Summary

Okutsu (misspelled Okutso) was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during WWII. It was upgraded to the Medal of Honor 55 years later.

Conflict Period:
World War II 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Technical Sergeant 1
Birth:
03 Nov 1921 2
Koloa, Hawaii 3
Death:
24 Aug 2003 4
Hilo, Hawaii 5
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Yukio Okutsu 4
Full Name:
Yukio Okutso 1
Birth:
03 Nov 1921 2
Koloa, Hawaii 2
Male 2
Birth:
Hawaii 1
Death:
24 Aug 2003 3
Hilo, Hawaii 3
Cause: Cancer 3
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Marriage:
Elaine Okutsu 3
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World War II 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Technical Sergeant 1
Service Start Date:
1943 2
Service End Date:
1945 2
Enlistment Location:
Hawaii 1
Date:
07 Apr 1945 1
Location:
On Mount Belvedere Near Massa, Italy 1
Military Unit:
Company F, 442nd Regimental Combat Team 1

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Stories

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.

Technical Sergeant Yukio Okutsu distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 April 1945, on Mount Belvedere, Italy. While his platoon was halted by the crossfire of three machine guns, Technical Sergeant Okutsu boldly crawled to within 30 yards of the nearest enemy emplacement through heavy fire. He destroyed the position with two accurately placed hand grenades, killing three machine gunners. Crawling and dashing from cover to cover, he threw another grenade, silencing a second machine gun, wounding two enemy soldiers, and forcing two others to surrender. Seeing a third machine gun, which obstructed his platoon's advance, he moved forward through heavy small arms fire and was stunned momentarily by rifle fire, which glanced off his helmet. Recovering, he bravely charged several enemy riflemen with his submachine gun, forcing them to withdraw from their positions. Then, rushing the machine gun nest, he captured the weapon and its entire crew of four. By these single-handed actions he enabled his platoon to resume its assault on a vital objective. The courageous performance of Technical Sergeant Okutsu against formidable odds was an inspiration to all.

Technical Sergeant Okutsu'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.

Medal of Honor awarded 55 years later

Originally awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery in Italy in 1945 during World War II, Yukio Okutsu—of Japanese heritage—was part of a group of 22 Asian-Americans who had their medals upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000. The upgrade was part of a Congressional measure that reviewed the actions WWII soldiers of Asian background who may have been passed over for the Medal of Honor on account of racial bias.    

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