|Birth: ||May 6, 1949|
|Death: ||Mar. 8, 1970|
Tay Ninh, Vietnam
Burial: 3/17/1970, per cemetery records
Sergeant Rocky Yukio Hirokawa
American Hero of the Vietnam War
Home of Record: Gardena, CA
Date of birth: 05/06/1949
Service: Army of the United States
Grade at loss: E5
ID No: 572768483
MOS: 11B40: Infantryman
Length Service: 01
Unit: C CO, 2ND BN, 8TH CAVALRY, 1ST CAV DIV, USARV
Start Tour: 09/02/1969
Incident Date: 03/08/1970
Casualty Date: 03/08/1970
Age at Loss: 20
Location: Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam
Remains: Body recovered
Casualty Type: Hostile, died outright
Casualty Reason: Ground casualty
Casualty Detail: Gun or small arms fire
ON THE WALL Panel W13 Line 96
Billy M. Brown provided information above cited at www.virtualwall.org.
Rocky Yukio Hirokawa, one of two children of Mr. and Mrs. Ichiro Hirokawa, was born on May 6, 1949 in Denver. He was named Rocky because of the Rocky Mountains and Yukio which means snow. The family moved to Torrance, CA, and then to Watsonville in 1966. Rocky graduated from WHS where friends remember him as a "very quiet and helpful student." While the family moved to Gardena, Rocky stayed with an aunt so that he could finish his senior year at WHS.
Rocky was drafted in September of 1968, during the height of the Vietnam War. After basic training at Ft Lewis, WA, the army detected leadership potential and sent him to their non-commission officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, GA and then to a Combat Leadership NCO Course at Ft Ord, CA.
On September 2, 1969, Rocky was assigned as a squad leader, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment of the 1st Air Cav. Division. After numerous patrols and missions, he earned his Bronze Star on January 9, 1970 in Phuoc Long Province. The citation reads: "When his unit became engaged, with a determined enemy force, with disregard for his own safety, Hirokawa exposed himself to the hostile fire as he moved forward to the point of the heaviest contact. He then began placing a heavy volume of suppressive fire on the enemy positions, to cover the medics while they treated the wounded."
On March 8, 1970, Hirokawa and his platoon were participating in the Parrot's Beak March in Tay Ninh Province when they were ambushed. Sergeant Hirokawa immediately and with complete disregard for his own safety, charged through the intense enemy fire, setting up his machine gun and directing the suppressive fire of his men. When another barrage of enemy mortar rounds landed near him, he received several pieces of shrapnel, but continued to lead his men on the attack. Over half of Company C was med-evacuated but it was too late for Hirokawa. His friend Robert "Cowboy", Mas Hashimoto Estep, who was also wounded, moved over and offered comfort to Sergeant Hirokawa before he died. His body was recovered and, following a funeral service in Gardena, was buried in San Pedro, CA. In addition to receiving a second Bronze Star, Rocky Hirokawa received the Purple Heart for this action. Rocky was 20 years old.
Bio by cousin Cindy Hirokawa Mine, published in The Watsonville-Santa Cruz JACL Newsletter, July 2010.
Ichiro Jim Hirokawa (1925 - 1997)
Yuki Mary Nakamura Hirokawa (1929 - 1998)
Green Hills Memorial Park
Rancho Palos Verdes
Los Angeles County
Plot: Ocean View, 853, H
Maintained by: GreenHills Stones Callin...
Originally Created by: Warren Weimer
Record added: Jun 15, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 71425392