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Staff Sergeant Kenje Ogata receiving the Air Medal, 1945.

Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Army Air Forces/Corps
  • Service Unit/Ship: Company B, 32nd Medical Training Battalion, Medical Corps; 726th Bomb Squadron, 451st Bomb Group, 49th Wing, 15th Air Force
  • Location of Service: European Theater
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Collection Number: AFC/2001/001/76800

View full service history

"I know you were hoping that I wouldn't apply for a transfer but ... my conscience would never rest so long as I live, if I didn't assert myself and fight for what I believe to be right." (Letter to Wilma, 2/25/1944)

Enlisting the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Staff Sergeant Kenje Ogata assumed that, having gone through the Civilian Pilot Training Program, he would have no trouble securing a spot on a bomber. Instead, he was shunted into the Medical Corps. After two years of advocating for a transfer to the Army Air Corps, he was finally given a chance to fly-but as a turret gunner, and not a pilot. During the course of completing 35 missions out of Italy, he was shot down twice over enemy territory. His letters to his wife, Wilma, convey not only his dedication to her, but also to doing his patriotic duty, even as his country discriminated against him.

Interview / Recording

More Resources

Interview with Kenje and Wilma Ogata 11/14/1994

Kenje Ogata Collection
Interview / Recording

[ General Order Number 1860: March 29, 1945 Award of the Air Medal Third Oal Leaf Cluster ]
[ Class A Pass Fort Sheridan, Illinois Exp. Date June 30 1944 ]
[ Army Air Forces Physical Fitness Teast and Record Card ]

Show more resources (151)

[ Personal Affairs Check Sheet ]
[ Army Air Forces Pilot and Crew Member Physical Record Card ]
[ General Order Number 3400 September 14, 1944 Award of the Air Medal ]
[ Gerneral Order Number 4326 November 3, 1944 Award of Air Medal First Oak Leaf Cluster ]
[ General Order Number 7 January 28, 1945 Award of the Purple Heart ]
[ Authorization to wear ribbons, decorations and citations ]
[ Mission Log ]
[ Indivudual Pre-embarkation Health Certificate April 13, 1945 ]
[ Memorandum To: Returnees housed in Alamac and Essex Hotels. May 24, 1945 ]
[ Casualty Information of Crew Members ]
[ Instructions For Presentation of Claims November 15, 1945 ]
[ Memorandum: Incoming Combat Crew Personnel Tucson, Arizona May 17, 1944 ]
[ Special Order Number 121 May 1, 1945 ]
[ Honorable Discharge and DD-214 Enlisted Record and Report of Separation June 7, 1945 ]
[ To: Chief of the Air Corps April 23,1942 ]
[ To: The President, Aviation Cadet Examining Board, Camp Grant Il. April 27, 1942 ]
[ Kenje's Story ]
[ The Russian Army Was Our Host ]
[ Undated: From U.R. DeVoe ]
[ Dear Ed January 14, 1943 ]
[ To: The President, Aviation Cadet Examining Board, Camp Grant Il Application for Aviation Cadet. October 14, 1943 ]
[ To: The President, Aviation Cadet Examining Board, Camp Grant Il Application for Aviation Cadet. October 25, 1943 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 11, 1942 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 3, 1943 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 3, 1943 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 5, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 11, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 31, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 2, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata Tuesday Midnite February 8, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 23, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata Western Union Telegraph Money Order February 25, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 25, 1944 ]
[ Post Card To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 28, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 29, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 29, 1944 ]
[ Anniversary Card To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 1, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 1, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 2, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 3, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 6, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 8, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 11, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 14, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 15, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 16, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 19, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 20, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 22, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 25, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 27, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 28, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 2, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 3, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 4, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 11, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 12, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 13, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 17, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 19, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 21, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 23, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 27, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata May 1, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata May 2, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata May 6, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata May 10, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata May 11, 1944 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata May 15, 1944 ]
[ Western Union Telegram To Wife: Wilma Ogata April 22, 1944 ]
[ V-MAIL To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 21,1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 22, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 24, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 26, 1945 ]
[ V-MAIL To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 27, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 28, 1945 7PM ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 25, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 27, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 29, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata January 30, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 4, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 3, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 8, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 9, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 10, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 11, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata Febraury 12, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 13, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 10, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 15, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 14, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 17, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 16, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 18, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 20, 1945 ]
[ V-MAIL To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 7, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 21, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 22, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 23, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 24, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 25, 1945 6:30 PM ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 26, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 27, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata February 28, 1945 9:45PM ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 2, 1945 2PM ]
[ V-MAIL To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 2, 1945 8PM ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 3, 1945 ]
[ To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 4, 1945 ]
[ V-MAIL To Wife: Wilma Ogata March 5, 1945 ]