Staff Sergeant Joe Hayashi

 

My wife and I recently moved to northeast Pasadena. While on one of my walks in the new neighborhood, I was pleasantly surprised to find a memorial to not only a Japanese American Veteran but Medal of Honor Winner Staff Sergeant Joe Hayashi of Company K of the 442 Regemental Combat team.

I was inspired to learn more about what he did. So I went on Discover Nikkei and this is what I found:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of The Congress the Medal of Honor to:

PRIVATE JOE HAYASHI, United States Army

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Private Joe Hayashi distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 20 and 22 April 1945, near Tendola, Italy. On 20 April 1945, ordered to attack a strongly defended hill that commanded all approaches to the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi skillfully led his men to a point within 75 yards of enemy positions before they were detected and fired upon. After dragging his wounded comrades to safety, he returned alone and exposed himself to small arms fire in order to direct and adjust mortar fire against hostile emplacements. Boldly attacking the hill with the remaining men of his squad, he attained his objective and discovered that the mortars had neutralized three machine guns, killed 27 men, and wounded many others.

On 22 April 1945, attacking the village of Tendola, Private Hayashi maneuvered his squad up a steep, terraced hill to within 100 yards of the enemy. Crawling under intense fire to a hostile machine gun position, he threw a grenade killing one enemy soldier and forcing the other members of the gun crew to surrender. Seeing four enemy machine guns delivering deadly fire upon other elements of his platoon, he threw another grenade, destroying a machine gun nest. He then crawled to the right flank of another machine gun position where he killed four enemy soldiers and forced the others to flee. Attempting to pursue the enemy, he was mortally wounded by a burst of machine pistol fire. 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.

The memorial is located at Victory Park. If you know of other memorials, take a picture and send it to me at ksakai[a]janm.org and I’ll be sure to post it on our blog!

– Koji Steven Sakai/Manager of Public Programs

Koji Steven Sakai

Koji Steven Sakai is the Vice President of Programs at the Japanese American National Museum.

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