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Francis B. Wai

Francis Brown Wai was a captain in the United States Army and received the Medal of Honor for actions during the recapture of the Philippines from Japan in 1944. On October 20, 1944, Wai landed on the Red Beach in the Philippines, he found the soldiers in the immediate area to be leaderless, disorganized, and pinned down on the open beach. Assuming command of the soldiers around him, his demeanor and example inspired the other men to follow him. With deliberate disregard for his own personal safety, he repeatedly advanced without cover to draw Japanese machine gun and rifle fire, thus exposing the locations of the entrenched Japanese forces. Systematically, the Japanese positions were assaulted and overcome. Wai was killed leading an assault against the last Japanese pillbox in the area. For his actions, Wai was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After an extensive review of awards in 2000, his medal was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. To date, Wai is the only Chinese American and one of only two non-Japanese Asian American officers to receive the medal.


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