Manuel Verdugo Mendoza was born on June 15, 1922 in Miami, Arizona. He was working as a farmhand when he was drafted into the United States Army at age 20 on November 21, 1942. After basic training, Mendoza was assigned to the brand-new 88th Infantry Division, the first Army division to be formed primarily from draftees.
Chris Carr was born with the name Christos H. Karaberis on April 6, 1914 in Manchester, New Hampshire. After World War II, he legally changed his name. His service to the United States for the war began on October 21, 1942 when he was drafted at age 28. Carr had been working as a fisherman.
Robert E. Roeder was born on July 25, 1917 in Summit Station, Pennsylvania. He lived his entire childhood there, graduating from Schuylkill Haven High School in 1935, prior to his enlistment in the United States Army in 1936. Roeder was stationed in Hawaii and was present when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Orville Emil Bloch was born in Big Falls, Wisconsin on February 10, 1915. He later moved with his family to Steele, North Dakota. Bloch graduated from the North Dakota Agricultural College (the predecessor of NDSU) just before Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.
Bloch went to all of the Army, Navy, and Marines as an officer applicant in the wake of the attack and was turned down by all three because he was very short at just 5′ 3″. He didn’t give up, and voluntarily enlisted as a Private in the United States Army on February 20, 1942 at age 27.
Oscar Godfrey Johnson, Jr. was born in Foster City, Michigan on March 25, 1921. He was a high school graduate and working as a farm hand when he was drafted into the United States Army for service in World War II.
In addition to Staff Sergeant George D. Keathley, there were three other Medals of Honor awarded for heroism in Europe on September 14, 1944. The American heroes who earned them were First Lieutenant Edgar H. Lloyd, Sergeant Joseph J. Sadowski, and Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Wigle.
George Dennis Keathley was born on March 10, 1917 in Olney, Texas. He graduated from what is today known as Texas A&M University with their class of 1937. He entered the United States Army for World War II service in 1942. Keathley was an infantryman with Company B of the 1st Battalion, 338th Infantry Regiment.
Robert Dale Maxwell was born in Boise, Idaho on October 26, 1920. He joined the United States Army from Colorado during 1942, and after his initial training, was sent to North Africa to join the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment which was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division.
Upon arriving in North Africa Maxwell, who had been trained as a heavy weapons crewman for mortars and machine guns, was reassigned to be a “wireman”, responsible for setting up communications lines between the battalion headquarters and other units. These soldiers weren’t considered “combatants”, so instead of having rifles or carbines to defend themselves with, they had only their Colt M1911 .45 caliber pistols.
Masato Nakae was born in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii on December 20, 1917. He was drafted into the United States Army on February 8, 1942 and volunteered for duty with the all-Nisei (second-generation Japanese-American) 100th Infantry Battalion, later part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.
Kazuo Otani was born an American citizen to Japanese immigrant parents in Visalia, California on June 2, 1918. He was drafted into the United States Army on February 16, 1942. Not long afterwards, his family was interned in the Gila River War Relocation Center in Arizona.
Otani served with the 2nd Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, an all-Nisei unit made up of second-generation Japanese-Americans.