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Veterans History Project Service Summary:

  • War or Conflict: World War, 1939-1945
  • Branch of Service: Army Air Forces/Corps
  • Unit of Service: Company B, 32nd Medical Training Battalion, Medical Corps; 726th Bomb Squadron, 451st Bomb Group, 49th Wing, 15th Air Force
  • Location of Service: Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois; Fort Sheridan, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lincoln, Nebraska; Davis-Monthan Air Field, Tucson, Arizona; Topeka, Kansas; Foggia, Italy; European Theater
  • Highest Rank: Staff Sergeant

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"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.

More Resources

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 ]