2 Korean War soldiers to receive posthumous Medals of Honor
Pfc. Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano, left, and Pfc. Henry Svehla are being honored for their actions during the Korean War.
April 14th, 2011
11:22 AM ET

2 Korean War soldiers to receive posthumous Medals of Honor

Two U.S. soldiers will receive posthumous Medals of Honor for their actions during the Korean War, the White House announced Wednesday.

Relatives of Pfc. Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano and Pfc. Henry Svehla will receive the medals from President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony on May 2.

Kaho’ohanohano is being commended for his actions on September 1, 1951. As his unit, Company H, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division, fell back under superior enemy numbers near Chopra-Ri, Kaho’ohanohano ordered his squad to move to a more defensible position and provide covering fire for the retreating forces, according to a White House news release.

"He then gathered a supply of grenades and ammunition and returned to his original position to face the enemy alone - delivering deadly accurate fire into the ranks of the onrushing enemy. When his ammunition was depleted, he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat until he was killed. His heroic stand so inspired his comrades that they launched a counterattack that completely repulsed the enemy," the release reads.

“His last words were ‘I’ve got your back,' and he went out and did his job,” his younger brother David Kaho’ohanohano, 77, of Hawaii told Stars and Stripes. “Nowadays, you don’t have too many heroes, and he was one of the big heroes in our family.”

Kaho’ohanohano's sister, Elaine Kaho’ohanohano, and another brother, Eugene Kaho’ohanohano, will be at the White House ceremony.

Svehla is being honored for his actions on June 12, 1952, while he was a rifleman with Company F, 32d Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division near Pyongony, Korea.

"Coming under heavy fire and with his platoon's attack beginning to falter, Private First Class Svehla leapt to his feet and charged the enemy positions, firing his weapon and throwing grenades as he advanced. Disregarding his own safety, he destroyed enemy positions and inflicted heavy casualties. When an enemy grenade landed among a group of his comrades, without hesitation and undoubtedly aware of the extreme danger, he threw himself on the grenade" and was killed, according to the White House release.

Svehla's sisters, Dorothy Mathews and Sylvia Svehla, will receive the medal from Obama.

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Filed under: Medal of Honor • Military
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Svehla

    My uncle's body was never recovered due to the fact that he jumped on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers so your idea is really possible. We wish we had a body to lay to rest. God forgive your ignorance.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Svehla

      That was for Cesar...the tactless one

      April 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Svehla

      I meant to write is NOT possible but my utter disgust at all the nonsense written on beneath this article caused me to mistype. This article was not posted for you people to sit and argue about your right -wing/ left-wing/ history fact correction/ war is evil garbage. Think what you wish but please have some tact and consideration for the deceased and their families and keep it to yourselves. If you have an issue with war don't take it out on the brave men and women who fought and are still fighting. I agree with AONavyvet ....if you can't stand behind our troops, both past and present, you should be standing in front of them.

      April 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      I agree two men that cared more about there brother next to them then personal safety. If more people were like them, we wouldnt have half the problems we do as a nation.

      April 14, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joey

    Cesar you are 100% wrong and ignorant, Henry Svehla is my great uncle and he gave his life protecting people like you and it doesnt matter wheter the people who died protecting our country died today or 60 years ago they are all HEROS and YOU should respect every single one of them.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Svehla

    And i meant is NOT really possible....but because i was so disgusted i mistyped

    April 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    This is fantastic. I'm so glad that our government and whatever NGO's are out there are still searching for those who deserve their due recognition in our wars. Better late than never.

    Also, the Russians did fight in the Korean War – in the sky with their fancy MIGs. The USSR sent dozens of pilots to the bases along the Yangzte River in China. They would fly across, attack, and fly back into China where they were supposed to be safe, because our policy was to only engage in limited warfare in Korea – not to attack China's mainland in any way (there are fascinating books out there detailing the discussions of Truman's inner circle). That said, the use of nukes against China never left the table. They were to be used if we couldn't hold the 38th Parallel, which we fortunately were able to do. These are often forgotten, and little talked about facts, though there are many specials about it on the Military and History Channels these days. The information wasn't released for a long time though, for obvious reasons.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Yes, go ahead and give medals to all of the dead soldiers I'm sure they all deserve it, why only two, 60 years after, give to all of them, they are all heroes, what about the soldiers that handle communications, will they ever going to get a medal or their job is not as significant, and the guy that manipulates the catapult on an aircraft carrier, I don't remember any medals for these soldiers, and they are more important than the average soldier.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Cesar –

      I have to ask, are you being deliberately ignorant? Comparing the catapult operator of an aircraft carrier and the communications specialist with a servicemember going above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of his or her own life? You think they should receive equal valorous recognition?

      You think the catapult operator doesn't receive recognition commensurate with his performance? I assure you he does – perhaps a Navy Commendation Medal....and the communications specialist? Perhaps an Army Achievement medal. But the Medal of Honor???? Are you being obtuse on purpose?

