Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TFH 4/25: Corporal Hiroshi H. Miyamura, USA

Hiroshi H. Miyamura, nicknamed "Hershey" by his United States Army comrades, was born in Gallup, New Mexico on October 6, 1925. He served in the Army during World War II along with other Japanese-Americans in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team in Europe. After the Allied victory, he was discharged  and he later enlisted in the Army Reserve. He was called back to active service with the outbreak of hostilities in Korea.

During the Chinese Communist spring offensive of 1951, Miyamura served with the Company H, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment - part of the 3rd Infantry Division. On the night of April 24-25, he single-handedly held off determined enemy assault after assault which allowed the rest of his unit to withdraw to fight again another day. For his courage, he received our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Korean War:


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company H, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Taejon-ni, Korea, 24 and 25 April 1951. Entered service at: Gallup, N. Mex. Birth: Gallup, N. Mex. G.O. No.: 85, 4 November 1953. 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.

I would like to draw my readers' attention to the phrase "When he was last seen..." in the citation. Miyamura was captured by the Chinese and held as a prisoner of war until released on August 20, 1953. He had already been awarded the Medal, but the award had been kept a secret lest he face severe reprisals in Communist captivity. Here he is, in his own words:

At the end of the video, amid footage of the reunion with his wife following his return from Korea, he voices-over a lament that "there are so many Americans who don't know what the Medal represents." I'm both honored and humbled to do my small part on this blog to try and make sure that isn't the case.

"Hershey" left the Army as a Staff Sergeant and is still living and residing in Gallup, New Mexico. He is active with the Wounded Warrior Project supporting today's combat veterans of the War on Terror.

The 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment is currently a combined-arms battalion with the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division. They are headquartered at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

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