Editorial: Gallup's Miyamura a real American hero - Albuquerque Journal

Editorial: Gallup’s Miyamura a real American hero

The term “hero” gets bandied about these days. But, in such cases as Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, the word doesn’t begin to describe his service.

As we drive by flags lowered to half staff next week, we should remember to honor Gallup’s native son.

Born in the “Heart of Indian Country” 97 years ago, Miyamura was the son of Japanese immigrants who operated a 24-7 diner near the Navajo Nation. After the U.S. was drawn into World War II, the 17-year-old Miyamura tried to enlist, but was told he was classified an “enemy alien” as a Japanese American.

That didn’t dim the patriotic flame within Miyamura. He eventually joined the 442nd Infantry Regiment and served in WWII. He continued to serve in the Army Reserve and was called into action during the Korean War, where he had his rendezvous with destiny.

Miyamura was the machine-gun squad leader near Taejon-Ni, Korea, when Chinese forces attacked on April 24, 1951. He engaged in hand-to-hand combat during multiple assaults and manned his machine gun until his ammo ran out. He then ordered his squad to withdraw, while he stayed behind bayoneting his way through infiltrated enemy soldiers to a second gun emplacement.

Miyamura was wounded, and ultimately captured. He was held in a Chinese POW camp for two years and four months, where he lost 50 pounds.

President Dwight Eisenhower presented Miyamura with the Medal of Honor in 1953. After returning to Gallup laden with war medals, Miyamura worked as a mechanic and opened his own garage — how quintessentially American. The second-to-last living recipient of the Korean War Medal of Honor died Tuesday at his home in Phoenix.

The governor has ordered all flags to fly at half-staff from Dec. 8 to sundown Dec. 10 in honor of Miyamura. A high school, street and park in Gallup also honor him. But, next week, a simple nod or salute while going past a flag at half-staff will do.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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