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A Gallup hero dies at 97 years old

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Hiroshi Miyamura passed away on Nov. 29. He was 97 years old. Miyamura was known for his heroic actions during the Korean War, for which he won a Medal of Honor. A Medal of Honor is the military’s highest award given out to soldiers. Miyamura was one of two surviving Medal of Honor recipients of the Korean War.

Miyamura was born on Oct. 6, 1925 in Gallup.

He arrived in Korea in November 1950. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on April 24 and 25 1951. south of the Imjin River near Taejon-ni (Daejeon-ni) in Yeoncheon County, while serving as a corporal in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, Third Infantry Division.  According to congressional archives, during a night attack by the Chinese military, he saw that his squad could not hold much longer, so he ordered his men to retreat. He remained behind to cover their withdrawal, killing an estimated minimum of 50 invading Chinese forces.

Miyamura was captured immediately after the actions that led to his award. As he and other prisoners of war were marched away, he helped his wounded friend Joe Annello keep moving, but the North Koreans threatened to shoot him if he did not leave Annello behind. Miyamura refused, but Annello convinced him to put him down.

Annello survived the war and later visited Miyamura in Gallup.

Miyamura's was the first Medal of Honor to be classified Top Secret. As Brigadier General Ralph Osborne explained to Miyamura and a group of reporters upon notifying them of his medal, "If the Reds knew what he had done to a good number of their soldiers just before he was taken prisoner, they might have taken revenge on this young man. He might not have come back."

Miyamura was held for 28 months. Following his release on August 20, 1953, he was informed that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor and promoted to sergeant. He was repatriated to the United States and honorably discharged from the military shortly thereafter. His medal was presented to him by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on October 1953 at the White House.

Dave Cuellar, head of the Veterans Helping Veterans, explained why Miyamura was an inspiration for himself and the Gallup community.

“He’s inspirational because he was the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, but more than that it was the way he conducted himself in the neighborhood. I don’t know how to explain it, he was just a very nice guy,” Cuelllar said.