*Wai, Francis B.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army,
Headquarters, 34th Infantry. Place and date: Leyte, Philippine Islands, 20
October 1944. Born: 14 April 1917, Honolulu, Hawaii. Entered
service at: Honolulu, Hawaii.
Captain Francis B. Wai distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action, on 20
October 1944, in Leyte, Philippine Islands. Captain Wai landed at Red Beach, Leyte, in the
face of accurate, concentrated enemy fire from gun positions advantageously located in a
palm grove bounded by submerged rice paddies. Finding the first four waves of American
soldiers leaderless, disorganized, and pinned down on the open beach, he immediately
assumed command. Issuing clear and concise orders, and disregarding heavy enemy machine
gun and rifle fire, he began to move inland through the rice paddies without cover. The
men, inspired by his cool demeanor and heroic example, rose from their positions and
followed him. During the advance, Captain Wai repeatedly determined the locations of enemy
strong points by deliberately exposing himself to draw their fire. In leading an assault
upon the last remaining Japanese pillbox in the area, he was killed by its occupants.
Captain Wai's courageous, aggressive leadership inspired the men, even after his death, to
advance and destroy the enemy. His intrepid and determined efforts were largely
responsible for the rapidity with which the initial beachhead was secured. Captain Wai'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.