Frank H. Ono

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Frank H. Ono
Head and shoulders of a young man with a garrison cap tilted over his right ear wearing a scarf tied around his neck and a military jacket with three ribbon bars and a pin on the left breast. Written over the lower right of the photo are the words "Your pal always, Frank".
Private First Class Frank Ono
Born (1923-06-05)June 5, 1923
Delta, Colorado
Died May 6, 1980(1980-05-06) (aged 56)
Place of burial Highland Cemetery, North Judson, Indiana
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943 - 1945
Rank Private First Class
Unit 442nd Regimental Combat Team
Battles/wars World War II
Awards

Frank H. Ono (June 5, 1923 – May 6, 1980) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II.[1]

Early life[edit]

Ono was born in Colorado.[2] His father was an immigrant from Japan while his mother was from Ireland. He was a Nisei, which means that he was a second generation Japanese-American.[3]

Soldier[edit]

Ono joined the US Army in September 1943.[2]

He volunteered to be part of the all-Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team.[4] This army unit was mostly made up of Japanese Americans from Hawaii and the mainland.[5]

During a battle on July 4, 1944, near Castellina[disambiguation needed], Italy, Ono advanced ahead of his unit and single-handedly defended his position against an enemy counter-attack. He then braved intense hostile fire to aid two wounded comrades and, when it became necessary to retreat, voluntarily covered his unit's withdrawal. For his actions during the battle, he was awarded the Army's second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross.[6]

Ono left the Army while still a private first class. He died at age 56 and was buried in Highland Cemetery, North Judson, Indiana.

A 1990s review of service records for Asian Americans who received the Distinguished Service Cross during World War II led to Ono's award being upgraded to the Medal of Honor. In a ceremony at the White House on June 21, 2000, his 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.

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Private First Class Ono's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

Private First Class Frank H. Ono distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 4 July 1944, near Castellina, Italy. In attacking a heavily defended hill, Private First Class Ono's squad was caught in a hail of formidable fire from the well-entrenched enemy. Private First Class Ono opened fire with his automatic rifle and silenced one machine gun 300 hundred yards to the right front. Advancing through incessant fire, he killed a sniper with another burst of fire, and while his squad leader reorganized the rest of the platoon in the rear, he alone defended the critical position. His weapon was then wrenched from his grasp by a burst of enemy machine pistol fire as enemy troops attempted to close in on him. Hurling hand grenades, Private First Class Ono forced the enemy to abandon the attempt, resolutely defending the newly won ground until the rest of the platoon moved forward. Taking a wounded comrade's rifle, Private First Class Ono again joined in the assault. After killing two more enemy soldiers, he boldly ran through withering automatic, small arms, and mortar fire to render first aid to his platoon leader and a seriously wounded rifleman. In danger of being encircled, the platoon was ordered to withdraw. Volunteering to cover the platoon, Private First Class Ono occupied virtually unprotected positions near the crest of the hill, engaging an enemy machine gun emplaced on an adjoining ridge and exchanging fire with snipers armed with machine pistols. Completely disregarding his own safety, he made himself the constant target of concentrated enemy fire until the platoon reached the comparative safety of a draw. He then descended the hill in stages, firing his rifle, until he rejoined the platoon. Private First Class Ono'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.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ US Army Center of Military History, "Medal of Honor Recipients, World War II (M-S)"; retrieved 2012-12-26.
  2. ^ a b National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), WWII Army Enlistment Record #35893759 (Ono, Frank H.); retrieved 2012-12-26.
  3. ^ "Frank H. Ono, Recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor" at North Judson-Wayne Township Public Library, May 15, 2010; retrieved 2012-12-26.
  4. ^ Go for Broke National Education Center, "Medal of Honor Private First Class Frank H. Ono"; retrieved 2012-12-26.
  5. ^ "100th Battalion, 442nd Infantry" at Global Security.org; retrieved 2012-12-26.
  6. ^ "21 Asian American World War II Vets to Get Medal of Honor" at University of Hawaii Digital History; retrieved 2012-12-26.
  7. ^ Gomez-Granger, Julissa. (2008). Medal of Honor Recipients: 1979-2008, "Ono, Frank H.," pp. 17-18 [PDF 21-22 of 44]; retrieved 2012-12-26.

External links[edit]