Voice of OC: Series on Veterans Memorial Plaques at Heroes Hall

Heroes Hall - Through the Eyes of Veterans at the OC Fair & Event Center

Voice of OC has published 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.

Twenty-eight of these soldiers were memorialized on plaques that until 2016 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.

In 2016 the plaques were taken from the Civic Center.  They were renovated and installed at Heroes Hall the county’s new veterans museum at the Orange County Fairgrounds.

Voice of OC published the text of the plaques in part to find out more about these heroes and their lives in Orange County. A short video of each of the 11 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients has been included to honor these service men. 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.

Four men sacrificed their lives in the line of duty: Congressional Medal of Honor – Navy Petty Officer Michael A. Monsoor (Iraq) and Marine Lance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley (Vietnam), Distinguished Service Cross – Staff Sergeant Kazuo Masuda (WWII) and Navy Cross – Lance Corporal Donald J. Hogan (Afghanistan).

In total, there are 32 plaques recognizing sacrifice from World War I through today’s war against terrorism. There are 11 recognized with the Congressional Medal of Honor, six honored with the Distinguished Service Cross, another 13 recognized with a Navy Cross, one with an Air Force Cross and the 84 servicemen that lost their lives in the 1965 air crash over Loma Ridge.

Click on each name to view their profile.

AWARD OF VALOR MILITARY BRANCH WAR
Captain Nelson M. Holderman Medal of Honor Army World War I
1st Lieutenant Kenneth A. Walsh Medal of Honor Marine Corp World War II
Staff Sergeant Walter D. Ehlers Medal of Honor Army World War II
Sergeant Chris Carr Medal of Honor Army World War II
Lieutenant (J. G.) Donald A. Gary Medal of Honor Navy World War II
Private First Class Clarence B. Craft Medal of Honor Army World War II
Corporal Tibor Rubin Medal of Honor Army Korean War
Captain William E. Barber Medal of Honor Marine Corp Korean War
*Lance Corporal Kenneth L. Worley Medal of Honor Marine Corp Vietnam War
SP4 John P. Baca Medal of Honor Army Vietnam War
*Petty OfficerMichael A. Monsoor Medal of Honor Navy Iraqi War
Sgt. Scott C. Montoya Navy Cross Marine Corp War of Terroism
Colonel Michael M. Kurth Navy Cross Marine Corp Persian Gulf
LTC. Richard D. Wandke Distinguished Service Cross Army Vietnam War
Col. Eugene R. Brady Navy Cross Marine Corp Vietnam War
CPL Ernesto Gomez Navy Cross Marine Corp Vietnam War
Col. Jacksel M. Broughton Air Force Cross Air Force Vietnam War
Colonel William W Eldridge, Jr. Navy Cross Marine Corp World War II
2LT Louis A. Staff Distinguished Service Cross Army World War II
CMDR. Willis E. (Bill) Hardy Navy Cross Navy World War II
LTC Paul F. McLellan Navy Cross Marine Corp World War II
Vernon C. Jordan Distinguished Service Cross Army World War II
Major Sydney Goldstein Distinguished Service Cross Army World War II
LTJG. Fred Leroy Dungan Navy Cross Navy World War II
Lieutenant Donald Lewis Navy Cross Navy World War II
CMDR. Roger C. Crow Navy Cross Navy World War II
Captain Leon M. Williamson Navy Cross Marine Corp World War II
Captain Robert E Thomas, Jr Navy Cross Navy World War II
2ND LT Vincent Okamoto Distinguished Service Cross Army Vietnam
*SSGT Kazuo Masuda Distinguished Service Cross Army WWII
*Lance CPL Donald J. Hogan Navy Cross Marine Corp Afghanistan
*1965 Air Disaster Various Various Vietnam

*Killed in Action

You can contact Theresa Sears at tsears@voiceofoc.org