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.

Captain Nelson M. HoldermanMedal of HonorArmyWorld War I
1st Lieutenant Kenneth A. WalshMedal of HonorMarine CorpWorld War II
Staff Sergeant Walter D. EhlersMedal of HonorArmyWorld War II
Sergeant Chris CarrMedal of HonorArmyWorld War II
Lieutenant (J. G.) Donald A. GaryMedal of HonorNavyWorld War II
Private First Class Clarence B. CraftMedal of HonorArmyWorld War II
Corporal Tibor RubinMedal of HonorArmyKorean War
Captain William E. BarberMedal of HonorMarine CorpKorean War
*Lance Corporal Kenneth L. WorleyMedal of HonorMarine CorpVietnam War
SP4 John P. BacaMedal of HonorArmyVietnam War
*Petty OfficerMichael A. MonsoorMedal of HonorNavyIraqi War
Sgt. Scott C. MontoyaNavy CrossMarine CorpWar of Terroism
Colonel Michael M. KurthNavy CrossMarine CorpPersian Gulf
LTC. Richard D. WandkeDistinguished Service CrossArmyVietnam War
Col. Eugene R. BradyNavy CrossMarine CorpVietnam War
CPL Ernesto GomezNavy CrossMarine CorpVietnam War
Col. Jacksel M. BroughtonAir Force CrossAir ForceVietnam War
Colonel William W Eldridge, Jr.Navy CrossMarine CorpWorld War II
2LT Louis A. StaffDistinguished Service CrossArmyWorld War II
CMDR. Willis E. (Bill) HardyNavy CrossNavyWorld War II
LTC Paul F. McLellanNavy CrossMarine CorpWorld War II
Vernon C. JordanDistinguished Service CrossArmyWorld War II
Major Sydney GoldsteinDistinguished Service CrossArmyWorld War II
LTJG. Fred Leroy DunganNavy CrossNavyWorld War II
Lieutenant Donald LewisNavy CrossNavyWorld War II
CMDR. Roger C. CrowNavy CrossNavyWorld War II
Captain Leon M. WilliamsonNavy CrossMarine CorpWorld War II
Captain Robert E Thomas, JrNavy CrossNavyWorld War II
2ND LT Vincent OkamotoDistinguished Service CrossArmyVietnam
*SSGT Kazuo MasudaDistinguished Service CrossArmyWWII
*Lance CPL Donald J. HoganNavy CrossMarine CorpAfghanistan
*1965 Air DisasterVariousVariousVietnam

*Killed in Action

You can contact Theresa Sears at tsears@voiceofoc.org

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