US Medal of Honor Recipient Hiroshi Miyamura Dies at 97

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, the son of Japanese immigrants who was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor for holding off an assault to permit an American squad to withdraw in the course of the Korean Warfare, has died.

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society introduced that Miyamura died Tuesday at his dwelling in Phoenix. He was 97.

Born in Gallup, New Mexico, Miyamura’s mother and father operated a 24-hour diner close to the Navajo Nation the place the household interacted with the varied inhabitants of miners and vacationers who handed alongside Route 66.

Miyamura’s mom died when he was 11 and his father by no means talked about Japan, Miyamura stated in later interviews. He would earn the nickname “Hershey” as a result of a trainer couldn’t pronounce his first title.

Miyamura labored as an auto mechanic throughout highschool. He joined the U.S. Army late in World Warfare II after the federal authorities lifted restrictions on Japanese People serving. Miyamura was allowed to hitch the 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed nearly completely of “nisei” — these born within the U.S. to folks who had been Japanese immigrants.

After the struggle, Miyamura met Terry Tsuchimori, a girl from a household who had been pressured to dwell on the Poston internment camp in southwestern Arizona following the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor. They married in 1948 and had three kids.

Miyamura continued to serve within the Army Reserves and was referred to as into motion in the course of the Korean Warfare.

On the night time of April 24, 1951, close to Taejon-ni, Miyamura’s firm got here beneath assault by an invading Chinese language drive. Miyamura ordered his squad to retreat whereas he stayed behind and continued to battle, giving his males sufficient time to evacuate.

Miyamura and fellow squad chief Joseph Lawrence Annello, of Fortress Rock, Colorado, had been captured. Although wounded, Miyamura carried the injured Annello for miles till Chinese language troopers ordered him at gunpoint to depart Annello by the facet of a street. Miyamura refused the orders till Annello satisfied him to place him down.

Annello was later picked up by one other Chinese language unit and brought to a POW camp, from which he escaped.

Miyamura was held as a prisoner for 2 years and 4 months.

Upon his launch, he was offered the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It had been awarded in secret whereas he was nonetheless a prisoner of struggle.

“I by no means ever thought I might obtain the Medal of Honor for doing my responsibility, which I believed that’s all I used to be doing, was my responsibility,” Miyamura stated within the 2018 Netflix documentary “Medal of Honor.”

Miyamura and Annello later met up and remained lifelong buddies. Annello died in 2018.

After the Korean Warfare, Miyamura returned to Gallup as a hero. Greater than 5,000 individuals got here to satisfy his practice. He spent a lot of the remainder of his life working on the town as an auto mechanic.

In his Residing Historical past documentary within the Congressional Medal of Honor Society library, Miyamura mirrored on the troopers who deserved recognition however by no means obtained it.

“There are such a lot of People who don’t know what the Medal represents or what any soldier or servicewoman or man does for his nation. And I consider considered one of nowadays — I hope considered one of nowadays — they are going to be taught of the sacrifices that loads of the women and men have made for this nation,” he stated.

Miyamura remained lively in veterans’ points and gave annual summer season lectures to navy members in Gallup, New Mexico. The talks drew lots of of servicemen and servicewomen through the years.

In 2019, an aide introduced that Miyamura had possible given his final public speak on account of declining well being.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer each referred to as Miyamura a hero, saying he can be missed by many who’re eternally grateful for his service.

Miyamura is survived by quite a few members of the family. Funeral preparations are pending.

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