September 28, 1917|
Hilo, Territory of Hawaii
|Died||March 31, 2005
|Place of burial||National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii|
|Allegiance||United States of America|
||United States Army|
|Years of service||1941–1945|
|Unit||Company F, 100th Infantry Battalion|
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Oak Leaf Cluster Bronze Star
|Other work||Maintenance mechanic|
For his actions in June 1944, Kobashigawa was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He led his squad in destroying several German machine gun nests. This was eventually upgraded to the Medal of Honor upon military review on June 21, 2000. The review examined whether or not Asian Americans who fought in uniform during the war were treated unfairly due to prejudice. Twenty-two Americans of Asian ancestry who had fought in World War II were awarded the Medal after the review. Kobashigawa was one of only a handful still alive in 2000 to receive the Medal during a White House ceremony. After the war, Kobashigawa worked as a maintenance mechanic.
Medal of Honor citation
Technical Sergeant Yeiki Kobashigawa distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 2 June 1944, in the vicinity of Lanuvio, Italy. During an attack, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa's platoon encountered strong enemy resistance from a series of machine guns providing supporting fire. Observing a machine gun nest 50 yards from his position, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa crawled forward with one of his men, threw a grenade and then charged the enemy with his submachine gun while a fellow soldier provided covering fire. He killed one enemy soldier and captured two prisoners. Meanwhile, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa and his comrade were fired upon by another machine gun 50 yards ahead. Directing a squad to advance to his first position, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa again moved forward with a fellow soldier to subdue the second machine gun nest. After throwing grenades into the position, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa provided close supporting fire while a fellow soldier charged, capturing four prisoners. On the alert for other machine gun nests, Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa discovered four more, and skillfully led a squad in neutralizing two of them. Technical Sergeant Kobashigawa's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.
- Blakeman, Karen. "Yeiki Kobashigawa, World War II hero," Honolulu Advertiser. May 13, 2005; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- US Army Center of Military History, "Medal of Honor Recipients, World War II (G-L)"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- Bramlett, David A. "Go For Broke Monument, Fifth Anniversary Tribute," June 5, 2004; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), WWII Army Enlistment Record #30101851 (Kobashigawa, Yeiki); retrieved 2012-12-7.
- Go for Broke National Education Center, "Medal of Honor Recipient Technical Sergeant Yeiki Kobashigawa"; "Salute to Yeiki Kobashigawa" at 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- "Salute to Yeiki Kobashigawa" at 100th Infantry Battalion Veterans; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- "21 Asian American World War II Vets to Get Medal of Honor". University of Hawaii Digital History. Retrieved December 7, 2012.
- Gomez-Granger, Julissa. (2008). Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008, "Kobashigawa, Yeiki," p. 12 [PDF 16 of 44]; retrieved 2012-12-7.