WASHINGTON, May 3, 2011 — The nation’s two most recent Medal of Honor recipients were added to the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes roster today in what Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said is a tribute to their enduring valor.
The Hall of Heroes induction followed yesterday’s White House ceremony in which President Barack Obama presented the nation’s highest military honor posthumously to Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano and Henry Svehla, both Army privates 1st class when they were killed in action in the Korean War.
Kaho’ohanohano was honored for his actions of Sept. 1, 1951 when he led a machine-gun squadron with the 7th Infantry Division’s 17th Infantry Regiment, Company H.
“Kaho’ohanohano will always be remembered for the lone assault that saved his comrades, and then inspired their counter attack,” Lynn told the gathering of families, friends and dignitaries. “His last words — reportedly, ‘I’ve got your back,’ — are a creed our soldiers carry with them today whenever they go in harm’s way.”
Svehla’s medal was for his actions of June 12, 1952 when he served in Korea as a rifleman with the 7th Infantry Division’s 32d Infantry Regiment, Company F.
“Svehla, similarly, put the security of his fellow troops above his own life,” Lynn said. “His courageous counter attack after being fired upon during a reconnaissance mission saved his unit from defeat. And throwing himself on a grenade, he gave the last full measure of his devotion to his men, and to the country he swore to defend.”
With their names now inscribed on a wall, the legacies of Kaho’ohanohano and Svehla are enshrined in the Hall of Heroes, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said.
“The courage, resilience and tenacity of Anthony and Henry and those they fought alongside and protected every day in one of our more difficult wars, contributed immeasurably to our unmatched legacy as an army, as a force that stands against tyranny, protects the weak, and champions freedom,” Dempsey said. Army Undersecretary Joseph Westphal said the soldiers’ actions continue to make contributions today.
“The actions of Kaho’ohanohano and Svehla,” he said, “are a timeless inspiration for soldiers who are, once again, fighting America’s enemies in faraway places, and under very challenging conditions.”
Dempsey presented Hall of Heroes induction plaques to family members Eugene Kaho’ohanohano and Sylvia Svehla at the end of the induction ceremony.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)