medal of honor stars graphic
MEDAL OF HONOR:
Staff Sergeant Edward Kaneshiro
Staff Sergeant Edward Kaneshiro

MEDAL OF HONOR

Vietnam War

Staff Sergeant Edward Kaneshiro

hometown

Honolulu, Hawaii

Enlistment date

April 2, 1959

Military Occupation (MOS)

Infantryman (11B)

Unit

1st Cavalry Division

Deployments

Vietnam War (1966)

Edward Kaneshiro was born in Honolulu, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii in 1928. The eighth child of 16 siblings, he resided in Hawaii and grew up working on the family farm. Kaneshiro graduated from Leilehua High School in June 1946, then worked for several civilian employers until his enlistment in the Army on April 2, 1959. Upon completion of advanced individual training as an infantryman, he was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. He served in non-combat overseas tours in Okinawa, Japan and South Korea, and was then assigned Troop C, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He deployed to Vietnam as a squad leader within his platoon.

Tom (2), Naomi (5), Doris (3) pose with their father, Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro at Tacoma, Washington in 1964. (Photo provided by Naomi Kaneshiro)

Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro poses for a photo in 1947. (Photo provided by Naomi Kaneshiro)

Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro poses for a photo with his wife, Mitsuko Kaneshiro. Photographer unknown. (Photo provided by the Kaneshiro family)

During a mission in Kim Son Valley, Vietnam, in December 1966, his unit came under fire from North Vietnamese troops. Kaneshiro crawled forward to attack, using six grenades and an M16 rifle. This brave and selfless act not only saved the lives of U.S. Soldiers, but also resulted in success for the next mission of the Army forces. Kaneshiro was later killed in action on March 6, 1967, as a result of a hostile gunshot wound.

Kaneshiro left behind his wife Mitsuko and their five children. She began a life of tremendous difficulty raising five children alone, the oldest daughter at 10 and the youngest son at only four months. Mitsuko passed away on April 10, 2022, at the age of 90.

Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro poses for a photo at Yokohama Port, Japan in 1959. (Photo provided by Naomi Kaneshiro)

U.S. Army Bell UH-1D helicopters airlift members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment from the Filhol Rubber Plantation area to a new staging area, during Operation "Wahiawa," a search and destroy mission conducted by the 25th Infantry Division, northeast of Cu Chi, Vietnam. (U.S. Army photo)

U.S. Army Bell UH-1D helicopters airlift members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment from the Filhol Rubber Plantation area to a new staging area, during Operation "Wahiawa," a search and destroy mission conducted by the 25th Infantry Division, northeast of Cu Chi, Vietnam. (U.S. Army photo)

THE BATTLE

Dec. 1, 1966 | Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam

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THE 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION

Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an infantry squad leader with Troop C, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, near Phu Huu 2, Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam, on Dec. 1, 1966.

Not knowing that the village was heavily fortified with a fully bunkered, concealed trench system and garrisoned by North Vietnamese troops in vastly superior force, two squads of the platoon had deployed to its center, while Kaneshiro and his squad scouted the more open terrain to the east of the village.

Sensing the opportunity to ambush the infantry squads, the entrenched enemy force erupted with machine gun and small-arms fire against the two squads at the center of the village, killing the platoon leader and the point man, wounding four others, and successfully suppressing the surviving Soldiers.

Kaneshiro moved with his men to the sounds of the fire. Swiftly reading the situation, and seeing that fire from the big trench had to be stopped if anyone was to survive, he first deployed his men to cover, then crawled forward to attack the enemy force alone. He began by throwing grenades from the parapet while flattened to the ground, successfully throwing the first grenade through the aperture of the bunker, eliminating the machine gunner who had opened the action.

That done, with five grenades remaining and his rifle to sustain his assault, Kaneshiro jumped into the trench to sweep its length where it fronted the two pinned squads. Over a distance of about 35 meters, he worked the ditch alone, destroying one enemy group with rifle fire and two others with grenades.

Kaneshiro’s actions enabled the orderly extrication and reorganization of the platoon, which was the beginning of a larger action that ultimately led to a successful withdrawal from the village. His conspicuous gallantry and uncommon heroism under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army. 

