Daniel Inouye (Daniel Ken Inouye) was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on September 7, 1924, received his undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii, and his law degree from George Washington University. During World War II, Inouye served in the U.S. Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Composed of soldiers of Japanese ancestry, the 442nd became one of the most decorated military units in U.S. history. For his combat heroism, which cost him his right arm, Inouye was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart with Cluster. He practiced law in Hawaii before entering territorial politics in 1954. When Hawaii became the 50th state, Inouye became one of its first representatives in the U.S. Congress, then won election to the U.S. Senate in 1962.
Senator Inouye gained national distinction in the 1970s as a member of the Senate Watergate Committee and, in 1987, as chairman of the Senate Iran-Contra Committee. He was a long-time member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which he chaired from 2009 to 2012, and also served as the Senate’s president pro tempore from 2010 until his death in 2012. In 2013 Senator Inouye was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, becoming the first—and to date, only—senator to receive both the Medal of Freedom and the Medal of Honor.