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About Terry Teruo Kawamura, CPL
Terry Teruo Kawamura (December 10, 1949 – March 20, 1969) was a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.
Kawamura joined the Army from Oahu, Hawaii, and by March 20, 1969, was serving as a Corporal in the 173rd Engineer Company, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On that day, at Camp Radcliff, Republic of Vietnam, Kawamura smothered an enemy-thrown explosive with his body, sacrificing his life to protect those around him.
Kawamura, aged 19 at his death, was buried in Mililani Memorial Park, Mililani Town, Hawaii.
Medal of Honor citation
Corporal Kawamura's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Cpl. Kawamura distinguished himself by heroic action while serving as a member of the 173d Engineer Company. An enemy demolition team infiltrated the unit quarters area and opened fire with automatic weapons. Disregarding the intense fire, Cpl. Kawamura ran for his weapon. At that moment, a violent explosion tore a hole in the roof and stunned the occupants of the room. Cpl. Kawamura jumped to his feet, secured his weapon and, as he ran toward the door to return the enemy fire, he observed that another explosive charge had been thrown through the hole in the roof to the floor. He immediately realized that 2 stunned fellow soldiers were in great peril and shouted a warning. Although in a position to escape, Cpl. Kawamura unhesitatingly wheeled around and threw himself on the charge. In completely disregarding his safety, Cpl. Kawamura prevented serious injury or death to several members of his unit. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Cpl. Kawamura are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
The gate facing east connecting Wheeler Army Airfield with Mililani is named in honor of CPL Kawamura.
Terry Kawamura, CPL's Timeline
December 10, 1949
Wahiawa, HI, USA
March 20, 1969
Camp Radcliff, Republic of Vietnam
Mililani Memorial Park, Mililani Town, Hawaii