Daniel Inouye: American Warrior


By: Nathan Chandler

4 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons

About This Quiz

Who needs Rambo when you have Daniel Inouye? He was part fearless warrior, part peaceful politician. How much do you know about the man who always went for broke, in both his personal and professional life?

Daniel Ken Inouye was a U.S. senator for which state?

Inouye served his country as a senator from Hawaii. But before getting into politics, he did things that even Hollywood writers couldn't imagine.


Let's get this out of the way: how in the world do you pronounce the name Inouye?

The name is pronounced ee-NO-ay. It's not your typically American name. But Inouye was not your typical American, either.


Inouye was the son of immigrants from which country?

Both of his parents were Japanese immigrants. This fact had a huge impact on his path in life.


Inouye was a bright student. What did he decide to study at the University of Hawaii?

Inouye was known for his consistently compassionate treatment of others. He took pre-med classes at the university but eventually left school.


What did Inouye plan to do with his college degree?

Inouye wanted to become a surgeon. He soon found his plans in medicine derailed by events far beyond his personal control.


He left college to fight in which war?

Inouye volunteered for medical help following the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. He eventually left school and joined the Army.


World War II was a huge drain on manpower, so the U.S. eventually resorted to conscription. How did Inouye manage to avoid the draft?

At the war's outset, men of Japanese descent were categorized as enemies. It wasn't until later in the war that these men were allowed to join the armed forces.


Inouye joined the 442nd Infantry Regiment, which was primarily made up of which people?

The 442nd Infantry Regiment was mostly made of Japanese-American soldiers, and most of the men were deployed to the European war theater. It was considered a segregated unit.


What injury did Inouye suffer during World War II?

During a terrifying 1945 battle, a Nazi soldier shot Inouye's arm, which was nearly severed from his body. The severed arm, unfortunately, was still holding a grenade that Inouye had just activated.


Daniel's arm was nearly severed from his body, yet his now-useless hand was still gripping a live grenade. What did he do?

He used his good hand to grab the grenade and chucked it at the German who'd just shot him. Then, of course, he jumped up with his machine gun and blasted off a few rounds before fainting.


His war wounds meant Inouye couldn't be a surgeon. He went back to school and studied which subject?

He couldn't become a surgeon with just one arm. But he did earn a political science degree that he used extensively later in his life.


Daniel's parents were sent to a Japanese internment camp during World War II.

Many Japanese-Americans were unjustly rounded up into internment camps during the war. Fortunately for Inouye, his parents were not subjected to this level of mistreatment.


In the 1970s, Inouye was part of the Senate Watergate Committee, which investigated serious wrongdoing on the part of President Nixon's administration. How did Inouye behave as part of the committee?

Inouye, like most Americans, wanted answers, and he was the right man to ask questions. He badgered the politicians involved in the scandal and emerged as a champion for the public.


Inouye found great success in Hawaiian politics. How many elections did he lose there?

He never lost an election in Hawaii. And when he won, he nearly always had more than 60 percent of the vote.


As a politician, what sort of personality did Inouye exhibit?

He was a reserved, patient man while serving in the public eye. He garnered tremendous respect even from his opponents.


Inouye climbed to great heights in politics. At one point he was how close to becoming president?

If something had happened to the president, and then the vice president and speaker of the house, presidential duties would have fallen to Inouye, who was president pro tempore of the Senate.


Inouye was incredibly popular with his constituents. How many terms did he serve in the Senate?

He was elected over and over again, to the tune of nine consecutive terms. He served for 49 years.


What was Inouye's approval rating following his service on the Watergate Committee?

Approval ratings don't really get much higher (at least outside of fascist countries). His approval rating following Watergate was an astounding 84%.


Inouye was married to Maggie Shinobu Awamura in 1949. How long did their marriage last?

The two were married for 58 years. Two years after Maggie's death, Inouye married again, this time to a woman named Irene, who wasn't born until 1948.


Inouye demonstrated incredible bravery during World War II. When was he awarded the Medal of Honor?

In part because of his ethnicity, his country didn't immediately offer him the Medal of Honor. He wasn't recognized until 2000, half a century after the war ended.


Inouye was the very first Japanese-American to serve in Congress.

Inouye was part of Hawaii's Territorial Senate in the 1950s. When Hawaii earned statehood in 1959, he became the first Japanese-American congressman in history.


In the 1980s, Inouye was called upon to investigate which issue?

Inouye's professionalism and calm demeanor -- and the public's trust in him -- made him an obvious choice for the committee that investigated the Iran-Contra scandal. The Reagan administration was later forced to admit that it traded arms for hostages held in Iran.


Inouye was asked why he served in the Army in light of the fact that Japanse-Americans were ostracized during World War II. How did he respond?

If Inouye was bitter about the treatment of Japanese-Americans during the war, he didn't say much. He went to fight "for the children."


What was Inouye's political stance?

He was a moderate with liberal tendencies. He served during a time of major cultural tumult and supported the civil rights movement.


Inouye served with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. What was special about the unit?

The Japanese-American unit was segregated from other combat teams, but the men more than proved their value. Relative to size, it was the most decorated unit in the history of the entire American military.


When Inouye returned home from the war, a barber refused to cut his hair due to his Japanese blood. What did Inouye later say that he wanted to do?

Although he was a patient man, he was furious that a barber would refuse service to a war veteran. Inouye said he wanted to demolish the shop but instead restrained himself.


Inouye was a decorated war veteran. How did he ultimately feel about the Vietnam War?

He initially supported President Johnson's efforts in Vietnam, but in the end, Inouye didn't support the war or the suffering it caused.


Following his ninth term in the Senate, what did Inouye plan to do?

He had no plans to retire and wanted to run for a 10th term, even though he would have been serving that term well into his 90s.


Daniel Inouye survived horrific battles and lived to the age of 88. How did he die?

He began suffering from breathing problems late in life and resorted to using oxygen. Eventually, his breathing gave out and he died on December 17, 2012.


What were the great warrior's last words?

Before he faded from consciousness, Inouye spoke one last word: "Aloha," a Hawaiian word which has become both a greeting and a goodbye.


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