Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Francis Brown Wai. Francis served during World War II.

Francis attended Sacramento Junior College before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, he was a four-sport athlete and graduated in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree in banking and finance. He planned on working alongside his father in real estate and banking, but joined the Army upon the outbreak of World War II. Francis, who received rank as captain, sacrificed his life after assuming command during combat in the Philippines. On Oct. 20, 1944, while pinned down by enemy fire, he exposed himself and was killed while leading an assault to destroy the final Japanese pillbox in the Leyete area.

For paying the ultimate sacrifice, Francis received the Distinguished Service Cross. He also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Asiastic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the Philippine Liberation Medal. After the reconsideration of Asian American military records, Francis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart. Currently, he is the only Chinese-American Veteran to have recieved the Medal of Honor. On Oct. 11, 2014, his alma mater inducted him posthumously into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.

We honor your service, Francis.


Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.


Graphic By Kierra Willis: Kierra Willis is a Graphic Communication Major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in Graphic Design and Visual Communications.

Share this story

Published on Oct. 6, 2017

Estimated reading time is 1.6 min.

Views to date: 238

More Stories

  • Navy Veteran Calvin Leon Graham became the youngest World War II soldier at the age of 12, and the youngest recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Air Forces Veteran Horace Poolaw, who became a well-known photographer of Native American life.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran Deborah Jo Pereira, who enlisted in the military at a unique time in her life and in American history.