Ben Kuroki, the only Japanese American known to have flown over Japan during World War II, has died. He was 98.
Kuroki's daughter, Julie Kuroki, told the Los Angeles Times that he died on Tuesday in Camarillo, Calif.
The son of Japanese immigrants who was raised on a Nebraska farm, Kuroki overcame the American military's discriminatory policies to become a tail gunner. He flew 58 bomber missions over Europe, North Africa and Japan during the war, the only known Japanese American to have done so.
He was hailed a hero at a time when thousands of Japanese Americans were confined in internment camps amid fear of a Japanese invasion of the West Coast.
In 2005, he received the U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal, one of the nation's highest military honors.