WASHINGTON, April 13, 2011 — President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to two soldiers for conspicuous gallantry nearly 60 years ago during the Korean War, White House officials announced today.
Officials said Army Pfcs. Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano and Henry Svehlawill will receive the nation’s highest award for valor in combat posthumously in a May 2 White House ceremony.
On Sept. 1, 1951, Kaho’ohanohano was in charge of a machine-gun squad with Company H, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. When faced by an enemy with overwhelming numbers, he ordered his squad to take up more defensible positions and provide covering fire for the withdrawing friendly force.
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 stand inspired his comrades to launch a counterattack that completely repulsed the enemy, a White House statement said.
Kaho’ohanohano’s sister, Elaine Kaho’ohanohano, and brother, Eugene Kaho’ohanohano, will join the president at the Medal of Honor ceremony.
Svehla was a rifleman with Company F, 32d Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. On June 12, 1952, his platoon came under heavy fire. With his platoon’s attack beginning to falter, Svehla 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. He died when he threw himself on an enemy grenade that landed among a group of his comrades.
His sisters, Dorothy Mathews and Sylvia Svehla, will join Obama at the ceremony.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)