High School Named for Medal of Honor Recipient

Miyamura High School will be dedicated on April 23, 2009. The school is named after Medal of Honor recipient Hershey Miyamura. Miyamura received his Medal of Honor for his valor during the Korean War. He was honored with the American Veterans Center’s Raymond G. Davis Award. His citation for that award follows and tells the story of how he received the Medal.

On the night of April 24, 1951, Corporal Hiroshi Miyamura waited with his five riflemen and ten machine gunners for the expected attack of the Chinese Communist forces. The 3rd Infantry Regiment was situated north of Seoul. The UN forces had recently recaptured the capital city, and their line had advanced farther north. The CCF had already attacked other areas of the line, and the Americans had been forced to withdraw. Holding Seoul was crucial for the Allied forces. Though not militarily strategic to the troops, the city provided the United Nations with extra clout when bartering with the North Koreans for peace.

The Chinese had attacked other areas of the line on the 22nd, driving parts of the UN line backwards and collapsing the ROK 6th Division, several miles to the east of Miyamura and his men. Marines hastily attempted to fill the gap. Over 250,000 Chinese troops prepared to attack in the early morning hours of the 24th. As darkness fell, the South Korean conscripts among Miyamura’s men deserted the company. The attack began, and the Chinese came in waves for hours. The Americans were forced to pull back as supporting Filipino and Korean regiments crumpled exposing their flanks.

As they threatened to overwhelm his squad, Miyamura deserted his machinegun. Charging forward, he killed ten Chinese with his bayonet. Miyamura returned to his machine gun, firing until the gun jammed. Undaunted he bayoneted his way to the second machinegun, assuring his men that he would cover their retreat. Unaware that he was still fighting, American forces began dropping phosphorus bombs on his position. After killing over 50 men, Miyamura’s ammunition was depleted. He made his way toward what he thought was the US lines. A dying Chinese dropped a grenade after being bayoneted by Miyamura. It exploded filling Miyamura’s legs with shrapnel. He stumbled onwards until he was too weak to go on. After crawling into a ditch, Miyamura lost consciousness.

The American troops continued to withdraw over territory they had gained less than six weeks earlier. Miyamura awoke the next morning to find hundreds of passing enemy soldiers. Hoping to remain unnoticed, Miyamura played possum. However, one Chinese was not deceived. He stood over Miyamura and in English told him not to worry—the Chinese had a lenient policy. Soon he was joined by other wounded Americans. After helping bandage each other’s wounds, they began their march to the prison camp.

The UN line continued to retreat until the 28th of April. Able to halt the Chinese a few miles short of Seoul, the tide once again turned. As the Americans advanced north, this time it was the Chinese doing the retreating. The line would become static as peace negotiations began with the North Koreans and Chinese. Miyamura spent the next 28 months as a prisoner of war. Poorly fed and with no medical attention, he lost over 50 pounds before he was released on August 23, 1953.

Hiroshi Miyamura fought in one of the most savage battles of the Korean War. Through his personal sacrifice, he saved the lives of many while inspiring others to fight on against overwhelming odds. For his valor, Miyamura was presented with the United States military’s highest award—the Medal of Honor. For his undaunted courage in the defense of his country, the American Veterans Center is proud to present Hiroshi Miyamura with the 2006 Raymond G. Davis Award.

Read about Miyamura High School’s dedication.

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