James K Okubo, TSGT

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James K Okubo, TSGT

Birthdate: (46)
Birthplace: Anacortes, WA, USA
Death: January 29, 1967 (46) (traffic accident)
Place of Burial: Detroit, MI, USA
Occupation: 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Managed by: Ashley Odell
Last Updated:

About James K Okubo, TSGT

James K. Okubo (May 30, 1920 – January 29, 1967) was a United States Army soldier and posthumous recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II.


On October 28, 1944, Okubo was a technician fifth grade serving as a combat medic in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. During a battle on that day and the following day, in the Foret Domaniale de Champ near Biffontaine, France, he carried wounded soldiers to safety and treated over two dozen men despite intense enemy fire. One week later, on November 4, he again braved enemy fire to rescue a man from a burning tank. For his actions, Okubo was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but was instead given the Silver Star under the mistaken belief that medics were not eligible for higher awards. Okubo left the Army while still a technician fifth grade. He died at age 47 in a traffic accident, and was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan.

A 1990s review of service records for Asian Americans who were decorated in World War II led to Okubo being awarded 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 citation

Okubo's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 28 and 29 October and 4 November 1944, in the Foret Domaniale de Champ, near Biffontaine, eastern France. On 28 October, under strong enemy fire coming from behind mine fields and roadblocks, Technician Fifth Grade Okubo, a medic, crawled 150 yards to within 40 yards of the enemy lines. Two grenades were thrown at him while he left his last covered position to carry back wounded comrades. Under constant barrages of enemy small arms and machine gun fire, he treated 17 men on 28 October and 8 more men on 29 October. 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. Technician Fifth Grade James K. Okubo'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.

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James K Okubo, TSGT's Timeline

May 30, 1920
Anacortes, WA, USA
January 29, 1967
Age 46
Detroit, MI, USA