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For his actions in June 1944, Nakamine 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. Nakamine'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
Nakamine's Medal of Honor recognized his conduct in frontline fighting in central Italy in 1944. Without help from others, he destroyed a machine gun nest and led attacks on two other machine gun nests.
The words of Nakamine's citation explain:
Private Shinyei Nakamine distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 2 June 1944, near La Torreto, Italy. During an attack, Private Nakamine’s platoon became pinned down by intense machine gun crossfire from a small knoll 200 yards to the front. On his own initiative, Private Nakamine crawled toward one of the hostile weapons. Reaching a point 25 yards from the enemy, he charged the machine gun nest, firing his submachine gun, and killed three enemy soldiers and captured two. Later that afternoon, Private Nakamine discovered an enemy soldier on the right flank of his platoon’s position. Crawling 25 yards from his position, Private Nakamine opened fire and killed the soldier. Then, seeing a machine gun nest to his front approximately 75 yards away, he returned to his platoon and led an automatic rifle team toward the enemy. Under covering fire from his team, Private Nakamine crawled to a point 25 yards from the nest and threw hand grenades at the enemy soldiers, wounding one and capturing four. Spotting another machine gun nest 100 yards to his right flank, he led the automatic rifle team toward the hostile position but was killed by a burst of machine gun fire. Private Nakamine’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
- 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 #30101852 (Nakamine, Shinyei); retrieved 2012-12-7.
- Go for Broke National Education Center, "Medal of Honor Recipient Private Shinyei Nakamine"; 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, "Nakamine, Shinyei," pp. 14-15 [PDF 18-19 of 44]; retrieved 2012-12-7.