Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Joe

Last Name: Hayashi

Birthplace: Salinas, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Los Angeles, CA
Middle Name: J.

Date of Birth: 14 August 1920

Date of Death: 22 April 1945

Rank: Sergeant

Years Served: 1941 - 1945
Joe J. Hayashi

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)


Joe J. Hayashi
Sergeant, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
World War II

Sergeant Joe J. Hayashi (14 August 1920 - 22 April 1945) was a U.S. Army soldier who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his heroic actions during World War II.

Joe J. Hayashi was born on 14 August 1920 in Salinas, CA. On 20 April 1945, he was serving as a Private in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. On that day near Tendola, Italy, he exposed himself to hostile fire in order to direct mortar fire onto enemy positions. Two days later, he single-handedly silenced three hostile machine guns but was killed while pursuing enemy soldiers.

For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross. A 1990's review of service records for Asian-Americans who received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II led to Hayashi's DSC being upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Place and date: Near Tendola, Italy, 20 and 22 April 1945.

Citation: 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.

In a ceremony at the White House on 21 June 2000, Hayashi's surviving family was presented with his Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton. Twenty-one other Asian Americans also received the medal during the ceremony, all but seven of them posthumously.

Death and Burial

Sergeant Joe J. Hayashi was killed in action on 22 April 1945. He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.

Honoree ID: 1438   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image