|Corporal Hiroshi Miyamura
Medal of Honor
April 24-25, 1951
PUEBLO, Colo. — In honor of Independence Day, an American hero and Medal of Honor recipient was recognized for his efforts in the Korean War.
At just 18-years-old, Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura was assigned to the Nisei 442nd Regimental Combat Team. Following the end of World War II, Miyamura would later be assigned to duty fighting on the front lines of the Korean War.
On the night of April 24 1951, Corporal Miyamura and his company were attacked by the enemy who threatened to overrun their position.
“In war time you don’t have time to think about what you’re going to do,” said Miyamura. “You have to react.”
Miyamura, a machine gun squad leader, was aware of the imminent danger to his men so without hesitation he jumped from shelter and in close hand-to-hand combat killed 10 enemy soldiers.
“[It was] A responsibility I was never prepared for but I felt that since I am in command of these men, I have to be sure that I can give the right orders and make the right decision,” said Miyamura.
He killed more than 50 enemy soldiers that night protecting his men at all costs. As his position was overrun, he was severely wounded and before he knew it he became a prisoner of war (POW).
“That is something I never thought I would become but circumstances had it that I was captured when I was passed out and had no control over whether I was a prisoner or not,” he said.
Miyamura carried fellow comrade Joel Anello miles to safety before they were both captured and taken hostage.
“We said our goodbyes and I thanked him for everything he did,” said Anello. “I think at that point I was only 18-years-old and probably would not have seen my 19th birthday if it was not for Hershey.”
At the POW camp, Miyamura and his men received no food or medical attention for weeks and in the process lost dozens of their comrades. Twenty-eight long and enduring months later, Miyamura was released.
“I’ve always appreciated the American flag,” said Miyamura. “To me that was the most beautiful sight when we crossed over from the North Korea side to the American side and to see that flag fluttering in the breeze — that made us feel like we were back home again.”
Upon his return, Miyamura quickly learned he had been awarded the military’s highest honor.
“I remember all I could say was ‘what’ because I felt all I was doing was my duty,” he said.
In 1953, he was presented the Medal of Honor by President Dwight Eisenhower and now at 90-years-old, Miyamura is still in awe.
“I still have to pinch myself every now and then to make sure I’m not dreaming,” he said.
Miyamura says his focus now is educating the next generation and ensuring the same values and goals when it comes to preserving the American way of life.
Medal of Honor Citation
Cpl. Miyamura, a member of Company H, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. On the night of 24 April, Company H was occupying a defensive position when the enemy fanatically attacked threatening to overrun the position. Cpl. Miyamura, a machine gun squad leader, aware of the imminent danger to his men unhesitatingly jumped from his shelter wielding his bayonet in close hand-to-hand combat killing approximately 10 of the enemy. Returning to his position, he administered first aid to the wounded and directed their evacuation. As another savage assault hit the line, he manned his machine gun and delivered withering fire until his ammunition was expended. He ordered the squad to withdraw while he stayed behind to render the gun inoperative. He then bayoneted his way through infiltrated enemy soldiers to a second gun emplacement and assisted in its operation. When the intensity of the attack necessitated the withdrawal of the company Cpl. Miyamura ordered his men to fall back while he remained to cover their movement. He killed more than 50 of the enemy before his ammunition was depleted and he was severely wounded. He maintained his magnificent stand despite his painful wounds, continuing to repel the attack until his position was overrun. When last seen he was fighting ferociously against an overwhelming number of enemy soldiers. Cpl. Miyamura’s indomitable heroism and consummate devotion to duty reflect the utmost glory on himself and uphold the illustrious traditions on the military service.
© Copyright 2016 Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Reprinted with permission of Fox 21, A Media General/LIN Television Company