Hawaii veteran posthumously awarded Medal of Honor following family efforts
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Staff Sergeant Edward Kaneshiro’s valiant death in Vietnam prevented him from personally receiving the Medal of Honor here at the White House Tuesday, July 5. Instead, President Joe Biden gave the Medal of Honor to Edward’s son John Kaneshiro.
“I’m very proud to accept the Medal of Honor on behalf of my family, and just say ‘yes dad this is for you,’” Kaneshiro said.
Edward Kaneshiro single-handedly took on multiple fortified enemy squads during a battle in Vietnam. He crawled alone toward an enemy entrenchment that was firing on his men. Kaneshiro ultimately entered the trench alone and cleared the enemy with a combination of grenades and his rifle.
Kaneshiro was killed by gunfire during the war, leaving a wife and five children who mostly knew their father through stories.
“Our family would always say he was very quiet and humble,” daughter Naomi Viloria said. “And he didn’t really like to have that attention on him for anything.”
Kaneshiro’s family began a letter campaign pushing for the Medal of Honor in the early 1990s.
Maj. Gen. John Richardson said the fact that the award is sixty years in the making shows how difficult it is to earn.
“It only does go those who are truly deserving,” Richardson said. “And therefore, it is not something that is given out trivially or for insignificant events. It is given out for extraordinary heroism.”
Viloria said, after decades of pushing, and just weeks after her mother passed away, she received an unexpected call from President Joe Biden with the news.
“I was so happy,” Viloria said. “I was shaking. I was just shaking. To finally hear the great news that our father was being recognized.”
President Biden also awarded Hawaiian veteran Dennis Fujii with a Medal of Honor for bravery in the Vietnam War.
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