The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announced that Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura died Tuesday at the age of 97 at his home in Phoenix, Arizona.
Miyamura, the son of Japanese immigrants, was awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor after he enabled an American squad to pull back by holding off an attack during the Korean War, the Associated Press reported.
Today we join the nation in mourning the loss of #MedalofHonor recipient Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, 97, America’s second-to-last living Korean War recipient. With this great loss, there are now only 64 living recipients of our nation’s highest award for #valor in combat. pic.twitter.com/MhFbxXwM3I
— National Medal Of Honor Museum (@MohMuseum) November 29, 2022
Miyamura served in the Korean War, and on the night of April 24, 1951, near Taejon-ni, a Chinese force attacked Miyamura’s company. Miyamura told his squad to retreat while he fought, giving his men enough time to leave. Miyamura and Joseph Lawrence Annello of Castle Rock, Colorado were captured. Miyamura carried Annello until Chinese soldiers told him to drop him at the side of the road. Even though he was at gunpoint, he refused to drop Annello until Annello convinced him to put him down, according to the AP.
Another Chinese unit picked up Annello and took him to a POW camp. Annello later escaped the camp. Miyamura was a prisoner for two years and four months. President Dwight D. Eisenhower awarded him the Medal of Honor in secret while he was still a POW, the AP reported. Miyamura and Annello stayed lifelong friends until Annello’s death in 2018.
In the 2018 Netflix documentary “Medal of Honor,” Miyamura said, “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’s parents operated a 24-hour diner near the Navajo Nation in Gallup, New Mexico, where he was born. Miyamura worked as a car mechanic throughout his teen years, the outlet reported. He was called “Hershey” after his teacher struggled to pronounce his first name.
He joined the U.S. Army in World War II in the 442nd Infantry Regiment comprised of “nisei,” or Americans born to Japanese immigrant parents, according to the AP. (RELATED: This Incredible — And True — Korean War Story Is Getting Hollywood Treatment That Would Make Tom Cruise Jealous)
After World War II, he met his future wife Terry Tsuchimori whom he married in 1948, according to the outlet. They would go on to have three children.