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Kaoru Moto
Kaoru Moto.jpg
Kaoru Moto, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1917-04-25)April 25, 1917
Died August 26, 1992(1992-08-26) (aged 75)
Place of birth Makawao, Hawaii
Place of death Makawao, Hawaii
Place of burial National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific,
Honolulu, Hawaii
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1941 - 1945
Rank Private First Class
Unit 100th Infantry Battalion
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Medal of Honor
Bronze Star
Purple Heart

Kaoru Moto (April 25, 1917 – August 26, 1992) was a United States Army soldier.[1] He was posthumously awarded the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Moto was born in Hawaii to Japanese immigrant parents. He is a Nisei, which means that he is a second generation Japanese-American.[1]


Ten months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he joined the US Army in March 1941.[3]

Moto volunteered to be part of the all-Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion.[4] This army unit was mostly made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland.[5]

On July 7, 1944, Moto was serving as a private first class in the 100th Infantry Battalion. On that day, near Castellina, Italy, he single-handedly silenced two enemy machine gun positions while acting as a scout, and then destroyed a third despite being seriously wounded. For his actions in battle, he was awarded the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross.[6]

Moto left the Army while still a private first class. He died at age 75 and was buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, Hawaii.

A 1990s review of service records for Asian Americans who received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II led to Moto's award being upgraded to the Medal of Honor. In a ceremony at the White House on June 21, 2000, his surviving family was presented with his Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton. Twenty-one other Asian Americans also received the medal during the ceremony, all but seven of them posthumously.

Medal of Honor recipientEdit

Moto's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

Private First Class Kaoru Moto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. While serving as first scout, Private First Class Moto observed a machine gun nest that was hindering his platoon's progress. On his own initiative, he made his way to a point ten paces from the hostile position, and killed the enemy machine gunner. Immediately, the enemy assistant gunner opened fire in the direction of Private First Class Moto. Crawling to the rear of the position, Private First Class Moto surprised the enemy soldier, who quickly surrendered. Taking his prisoner with him, Private First Class Moto took a position a few yards from a house to prevent the enemy from using the building as an observation post. While guarding the house and his prisoner, he observed an enemy machine gun team moving into position. He engaged them, and with deadly fire forced the enemy to withdraw. An enemy sniper located in another house fired at Private First Class Moto, severely wounding him. Applying first aid to his wound, he changed position to elude the sniper fire and to advance. Finally relieved of his position, he made his way to the rear for treatment. Crossing a road, he spotted an enemy machine gun nest. Opening fire, he wounded two of the three soldiers occupying the position. Not satisfied with this accomplishment, he then crawled forward to a better position and ordered the enemy soldier to surrender. Receiving no answer, Private First Class Moto fired at the position, and the soldiers surrendered. Private First Class Moto'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.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Vachon, Duane. "'Tegara osele na wo nokose', To leave a name behind - PFC Kaoru Moto, U.S. Army, WW II, 100th Infantry Battalion, Medal of Honor, (1917-1992)," Hawaii Reporter, June 2, 2012; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  2. US Army Center of Military History, "Medal of Honor Recipients, World War II (M-S)"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  3. U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), WWII Army Enlistment Record #30101272 (Moto, Kaoru); retrieved 2012-12-7.
  4. Go for Broke National Education Center, "Medal of Honor Recipient Private First Class Kaoru Moto"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  5. "100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry" at Global; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  6. "21 Asian American World War II Vets to Get Medal of Honor" at University of Hawaii Digital History; retrieved 2012-12-7.
  7. Gomez-Granger, Julissa. (2008). Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008, "Moto, Kaoru," p. 13 [PDF 17 of 44]; retrieved 2012-12-7.

External linksEdit

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