacing back and forth, making everyone nervous. In an attempt to add some humor to the situation and break the nerves, Sakato stood up, raised his hand in a Nazi salute and used his other hand to make a Hitler moustache and said, "Sieg Heil, In case we lose!" He thought it would make the Lieutenant laugh, but it didn't. The Lieutenant, named Lieutenant Schmidt [Annotator’s Note: unsure of spelling] was of German descent and chewed Sakato out. Soon after, they heard incoming fire and there was an explosion nearby. He was thrown to the ground and got up black and blue and nicked from artillery fragments. He looked down and saw Sugami Annotator’s Note: unsure of spelling] dead. He was the first Japanese-American to be killed in France. He got hit in the neck along the jugular vein. Every time his heart beat his neck would spurt blood. Sakato tried to put pressure on the wound, but it was choking him. He lost too much blood and died.The next day, third and fourth platoons were on the front of the line trying to take the hill. Sakato was on the far left flank of the hill and most of the travel was on the top of the ridges. There was an explosion suddenly; someone had stepped on a landmine. They now had to get on their bellies and probe inch by inch with bayonets to search for mines. You had to be steady and sweat would be running down your face. Suddenly, someone else hit one up on the top of the ridge. They sweated it out and finally got passed the landmines and took this hill. I Company was in the valley and the 100th Battalion was on the other hill. I Company had to go into a town and use hand-to-hand combat, house to house to take the town. They were chasing the Germans out. Pretty soon Sakato heard a tank heading out of town and it looked like the Germans were leaving. Then he realized that the barrel of the tank was facing towards them. He soon saw a ring of fire around the barrel of the tank and there was an explosion behind him. He realized that the tank was shooting at his position. Sakato recalled they had to run to the other side of the hill to try and dig in. They started trying to dig and after a few feet they hit rocks and tree roots. Sakato remembered crawling down into the hole and holding onto his helmet and trying to get as low as he could. He stuck his foot out to see if he'd get hit. Nothing happened to him. Sakato thought to himself, "I volunteered for this!" The firing stopped and they soon realized that they needed to fall back further to better prepare for a counterattack. They moved down the hill more and attempted to dig in. Soon after, Sakato heard tank tracks and thought that a Sherman tank was moving up. He realized that it was a German Tiger tank coming down the road. He was digging a foxhole and a buddy of his was about twenty feet away digging another. The tank fired a round that went right in between their foxhole positions and went up into the hill. If it had landed in front of them, he would have been killed. The Tiger tank left because it was getting pressure from a bazooka. 

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Sakato recalled that they took that hill finally and had to take a few others [Annotator’s Note: during fighting in Italy in September 1944]. The Germans were shooting at them and he was shooting back. He remembered a Sergeant saying, "Let's Go" from the top of the hill. He was at the bottom of the hill and had nobody to carry his pack so he had to carry it. He went about 10 feet or so and caught his breath. Then he did it again and the Germans started shooting at him again. He returned fire and eventually got to the top of the hill. When he got to the top, he realized the platoon was nowhere to be seen and figured that they thought he had been shot down at the bottom of the hill. He was mad and got on the other side of the hill and into a big group of bushes. He cut a few branches to camouflage his position. He sat there an hour until he heard some talking. It sounded German and a German patrol soon walked by on the ridge. Sakato didn't even breathe. After an hour or so, there was more talking and he recognized US helmets. He shouted asking which company was there and they challenged him with the password. Sakato explained he didn't know the password and had been there about six hours or so. It was F Company and they lead the way for Sakato to rejoin E Company. The Sergeant informed the Captain that he could cross Sakato off the Missing in Action list.In the meantime, a college educated guy had written up a citation for someone that had done something extra on the hill they had just taken. He was writing up the citation for him and a Captain explained that a Colonel from the 142nd Infantry Regiment of the 36th Division wanted to know where his men are. They were sent out to go look for him and the GI writing the citation had to pack what he was writing in his pocket. In the meantime, a GI had just killed a chicken and was getting ready to put it on a camp stove.They had to get to the top of this hill and when they get up there, this Colonel directed them to this ridge where he thought his men were. Sakato and the group headed out and found the missing GIs in their foxholes. The Lieutenant of the squad asked them to go find out where the Germans were at. He wondered why this Lieutenant couldn't send his own men out to find them since they had to come and find the missing men. They went out about a thousand yards and a machine gun opened up. Sakato hit the deck and rolled over behind a bush. Other guys with him were all out in the open. The