Benjamin (Benny) Franklin Ogata was born on January 17, 1925, in Dallas, Texas. His father, Harry, was a commercial artist and initially worked for the Lewis Sign Company in Dallas before starting his own company – Ogata Art Studio.
Benny registered for the draft on his 18th birthday, January 17, 1943 and enlisted in the army on August 19, 1943. He joined the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. They shipped out to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations on May 2 in a large convoy of troop ships and arrived in Naples, Italy, on May 2, 1944. He was injured in battle between July 5-7th during the assault on Hill 140, a German strong point near the Cecina River. He was admitted to a field hospital and died.
Staff Sergeant Takuo Kajimara, wrote: “Benny, when I last saw him, was on his back. Just like he was sleeping.”
For his military service, Private First Class Benjamin Franklin Ogata was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star, World War II Victory Medal, and Combat Infantryman Badge.
Benny was also awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (the highest Congressional Civilian Medal) on October 5, 2010, along with the other veterans of the 100th/442nd Regimental Combat Team.