Photo by Vince Matsudaira
Services for Barney Hajiro was held on February 12, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. at Hosoi Mortuary. Burial with full military honors provided by the Army Reserve’s 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry was on February 14 at 11:30 a.m. at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. He passed away on January 21, 2011 at the age 94. He was a member of 442nd M Company and I Company and the recipient of the Medal of Honor. He was a retired Pearl Harbor Naval Base Security Guard. He is survived by wife Esther Y., son Glenn F., brothers Tokuro Hajiro and Umeo Hashiro, sister Pearl Yoshikawa and a grandchild.
Barney Fushimi Hajiro, the oldest of nine children, was born on September 16, 1916, in Puunene, Maui. As the eldest, he left school at 8th grade to work in the sugar cane fields to support his family. He was a dockworker when he was drafted into the Army in 1942. After Pearl Harbor, he went on to volunteer for the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in March 1943.
In October 1944, near the vicinity of Bruyeres and Biffontaine, France, Pvt. Hajiro of I Company distinguished himself in combat for which he received the Medal of Honor. As a sentry on top of an embankment on October 19, he rendered assistance to allied troops attacking a house 200 yards away by exposing himself to enemy fire and directing fire at an enemy strong point. He assisted the unit on his right by firing his automatic rifle and killing or wounding two enemy snipers. Then on October 22, Pvt. Hajiro and one comrade took up an outpost security position about 50 yards to the right front of their platoon, concealed themselves, and ambushed an 18-man, heavily armed, enemy patrol, killing two, wounding one, and taking the remainder as prisoners.
Then, on October 29, in a wooded area in the vicinity of Biffontaine, Pvt. Hajiro initiated an attack up the slope of a hill referred to as “Suicide Hill” by running forward approximately 100 yards under fire. He then advanced ahead of his comrades about 10 yards, drawing fire and spotting camouflaged machine gun nests. He single-handedly destroyed two machine gun nests and killed two enemy snipers. As a result of Pvt. Hajiro’s heroic actions, the attack was successful. He was shot in the shoulder and the wrist and his left arm was partially paralyzed.
In a ceremony at the White House on June 21, 2000, he was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton.