For John, BLUF: A great man has left us.
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the nation’s longest-serving senator and a decorated World War II combat veteran, died Monday at 88.In fact, Senator Inouye was the holder of the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II. He was a member of the fabled 442nd Regimental Combat Team ("Go For Broke"), rising through the enlisted ranks to become a Lieutenant Platoon Leader.
On April 21, 1945, Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Tuscany, 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.His replacement will be according to Hawaii law:
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 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.
Inouye’s seat will be filled by an appointment by Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D). He will pick from three finalists provided by the state Democratic Party. State law requires that Inouye must be replaced by a senator from the same political party. Inouye’s seat is up for a full term in 2016.The Greatest Generation continues to pass in review and then march off the parade ground.
Regards — Cliff