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First Name: Kaoru

Last Name: Moto

Birthplace: Makawao, HI, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Schofield Barracks, HI

Date of Birth: 25 April 1917

Date of Death: 26 August 1992

Rank: Private First Class

Years Served: 1941 - 1945
Kaoru Moto

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Kaoru Moto

Private First Class, U.S. Army

Medal of Honor Recipient

World War II

Private First Class Kaoru Moto (25 April 1917 - 26 August 1992) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

On 7 July 1944, Moto was serving as a Private First Class in the 100th Infantry Battalion. Near Castellina, Italy, that day, he single-handedly silenced two enemy machine gun positions while acting as a scout, and then destroyed a third despite being seriously wounded. For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross.

Moto left the Army while still a Private First Class. He died at age 75.

A 1990 review of service records for Asian Americans who received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II led to Moto's award being upgraded to the Medal of Honor. In a ceremony at the White House on 21 June 2000, his surviving family was presented with his Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton. Twenty-one other Asian Americans also received the Medal during the ceremony; all but seven of them posthumously.

Medal of Honor

Citation: Private First Class Kaoru Moto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. While serving as first scout, Private First Class Moto observed a machine gun nest that was hindering his platoon's progress. On his own initiative, he made his way to a point ten paces from the hostile position, and killed the enemy machine gunner. Immediately, the enemy assistant gunner opened fire in the direction of Private First Class Moto. Crawling to the rear of the position, Private First Class Moto surprised the enemy soldier, who quickly surrendered. Taking his prisoner with him, Private First Class Moto took a position a few yards from a house to prevent the enemy from using the building as an observation post. While guarding the house and his prisoner, he observed an enemy machine gun team moving into position. He engaged them, and with deadly fire forced the enemy to withdraw. An enemy sniper located in another house fired at Private First Class Moto, severely wounding him. Applying first aid to his wound, he changed position to elude the sniper fire and to advance. Finally relieved of his position, he made his way to the rear for treatment. Crossing a road, he spotted an enemy machine gun nest. Opening fire, he wounded two of the three soldiers occupying the position. Not satisfied with this accomplishment, he then crawled forward to a better position and ordered the enemy soldier to surrender. Receiving no answer, Private First Class Moto fired at the position, and the soldiers surrendered. Private First Class Moto'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.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Good Conduct Medal

Combat Infantryman Badge

Death and Burial

Private First Class Kaoru Moto died on 26 August 1992. He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI, in Court 2, Wall F, Row 400, Niche 422.

Honoree ID: 1553   Created by: MHOH




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