by Mike Magers
Miyamura High School in McKinley County was opened in 2007 on the former campus of Gallup Junior High School. It was named for Korean War veteran and hero Hiroshi H. Miyamura.
Miyamura, a native of Gallup, had joined the Army in World War II and was a member of the much honored Japanese-American 442 Regimental Combat Team. However, he was too young to go overseas and also suffered a hernia. The war had ended by the time he recovered, but he remained in the U.S. Army Reserve thereafter, returning to active duty to serve in the Korean Conflict.
On the evening of April 24, 1951 Miyamura was a machine gun squad leader and his outfit, Company H, 7th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division were defending a position against opposing Chinese troops. During a battle, he found himself with the only machine gun in place until his gun jammed, leaving him with his M-1 rifle, his pistol and two cases of grenades. He could see the Chinese troops were making an effort to outflank his position, so he told his men to withdraw. After defending with his rifle and grenades as long as he could, he was making his own way back to safety when he became caught up in barbed wire. He tried to make contact with the driver of a nearby tank but was unable to do so, so he crawled under the wire and ran a short distance and continued to fight. He is credited with killing 60 enemy troops before his position was was overrun. He lay motionless on the ground in an effort to avoid discovery but was soon captured.
Miyamura was taken behind the lines and confined with other captives where he would remain a prisoner of war for over a year. His identity was unknown for a long time, so his family was told that he was missing in action. His his fate was unknown to them for about a year. Miyamura was released on August 23, 1953 and about that time was informed that he’d been awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation for the medal had been signed by President Truman in 1951 but kept secret during his captivity. He was awarded the medal by President Eisenhower on October 27, 1953.
Miyamura returned home to Gallup where he worked as an automobile mechanic. He returned to Korea in the 1970s and again in 2000 and on the second visit, he visited the battleground where he was captured.