Sadao Munemori was born in California to Japanese immigrant parents. He grew up in Glendale where as a kid he was called Spud because he preferred potatoes to rice, and where he fell in love with swimming.
After high school he worked as a mechanic. Then he enlisted in the army during WWII. “I think I did right by enlisting because my home is here in the US,” he wrote his sister.
While in the army, his family was sent to the Manzanar internment camp in central California. Sadao though continued to serve.
In 1943, Sadao joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, a segregated unit made up of American born, Japanese men. This unit would engage in combat in Italy. And it was there in Italy that the young soldier lost his life when he dove on an enemy grenade to save the lives of two fellow soldiers. He was 22 years old.
Sadao received the Medal of Honor for his actions.
Sources: http://cgm.smithsonianapa.org/stories/sadao-munemori.html / “Sadao Munemori, c. 1940.,” Densho Encyclopedia https://encyclopedia.densho.org/so…/en-denshopd-i35-00439-1/(accessed Oct 8 2020)