      The Medal of Honor has been awarded a total of 3,469 times (not including the 2 mentioned in this article). It is an elite award. Unlike many awards, the medal of honor's standards have become MORE strict as time has passed. Almost half were awarded during the Civil War...and about 20% have been awarded posthumously, with a large number of the recipients having been killed doing what they were recgnized for.

      Please open your eyes and understand that the MOH is awarded for gallantry while in action against the enemy. The only "enemy" a communications specialist may face is a paper cut or faulty keyboard...hardly a risk of one's life....Please get real.

      April 14, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Americanbybirth

    I salute these mens honor and bravery – they gave the ultimate sacrifice for their buddies and comrades in arms as well as for our nation – we need to honor them not quabble over politic's. RIP men – I am proud of what you did for me and my family and our country.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cesar

      More right-wing bla-bla-bla. How old it gets!

      April 15, 2011 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. LarryDavidSandwich

    Only a stupid leftist @sshole would exploit the awarding of two Medals of Honor to push his political agenda. Fvck you dude.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. midnitejax

    I recently saw a program on the Korean war on the military channel. The Marines that were interviewed insisted that their CO led them out of the Chosen in total darkness, thru deadly mountain terrain, in a blizzard. They faced the Chinese that were preparing an ambush for them, but were caught by suprise in the darkness by the Marines who routed them. Those Marines also were instrumental in perfroming an organized retreat that makes us proud even in the darkest moments. They insited that their leader should have recieved the Medal of Honor for his actions, and I couldn't agree more. What our brave military servicemen and women do in the heat of combat goes much unnoticed, and unreported. They do this for their comrads in arms.It is the highest calling, with the ultimate sacriifice as the price they pay. Yet they do this without hesitation. God I am so proud of them. God bless them and grant them peace in their life now and after.

    April 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ed

    Philip –
    You are ignorant of the causes and aftermath of the Korean War. It was an invasion by Communist forces from the North bent on forcing freedom-seeking people in the South to accept regime control. It was backed by the Soviet Union and Communist China. The South was ill-equipped, and with UNITED NATIONS help (apparently you were unaware of the other nations who sent troops), the South was able to ultimately repulse the North. Today, 45 million South Koreans live in a very open and free society, while the North flounders at every economic and industrial effort. In the North, 25+ million people suffer under a dictatorship, are executed if they attempt to defect to another country, have 2-3 generations of their families imprisoned in gulags if the regime is dissatisfied with them....the list goes on. You think we shouldn't have got involved? You are an isolationist whose analagous behavior would be to sit and watch TV while your neighbor's home burns to the ground.

    April 14, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nobody

    What an embarrassment for our country. My father was a Korean war vet and is dead. These two men are dead. How could it possible take 60 years for some bureaucrat to decide these men deserved recognition for heroism during war. It is simply an embarrassment that our country took so long to salute the valor of these two men, I weep for their families.

    April 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • midnitejax

      i think the times were different in many ways. Racism played a part in some cases, arrogance and indifference also played a part. There are also cases of combat situations that were sealed away as "classified' missions not to be revealed.You have to understand the mood of the country post WW2, was not conducive to another possible world war. The atomic age had people frightened and rightfully so. The korean war was also known as the "Forgotten War". Let's be grateful that some recognition is being made to honor them. Their families have always known them as heroes.Now the entire nation will know their sacrifices. let's not dwell on the negatives, but move fowward with pride that we as a nation will honor them.

      April 14, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. doorgunner dan

    Press on, brave brothers...Press on!!
    r.i.p.

    April 14, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • midnitejax

      Amen!!

      April 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ed

    Cesar –

    I wonder....how does it feel to be on the sidelines, benefiting from the pain and toil of citizens of the greatest country in the history of the planet? You and your fellow citizens are like that player who sits on the bench – never having to launder a season-long unsoiled uniform, while his teammates sweat, bleed and toil their way to victory. And you ahve the gall to sit there and criticize how WE play the game. Criticism like that is neither warranted nor acknowledged. You are a walking joke...a groomsman..never the groom...insignificant...no one will ever remember your name...for any significant accomplishment....how proud you must feel...not.

    April 14, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Cesar

    Hello Ed: There is an ignorant SOB that enjoys using my name to say dumb stuff. He lacks respect for this country and our servicemen. I'm sorry for this pig's comments, but I have no control over this loser troll. Obviously, his parents made him/her by accident.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ajax

    I am humbled and proud to have learned of these men and what they did. We can talk all day about the right or wrong of this or that conflict, but at the end of the day, they gave their lives for their buddies and that is beyond war and politics.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cesar

    You can't handle the truth!!!! I gave the order for code red!!

    April 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMMariner

      Cesar:
      You sir are a nasty little troll. The Medal of Honor is awarded for heroism "Above and beyond" what is expected in daily service. My family has earned this medal three times, and I have nothing but respect for ANYONE who earns this medal- Please limit your comments to things you might know something about, Hmmm? Jay Crandall

      April 16, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
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