b. 16/09/1916 Puunene, Hawaii. d. 21/01/2011 Honolulu, Hawaii.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 19.22 and 29/10/1944 France.
Hajiro was born in Hawaii, the eldest of nine children born to Japanese immigrant parents. His parents had moved from Hiroshima to Maui during World War I. Two of his siblings died in infancy. The family was poor, and Hajiro left school to work, first in the sugarcane fields of Maui and later as a stevedore in Honolulu.
Two months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and performed menial labor as part of an engineering battalion.
In March 1943, Hajiro volunteered to be part of the Army's all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The 442nd was mostly made up of second-generation Americans citizens of Japanese descent from Hawaii and the mainland. The unit was sent to Europe and in May 1944 fought the Germans in Italy, north of Rome. From there the 442nd was redeployed to France.
Hajiro was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions in October 1944. He received the Distinguished Service Cross and the World War II Victory Medal before he was honorably discharged. A 1990s review of U.S. military service records for personnel of Asian descent who had received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II led to Hajiro's Distinguished Service Cross being upgraded to the Medal of Honor. President Bill Clinton presented Hajiro the Medal of Honor during a ceremony at the White House on June 21, 2000.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life beyond and the call of duty: Private Barney F. Hajiro distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 19, 22, and October 29, 1944, in the vicinity of Bruyeres and Biffontaine, eastern France. Private Hajiro, while acting as a sentry on top of an embankment on October 19, 1944, in the vicinity of Bruyeres, France, rendered assistance to allied troops attacking a house 200 yards away by exposing himself to enemy fire and directing fire at an enemy strong point. He assisted the unit on his right by firing his automatic rifle and killing or wounding two enemy snipers. On October 22, 1944, he and one comrade took up an outpost security position about 50 yards to the right front of their platoon, concealed themselves, and ambushed an 18-man, heavily armed, enemy patrol, killing two, wounding one, and taking the remainder as prisoners. On October 29, 1944, in a wooded area in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France, Private Hajiro initiated an attack up the slope of a hill referred to as "Suicide Hill" by running forward approximately 100 yards under fire. He then advanced ahead of his comrades about 10 yards, drawing fire and spotting camouflaged machine gun nests. He fearlessly met fire with fire and single-handedly destroyed two machine gun nests and killed two enemy snipers. As a result of Private Hajiro's heroic actions, the attack was successful. Private Hajiro's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon him, his unit, and the United States Army.
BURIAL LOCATION: NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF PACIFIC, HONOLULU, HAWAII.
Section G, Lot 75