Greatest Asian American
War Heroes




Private Joe Hayashi
U.S. Army
Congressional Medal of Honor (Posthumous) *

     Private Joe Hayashi distinguished himself during two days of fighting in April, 1945 near Tendola, Italy.

     On April 20 Hayashi skillfully led his men toward enemy positions defending a hill that commanded all approaches to Tendola. They had gotten to within 75 yards when they were detected and came under fire. Hayashi dragged several wounded soldiers to safety. He returned alone to expose himself to small arms fire and direct mortar fire at machinegun nests. He led his remaining men on a bold assault and found that the mortar fire had destroyed three machineguns, killed 27 enemy soldiers and wounded many others.

     On April 22 Hayashi led his squad up a steep, terraced hill overlooking the village of Tendola. Once they had climbed to within 100 yards of enemy placements, Hayashi crawled through intense machinegun fire to throw a grenade that killed one enemy and forced the rest of the gun crew to surrender. Hayashi threw a second grenade that destroyed one of four other machinegun nests that had been directed at other members of his platoon. He then crawled to flank another machinegun nest and kill four enemy, forcing the rest to flee. Hayashi gave chase but was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pistol fire. Hayashi's efforts ensured that his platoon would attain its objective.

Staff Sergeant Robert T. Kuroda
U.S. Army
Congressional Medal of Honor (Posthumous) *

     On October 20, 1944 near Bruyeres, France, Staff Sergeant Robert Kuroda and his men were charged with advancing to neutralize snipers and machinegun nests. They encountered heavy fire from a machinegun hidden on a ridge above a heavily wooded slope. Kuroda made his way to the crest of the ridge, located the nest and made his way to within 10 yards. He threw grenades to kill three gunners, then killed or wounded three more with his rifle. Upon depleting his ammunition, he saw an American officer being hit by machinegun fire from an adjacent hill. Kuroda reached the officer too late to save him. He picked up the officer's automatic rifle and advanced through steady fire toward the second machinegun nest until he destroyed and overran it. Koruda turned to fire at other enemy soldiers but was killed by a sniper.

Private Shizuya Hayashi
U.S. Army
Congressional Medal of Honor *

     On November 29, 1943, near Cerasuolo, Italy Private Shizuya Hayashi took part in an assault on enemy forces occupying a hill. In the face of concentrated fire from grenades, rifles and machineguns, Hayashi rose and charged the hill while firing his automatic rifle from the hip. He single-handedly overran a machinegun position, killing seven. He killed two more fleeing enemy soldiers. After his platoon had caught up and advanced 200 more yards, they were met by fire from an antiaircraft gun. Private Hayashi returned highly effective fire, killing nine, taking four prisoners and forcing the rest to leave the hill.


Private First Class Kiyoshi K. Muranaga
U.S. Army
Congressional Medal of Honor *

     On June 26, 1944 PFC Kiyoshi Muranaga was part of a company that came up against an enemy force with superior firepower in well fortified positions. The enemy opened fire with an 88-milimeter self-propelled gun, sending Muranaga's company into disarray. Muranaga's mortar squad was ordered into action but the terrain prevented them from setting up their weapons. Seeing that the men were in peril from effective 88-milimeter fire, the squad leader ordered them to seek cover. Refusing to abandon his position, Muranaga manned a mortar and opened fire on the enemy big gun at a range of about 400 yards. His third round landed directly in front of the enemy gun. Muranaga was trying to fire a zeroed-in fourth round when the enemy gunners scored a direct hit on Muranaga's position, killing him instantly. However, the accuracy of Muranaga's fire induced the enemy crew to withdraw from its position, allowing the dispersed elements of Muranaga's company to regroup into an effective fighting unit.

Private Mikio Hasemoto
U.S. Army
Congressional Medal of Honor (Posthumous) *

     On November 29, 1943 near Cerasuolo, Italy the left flank of Private Mikio Hasemoto's platoon was attacked by about 40 enemy soldiers. The enemy attack was led by two soldiers firing machineguns. With only his automatic rifle Hasemoto rose to challenge the machineguns. He emptied four magazines at the approaching enemy before his weapon was damaged by gunfire. He ran 10 yards to the rear, found another automatic rifle and fired it until it jammed. Together with his squad leader, Hasemoto had already killed 20 enemy soldiers. But he braved enemy fire to pick up an M-1 and continue fighting until he and his squad leader killed 10 more enemy. He and his squad leader charged the remaining three enemy soldiers, killing one, wounding one and capturing the last. Private Hasemoto was killed the next day while fighting off enemy attacks.

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“In the face of concentrated fire from grenades, rifles and machineguns, Hayashi rose and charged the hill while firing his automatic rifle from the hip.”


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