- Category : 1918-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Identification 1
Japanese-American soldier, one of five documented Nisei to serve in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, Ogata boarded a train to Chicago, Illinois to join the service. Due to his Japanese heritage he was encouraged not to join the service by those taking enlistments. However, Ogata was determined to join the service telling the recruitment office "I am here to serve". Enlisted and sent through training, Ogata was assigned as a medical corpsman to Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois. Despite his requests for reassignment, prejudice against those of Japanese heritage remained and his requests were refused. Ogata, unwilling to accept this, enlisted the support of the Sterling community receiving letters of support and recommendation from the town's mayor, police chief, city attorney, and local judges attesting to his character. Eventually the Army would agree and transfer Ogata.
Ogata was transferred on 31 December 1943 to Army Air Corps and assigned to the 49th Bomb Wing, 451st Bomb Group, 726th Squadron, 15th Air Force in Italy. Consisting of B-24s Ogata trained as a ball turret gunner. While serving with the 451st Bomb Group Ogata would rise to the rank of Staff Sergeant, complete thirty-five missions, and survive two crashes. For his service and injuries sustained in combat he would receive the Air Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters and the Purple Heart.
Kenje Ogata died on 18 January 2012, aged 92, in Sterling, Illinois.