German machine gunner had a sniper with him with a telescopic lens. As soon as one of the GIs looked up, he got shot in the head. Another looked up and his helmet went flying off. The third got a round through the helmet. Sakato realized that the sniper was looking for him next. The sniper couldn't see him because he was behind a bush. He crawled back and asked the men with the 36th Division why they didn't move up to help. They explained that they didn't have orders to, which infuriated Sakato. They had to leave the three bodies there and got called back by their captain. Later on, they found two of the three bodies. The GI with all the info in his pocket had gotten killed and the Germans had taken his body and the information.They went back and had to take more hills. And at Belmonte [Annotator’s Note: unsure of spelling] they were on a ridge and a machine gun opened up on them. Sakato noticed something and told the guys that he was going to cross the road and went down below. He told the guys that the Germans would have to get out of their foxholes to shoot at him. They were to cover him as he did this. He did this and as he moved he saw a tree trunk he could get behind for cover. As he headed for it, he saw two Germans moving up the hill and assumed they were the machine gunners. He fired up the hill over this tree and missed them. He continued watching them and all of the sudden he noticed a slight movement on his left side an inch at a time. Pretty soon, he saw a machine gun and then two hands. On the other side, he saw two hands slowly coming up. The machine gunners were hiding behind that tree and they scared him more than he scared them. That is where he got pistol, from the Lieutenant. The rest of the platoon finally took that hill and had a few hills left to take.They had to keep going hill after hill. They got to one area and there was a meadow there with railroad tracks on one side. It was full of rocky ledges on the way down. They discussed how to take or bypass the hill. Orders came down to take the hill, called Hill 617. They couldn't get across the open field and so they got on trucks, went around the 7th Army and and crossed into enemy territory toward the back of the hill. The Germans were on the front side of the hill and going into the valley. There were other hills on the other side of the valley and the "Lost Battalion" [Annotator’s Note: 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division] was there. They stayed on the opposite side of the hill and had to travel at night in single file, quietly holding the pack of the man in front of you. He had to look up and find tree branches to avoid hitting the tree trunks. They were single file weaving back and forth between the trees all night. At dawn, they gathered, spread out and started their attack. They made a clean sweep of the hill and chased the Germans off. Artillery started coming in so they had to jump in the German foxholes. Sakato had to go to the side of the hill and dig a foxhole. The medic, with a red cross on his helmet, got shot by a bullet that hit his helmet, spun around on the inside and singed his hair and came out. He was fixing someone's leg and had he been hit at another angle or another inch away, he could have been killed. Sakato stayed on the far flank on the side of the hill with a Thompson submachine gun to cover the rest of the platoon. Artillery shells burst in the trees and sent shrapnel flying. Calls for a medics started sounding all over the place. Eventually, the artillery stopped and the Americans knew the Germans would be preparing to counterattack.The Germans had been pushed off of the surrounding hills. G Company had worked their way around the hilltops and was in front of E and F Companies and bypassed the valley. Most all of the remaining Germans were in the valley. I Company was in the valley and near the Lost Battalion. Out of 50 men, seven guys were still standing with I Company. K Company had 17 men. Out of the whole battle for Hill 617, 800 men were killed or wounded to rescue 281 men with the "Lost Battalion".After they had taken Hill 617, the Germans counter attacked. Sakato had his Thompson submachine gun with two twenty-round magazines taped together, one upside down from the other. When you round out of ammunition in one magazine, you flipped the clip. Sakato fired in bursts at the Germans and was running out of ammunition when a German came running towards him. It was raining and Sakato's web belt was so wet he had trouble getting another magazine out. The German was about to try and throw a grenade at him when he picked up a German rifle and tried to fire it. It didn't have any bullets in it so he pulled his pistol and fired three rounds. The German hit the dirt. There was no further counterattack so Sakato got into his hole and started replenishing his magazines with ammo.In the meantime, the Germans grouped together and went around him and up the hill. Sakato relayed to the men nearest him that the Germans were trying to surround them and take the hill back. The Germans made it to the high ground and killed a friend of Sakato's. He had been shot in the jugular vein and the heart. Sakato was mad and cried. He held the man for a second and let him go. He was so mad that he dropped his pack and took his Thompson and zigzagged his way up the hill. He held the Thompson sideways so that he could fire it sideways. As he began to fire at the Germans, the gun pulled from side to side and he ran up the hill firing and yelling for others to follow. They finally took the hill back. Some of the remaining Germans on the hill started to surrender. Sakato was told he shot 12 guys and then they captured some 34 of them. But, he was mad and went back down to his buddy's body. His friend had a silver dollar from 1921, the year they were both born. He kept that as a souvenir and brought it home.They had to go and rescue the Lost Battalion 

