A Philippine Scout in the Army and Medal of Honor winner, Bianchi survived the Bataan Death March but was killed when Americans bombed an unmarked prison ship.
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3 February 1942 — Near Bagac, Bataan Province, Philippines
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 45th Infantry, Philippine Scouts
Place and date: Near Bagac, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands, February 3, 1942
Entered service at: New Ulm, Minnesota
Born: New Ulm, Minnesota
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.
Bianchi, a Philippine Scout in the US Army and a Medal of Honor winner, was captured by the Japanese in April 1942 and was part of the Bataan Death March. Considered honest and fair by his fellow POWs, Bianchi was imprisoned for almost 3 years. He was killed in January 1945 when the unmarked prison ship he was being held on was bombed by the Americans.
25 October 1945
United States Army Forces, Pacific
Office of the Commander-in-Chief
25 October 1945
Dear Mrs. Bianchi:
My deepest sympathy goes to you in the death of your son, Captain Willibald C. Bianchi, who died in action against the enemy.
You may have some consolation in the memory that he, along with his comrades in arms who died on Bataan and Corregidor and in prison camps, gave his life for his country. It was largely their magnificent courage and sacrifices which stopped the enemy in the Philippines and gave us the time to arm ourselves for our return to the Philippines and the final defeat of Japan. Their names will be enshrined in our country's glory forever.
In your son's death I have lost a gallant comrade and mourn with you.
Mrs. Carrie Bianchi
New Ulm, Minnesota