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Daniel Inouye: Medal of Honor
Describing the action that earned him a Medal of Honor, Inouye said, "What the men told me I did, I said, 'No, it can't be. ' "
Interview outtakes from THE WAR:
"Our company commander like all other company commanders of the regiment called his officers together And he says, 'The war is ending. The Germans are giving up. They're now sending messages to negotiate. So it's obvious the war is over. But we cannot let down the pressure. Because if we don't, the war will be prolonged. We have to end it as soon as possible. So, keep it up.' And that's a horrible thing. Knowing that the war is going to end and you have to keep urging your men to go forward. And it was with that as a background, we had this objective, a high mountain. And we proceeded and as I was going up, I suddenly felt someone punching me on the side. That's what I thought it was. I fell down and I got up and kept on moving. There was no pain, just a little ache there until my messenger who is right in back of me with that walkie-talkie. He says, 'You're bleeding.' I says, 'I'm bleeding?' So he says, 'Feel your back.' I had a bullet going right through my abdomen. Came out just about a quarter inch from my spine. And so help me, I didn't feel any pain, just like somebody has punched me. So I said, 'Let's keep on going.' So we kept on going up and then machine gun fire started pouring in. Obviously there were machine gun nests up there. And from where I was, I could see two of them. So I told the men, 'Stay down.' I always carried a bag of grenades. That was my major weapon. And luckily, I moved up to the first one and I threw in a grenade and boom. They were silenced. And as I was proceeding to the second one, this German stood up with a rifle grenade and as I was getting ready to throw my grenade, he hit my elbow. And the only thing I can remember after that is that I was looking around for the grenade because I felt it, fell out of my hand. I found it clutched in my fingers, so I peeled it off and I threw it. It worked. But after that, everything is blank. And what the men told me I did, I said, 'No, it can't be.' According to my men and according to the company commander, he says, 'You, for a moment, you went berserk. You picked up your gun,' I had a Thompson sub-machine gun and with my left hand started approaching the last machine nest, just firing it with the blood splattering out and it was a horrible sight, I think. And finally, I got hit again on my leg and I kept rolling down the hill and that was the end."