Each day from now until Veterans Day, Voice of OC will publish a series in our opinion section that showcases Orange County veterans who received the highest honors the U.S. military bestows on soldiers for their heroic actions in combat.

These soldiers have been memorialized on plaques that until this year were featured along the “Walk of Honor” at the county Civic Center in downtown Santa Ana.

In recent years, the area around the Walk of Honor turned into a makeshift homeless encampment and the plaques became seriously damaged.

Last year, Orange County’s fair board voted to take the plaques from the Civic Center, renovate them and install them in front of the county’s new veterans museum. The plaques will be unveiled at the fairgrounds on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

Voice of OC is publishing the text of the plaques in part to find out more about these heroes and their lives in Orange County. We encourage readers to use the comment field under each story to help round out the biographies of these remarkable local residents.

The plaques present a gripping narrative of individual efforts to defend our nation.

Two men awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor – Navy Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor (Iraq) and Marine Lance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley (Vietnam) sacrificed their lives.

In total, there are 28 plaques recognizing sacrifice from World War I through today’s war against terrorism. There are 11 recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor, four honored with the Distinguished Service Cross, another 12 recognized with a Navy Cross and one with an Air Force Cross.

Captain Nelson M. HoldermanMedal of HonorArmyWWI
1st Lieutenant Kenneth A. WalshMedal of HonorMarine CorpsWWII
Staff Sergeant Walter D. EhlersMedal of HonorArmyWWII
Sergeant Chris CarrMedal of HonorArmyWWII
Lieutenant (J. G.) Donald A. GaryMedal of HonorNavyWWII
Private First Class Clarence B. CraftMedal of HonorArmyWWII
Corporal Tibor RubinMedal of HonorArmyKorean
Captain William E. BarberMedal of HonorMarine CorpsKorean
Lance Corporal Kenneth L. WorleyMedal of HonorMarine CorpsVietnam
SP4 John P. BacaMedal of HonorArmyVietnam
Petty Officer Michael A. MonsoorMedal of HonorNavyIraqi War
Sgt. Scott C. MontoyaNavy CrossMarine CorpsWar on Terrorism
Colonel Michael M. KurthNavy CrossMarine CorpsPersian Gulf
LTC. Richard D. WandkeDistinguished Service CrossArmyVietnam
Col. Eugene R. BradyNavy CrossMarine CorpsVietnam
CPL Ernesto GomezNavy CrossMarine CorpsVietnam
Col. Jacksel M. BroughtonAir Force CrossAir ForceVietnam
Colonel William W Eldridge, Jr.Navy CrossMarine CorpsWWII
2LT Louis A. StaffDistinguished Service CrossArmyWWII
CMDR. Willis E. (Bill) HardyNavy CrossNavyWWII
LTC Paul F. McLellanNavy CrossMarine CorpsWWII
Captain Vernon C. JordanDistinguished Service CrossArmyWWII
Major Sidney GoldsteinDistinguished Service CrossArmyWWII
LTJG. Fred Leroy DunganNavy CrossNavyWWII
Lieutenant Donald LewisNavy CrossNavyWWII
CMDR. Roger C. CrowNavy CrossNavyWWII
Captain Leon M. WilliamsonNavy CrossMarine CorpsWWII
Captain Robert E. Thomas, JrNavy CrossNavyWWII

Since you've made it this far,

You are obviously connected to your community and value good journalism. As an independent and local nonprofit, our news is accessible to all, regardless of what they can afford. Our newsroom centers on Orange County’s civic and cultural life, not ad-driven clickbait. Our reporters hold powerful interests accountable to protect your quality of life. But it’s not free to produce. It depends on donors like you.

Join the conversation: In lieu of comments, we encourage readers to engage with us across a variety of mediums. Join our Facebook discussion. Message us via our website or staff page. Send us a secure tip. Share your thoughts in a community opinion piece.