Technical Sergeant Ted Tanouye Memorial

Torrance High School, Torrance CA – Dedicated: July 7, 2004

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Architect: Dirk Ryke

General & Masonry Contractor: Mitch Merrell, Redondo Beach CA

Landscaping: Guy Poulin & Family

Plaque Designer: Greg George, Kemp Monument Company

Masonry Supplier: Sepulveda Building Materials

Stone: Rocky Mountain Honey Ledge

The History of Ted T. Tanouye - Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army

Born: November 14, 1919 at Torrance, CA
Education: Torrance High School Class of 1938
Entered Service: Fort MacArthur, CA
Date/Place of Action: July 7, 1944 - Molina A. Ventoabbto, Italy
Unit: Company K, 442d Infantry
Died: September 6, 1944
Medal of Honor: Presented To His Family at the White House by President William J. Clinton on June 21, 2000

On June 21, 2000, President Bill Clinton upgraded twenty-two World War II Asian American heroes’ decorations to the Medal of Honor. Technical Sergeant Ted T. Tanouye was among them, and President Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to his family at the White House in June of 2000. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest award for military valor.

Upon discovering that Ted Tanouye was a Torrance High School Alumni, the high school’s Alumni Association took it upon itself to honor this valiant son. With the formation of the Ted Tanouye Memorial Foundation, a private non-profit organization, in 2003 the effort grew to a community project. Thousands of dollars were raised to construct the memorial that is located at Torrance High School.

Technical Sergeant Tanouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on July 7, 1944, near Molino A Ventoabbto, Italy. He was serving with the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team. During this period Tanouye’s parents and siblings were in Japanese-American internment camps in Arkansas.

Sgt. Tanouye led his platoon in an attack to capture the crest of a strategically important hill that afforded little cover. Observing an enemy machine gun crew placing its gun in position to his left front, Technical Sgt. Tanouye crept forward a few yards and opened fire on the position, killing or wounding three and causing two others to disperse. Immediately, an enemy machine pistol opened fire on him. He returned the fire and killed or wounded three more enemy soldiers. While advancing forward, Sgt. Tanouye was subjected to grenade bursts, which severely wounded his left arm. Sighting an enemy-held trench, he raked the position with fire from his submachine gun and wounded several of the enemy. Running out of ammunition, he crawled 20 yards to obtain several clips form a comrade on his left flank. Sighting an enemy machine pistol that had pinned down his men, Tanouye crawled forward a few yards and threw a hand grenade into the position, silencing the pistol. He then located another enemy machine gun firing down the slope of the hill, opened fire, and silenced that position. Drawing fire from a machine pistol nest located above him, he opened fire on it and wounded three of its occupants. Finally taking his objective, Tanouye organized a defensive position on the reverse slope of the hill before accepting first aid treatment and evacuation.

Technical Sergeant Tanouye’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.

On September 1, 1944, Tanouye was wounded near the Arno River in Italy. Five days later he died. His family learned of his death behind the barbed wire fences of the internment camp.

On July 7, 2004 the Memorial was dedicated on the 60th anniversary of Technical Sergeant Tanouye’s heroic actions. The Memorial serves as a tribute not only to Tanouye, but also to all of our military personnel, both past and present, who hold high our country’s torch of freedom.

The Memorial project’s second phase was the production of the documentary “Citizen Tanouye” and the distribution of education materials to local high schools and the community. The final phase is the expansion of the memorial to include Tanouye’s image, biographical information and the history of his role in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

The Memorial Foundation welcomes individual and corporate donations to complete this phase.

22426 Palos Verdes Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90505

The Ted Tanouye Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Checks may be made out to “TTMF”.

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