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.
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
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