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Sakato had to go and rescue the "Lost Battalion" [Annotator’s Note: 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, in October 1944 near Biffontaine, France]. They went across the valley to the ridge and moved forward with the other companies. Just two days into the fight to rescue and save them, Sakato was wounded by an artillery shell. That was the second time he got blown up. He tried to dig in and couldn't lift his left arm. He had an overcoat he had bundled up in his pack. There was a hole going through it and through the jacket he was wearing. He noticed a trickle of blood running down his spine and notified the Sergeant that he had been hit. The Sergeant told him he hadn't and to just keep digging. But, then he came and saw Sakato and sent him to the aid station. Artillery was still coming in and he got blown up again. This time only the concussion bothered him as the shrapnel hit his trouser leg and didn't hurt him. He finally got to the aid station and they took him to a hospital where he had to check his pistol in. After a few days, he was riding in an ambulance in a robe with a German belt holding it on. He eventually got on a plane for England. Before leaving, he was sitting on a pile of ropes and had to get off because a storm was coming. His records went with that plane, but he had to get off. He was back in the hospital again through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. At the hospital in England he heard a groaning sound coming through the air and then it stopped. All the patients and doctors were ducking under beds and tables. They told him to get under a table and soon after he heard the explosion. It was a buzz bomb coming over from the Netherlands.It went over the hospital and hit the town of Coventry, the next town over.Finally, Sakato got aboard ship and got to New York City and saw the Statue of Liberty. He thought it was the most beautiful sight. He went to Camp Kilmer and then to Chicago to a hospital and then Vancouver, Washington hospital. His kid brother from Redlands sent him a letter with a newspaper clipping saying he'd received the Distinguished Service Cross. He looked at it and was confused by it. Sakato said something to the Chaplain and he said he would look into it.Sakato was transferred to a hospital in San Diego, closer to his home in Phoenix. He was in there in June and July of 1945. He was discharged in July and the day he was discharged, the Distinguished Service Cross came in. He was told he had to stay behind for a parade the next day and medal ceremony. He was riding with a few guys that had flights to catch from Phoenix to Hawaii and couldn't be delayed. They pinned the medal on Sakato's pocket right there in the office and sent him home. He came home and his brother was discharged. They decided they needed to go see the country. They got a car and drove up to Colorado and then to Indianapolis, Indiana and saw friends along the way. They then went to Chicago and stayed with a cousin for a few days and then back down to Denver. He was introduced to some girls and stayed a week. They ran out of money and had to wire home for money to get home. He had met his wife to be in Denver and wrote back and forth to her and eventually asked her to marry him. They got married and went to Los Angles. He went to school there to become a diesel mechanic. He then got offered a job in Coolidge, Arizona after graduating, where it was 110 to 120 degrees and converted Marine Diesel engines into water pumps.Eventually he had to return to Denver with his wife because her sister was having a baby. Sakato looked for work, but places wanted ten years of experience, which he didn't have because he'd been in the Army. They told him he was “Jap” and wouldn't hire him. While he was back in school in Los Angeles he worked at the post office at night. Since he couldn't get hired for work, he went to the Post Office looking for employment. They hired him and he worked there 3 years. Some 55 years after he left the Army, he got a call from the Pentagon requesting he come to Washington, D.C. because they were going to upgrade his Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor. Sakato was shocked and surprised. He was told only ten in the family could go. He requested they just send him his medal. The General on the line said they'd figure something out. Sakato's family was able to go there along with some of his friends. It just so happened that a Saudi princess came to Washington and they put a big tent behind the White House for her. There were chandeliers inside, air conditioning, flowers and shrubs and over 500 people attending. They were given pictures with their citations on them. They had a great time and came home. Retirement looked good, but then he got requests to go different places with the Medal of Honor. He's been traveling back and forth all over the place. The worst place he had traveled was in Oklahoma and had to go to various terminals and finally made it to Oklahoma City on a small plane. Then, he had to travel some 90 miles to Vance Air Force Base. He spoke to the troops there, stayed the night and came home with the same fiasco. 

