Lawson Sakai (442)
Morgan Hill, CA
Lawson Sakai was born in Los Angeles on October 27, 1923. He graduated
from Montebello High School, attended Compton College in Los Angeles,
and Mesa College in Colorado.
On December 8, 1941 (the day after Pearl Harbor), he tried to enlist in the
military service and was rejected based on a government classification that
he was an enemy alien. His family evacuated to Colorado in 1942.
In March 1943, enlistment opportunities opened up for Japanese
Americans to serve in a segregated unit. Lawson immediately volunteered
for 442nd Regimental Combat Team. He was overseas in May 1944 until
While overseas, he served in all of the 442nd campaigns in Italy and
France, including the liberation of Bruyeres, France, and the rescue of the
Lost Battalion where he was seriously injured.
During the war he was wounded four times, and received a Bronze Star,
a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantryman Badge. In December 1945,
he was discharged from the army. After leaving the service, he attended
Pepperdine College and operated a travel agency in San Jose, California.
Lawson has been very active in the 442nd reunions. He recently led a
group of 53 to Bruyeres, France for the 60th anniversary of the town’s
liberation. He lives in Morgan Hill, California.