America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan

By James H. Willbanks | Go to book overview

Hayashi, Shizuya

Born: November 28, 1917

Died: March 12, 2008

Home State: Hawaii

Service: Army

Conflict: World War II

Age at Time of Award: 26

Born in Waialua, Oahu, Hawaii, on November 28, 1917, Shizuya Hayashi was a soldier in the 65Thengineers on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed US military bases on Pearl Harbor. A Nisei (second-generation Japanese American) soldier, he was removed from that unit because of his heritage. The US government became increasingly concerned about the security risks associated with Japanese American soldiers and placed them in roles where they could not affect the war effort negatively, such as picking up trash and working in the plantations of Hawaii. Their families were placed in 11 concentration camps around America and 1 in Hawaii.

In June 1942, the 100th Infantry Battalion, made up of 1,400 Nisei soldiers, was formed at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin. All the soldiers had been classified 4-C, enemy alien, by their respective selective service boards, and they were motivated to prove their allegiance to the nation. The formation of the battalion required an executive order by President Franklin D. Roosevelt due to the sensitive security issues, and soldiers like Hayashi felt relieved when they were finally offered an opportunity to serve their country.

The 100th became one of the four battalions of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team sent to Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to train for overseas deployment. They were ultimately sent to Italy and participated in the battles of Salerno, Anzio, Monte Cassino, Rome, and Arno. In the fall of 1943, the 100th landed at Salerno and immediately engaged German troops in some of the fiercest fighting of the war. Casualties were high due to the German 88-mm artillery known as “screaming mimis” because of the shrill sound made by the shells prior to impact.

On November 29, 1943, Private Hayashi and his platoon were attempting to find cover from an artillery bombardment when they stumbled into a German minefield that caused many casualties among the Nisei soldiers. Separated from his platoon as darkness fell, Hayashi wandered into a German emplacement, where a firefight ensued. Armed with a Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), he was equipped with a weapon that could provide maximum firepower when engaging the enemy. Hayashi attacked the German machine gun position alone, killing the nine German soldiers who occupied the bunker. As German reinforcements came from another direction, he engaged them with the BAR, killing an additional nine enemy soldiers and taking four prisoners.

This action was recognized by his fellow squad members and eventually led to Hayashi being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest battlefield award. The presentation was made on the eve of the 100th’s fiercest engagement of the war at Anzio.

Nearly 50 years after the Nisei soldiers’ experiences in Italy, the Department of Defense began an exhaustive search of the battlefield performances of Japanese American soldiers to determine if racial prejudice may have resulted in the downgrading of decorations. The result of this investigation was the upgrading of 21 Distinguished Service Crosses to Medals of Honor. Shizuya Hayashi’s performance on the battlefield was one of those recognized by President Bill Clinton, who presented him the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony on June 21, 2000.

In subsequent years, Hayashi’s interviews with military historians and peers revealed a man who was proud not only of his service to his country but also of the humanity he had shown when confronted by the opportunity to kill a very young German soldier. Finding the young soldier on the battlefield curled up on the ground and crying, Hayashi had taken the boy prisoner because he did not believe he deserved to die. He told this story repeatedly when asked about his wartime service.

Hayashi’s unit, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, was known as the Purple Heart Regiment because of the awarding of 9,000 such awards. Their dedication, bravery, and persistence under fire have earned them the recognition as the most decorated unit of its size in American military history.

Shizuya Hayashi died of complications associated with a brain tumor on March 12, 2008.

Ron Milam


Further Reading

Collier, Peter, and Nick Del Calzo. Medal of Honor: Portraits of Honor beyond the Call of Duty. New York: Artisan, 2006.

Smith, Larry. Beyond Glory: Medal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words. New York: W. W. Norton, 2003.