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During the actions that lead to Sakato receiving the Medal of Honor, he wondered, "What am I doing here? Why did I volunteer?" He felt he had to do it though and felt he wanted future generations of his family to not be looked down upon or discriminated against. He felt he was fighting a war against discrimination too.He remembered traveling on the ridge and the Sergeant said something to him and he turned to hear what he was saying when a bullet came by his head and hit the tree nearby. He remembers being tired and taking cat naps at night in combat areas. After several weeks of being on the line and not getting much sleep, it would catch up with him and he'd have a hard night's sleep. Sometimes he would wake up and his buddies would have new machine-guns or grenades and he had missed out on getting them.Sakato talks about Kelly Kuwayama , another veteran interviewed by the National World War II Museum that he served with. He recalled at Hill 617, they swept down and took the hill and he remembered Kelly was working on a GI's knee when he drop in a hole near him. The medic story he told earlier about the bullet hitting the helmet of a GI and spinning around was Kuwayama.Sakato recalled a friend of his also had the BAR [Annotator’s Note: Browning Automatic Rifle] and the Sergeant gave it away to another squad that needed it. This friend of his was given a grenade launcher/bazooka. This guy said he felt sick and Sakato urged him to go to sick call, but he refused. When out on the line, this man stood up for a second and got hit by a sniper and was killed. Sakato wondered what he should do, but everything happens so fast. One night a cow came walking around the group and they thought it was a German patrol. They heard several twigs breaking in one area. They threw out a grenade and killed the cow.Sakato went Santa Fe, New Mexico after he got married; an Indian girl that was a waitress refused to serve them. He remembers being places and having people turn their heads when he was there. He also recalls years later in Texas seeing Navajo Indians at a pow-wow. One Indian asked Sakato what tribe they were with and he told him they were Japanese American. He thought this man was Asian too.After the war when people still mistreated him for his ethnic background, he just had to "grin and bear it". He applied for a job but they didn't want to hire an oriental. Sakato feels it is much better in modern America. There are Japanese American lawyers, doctors, and Senator Daniel Inouye is a Senator. He mentions too a well known local lawyer that was of Japanese descent.Sakato feels it is important to build an Army and he believes in a draft and would like to see it come back. That way there will always be an Army. Everything is volunteer now and if you had a drafted Army, you wouldn't have to send people back as many times, etc. A lot of the volunteers that have to go back get "shell shock" [Annotator’s Note: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD] and dru problems. Sakato feels it is important that they talk about it and get it out of their system. He feels that if he had to hold everything in, he'd be in a "nut house" in Pueblo, Colorado.Sakato still wakes up from nightmares at times. He dreams he is back on the front line or that he's been stabbed in the back. He'll be lying on his back and it will hurt. Now he wakes up and knows he's home so it doesn't bother him that much. But, if he had to keep it to himself, it would be worse. Talking about it helps and that's why he goes to all these conventions and things. Sakato also talks briefly about having to keep dry socks and how they cleaned them and dried them to keep from getting trench feet. He has to wear blankets on his leg and feet when it is cold so that he can stay warm due to poor circulation in his legs.Sakato feels it is important to have museums like the National World War II Museum so that modern day students can come in and see things from the war and read stories about the war. His local college radio station has a man that talks about veterans of all wars on the radio for the students. He also goes to high schools and talks to them too.Sakato says he doesn't wear the Medal of Honor for being a hero. He says he isn't a hero and that he wears the medal for those that didn't come back. He also wears it for a German soldier he shot. They went on patrol and got pinned down. They heard a German talking and giving out information. A machine gun went off and one of the GIs got his pack shot. Then Sakato saw the German giving information and shot him in his leg/hip area. The German saw him and made the mistake of picking up his rifle. Sakato shot him again, but this time in the stomach. He started crying out and soon after he and the Americans pulled back to their previous position on top of the hill. All the while, Sakato could hear him crying and crying. Eventually he heard an explosion and didn't hear anymore crying. He couldn't understand what happened. After they had taken the hill back, Sakato went back to him and saw that the German had put a grenade under his head and killed himself since nobody would come to his aid. His own medic didn't even help him. He'll never go home, so Sakato wears it for him too. His Medal is for those that didn't come back. He's no hero. If he wouldn't have been so mad and crying he wouldn't have taken that hill. He lost it and was so mad. He told one reporter that today it’s called road rage. He was invited up t the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington DC. He saw President Bush and other Presidents. He started dozing off and someone woke him up and told him the President was talking about him and his reference to road rage. 

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