Ben Kuroki, the only Japanese-American of the US Army to see air combat in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He flew a total of 58 combat missions over Europe and the Pacific during the war and eventually earned three Distinguished Flying Crosses. When asked about the prejudice that almost prevented him from service, Kuroki said: "I had to fight like hell for the right to fight for my own country."
+~+~ Vintage Photograph ~+~+ World War II ~ In this and dozens of other, similar pictures made at New York's Penn Station in 1944, LIFE's Alfred Eisenstaedt captured a private moment repeated in public millions of times over the course of the war: a guy, a girl, a goodbye — and no assurance that he'll make it back. By war's end, more than 400,000 American troops had been killed.