Two Korean War vets receive Medal of Honor posthumously

WASHINGTON Mon May 2, 2011 3:35pm EDT

1 of 3. President Barack Obama holds the hand of Private First Class Henry Svehla's sister, Dorothy Mathew, during a ceremony held to posthumously award Private First Class Anthony T. Kaho'ohanohano, U.S. Army, and Private First Class Henry Svehla, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry at the White House, in Washington May 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest declaration of military valor, to two Korean War veterans on Monday.

Family members of Army Private First Class Anthony Kaho'ohanohano and Private First Class Henry Svehla accepted the awards on the soldiers' behalf over 50 years after their deaths.

Kaho'ohanohano, a native Hawaiian, held off enemy soldiers with his firearm, grenades and eventually his hands on September 1, 1951, allowing his comrades to regroup and repulse the attack.

After his platoon appeared to be losing in a fight on June 12, 1952, Svehla, from New Jersey, charged enemy positions, firing and throwing grenades. Despite being wounded, he carried on. Finally, he threw himself on a grenade to save the lives of fellow soldiers.

Speaking at the White House ceremony the day after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden, Obama said it was a good day for the country and that America had kept its commitment to see that justice was done.

"As Commander-and-Chief, I could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform," Obama said.

"That is true now in today's wars. It has been true in all of our wars and it is why we are here today."

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Edited by Jerry Norton)

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