b. 12/03/1915 New Ulm, Minnesota. d. 09/01/1945 Bataan, Philippines.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 09/01/1945 Bataan, Philippines.
He was an officer in the Philippine Scouts who received the Medal of Honor for actions in Bataan, Philippines during that country’s capitulation to Japanese forces during World War II. After the action near Bagac in the Bataan Province, Bianchi was among the troops captured by the Japanese at the fall of Bataan, on April 9, 1942. He was part of the Bataan “Death March,” and was imprisoned in several Japanese prisoner of war camps, enduring horrible conditions. He was known for his compassion and efforts to better the lot of his fellow prisoners by bartering with their captors for extra food and medicine. On January 9, 1945, while imprisoned in an unmarked Japanese prison ship, Bianchi was killed instantly when an American plane, unaware that the ship contained American prisoners, dropped a 1,000-pound bomb in the cargo hold. Bianchi is one of three members of the Philippine Scouts who were awarded the Medal of Honor. His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his mother at Fort Snelling, Minnesota by General Douglas MacArthur.
He was one of the few bodies identified after the 400-some men who died aboard the ships were disinterred in 1946. The rest of bodies are buried in graves marked “Unknowns” in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. He is also commemorated on the Manila American Cemetery Memorial.
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.
BURIAL LOCATION: NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY, HONOLULU, HAWAII (CENOTAPH)
SECTION MA, GRAVE 39.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: BROWN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM, NEW ULM, MINNESOTA.