You are here

In Memory of Sen. Daniel K. Inouye

December 18, 2012
Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii’s senior Senator, World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and long-time supporter of military medicine, passed away on December 17 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii’s senior Senator, World War II veteran, Medal of Honor recipient and long-time supporter of military medicine, passed away on December 17 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. 

Sen. Inouye led an accomplished life dedicated to public service. He grew up planning to become a doctor, but in 1942, as a teenager barely out of high school, he joined what would become a revered Army regiment of Japanese Americans shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. 

daniel k anuye.jpg

In 1944, he was shot in the chest, but the bullet was stopped by two silver dollars in his pocket. A year later, Sen. Inouye was grievously wounded while leading an assault on a heavily-defended ridge near San Terenzo in Italy. His actions during that battle earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, which was upgraded to the Medal of Honor--America’s highest military award--by President Bill Clinton in 2000. Sen. Inouye also earned the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart.

As a result of the extensive injuries he sustained during combat, Sen. Inouye’s right arm was amputated in a field hospital and he spent nearly two years recovering in Army hospitals. His personal experiences led to a deep appreciation of the military health system, and he was a staunch supporter of military medicine throughout his career. 

The Walter Reed Army Institute of Research shares a large, modern laboratory named the Senator Daniel K. Inouye Building with the Naval Medical Research Center. The building, located in Silver Spring Maryland, was dedicated to Sen. Inouye in 1999 after he played a key role in supporting efforts to modernize the research facility.

Sen. Inouye served two terms in the House of Representatives early in his career and was first elected to the Senate in 1962, where he has served for five decades. He is known for his distinguished record as a legislative leader and as one of the most influential public servants of our time. 

Sen. Inouye will be greatly missed, and we honor and appreciate his steadfast support, extraordinary leadership, and countless contributions to military medicine.