Mr. John Kaneshiro, the son of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro, receives the Medal of
Honor from the president Joseph R. Biden in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., July
5, 2022. Mr. Kaneshiro is receiving the award on behalf of his father’s acts of gallantry and intrepidity
above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Infantry Squad Leader with Troop C, 1st Squadron,
9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division near Phu Huu 2, Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam. On July 25, 1963,
Kaneshiro was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. On July 21, 2020, the Secretary of
the Army recommended the upgrade of his award to the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt.
Henry Villarama)

Show Caption +

Mr. John Kaneshiro, the son of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro, receives the Medal of Honor from the president Joseph R. Biden in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 5, 2022. Mr. Kaneshiro is receiving the award on behalf of his father’s acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Infantry Squad Leader with Troop C, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division near Phu Huu 2, Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam. On July 25, 1963, Kaneshiro was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. On July 21, 2020, the Secretary of the Army recommended the upgrade of his award to the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Mr. John Kaneshiro, the son of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro, receives the Medal of
Honor from the president Joseph R. Biden in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., July
5, 2022. Mr. Kaneshiro is receiving the award on behalf of his father’s acts of gallantry and intrepidity
above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Infantry Squad Leader with Troop C, 1st Squadron,
9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division near Phu Huu 2, Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam. On July 25, 1963,
Kaneshiro was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. On July 21, 2020, the Secretary of
the Army recommended the upgrade of his award to the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt.
Henry Villarama)

Show Caption +

Mr. John Kaneshiro, the son of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro, receives the Medal of Honor from the president Joseph R. Biden in the East Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., July 5, 2022. Mr. Kaneshiro is receiving the award on behalf of his father’s acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Infantry Squad Leader with Troop C, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division near Phu Huu 2, Kim Son Valley, Republic of Vietnam. On July 25, 1963, Kaneshiro was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. On July 21, 2020, the Secretary of the Army recommended the upgrade of his award to the Medal of Honor. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Former Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro is inducted to the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes at Conmy Hall on Joint
Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, July 6, 2022. The inductees included retired Maj. John
Duffy, former Spc. 5 Dwight Birdwell, Spc. 5 Dennis Fujii, Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro, Col. Ralph Puckett
and Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Show Caption +

Former Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro is inducted to the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes at Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, July 6, 2022. The inductees included retired Maj. John Duffy, former Spc. 5 Dwight Birdwell, Spc. 5 Dennis Fujii, Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro, Col. Ralph Puckett and Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III presents the Medal of Honor flag to Ashley Aczon-Skjelstad, the
daughter of the late Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, in a ceremony
where Kaneshiro and five other Medal of Honor recipients were inducted into the Pentagon Hall of
Heroes, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., July 6, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Show Caption +

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III presents the Medal of Honor flag to Ashley Aczon-Skjelstad, the daughter of the late Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, in a ceremony where Kaneshiro and five other Medal of Honor recipients were inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., July 6, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Mrs. Naomi Viloria and Mrs. Ashley Aczon-Skjelstad, family members of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. and Medal of Honor recipient Edward Kaneshiro, delivers remarks during Kaneshiro's induction to the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes at Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, July 6, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Show Caption +

Mrs. Naomi Viloria and Mrs. Ashley Aczon-Skjelstad, family members of former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. and Medal of Honor recipient Edward Kaneshiro, delivers remarks during Kaneshiro's induction to the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes at Conmy Hall on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington, Virginia, July 6, 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Henry Villarama)

Mrs. Ashley Aczon-Skjelstad, the daughter of the late Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, unveils the plaque to be hung in Pentagon Hall of Heroes, after Kaneshiro and five other Medal of Honor recipients were inducted in the Hall of Heroes, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., July 6, 2022. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza)

Show Caption +

Mrs. Ashley Aczon-Skjelstad, the daughter of the late Medal of Honor recipient Army Staff Sgt. Edward N. Kaneshiro, unveils the plaque to be hung in Pentagon Hall of Heroes, after Kaneshiro and five other Medal of Honor recipients were inducted in the Hall of Heroes, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., July 6, 2022. (DoD photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Alexander Kubitza)

“With five grenades remaining and his rifle to sustain the assault, Staff Sergeant Kaneshiro jumped into the trench to sweep its length where he fronted the two pinned squads. Over the distance of about 35 meters, he worked the ditch alone, destroying one enemy group with rifle fire and two others with grenades.”

President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

White House Ceremony, July 5, 2022