Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Francis B Wai

  • Rank: Captain
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Headquarters Company,
    34th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: October 20, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Red Beach, Leyte, Philippine Islands

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Captain Francis B. Wai distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 20 October 1944, in Leyte, Philippine Islands. Captain Wai landed at Red Beach, Leyte, in the face of accurate, concentrated enemy fire from gun positions advantageously located in a palm grove bounded by submerged rice paddies. Finding the first four waves of American soldiers leaderless, disorganized, and pinned down on the open beach, he immedimately assumed command. Issuing clear and concise orders, and disregarding heavy machine gun and rifle fire, he began to move inland through the rice paddies without cover. The men, inspired by his cool demeanor and heroic example, rose from their positions and followed him. During the advance, Captain Wai repeatedly determined the locations of enemy strong points by deliberately exposing himself to draw their fire. In leading an assault upon the last remaining Japanese pillbox in the area, he was killed by its occupants. Captain Wai's courageous aggressive leadership inspired the men, even after his death, to advance and destroy the enemy. His intrepid and determined efforts were largely responsible for the rapidity with which the initial beachhead was secured. Captain Wai'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.

Medal of Honor Recipient Francis B. Wai
Medal of Honor Recipient Francis B. Wai
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Honolulu, Honolulu County, Hawaii
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 21, 2000

    The White House, presented by President William J. Clinton to his brother Robert Wai Sr.

  • Born: April 14, 1917, Honolulu, Honolulu County, HI
  • Died: October 20, 1944, Leyte, Philippine Islands
  • Buried: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) (0-0-1194), Honolulu, HI, United States

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