Updated: December 3, 2022
President Joe Biden today, awarded the Medal of Honor to two U.S. Army soldiers from Hawai‘i, Staff Sergeant Edward N. Kaneshiro (posthumous) and Specialist Five Dennis M. Fujii.
They were selected for the Medal of Honor as the U.S. military continues to review the records of soldiers previously overlooked for awards due to bigotry.
“Few service members in our nation’s history have shown the courage Staff Sergeant Kaneshiro and Specialist Five Fujii did while at war, and their heroic actions deserve nothing less than our nation’s highest military decoration,” said Senator Schatz. “We thank Staff Sergeant Kaneshiro and Specialist Five Fujii and their families for their service to our country, and offer congratulations on their receiving the Medal of Honor.”
Specialist Five Fujii is from Hanapēpē, Kauaʻi; and Staff Sergeant Kaneshiro was from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.
Staff Sergeant Edward N. Kaneshiro received the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam on Dec. 1, 1966. After his platoon was attacked by North Vietnamese soldiers, he moved forward and fought the enemy soldiers, allowing his platoon to safely retreat. He continued serving in Vietnam until his death on March 6, 1967. Staff Sergeant Kaneshiro received the award posthumously.
Specialist Five Dennis M. Fujii received the Medal of Honor for actions during a rescue operation in Laos and Vietnam from February 18-22, 1971. After his helicopter was forced to crash land while evacuating wounded South Vietnamese soldiers, he stayed behind to administer first aid and fought enemy soldiers until he was airlifted to safety days later. Specialist Five Fujii received his award from President Biden during today’s White House ceremony.
The Medal of Honor is the United States’ highest military decoration, awarded by the president to members of the armed forces who distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their own lives above and beyond the call of duty. Staff Sergeant Kaneshiro and Specialist Five Fujii previously received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military decoration.