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First Name: Willibald

Last Name: Bianchi

Birthplace: New Ulm, MN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: New Ulm, MN
Middle Name: Charles

Date of Birth: 12 March 1915

Date of Death: 09 January 1945

Rank: First Lieutenant

Years Served: 1940 - 1945
Willibald Charles Bianchi

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Willibald C. Bianchi
First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

First Lieutenant Willibald Charles Bianchi (12 March 1915 - 9 January 1945) was a U.S. Army officer in the Philippine Scouts who received the Medal of Honor for actions in Bataan, Philippines, during that country's capitulation to Japanese forces during World War II. After the action near Bagac in the Bataan Province, Bianchi was among the troops captured by the Japanese at the fall of Bataan, on 9 April 1942.

He was part of the infamous Bataan "Death March," and was imprisoned in several Japanese prisoner of war camps, enduring horrible conditions. He was known for his compassion and efforts to better the lot of his fellow prisoners by bartering with their captors for extra food and medicine. On 9 January 1945, while imprisoned in an unmarked Japanese prison ship, Bianchi was killed instantly when an American plane, unaware that the ship contained American prisoners, dropped a 1,000-pound bomb in the cargo hold. Bianchi is one of three members of the Philippine Scouts who were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts.

Place and date: Near Bagac, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands, 3 February 1942.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy on 3 February 1942, near Bagac, Province of Bataan, Philippine Islands. When the rifle platoon of another company was ordered to wipe out 2 strong enemy machinegun nests, 1st Lt. Bianchi voluntarily and of his own initiative, advanced with the platoon leading part of the men. When wounded early in the action by 2 bullets through the left hand, he did not stop for first aid but discarded his rifle and began firing a pistol. He located a machinegun nest and personally silenced it with grenades. When wounded the second time by 2 machinegun bullets through the chest muscles, 1st Lt. Bianchi climbed to the top of an American tank, manned its antiaircraft machinegun, and fired into strongly held enemy position until knocked completely off the tank by a third severe wound.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters


Bianchi attended South Dakota State University and a monument was erected honoring him and fellow alumnus and Medal of Honor recipient, Leo K. Thorsness.

Death and Burial

First Lieutenant Willibald C. Bianchi was killed on 9 January 1945 while a prisoner of war in Japanese custody on an unmarked hospital ship. His remains were not recovered. Two Memorials exist for him:

At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, HI, in Section MA, Grave 39.

At the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Manila, Philippines, at the Tablets of the Missing.

Honoree ID: 1292   Created by: MHOH




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