One of my favorite things to do is peruse facts and interesting stories. Growing up many years in Southern California I enjoyed the experience of forming friendships with many Americans of different ethnical backgrounds. Hispanic, Japanese, Chinese, African Americans, all Americans to the core. I was always intrigued by the exploits of a special group of Japanese-Americans who, in defiance of the image perpetrated by the Pacific conflict during WWII signed up to fight in Europe for their country. And man did they fight. Here is one story that caught my eye.
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 glancing off his helmet. Recovering, he bravely charged several enemy riflemen with his submachine gun forcing them to withdraw from their positions. He then rushed the machine gun nest capturing 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.
Don’t forget our regular meetings continue the first and third Thursdays of the month at 7:00 PM (except 6:00 PM dinner tonight! April 7th). Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings in April are still scheduled for biscuits and gravy and maybe a waffle or two and always a cup of Joe (coffee to the civilians). Keep your eye on the weather in case things have to be postponed. That will be most likely if the storms bring strong winds and lightning. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print. Also keep up with us at website “americanlegion142.org”.