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For his actions in July 1944, Moto was awarded the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). In the 1990s, there was a review of service records of Asian Americans who received the DSC during World War II. Moto's award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. In a ceremony at the White House on June 21, 2000, his family was presented with his medal by President Bill Clinton. Twenty-one other Asian Americans also received the medal during the ceremony, but only seven of them were still alive.
Medal of Honor citation
Moto's Medal of Honor recognized his conduct in frontline fighting in central Italy in 1944. Without help from others, he attacked two machine guns; and, although he was wounded, he captured a third machine gun nest.
Acting on his own, Moto silenced two enemy machine gun positions while acting as a scout. He also destroyed a third even though he was seriously wounded.
The words of Moto's citation explain:
Private First Class Kaoru Moto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. While serving as first scout, Private First Class Moto observed a machine gun nest that was hindering his platoon's progress. On his own initiative, he made his way to a point ten paces from the hostile position, and killed the enemy machine gunner. Immediately, the enemy assistant gunner opened fire in the direction of Private First Class Moto. Crawling to the rear of the position, Private First Class Moto surprised the enemy soldier, who quickly surrendered. Taking his prisoner with him, Private First Class Moto took a position a few yards from a house to prevent the enemy from using the building as an observation post. While guarding the house and his prisoner, he observed an enemy machine gun team moving into position. He engaged them, and with deadly fire forced the enemy to withdraw. An enemy sniper located in another house fired at Private First Class Moto, severely wounding him. Applying first aid to his wound, he changed position to elude the sniper fire and to advance. Finally relieved of his position, he made his way to the rear for treatment. Crossing a road, he spotted an enemy machine gun nest. Opening fire, he wounded two of the three soldiers occupying the position. Not satisfied with this accomplishment, he then crawled forward to a better position and ordered the enemy soldier to surrender. Receiving no answer, Private First Class Moto fired at the position, and the soldiers surrendered. Private First Class Moto'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.
- List of Medal of Honor recipients for World War II
- List of Asian American Medal of Honor recipients
- Posthumous recognition
- Vachon, Duane. "'Tegara osele na wo nokose', To leave a name behind - PFC Kaoru Moto, U.S. Army, WW II, 100th Infantry Battalion, Medal of Honor, (1917-1992)," Hawaii Reporter, June 2, 2012; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- US Army Center of Military History (CMH), "Medal of Honor Recipients, World War II (M-S)"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), WWII Army Enlistment Record #30101272 (Moto, Kaoru); retrieved 2012-12-7.
- Go for Broke National Education Center, "Medal of Honor Recipient Private First Class Kaoro Moto"; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- "100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry" at Global Security.org; retrieved 2012-12-7.
- "21 Asian American World War II Vets to Get Medal of Honor" at University of Hawaii Digital History; retrieved 2012-12-27.
- CMH, "Asian Pacific American Medal of Honor recipients"; retrieved 2012-12-28.
- Gomez-Granger, Julissa. (2008). Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008, "Moto, Kaoru," p. 13 [PDF 17 of 44]; retrieved 2012-12-7.