In 2017, The Dalles and Hood River were each designated by the Oregon State Legislature as a “Medal of Honor City” as petitioned by the Bend Heroes Foundation.
The Foundation also successfully petitioned that U.S. Highway 20 be designated the “Oregon Medal of Honor Highway,” much like Interstate 84 has been designated the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway.
Oregon’s Medal of Honor recipients were connected with 12 cities—additional cities include Agness, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Jordan Valley, Medford, Oakridge, Portland, Richland and Salem. A 13th city, McMinnville, has since been added.
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is conferred upon members of the Armed Forces who “distinguish themselves by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty during combat with an enemy of our nation.”
The Dalles was home to the late U.S. Navy veteran Harry D. Fadden and the late U.S. Army veteran Loren R. Kaufman, both Medal of Honor recipients.
In February, the city received plaques with the request they be displayed in a “prominent indoor location in The Dalles.” The four plaques name the city as a “Medal of Honor City,” display Kaufman’s and Fadden’s framed photos and Medal of Honor citations, as well as a framed copy of the legislation and a title plaque.
The plaques were provided by the non-profit Bend Heroes Foundation at no cost to the city. The Bend foundation was instrumental in getting the legislation adopted.
The plaques were presented to the city by Mayor Rich Mays and Councilor Rod Runyon.
“The Dalles is honored to have two recipients of the Medal of Honor,” said Runyon, who read the citations before the council.
The first was Fadden, who received the award in 1903 while on board the U.S.S. Adams for “gallantry, rescuing O.C. Hawthorne, landsman for training, from drowning at sea” on June 30, 1903.
Runyon said that in falling overboard, Hawthorne struck his head and was knocked unconscious. Fadden, who witnessed the fall, immediately dove overboard and swam to his rescue, holding the unconscious sailors’ head above water until the ship could return for them.
Kaufman was awarded the medal on Feb. 10, 1950 for his actions Sept. 4-5, 1950, near Yongsan, Korea.
According to the citation, “Sfc. Kaufman distinguished himself by conspicous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action.”
While moving to reinforce another unit, “Sfc. Kaufman, running forward, bayoneted the lead scout and engaged the column in a rifle and grenade assault,” causing the enemy to retreat in confusion.
Kaufman then led three additional assaults over the two day period. “The dauntless courage and resolute intrepid leadership of Sfc. Kaufman were directly responsible for the success of his company in regaining its position,” the citation reads.
The VA Clinic at the Oregon Veterans Home in The Dalles is named after Kaufman.