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Wartime deeds of heroism are brought to the forefront


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POSTED: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seven Hawaii soldiers will be inducted into the U.S. Army Museum's Gallery of Heroes at Fort DeRussy on Thursday. All are recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross. These are their stories of heroism:

Capt. Robert Caliboso

; Vietnam War, Company B, 1st Aviation Battalion, 1st Infantry Division.

March 5, 1966

Caliboso was the pilot of a UH-1D helicopter when the Viet Cong attacked a unit of the 28th Infantry at Lai Khe in Binh Duong Province. With U.S. forces running low on ammunition Caliboso and his crew volunteered to deliver 1,500 pounds of explosive cargo into the battle area.

On the approach to the landing zone, Caliboso's helicopter and crew were hit time and time again by heavy machine gun and small arms fire. After unloading all the needed ammunition, Caliboso' helicopter was shot down, killing all aboard.

Capt. Linus Chock

Vietnam War, 183d Aviation Company, 223d Combat Support Aviation Battalion.

Nov. 29, 1966

Chock was flying a single-engine reconnaissance O-1 L-19 aircraft escorting a Vietnamese Army convoy near Bao Loc when it came under heavy automatic weapons and recoilless rifle fire from a Viet Cong battalion, pinning down the convoy. Chock called for artillery fire and air strikes, but realized that more immediate action was necessary to save the convoy.

Although his aircraft was only armed with four small rockets normally used to mark targets, Chock chose to attack the Viet Cong to draw fire from the besieged convoy. Although Chock received intense ground fire, he destroyed the Viet Cong position on his second strike.

Despite damage to his plane, he started a third pass on another insurgent emplacement. His aircraft was raked by ground fire and Chock was killed.

Sgt. Douglas Factora

Vietnam War, Troop C, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment

May 13, 1968

Factora was an assault vehicle commander during an attack on a well-fortified enemy position in the vicinity of Cu Chi. Directing suppressive fire with his vehicle's machine gun and hurling hand grenades, he eliminated several of the hostile emplacements.

During the final stages of the assault, Factora was wounded and thrown from his vehicle when it was struck by an enemy anti-tank rocket. He remounted the carrier, rallied his crew members, and continued his assault, destroying several additional enemy positions.

Factora's vehicle was hit by an enemy anti-tank round, seriously wounding several of his crew members and causing the vehicle to burst into flames. Factora removed his disabled comrades from the burning carrier. He died en route to the hospital.

Pvt. Paulino Hernaez

Korean War, Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division

May 30, 1951

Hernaez was acting as scout of a platoon whose mission was to break through hostile defenses to aid two friendly squads that had been encircled by the enemy. As his platoon advanced up a slope, it was hit by fire from four hostile machine-guns and was pinned down.

Hernaez quickly made his way to the left flank of the enemy positions and, without hesitation, singlehandedly charged the hostile emplacements. Although hit almost immediately by the heavy enemy fire, he continued his charge until mortally wounded. His sudden attack distracted the enemy, enabling his comrades to renew their assault and complete the mission.

Staff Sgt. George Iida

World War II: Company G, 2d Battalion, 442d Regimental Combat Team

July 4, 1944

Iida's platoon was pinned down by machine gun fire near Castellina in Italy. Iida spotted two of the guns and took out one machine gun emplacement with his M-1 rifle. Iida then advanced alone and encountered an enemy rifleman and shot him. This action caused the enemy to open up with machine gun and machine pistol fire.

Locating one of these hostile positions, Iida crawled to within a few yards of it and throwing two hand grenades, destroyed the machine gun nest. Meanwhile, his platoon leader was seriously wounded and Iida was ordered to assume command of the platoon.

Observing that the men were still pinned down, Iida again advanced alone, located the hostile positions and heaved four more hand grenades into the emplacements, silencing the enemy weapons.

Staff Sgt. Edward Kaneshiro

Vietnam War, Company C, 1st Battalion, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division

Dec. 1, 1966

While serving as a squad leader in an infantry platoon during a search-and-destroy mission at Phu Huu 2 in Kimson Valley, Kaneshiro's unit came under fire from a heavily fortified village of North Vietnamese troops some of whom were concealed in a trench system.

The enemy's fire pinned down several squads from Kaneshiro's platoon. Kaneshiro deployed his men, then crawled forward to attack it alone. He took out a machine gun with a grenade.

Kaneshiro then jumped into the trench where it fronted the two pinned squads. He worked the ditch alone, destroying one enemy group with M-16 fire and two others with grenade fires.

1st Lt. John Kauhaihao

; Vietnam War, Company B, 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

September 1969

Kauhaihao was leading his platoon during a reconnaissance operation in Tay Ninh Province when they were attacked by North Vietnamese regulars occupying bunker fortifications. Kauhaihao directed his men to cover behind several large, bamboo covered dirt mounds. As the rest of the company moved up, they were caught in a crossfire from flanking enemy bunkers.

Seizing upon a momentary lull in the exchange of fire, Kauhaihao hacked an opening through the bamboo grove. In the next 15 minutes, Kauhaihao hurled more than 30 hand grenades through this opening at the enemy bunkers. In so doing, Kauhaihao drew enemy fire on himself again and again so that his men could sight enemy gunners and bring them under suppressive fire.

Kauhaihao directed the withdrawal of his battered point element. He dragged vital equipment to the rear and helped wounded soldiers to a position of safety. While rejoining his men to the company's main force, Kauhaihao sighted an enemy squad moving up on his tattered platoon. As he advanced to engage the approaching enemy, Kauhaihao was mortally wounded by enemy fire.

Source: U.S. Army Museum