- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Staff Sergeant (Sergeant-Major)
- Company A, 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team attached to the 92nd Infantry Division "Buffalo Soldiers", U.S. Army (Company A, 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team attached to the 92nd Infantry Division "Buffalo Soldiers", U.S. Army)
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Henry Y. Arao (19013919), Staff Sergeant [then Private First Class], U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving with Company A, 100th Infantry Battalion, 442d Regimental Combat Team, attached to the 92d Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 5 April 1945 near Seravezza, Italy. In attacking an enemy hill strongpoint, two squads of an infantry company were halted by machine gun, rifle and grenade fire. The support squad, composed mainly of replacements with Staff Sergeant Arao as first scout, was ordered to outflank the defensive position. Leading the attack, Staff Sergeant Arao boldly crawled forward through heavily mined approaches under a shower of mortar and rifle grenade fire toward a machine gun emplacement. During the advance, a grenade burst wounded the squad leader, alarming and confusing the squad members. Calmly and efficiently administering first aid, Staff Sergeant Arao quickly restored the confidence of his inexperienced comrades. The enemy, making a frantic attempt to halt the advance, covered the area with grenades and inflicted several casualties. Undaunted by this furious onslaught, Staff Sergeant Arao crawled alone to within seven yards of the enemy gun. Rising quickly to his knees, he lobbed a grenade into the emplacement, followed with a burst from his sub- machine gun, charged the nest, killed the gunner and forced the assistant gunner to surrender. Fired upon by another machine gun, he flattened himself on the ground, inched his way toward the emplacement, tossed another grenade and then fired upon the crew with deadly accuracy. Demoralized, the rest of the enemy fled to a bomb-proof dugout. With the machine guns silenced and the enemy driven off by Staff Sergeant Arao's daring action, the platoon moved forward and effectively neutralized the dugout entrances. Staff Sergeant Arao's courage, driving energy and fearless determination to close with and destroy the enemy exemplify the spirit and traditions of the Infantry of the United States.
Headquarters, Fifth U.S. Army, General Orders No. 114 (9 July 1944).