William K. Nakamura (KIA 07/04/1944)

Gender Male
Birth date 1922-1-21
Place of birth Seattle WA, U.S.A.
Enlistment type Volunteer
Service branch Army
Service type War
Unit type Combat
Units served 442nd Regiment Combat Team, 2nd Battalion, Company G
Military specialty Infantryman
Stationed Camp Shelby, MS
Unit responsibility Infantry
Personal responsibility Rifleman
Major battles (if served in a war zone) Rome-Arno River Campaign
Awards, medals, citations (individual or unit) One of 22 Asian Pacific Americans awarded the Medal of Honor at White House ceremonies on June 21, 2000. He had previously been decorated posthumously, with the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army's highest medal for extraordinary heroism. His citation for the Medal of Honor states:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to


for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Private First Class William K. Nakamura distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 4 July 1944 near Castellina, Italy. During a fierce firefight, Private First Class Nakamura's platoon became pinned down by enemy machine gun fire from a concealed position. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura crawled 20 yards toward the hostile nest with fire from the enemy machine gun barely missing him. Reaching a point 15 yards from the position, he quickly raised to a kneeling position and threw four hand grenades, killing or wounding at least three of the enemy soldiers. The enemy weapon silenced, Private First Class Nakamura crawled back to his platoon, which was able to continue its advance as a result of his courageous action. Later, his company was ordered to withdraw from the crest of a hill so that a mortar barrage could be placed on the ridge. On his own initiative, Private First Class Nakamura remained in position to cover his comrades' withdrawal. While moving toward the safety of a wooded draw, his platoon became pinned down by deadly machine gun fire. Crawling to a point from which fire could be placed on the enemy position, Private First Class Nakamura rapidly and accurately fired his weapon to pin down the enemy machine gunners. His platoon was then able to withdraw to safety without further casualties. Private First Class Nakamura was killed during this heroic stand.

Private First Class Nakamura'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.

Additional information 'Pfc. Nakamura's story is largely unknown, really was unknown in Seattle, and designating this courthouse in his name is really a fitting way to acknowledge not only his memory as a true American hero, but also to acknowledge a blot on our political situation that many of us have tried hard to remove over the years. Naming this courthouse after him will certainly begin or continue that process.' (October 20, 2000, Rafu Shimpo)
--House Representative, Jim McDermott, author of the bill naming Seattle courthouse in honor of Nakamura

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