K I A March 20, 1969

Cpl Terry T. Kawamura, a member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam was in his barracks with other members of his unit when an enemy demolition team infiltrated the barracks roof and opened fire with automatic weapons. Kawamura ran for his weapon as an explosion tore a hole in the barracks roof, stunning the other members of his unit in the room.  Running towards the door to return the enemy's fire, he saw a satchel charge sail through the hole in the roof. Although in a position to save himself, Kawamura threw himself on the charge, saving others in the room from serious injury or death.

Kawamura was killed on March 20, 1969. He was 19 years old. He had been in Vietnam eight months when the incident occurred. From Wahiawa, Oahu, Hawaii, Kawamura attended Leilehua High School and enlisted in the Army in September, 1967. His father, also in the Army, is M/Sgt. Harry K. Kawamura. He was on hand at the private White House ceremony with Kawamura's mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Macao Gushi. The Medal of Honor was presented to the parents by President Richard Nixon.

During the visit to Washington D.C., Kawamura's mother placed eight dozen red anthuriums on the graves of John F. Kennedy and his brother, Robert, both childhood idols of the Medal of Honor winner.

The public is prohibited from placing flowers on the Kennedy graves at Arlington, but when it was explained that the flowers were from Hawaii in honor of a slain Medal of Honor awardee, the rules were overlooked.

Courtesy of "50th Anniversary Korean War" booklet, April 28-30, 2000