VENERABLE VETERAN. People stand to honor Medal of Honor
recipient Hiroshi Miyamura, center, during a Veterans Day
ceremony at the New Mexico Veterans Memorial in Albuquerque,
N.M., in this November 11, 2014 file photo. Miyamura, the son of
Japanese immigrants and now 94 years old, gave a public lecture
last month in Gallup, N.M., which an aide said may be his last
due to his declining health. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan,
From The Asian Reporter, V29, #18 (September 16,
2019), page 10.
Asian-American Korean War hero gives what may
be "final" talk
GALLUP, N.M. (AP) — Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura, the son of
Japanese immigrants who was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor for
his actions in the Korean War, may have given his last public
The ailing 94-year-old veteran spoke to a group of U.S. Navy
Seabees in Gallup, New Mexico, about his life and service and
was given a hero’s salute after he finished, The Gallup
The talk was part of the lectures he gives every summer to
servicemen and servicewomen in western New Mexico.
Ken Riege, who travels around with Miyamura, said the veteran
may not give the talks next year because of his declining
health. Riege said he has been honored to travel with him over
the years and listen to him speak.
"It is never the same, and I learn something new about him
each time," Riege said.
Miyamura, who served in the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1953,
spoke about the emotion he had seeing the American flag after he
was liberated from a POW camp during the Korean War.
The son of Japanese immigrants, Miyamura grew up in Gallup, a
city near the Navajo Nation.
After the United States entered World War II, Miyamura tried
to join the military, but he was deemed not eligible to serve
and given a Four-C "alien" status because of his Japanese
Later, that exclusionary policy changed, and Miyamura was
allowed to join the 442nd Infantry Regiment, composed almost
entirely of second-generation Japanese Americans.
With the start of the Korean War, Miyamura, an Army
reservist, was called up for active duty.
On the night of April 24, 1951, near Taejon-ni, Korea, his
company was under heavy attack and U.S. Army Cpl. Miyamura
jumped from his shelter wielding a bayonet and killed 10 of the
enemy in hand-to-hand combat. After administering first aid to
the wounded, he got behind his machine gun and continued
fighting until he ran out of ammunition.
Miyamura ordered the squad to withdraw while he stayed behind
to render the gun inoperative. He bayoneted his way to a second
gun emplacement and assisted in its operation before running out
of ammunition there.
By the time the battle was over, Miyamura had killed more
than 50 enemy soldiers and was severely wounded.
Miyamura was held captive for more than two years by the
For his heroism, Miyamura was awarded the Medal of Honor.
U.S. Navy Builder 1st Class Shane Hutzenbiler said it has
been a life-changing experience getting to hear Miyamura speak
every two weeks. "I am sad that other people might not have a
chance to hear his story and meet him in the future," he said.
First-timers Thomas Crombie and Gladys Delatorre said the
experience was amazing. They were proud to get one of Miyamura’s
"I’m just impressed with his memory. He spoke for almost two
hours and didn’t miss a beat," Crombie said. "You could tell he
was just remembering parts of his life."