For a long time now an attempt to cause the MOH to be awarded to Colonel John J. Dunn has been undertaken by relatives and some of the Tiger Survivors. This project has taken a large step in the past few days and the paperwork is on its way to Washington.
Colonel Dunn, then a Major, was captured after being shot two times in the jaw and face area. Despite his wounds he took over command of the group from the 24th Infantry Division (mostly). Such action would normally mean death at some point. The North Koreans were killing a lot of POWs in those days. ( Much like today except they are killing their own people) This group of POWs came to be known as the Tiger Survivors. 58 % perished in captivity. 81 multi national civilians were with us as well.
All through this terrible ordeal Major Dunn was held responsible for the entire group. He organized the group into sections as allowed by the North Korans. This was an important part of our survival. Many many other things happened along the way as you can well imagine.
The most outstanding incident regarding Major Dunn was when some Chinese and Russian Army officers came to our camp in the spring of 1951. They had a meeting with Major Dunn and Captain Boysen (Medical Doctor). Ironically the Tiger was not invited. Apparently news of the Tiger atrocities had reached the outside world and these Russians and Chinese officers were investigating this. (in my humble opinion).
During this meeting ( remember 220 of us had died the previous winter at Hanjang-nee including an American Bishop Patrick Byrne), Major Dunn took a chance thinking he could stop the killings and deaths among our group, and told them about the activities of the Tiger. Major Dunn actually thought this would cause his death but instead the Tiger was actually relieved of his command and departed with all the NK guards and officers who were considered the bad ones. In the fall of 1951 we were turned over to the Chinese Army POW camps at Chang Song North Korea. The officers were taken to the officers camp. Only 10 more of us died under Chinese control and the cause of death was brought with them from the Koreans.
Major Dunn was a tough man and used to box bare knuckle to get pocket money. He Joined the Army as an enlisted man and later became an officer. WW 11 found him in Burma-China with the Merrills Maurauders (spell) where he became a Company Commander and was awarded the DSC medal when he went out into the front of his men and brought another officer who had been wounded, to safety. This group was actually the beginning of the Army Rangers and Special Forces we know of today.
Hope you can pass this on to interested people. I hope this will be approved in my lifetime and I will let you when and if it happen.
NOTE: General Dean our CG who took the 24th to Korea also has been awarded a MOH. The division was surrounded at Taejon and at that time the General got a boozoka and went hunting Russian T-34 battle tanks. He should have been leading his division out of that trap. He was captured and held in isolation until release. I have never figured out why he was awarded that medal. I talked to the general when he was at Berkley and he told me he did not want it but it was forced upon him.
Thank all of you for your service. Life was hard then with little reward except for that proud feeling you have down deep in your heart knowing you did your very best. I was never an eagle but I did get to be with those who were. What they did is known only to God.
Shorty the Tiger
In June 2015, the VA Clinic in Gallup, New Mexico was dedicated the “Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura VA Clinic” in honor of Medal of Honor Recipient and Former Korean War Ex-POW, Hiroshi “Hershey” Miyamura.
Photos provided by Kenneth Riege
Local Veteran to receive Purple Heart 65 years after being wounded in Korea. Celebrate this amazing event at the Jacksonville Senior Center, Sweet Air Road Phoenix, MD, June 22, 2015 at 1:00 PM . Award will be made by Rear Admiral Dale Horan.
Charles B. Elder
Born July 27,1927
I was raised on the Elder Farm on Hydes Road, Baltimore County, Maryland. The farm was apples, peaches and poultry.
Education: Attended a 2 room school on Manor Road until Carroll Manor School opened in 1935. Started in 3rd grade and went to Towson High School in 1941 and graduated in 1945. Attended Baltimore Engineering Institute for 3 years obtaining a certificate. Hopkins McCoy College 1947 to 1948. Worked at home on farm.
Enlisted in 1949 at the Towson Armory. Inducted into the service at Fort Meade. Completed basic training at Camp Picket, VA. After a 30 day leave I had to report to Fort Ord, CA. for deployment overseas. My records were lost so I was sent to Camp Stoneman, CA for a second basic training. In late 1950 returned to San Francisco, CA for shipment to Japan. We arrived in Southern Japan in the town of Sasebo. Went by boat to Pusan in southern Korea. Transported by train to front lines in April. Captured by North Koreans on Heartbreak Ridge, North of the 38th Parallel. I was wounded the day I was captured. I walked for a while until unable to walk any further. I was put on an ox cart as we zig zag back and forth across Korea to the prison camp. We marched for 25-30 days before reaching the prison camp. Operated on by North Koreans on the march in hut using kitchen utensils and holding down my arms and legs with no anesthetic. There were 8 to 10 on single ox cart during March. I was the only one to survive March to the prison camp. Chic Chikami who lives in Winter Park, Florida was my platoon leader said I smelled horrible, my hip was full of infection and maggots.
To pass the time I was forced to attend propaganda classes. Able ones were sent on wood detail, carrying wood for the Chinese to keep warm. We were turned over to the Chinese when we got to prison camp. It was cold in winter – 40 to 50 below zero. Clothing was cotton padded; huts were heated by fires with thatched roofs. Attempted escapes, but they found the stuff we were hiding. Put in solitary confinement. The camp was on the Yalu River which is the border between China and North Korea.
Armistice was signed July 27,1953. (My birthday).Repatriated through Freedom Village on the 38th Parallel. Discharged at Fort Meade. Ran out of medals and attempts to receive PH unsuccessful over the years until now. Long time friend and fellow POW Ray Unger, died earlier this year. He was determined to get PH for me.
Following discharge I worked on the family farm and took courses at Baltimore Engineering. Worked at Westinghouse 1955-1957, AAI Payroll Accountant 1957 until retiring in 1991.
Membership – Jacksonville Senior Center, Trinity Church Long Green, Jr. Warden, Vestry member, Little People of America 1971-2012. Received Distinguished Service Award, XPOW of Korea Inc. 1989-2014, Disbanded 2014, Johns Hopkins Club since 1984, Service Organizations – VFW, DAV and American Legion.
On the DPAA (Defense Prisoner of War/MIA Accounting Agency, they have lists of all accounted for and unaccounted for MIA from the Korean War. Visit the page.
This is a program in 12 high schools in Arizona where high school students interview veterans then write and publish the veterans stories in their annual book. It is an amazing program that connects students with veterans and also gives an opportunity to tell their story to our young generation of Americans. There are many schools in Phoenix and Tucson who participate in this program.
Here’s their website:
If any of the Korean Ex-POWs Association members are interested in being interviewed, please have them contact the founder, Barbara Hatch at email@example.com.