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Heinrich, Leger Fernández Celebrate Renaming of Gallup VA Clinic in Honor of Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura, Made Possible Through Bipartisan Bill They Authored

GALLUP– U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich(D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) honored Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura by renaming the VA clinic in Gallup, New Mexico, for the late Staff Sergeant Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura, who died on November 29, 2022, and earned the Medal of Honor for his service in World War II and the Korean War.

In 2023, Heinrich and Leger Fernández introduced signed by President Biden.

“I will always remember my interactions with Hershey over the years and consider myself lucky to have joined him, nearly a decade ago, to cut the ribbon to open this clinic that provides vital health care to local veterans. I’m proud that my first bill introduced this Congress was to rename this clinic as a tribute to his legacy, to honor his courageous actions and brave sacrifices during the Korean War and his lifelong commitment to this community. I hope that honoring Hershey’s memory in this way will inspire future generations of New Mexicans to learn more about his life and the powerful example of humble patriotism that he left behind as his enduring legacy,” said Heinrich.

“Staff Sergeant Hershey Miyamura’s story is as American as it is courageous, as New Mexican as it is honorable, as tough as it is inspiring. He volunteered to serve not only in World War II, but also in the Korean War, where he was imprisoned for 27 months after staying behind to protect his squad and allow them to escape from attack. We hope Corporal Miyamura’s memory continues to help and protect his fellow brothers and sisters in arms as he did while he served our country,” said Leger Fernández. 


In December 2022, Heinrich spoke on the Senate Floor to recognize Mr. Miyamura, who passed away on November 29, 2022.

In June 2015, both Heinrich and then-U.S. Representative Luján worked alongside Miyamura and the local veteran community to open up the VA’s Gallup Community-Based Outpatient Clinic in Gallup.

In June 2022, Heinrich and Luján, along with Leger Fernández and U.S. Representative Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), worked to halt the Asset and Infrastructure Review (AIR) Commission process that had put forward a proposal to close the Gallup CBOC and VA clinics serving rural communities across the nation, including in Las Vegas, Española, and Raton in New Mexico.

A second generation Japanese American, Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura first volunteered for the U.S. Army near the end of World War II. He did so at a time when many of his fellow Japanese Americans, including his future wife, were detained in American internment camps. He enlisted in the 442nd Infantry Regiment, which was composed of soldiers with Japanese ancestry and became one of the most decorated units in U.S. military history.

Following the start of the Korean War in 1950, the Army recalled Hershey, who had remained in the Reserves, back into active duty. During an overnight firefight from April 24–25, 1951, then-Corporal Miyamura covered the withdrawal of his entire company from advancing enemy forces as a machine gun squad leader. His selfless actions that night allowed all 16 of his men to withdraw safely before he was severely wounded and captured as a prisoner of war. Nearly two and a half years later, following his release and return to the United States, President Eisenhower presented him with the Congressional Medal of Honor in a ceremony at the White House.

After he received his honorable discharge from the Army, Hershey moved back home to New Mexico and opened up a service station along Route 66 in his hometown of Gallup. He remained active in his community for his entire life, advocating for his fellow veterans and inspiring young people with lectures on patriotism, on faith, and on service.

Hiroshi Miyamura High School in Gallup is also named in his honor.