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Decorated Soldier Dies in Car Crash



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GARLAND, Utah (AP) -- A World War II veteran who was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the second-highest U.S. Army honor, died in a car crash in northern Utah. He was 87.

Jim Tazoi of Garland died while trying to turn into a restaurant March 2, Perry police Lt. Brian Mueller said.

He served in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which was comprised of 4,500 Japanese-American soldiers.

Tazoi was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his effort to rescue a Texas battalion that had mistakenly marched behind German lines in October 1944, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

"He had a large scar on his back, and shrapnel in his groin that he carried with him to his death," son Ed Tazoi said.

Tazoi joined the Army with several friends about nine months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

In a 2004 interview with the Tribune, Tazoi said he faced racism after returning home. He recalled an Idaho restaurant owner who refused to serve him and two other soldiers, all in uniform.

"We thought about busting up the place," he said. "Then we decided to just move on."

------ Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.com

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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