Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 4 April

There are five Medals awarded for actions on this day.  Two during the Civil War, two during the Philippine Insurrection and one during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Civil War

BREWER, WILLIAM J.

Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 2d New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox campaign, Va., 4 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Putnam County, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of engineer flag, Army of Northern Virginia.

RILEY, THOMAS

Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 1st Louisiana Cavalry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 4 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Captured the flag of the 6th Alabama Cavalry.

Philippine Insurrection

BUCKLEY, HOWARD MAJOR

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 23 January 1868, Croton Falls, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: For distinguished conduct in the presence of the Enemy in battle while with the Eighth Army Corps on 25, 27, 29 March, and 4 April 1899.

LEONARD, JOSEPH

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. (Enlisted as Joseph Melvin). Born: 28 August 1876, Cohoes, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy in battles, while with the Eighth Army Corps on 25, 27, and 29 March, and on 4 April 1899.

Vietnam.  A warrior surfaces. This is one of the 2014 awards reviewed for possibly having been downgraded due to racial prejudice.

CONDE-FALCON, FELIX M.

Conde-Falcon distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions, April 4, 1969, while serving as platoon leader during a sweep operation in the vicinity of Ap Tan Hoa, Vietnam. Entering a heavily wooded section on the route of advance, the company encountered an extensive enemy bunker complex, later identified as a battalion command post. Following tactical artillery and air strikes on the heavily secured communist position, the platoon of Conde-Falcon was selected to assault and clear the bunker fortifications. Moving out ahead of his platoon, he charged the first bunker, heaving grenades as he went. As the hostile fire increased, he crawled to the blind side of an entrenchment position, jumped to the roof, and tossed a lethal grenade into the bunker aperture. Without hesitating, he proceeded to two additional bunkers, both of which he destroyed in the same manner as the first. Rejoined with his platoon, he advanced about one hundred meters through the trees, only to come under intense hostile fire. Selecting three men to accompany him, he maneuvered toward the enemy’s flank position. Carrying a machine-gun, he single-handedly assaulted the nearest fortification, killing the enemy inside before running out of ammunition. After returning to the three men with his empty weapon and taking up an M-16 rifle, he concentrated on the next bunker. Within ten meters of his goal, he was shot by an unseen assailant and soon died of his wounds. His great courage, his ability to act appropriately and decisively in accomplishing his mission, his dedication to the welfare of his men mark him as an outstanding leader Conde-Falcon’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

Operation Iraq Freedom.  The first Medal of the 21st Century.  Sergeant First Class Paul Smith, a hard man who died hard, as any soldier should.

*SMITH, PAUL R.

Rank and Organization: Sergeant First Class, United States Army
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith’s extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division “Rock of the Marne,” and the United States Army.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award

Published by The Armorer

A grumpy old Cincinnatus who feeds goats, dogs, cats, ducks, peafowl, a horse, and sundry avians, especially in the winter. From time to time you will see guns. Until such time as the Progressives repeal the 2nd Amendment, everything you see is legal, Federal, State, Local, where I live. Your progressive paradise may have different rules. Don't project them onto me. Federalism still exists, even if it is but a shadow of what the Framers intended.

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