There are eight Medals awarded for actions on this day, one of them posthumous. They span the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company I, 1st West Virginia Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Station, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Washington County, Pa. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of Confederate flag.
BRAS, EDGAR A.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 8th Iowa Infantry. Place and date: Spanish Fort, Ala., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Louisa County, Iowa. Birth: Jefferson County, Iowa. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.
READ, MORTON A.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Company D, 8th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Station, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Brockport, N.Y. Birth: Brockport, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of 1st Texas Infantry (C.S.A.).
Rank and organization: Chief Bugler, Company M, 1st West Virginia Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Mason City, W. Va. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of the Sumter Flying Artillery (C.S.A.).
Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 2d West Virginia Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Ironton, Ohio. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of the Washington Artillery (C.S.A.).
World War II
CREWS, JOHN R.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company F, 253d Infantry, 63d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Lobenbacherhof, Germany, 8 April 1945. Entered service at: Bowlegs, Okla. Birth: Golden, Okla. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 8 April 1945 near Lobenbacherhof, Germany. As his company was advancing toward the village under heavy fire, an enemy machinegun and automatic rifle with rifle support opened upon it from a hill on the right flank. Seeing that his platoon leader had been wounded by their fire, S/Sgt. Crews, acting on his own initiative, rushed the strongpoint with 2 men of his platoon. Despite the fact that 1 of these men was killed and the other was badly wounded, he continued his advance up the hill in the face of terrific enemy fire. Storming the well-dug-in position single-handedly, he killed 2 of the crew of the machinegun at pointblank range with his M 1 rifle and wrested the gun from the hands of the German whom he had already wounded. He then with his rifle charged the strongly emplaced automatic rifle. Although badly wounded in the thigh by crossfire from the remaining enemy, he kept on and silenced the entire position with his accurate and deadly rifle fire. His actions so unnerved the remaining enemy soldiers that 7 of them surrendered and the others fled. His heroism caused the enemy to concentrate on him and permitted the company to move forward into the village.
LITTRELL, GARY LEE
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Advisory Team 21, 11 Corps Advisory Group. place and date: Kontum province, Republic of Vietnam, 4-8 April 1970. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Born: 26 October 1944, Henderson, Ky. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sfc. Littrell, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Advisory Team 21, distinguished himself while serving as a Light Weapons Infantry Advisor with the 23d Battalion, 2d Ranger Group, Republic of Vietnam Army, near Dak Seang. After establishing a defensive perimeter on a hill on April 4, the battalion was subjected to an intense enemy mortar attack which killed the Vietnamese commander, 1 advisor, and seriously wounded all the advisors except Sfc. Littrell. During the ensuing 4 days, Sfc Littrell exhibited near superhuman endurance as he single-handedly bolstered the besieged battalion. Repeatedly abandoning positions of relative safety, he directed artillery and air support by day and marked the unit’s location by night, despite the heavy, concentrated enemy fire. His dauntless will instilled in the men of the 23d Battalion a deep desire to resist. Assault after assault was repulsed as the battalion responded to the extraordinary leadership and personal example exhibited by Sfc. Littrell as he continuously moved to those points most seriously threatened by the enemy, redistributed ammunition, strengthened faltering defenses, cared for the wounded and shouted encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language. When the beleaguered battalion was finally ordered to withdraw, numerous ambushes were encountered. Sfc. Littrell repeatedly prevented widespread disorder by directing air strikes to within 50 meters of their position. Through his indomitable courage and complete disregard for his safety, he averted excessive loss of life and injury to the members of the battalion. The sustained extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Sfc. Littrell over an extended period of time were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the U.S. Army.
*MICHAEL, DON LESLIE
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 4th Battalion, 503d Infantry, 1 73d Airborne Brigade. place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 8 April 1967. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 31 July 1947, Florence, Ala. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Michael, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving with Company C. Sp4c. Michael was part of a platoon which was moving through an area of suspected enemy activity. While the rest of the platoon stopped to provide security, the squad to which Sp4c. Michael was assigned moved forward to investigate signs of recent enemy activity. After moving approximately 125 meters, the squad encountered a single Viet Cong soldier. When he was fired upon by the squad’s machine gunner, other Viet Cong opened fire with automatic weapons from a well-concealed bunker to the squad’s right front. The volume of enemy fire was so withering as to pin down the entire squad and halt all forward movement. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Sp4c. Michael exposed himself to throw 2 grenades, but failed to eliminate the enemy position. From his position on the left flank, Sp4c. Michael maneuvered forward with 2 more grenades until he was within 20 meters of the enemy bunkers, when he again exposed himself to throw 2 grenades, which failed to detonate. Undaunted, Sp4c. Michael made his way back to the friendly positions to obtain more grenades. With 2 grenades in hand, he again started his perilous move towards the enemy bunker, which by this time was under intense artillery fire from friendly positions. As he neared the bunker, an enemy soldier attacked him from a concealed position. Sp4c. Michael killed him with his rifle and, in spite of the enemy fire and the exploding artillery rounds, was successful in destroying the enemy positions. Sp4c. Michael took up pursuit of the remnants of the retreating enemy. When his comrades reached Sp4c. Michael, he had been mortally wounded. His inspiring display of determination and courage saved the lives of many of his comrades and successfully eliminated a destructive enemy force. Sp4c. Michael’s actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.