WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) introduced legislation to rename the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Gallup, New Mexico, as the Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura VA Clinic in honor of the late Medal of Honor recipient and World War II and Korean War veteran Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura.
“Renaming the VA Clinic in Gallup is one important way we can continue to honor Hershey Miyamura’s courageous actions and brave sacrifices during the Korean War and his lifelong commitment to this community. I will never forget the interactions I was so lucky to have with Hershey over the years. I was especially proud to join him nearly a decade ago to cut the ribbon and open this clinic that provides vital health care services to veterans from Gallup and surrounding areas. 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.
"As a Korean War Medal of Honor Recipient, a father, mentor, and friend, Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura's legacy represents the very best of New Mexico,” said Luján. “From Hershey's time serving our country, to working in the community of Gallup, his work ethic and selflessness was admired by all who were fortunate enough to know him. I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce this bill with Senator Heinrich to honor his legacy by renaming Gallup’s VA Hospital as a small token of gratitude for the true American hero he was.”
Hiroshi Miyamura's children, Mike and Pat Miyamura, and Kelly Hildahl, are supportive of the legislation. They said, “We thank Senators Heinrich and Luján for introducing legislation to rename Gallup’s VA Clinic after our father Hiroshi ‘Hershey’ Miyamura. It would be an honor and a privilege to have his name associated with such a wonderful and needed service for our military veterans in Gallup and surrounding areas.”
“I am so extremely honored to be asked to make a statement regarding the renaming of the Gallup CBOC Clinic after my dear friend and fellow Korean War Veterans Association Member Mr. Hiroshi ‘Hershey’ Miyamura. Hershey's main mission was to ensure his fellow veterans received the care they needed and earned and he would be so extremely proud and honored knowing that the Gallup Veterans Clinic will now bear his name and that this facility will continue his legacy and mission while providing the needed medical care to his fellow veterans. I am also very thankful for all the hard work of US Senator Heinrich's office and staff for all they have done to ensure the Gallup CBOC stayed open and to bestow this honor upon our dear friend Hershey,” said Ken Riege, friend of Mr. Miyamura, U.S. Air Force veteran, and member of the Korean War Veterans Association.
Senators Heinrich and Luján both spoke on the Senate Floor in December to recognize Mr. Miyamura, who passed away on November 29, 2022.
In 2015, both Senator 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.
Last year, Senators Heinrich and Luján, along with U.S. Representatives Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.) and Melanie Stansbury (D-N.M.), 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.