World War II, Korea veterans to be inducted as ‘Heroes’

| March 5, 2010 | 0 Comments

Loran Doane
U.S Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

FORT DERUSSY — The Army is honoring two Soldiers, March 5, during an induction and memorial ceremony for the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii’s Gallery of Heroes, here.

KahoohanohanoThomas Yoshimi Ono, of Honolulu, and Anthony Kahoohanohano, of Wailuku, Maui, are being recognized for their distinguished service in World War II and Korea.

Since 1988, the gallery has honored local Hawaiian service members who have received one of the nation’s two highest awards for valor: the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross, or its equivalent the Navy Cross or the Air Force Cross.

Ono served as a private in World War II and received the Distinguished Service Cross for his extraordinary courage while assigned to Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion, 34th Infantry Division in June 1944.

Near the town of La Torretto, Italy, while engaged in intense close combat fighting against overwhelming odds, Ono led a handful of fellow Soldiers in engaging multiple enemy emplacements in the vicinity of his assigned objective.

During the three-hour engagement, he and his companions neutralized five machine guns, five machine pistols, and killed or captured 17 Germans.

Pvt. Thomas Yoshimi Ono receives the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary courage displayed in World War II while assigned to Company B, 100th Infantry Battalion, 34th Infantry Division in June 1944. Ono led a group of Soldiers in engaging multiple enemy emplacements, neutralizing machine guns and pistols, and killing or capturing several Germans. (Courtesy Photo)Ono subsequently served in the Korean War, where he was captured and spent two years as a prisoner of war at Ch’ang-Song, from April 25, 1951, until his release in August 1953.

Serving as a private first class, Kahoohanohano was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his remarkable bravery in combat while assigned to Co. H, 2nd Bn., 17th Inf. Regiment, 7th ID, for defending against enemy forces in the vicinity of Chup’a-ri, Korea, Sept. 1, 1951.

On that day, Kahoohanohano was in charge of a machine-gun squad supporting the defensive positions of Co. F, when they came under intense enemy attack, launched by a numerically superior force.

Because the enemy numbers were overwhelming, friendly troops had to withdraw from their defensive positions.

As the men fell back, Kahoohanohano ordered his squad to take up more defendable positions and provide protective fire for the friendly force.

Having been painfully wounded in the shoulder during the initial enemy assault, he gathered a supply of grenades and ammunition and returned to his original position to face the enemy alone.

Kahoohanohano continued to resist the onrushing enemy until his ammunition was depleted, and then he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat until he was killed.

“The initial search to identify candidates for induction into the Gallery of Heroes produced six Medal of Honor recipients and 18 Distinguished Service Cross recipients,” said Victoria Olson, executive director, Hawaii Army Museum Society.

There are 22 Medal of Honor recipients and, as of the March 5th ceremony, 54 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross and three recipients of the Navy Cross.

“Over the years, with more thorough research and from family members hearing about the Gallery of Heroes, we have been able to glean more about the lives of these honored Soldiers,” Olson said.

Once such case involved Patrick Viela, who was only 2 years old when his father, Army Sgt. Douglas Factora, died in Vietnam.

Viela had heard that his father was a hero but knew little more. He first learned of his father’s heroic acts in 2009, while reading a local story featuring his father’s pending induction into the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii’s Gallery of Heroes.

“We’ve had several cases like Patrick’s in which friends and family members hear or read about an induction and realize that it is someone they know,” Olson said. “They have been able to share with the museum curators more details about their loved one’s life … (and new) photos that we can share with the public. We are able to put a face with the name, helping folks to realize that these are real people who performed superhuman deeds.”

To be eligible for induction and memorialization into the Gallery of Heroes — besides having received a Congressional Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, or its equivalent the Navy Cross or Air Force Cross — an individual must have been born in Hawaii, entered military service from Hawaii, or have permanently resided in Hawaii for at least 10 years, according to Judith Bowman, the museum director.

“It’s great that this museum is able to play a role in recognizing our ohana who have contributed so much to our country,” Bowman said.

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