Pvt Joe Hayashi
442 Reg. Combat Team
20 – 22 April 1945
Joseph Hayashi joined the Army long before WW2. Pvt. Hayashi, like most of the other men in the 442nd, had been Prisoners of War before they went to fight in Europe. The 442nd was comprised of “Nisei”– Japanese American troops. Japanese American Soldiers.
Most of the 442nds Officers and NCOs were already active Army on Dec. 7th 1941; all were subsequently arrested and interned as POWs based on their ancestry.
Loyal American Soldiers as POWs of the United States. Hayashi, like most demand to be allowed to fight for their country and prove their loyalty. In spite of the fact that is family was bankrupted and forced into an internment camp in California, Hayashi volunteered to serve in Europe with the 442nd Regiment.
Hayashi proved himself in April of 1945, while Attacking the village of Tendola. Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep embankment creeping to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to the hostile machine gun position, Hayashi neutralized it.
He spotted four enemy machine guns putting fire on his platoon – Hayashi threw another grenade, killing the gun-crew, then crawled to the right flank of another machine gun position where he killed four enemy soldiers and forced the others to flee
Two days later – on the 22nd of April; Hayashi was ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village. Skillfully using cover and concealment he led his men to a within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were met with heavy German resistance, taking heavy losses.
Hayashi personally led the effort to recover his wounded, dragging several to safety himself before returning to the battle area alone. Exposing himself to enemy gunners acting as a Forward Observer for the 442nds Mortarmen.
Once he identified targets for the Red Legs, Hayashi rallied the remaining members of his squad then attacked and destroyed the enemy position leaving three neutralized machine guns and 27 dead enemy soldiers.
As the battle continued, Private Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep, terraced hill to within 100 yards of another enemy position. He then belly-crawled to a hostile machine gun position, killed one of the gun-crew and gave the rest the option of surrender or death. They chose to surrender.
After sending his prisoners to the rear, Hayashi continued to pursue his enemy until he was mortally wounded by a burst of machinegun. I Joseph Hayashi wasn’t an American to this core – NO ONE IS.
The last line of Joseph Hayashi’s Medal of Honor Citation reads as follows:
“The dauntless courage and exemplary leadership of Private Hayashi enabled his company to attain its objective. Private Hayashi’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.”