Col. Joseph Campbell pins the Distinguished Service Cross on Pvt. George Sakato in June 1945.
Col. Joseph Campbell pins the Distinguished Service Cross on Pvt. George Sakato in June 1945.

Go For Broke National Education Center (GFBNEC) is saddened to learn of the passing of Pvt. George T. Sakato on Dec. 2 at his home in Colorado.

Part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a unit composed primarily of Japanese American soldiers, Sakato earned the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism at the Battle of Biffontaine. The 442nd remains the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American warfare.

Sakato was originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000. He was among 22 Asian American World War II veterans who were recognized, some of them posthumously, by President Bill Clinton in a Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House.

Sakato’s account of his wartime experiences are detailed in a series of interviews for the Hanashi Oral History Library at GFBNEC. His remarkable story can be accessed online in six parts. To hear Sakato’s story in his own voice, visit to conduct a search.

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Sakato was also remembered by Rep. Mike Honda (D-Santa Clara), who said, “I am saddened by the news of the passing of George ‘Joe’ Sakato, the last remaining Japanese American World War II veteran who received the Medal of Honor. As a member of the distinguished 442nd Regimental Combat Team, he received the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor, in 2000, half a century after his service, along with 19 other Japanese Americans.

“We will remember his bravery and conviction, from when he volunteered for the Armed Forces despite being designated an ‘enemy alien,’ to his extraordinary heroism during the war in France, to the lessons he has passed on to younger generations.”

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