-133-

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America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Entries ix
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Introduction xvii
  • Adams, Lucian 1
  • Baca, John P. 2
  • Bacon, Nicky Daniel 4
  • Baker, Vernon 6
  • Baldwin, Frank D. 8
  • Ballard, Donald E. 11
  • Barfoot, Van T. 13
  • Barnum, Harvey C., Jr 14
  • Barrett, Carlton W. 16
  • Basilone, John 18
  • Benavidez, Roy P. 20
  • Birkhimer, William E. 22
  • Blake, Robert 24
  • Bleak, David B. 25
  • Boyington, Gregory 27
  • Brady, Patrick Henry 29
  • Britt, Maurice L. 30
  • Brown, Bobbie E. 32
  • Bucha, Paul William 34
  • Burke, Lloyd L. 36
  • Bush, Robert Eugene 38
  • Butler, Smedley Darlington 40
  • Butterfield, Daniel 42
  • Cafferata, Hector a., Jr 43
  • Carney, William H. 45
  • Cavaiani, Jon R. 48
  • Chamberlain, Joshua L. 49
  • Childers, Ernest 51
  • Cody, William F. 53
  • Cohn, Abraham 55
  • Cole, Robert G. 57
  • Craft, Clarence B. 59
  • Crandall, Bruce P. 61
  • Custer, Thomas W. 63
  • Dahlgren, John Olof 65
  • Daly, Daniel Joseph 67
  • Davila, Rudolph B. 69
  • Davis, Charles W. 70
  • Davis, Raymond G. 73
  • Davis, Sammy L. 74
  • Day, George E. 76
  • Dean, William F. 78
  • Deblanc, Jefferson Joseph 79
  • Dix, Drew Dennis 81
  • Donlon, Roger Hugh C. 84
  • Donovan, William Joseph 85
  • Doolittle, James H. 87
  • Doss, Desmond T. 88
  • Dunham, Jason L. 90
  • Dunham, Russell E. 91
  • Dyess, Aquilla James 93
  • Ehlers, Walter D. 96
  • Evans, Ernest Edwin 98
  • Faith, Don C., Jr 100
  • Finn, John William 102
  • Fletcher, Frank Jack 104
  • Fluckey, Eugene Bennett 105
  • Foley, Robert F. 107
  • Foss, Joseph Jacob 109
  • Fox, John Robert 112
  • Freeman, Ed W. 113
  • Funston, Frederick 115
  • Galer, Robert Edward 117
  • García, Macario 119
  • Gonsalves, Harold 121
  • Gonzalez, Alfredo 123
  • Gordon, Gary I. 125
  • Hagemeister, Charles Chris 126
  • Harmon, Roy W. 128
  • Harrell, William George 130
  • Hatch, John P. 131
  • Hayashi, Shizuya 133
  • Hayes, Webb C. 134
  • Heard, John W. 137
  • Hendrix, James R. 139
  • Hernández, Rodolfo P. 140
  • Herrera, Silvestre S. 142
  • Hooper, Joe R. 144
  • Howard, Oliver O. 146
  • Howard, Robert L. 148
  • Inouye, Daniel K. 150
  • Irwin, Bernard J. D. 154
  • Izac, Edouard Victor Michel 155
  • Jackson, Joe M. 158
  • Jacobs, Jack H. 160
  • Joel, Lawrence 162
  • Kaufman, Benjamin 164
  • Keeble, Woodrow W. 166
  • Kelly, Charles E. 167
  • Kerrey, Joseph R. 169
  • Kisters, Gerry H. 171
  • Kouma, Ernest R. 173
  • Lang, George C. 175
  • Lemon, Peter C. 177
  • Levitow, John L. 178
  • Liteky, Angelo J. 181
  • Livingston, James E. 182
  • Lopez, Jose M. 184
  • Lucas, Jacklyn Harold 186
  • Luke, Frank, Jr 189
  • Mabry, George L., Jr 191
  • Macarthur, Arthur, Jr 193
  • Macarthur, Douglas 195
