Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Requiescant in Pace Frater

Another American hero steps into the clearing...
1Lt Daniel K. Inouye

On April 21, 1945, 1Lt Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, Italy called Colle Musatello. The ridge served as a strongpoint along the strip of German fortifications known as the Gothic Line, which represented the last and most unyielding line of German defensive works in Italy. As he led his platoon in a flanking maneuver, three German machine guns opened fire from covered positions just 40 yards away, pinning his men to the ground. Inouye stood up to attack and was shot in the stomach; ignoring his wound, he proceeded to attack and destroy the first machine gun nest with hand grenades and fire from his Thompson submachine gun. After being informed of the severity of his wound by his platoon sergeant, he refused treatment and rallied his men for an attack on the second machine gun position, which he also successfully destroyed before collapsing from blood loss.
As his squad distracted the third machine gunner, Inouye crawled toward the final bunker, eventually drawing within 10 yards. As he raised himself up and cocked his arm to throw his last grenade into the fighting position, a German inside the bunker fired a rifle grenade that struck him on the right elbow, severing most of his arm and leaving his own primed grenade reflexively "clenched in a fist that suddenly didn't belong to me anymore". Inouye's horrified soldiers moved to his aid, but he shouted for them to keep back out of fear his severed fist would involuntarily relax and drop the grenade. As the German inside the bunker reloaded his rifle, Inouye pried the live grenade from his useless right hand and transferred it to his left. As the German aimed his rifle to finish him off, Inouye tossed the grenade off-hand into the bunker and destroyed it. He stumbled to his feet and continued forward, silencing the last German resistance with a one-handed burst from his Thompson before being wounded in the leg and tumbling unconscious to the bottom of the ridge. When he awoke to see the concerned men of his platoon hovering over him, his only comment before being carried away was to gruffly order them to return to their positions, since, as he pointed out, "nobody called off the war!" (Wikipedia)
Senator Daniel K. Inouye
September 7, 1924 - December 17, 2012
 Rest in Peace Sir.

8 comments:

  1. Senator Inouye was among the last of his generation and among the greatest men that cohort produced... and that generation produced a LOT of heroes.

    RIP, sir.

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    1. Indeed. Though I have issues with the term "The Greatest Generation" which Brokaw coined, it WAS a generation of heroes. And they are passing at a frightening pace.

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    1. He was one fellow with whom I had no problem "agreeing to disagree with". He paid his dues and stood up for his beliefs. One cannot hope to do better than that. Indeed, an awesome American.

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  3. Sweet Jesus. I had never read his story before. Just... WOW.

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  4. My God, what a story! And what a life. Rest in peace.

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    1. The good lieutenant served his country well.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)