Hiroshi Miyamura, MoH recipient, dies at 97

| November 30, 2022

S/Sgt Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura

I wrote about Hiroshi Miyamura in a previous Valor Friday piece you can find here. Sadly, Miyamura has died, having lived to age 97. He was one of only two living Medal of Honor recipients from the Korean War and was the oldest surviving MoH recipient at the time of his death. His passing leaves Colonel Ralph Puckett as the only living recipient from that conflict (and also now the oldest surviving recipient).

From Military Times;

Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, the son of Japanese immigrants who was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor for holding off an attack to allow an American squad to withdraw during the Korean War, has died.

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

Born in Gallup, New Mexico, Miyamura’s parents operated a 24-hour diner near the Navajo Nation where the family interacted with the diverse population of miners and travelers who passed along Route 66.

Miyamura’s mother died when he was 11 and his father never talked about Japan, Miyamura said in later interviews. He would earn the nickname “Hershey” because a teacher couldn’t pronounce his first name.

Miyamura worked as an auto mechanic during high school. He joined the U.S. Army late in World War II after the federal government lifted restrictions on Japanese Americans serving. Miyamura was allowed to join the 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed almost entirely of “nisei” — those born in the U.S. to parents who were Japanese immigrants.

After the war, Miyamura met Terry Tsuchimori, a woman from a family who had been forced to live at the Poston internment camp in southwestern Arizona following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. They married in 1948 and had three children.

Miyamura continued to serve in the Army Reserves and was called into action during the Korean War.

On the night of April 24, 1951, near Taejon-ni, Miyamura’s company came under attack by an invading Chinese force. Miyamura ordered his squad to retreat while he stayed behind and continued to fight, giving his men enough time to evacuate.

Miyamura and fellow squad leader Joseph Lawrence Annello, of Castle Rock, Colorado, were captured. Though wounded, Miyamura carried the injured Annello for miles until Chinese soldiers ordered him at gunpoint to leave Annello by the side of a road. Miyamura refused the orders until Annello convinced him to put him down.

Annello was later picked up by another Chinese unit and taken to a POW camp, from which he escaped.

Miyamura was held as a prisoner for two years and four months.

Upon his release, he was presented the Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It had been awarded in secret while he was still a prisoner of war.

“I never ever thought I would receive the Medal of Honor for doing my duty, which I thought that’s all I was doing, was my duty,” Miyamura said in the 2018 Netflix documentary “Medal of Honor.”

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

After the Korean War, Miyamura returned to Gallup as a hero. More than 5,000 people came to meet his train. He spent much of the rest of his life working in town as an auto mechanic.

In his Living History documentary in the Congressional Medal of Honor Society library, Miyamura reflected on the soldiers who deserved recognition but never received it.

“There are so many Americans who don’t know what the Medal represents or what any soldier or servicewoman or man does for his country. And I believe one of these days — I hope one of these days — they will learn of the sacrifices that a lot of the men and women have made for this country,” he said.

Miyamura remained active in veterans’ issues and gave annual summer lectures to military members in Gallup, New Mexico. The talks drew hundreds of servicemen and servicewomen over the years.

In 2019, an aide announced that Miyamura had likely given his last public talk due to declining health.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer both called Miyamura a hero, saying he will be missed by many who are forever grateful for his service.

Miyamura is survived by numerous family members. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Godspeed, Sergeant Miyamura.

Category: Army, Historical, Korea, Medal of Honor, Valor, We Remember

8 Comments
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Graybeard

Rest in peace, S/Sgt.

Last edited 1 month ago by Graybeard
KoB

Godspeed Fare Well, and Rest Easy, Good Sir. This Grateful Patriot Salutes your Service to our Republic and your Fellow Warriors. “…I thought that all I was doing, was my duty,” Humbling.

“Do you Duty in all things, you can never do more, you should never do less.” REL

Roh-Dog

Thank you so very much, Sir. May you rest well knowing you served a grateful nation.

(Also saw this on my local news’ page. Sure glad Mason does the work of informing all of us on such losses.)

26Limabeans

Rest in peace brave soldier.

Old tanker

RIP Sir. May your reunion with your Brothers and Family be joyous.

5JC

An amazing story and a heroic man. Should be noted that he was in good company.

https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/military/ex-pow-from-las-vegas-remembers-comrades-lost-in-the-korean-war/

https://www.morethanaheadstone.org/all-stories/he-told-all-our-friends-i-was-dead

“Joe became aware that “we [didn’t] have much time left,” and made a vow to reconnect with the remaining POWs.[26] Joe reached out to his former brothers in arms, Hershey Miyamura, David Hammond, Billy Christopholous, and Gene Ramos, for a get-together in Las Vegas”

CW

So very sad to hear about this… first read his citation in “Soldiers” magazine when I was a young PFC and he’s always been the MoH recipient I admire the most. Actually got to meet him during the stopover before going back from Leave on my second deployment (along with 3 others included “Woody”  😉 ) . Hell of a gentleman, hell of a guy. RIP, Brother.

Name changed to protect your privacy. Recommend the use of a username.
-thebesig

AT1 ret

*salute*