  • Mackie, John F. 198
  • Mallon, George H. 200
  • Marm, Walter Joseph, Jr 201
  • Martinez, Joe P. 203
  • McCool, Richard Miles, Jr 204
  • McGinnis, Ross A. 206
  • McGinty, John J., III 207
  • McKinney, John R. 209
  • Merli, Gino J. 211
  • Miles, L. Wardlaw 213
  • Miles, Nelson A. 214
  • Millett, Lewis L. 218
  • Miyamura, Hiroshi H. 220
  • Mize, Ola L. 223
  • Moffett, William A. 225
  • Monsoor, Michael A. 226
  • Monti, Jared C. 227
  • Munemori, Sadao S. 229
  • Munro, Douglas Albert 231
  • Murphy, Audie L. 233
  • Murphy, Michael P. 235
  • Murphy, Raymond G. 236
  • Norris, Thomas R. 238
  • Novosel, Michael J. 240
  • O’Hare, Edward Henry 243
  • O’Kane, Richard Hetherington 245
  • Okubo, James K. 246
  • Olive, Milton L., III 248
  • O’Neill, Richard W. 249
  • Page, John U. D. 251
  • Paige, Mitchell 254
  • Parker, Samuel I. 256
  • Pennypacker, Galusha 258
  • Penry, Richard A. 260
  • Pitsenbarger, William H. 262
  • Pittman, John A. 264
  • Pittman, Richard A. 265
  • Pope, Everett Parker 267
  • Pope, Thomas A. 269
  • Rascon, Alfred V. 271
  • Ray, Ronald Eric 273
  • Red Cloud, Mitchell, Jr 275
  • Rickenbacker, Edward V. 278
  • Roberts, Gordon R. 279
  • Rocco, Louis R. 281
  • Rodriguez, Joseph C. 283
  • Roosevelt, Theodore 285
  • Rosser, Ronald E. 287
  • Rubin, Tibor 289
  • Rudolph, Donald E. 291
  • Ruiz, Alejandro R. Renteria 293
  • Sakato, George T. 294
  • Salomon, Ben L. 296
  • Sandlin, Willie 298
  • Sasser, Clarence Eugene 300
  • Schofield, John M. 302
  • Shafter, William R. 303
  • Shoup, David Monroe 305
  • Shughart, Randall D. 307
  • Sickles, Daniel E. 310
  • Sijan, Lance P. 312
  • Simanek, Robert E. 313
  • Sitter, Carl L. 315
  • Smith, Andrew Jackson 317
  • Smith, Paul R. 319
  • Spurrier, Junior J. 320
  • Stockdale, James B. 322
  • Stone, James L. 324
  • Stowers, Freddie 326
  • Thornton, Michael Edwin 327
  • Thorsness, Leo K. 329
  • Titus, Calvin Pearl 332
  • Turner, George B. 333
  • Urban, Matt 335
  • Vandegrift, Alexander Archer 337
  • Vargas, Jay R. 339
  • Versace, Humbert R. 341
  • Wahlen, George Edward 343
  • Wai, Francis B. 345
  • Wainwright, Jonathan M. 347
  • Walker, Dr. Mary E. 349
  • Ware, Keith L. 350
  • Warren, Francis E. 352
  • Watson, George 353
  • Watters, Charles Joseph 354
  • Webb, Alexander S. 358
  • Wetzel, Gary George 360
  • Whiteley, Eli 362
  • Whittington, Hulon B. 363
  • Williams, Hershel Woodrow 365
  • Wilson, Louis Hugh, Jr. 367
  • Wood, Leonard 369
  • Woodfill, Samuel 372
  • York, Alvin C. 373
  • Young, Rodger W. 375
  • Zabitosky, Fred William 377
  • Zeamer, Jay, Jr. 379
  • Recipients of the Medal of Honor 381
  • Double Award Recipients 487
  • Medals of Honor Awarded by Conflict and Service 489
  • Bibliography 493
  • Index 511
  • About the Editor 529
  • Contributors 531
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