Today’s Medal Of Honor Moment for 21 April

There are sixteen Medals awarded for actions on this day, including one to a future US Senator. Two are posthumous awards. Usually when there are this many awards, the Civil War is involved – but this time, we have a new campaign.

Interim Awards, 1871-1898. Two naval lifesaving awards. Can you imagine the self-esteemers of today allowing a rating of “third class boy?”

SULLIVAN, JAMES F.

Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1857, Lowell, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S. Training Ship New Hampshire, at Newport, R.I., 21 April 1882, and rescuing from drowning Francis T. Price, third class boy.

TROY, JEREMIAH

Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1845, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S. Training Ship New Hampshire, at Newport, R.I., 21 April 1882, and rescuing from drowning Francis T. Price, third class boy.

Mexican Campaign (Vera Cruz). Wherein Remington Arms Company, trying to cheat an arms embargo, causes the US to invade Mexico. No, really.

BEASLEY, HARRY C.

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1 November 1888 Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. G.O. No.: 101, 15 June 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

BISHOP, CHARLES FRANCIS

Rank and organization: Quartermaster Second Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 2 August 1898, Pittsburgh, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 101, 15 June 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

CREGAN, GEORGE

Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Place and date: On board the U.S.S. Florida, at Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914. Entered service at: New York. Born: 11 December 1885, New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 101, 15 June 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914. Cregan was ashore when he volunteered for an assault detail under Ens. George Maus Lowry on the Vera Cruz Customhouse under enemy fire both in the alley between the customhouse and warehouse and the assault over objective’s walls. During the move up the alley, he tended a wounded comrade, J. F. Schumaker, holding a compress with one hand and firing with the other.

DECKER, PERCY A.

Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 4 August 1890, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 101, 15 June 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914; for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico.

DRUSTRUP, NIELS

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Born: 17 October 1876, Denmark. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 131, 17 July 1924. Citation: For meritorious service under fire on the occasion of landing of the naval forces at Vera Cruz, Mexico, on 21 April 1914. For several hours Lt. Drustrup was in charge of an advanced barricade under a heavy fire, and not only displayed utmost ability as a leader of men but also exerted a great steadying influence on the men around him. Lt. Drustrup was then attached to the U.S.S. Utah as a chief turret captain.

HARNER, JOSEPH GABRIEL

Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 19 February 1889, Louisville, Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. G.O. No.: 101, 15 June 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida, for extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

JARRETT, BERRIE H.

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 10 June 1894 Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland. G.O. No.: 116, 19 August 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida Jarrett displayed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

NICKERSON, HENRY NEHEMIAH

Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate Second Class, U.S. Navy U.S.S. Utah. Place and date: Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914. Entered service at: West Virginia. Birth: Edgewood, W. Va. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Utah, Nickerson showed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

SEMPLE, ROBERT

Rank and organization: Chief Gunner, U.S. Navy. Born: 18 August 1887, Pittsburgh, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 120, 10 January 1924. Other Navy award: Navy Cross. Citation: For meritorious service under fire on the occasion of the landing of the American naval forces at Vera Cruz on 21 April 1914. C.G. Semple was then attached to the U.S.S. Florida as a chief turret captain.

SINNETT, LAWRENCE C.

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 4 April 1888, Burnt House, W. Va. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 101, 15 June 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida, Sinnett showed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

ZUIDERVELD, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Hospital Apprentice First Class, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914. Entered service at: Michigan. Birth: Michigan. G.O. No.: 116, 9 August 1914. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Florida, Zuiderveld showed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.

World War II. Future Senator Inouye earns his spurs, regardless of what you might think of his subsequent politics. Private First Class May was a helluva fighter.

INOUYE, DANIEL K.

Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

*MAY, MARTIN O.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. Place and date: legusuku-Yama, Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands, 19-21 April 1945. Entered service at: Phillipsburg, N.J. Birth: Phillipsburg, N.J. G.O. No: 9, 25 January 1946. Citation: He gallantly maintained a 3-day stand in the face of terrible odds when American troops fought for possession of the rugged slopes of legusuku-Yama on Ie Shima, Ryukyu Islands. After placing his heavy machinegun in an advantageous yet vulnerable position on a ridge to support riflemen, he became the target of fierce mortar and small arms fire from counterattacking Japanese. He repulsed this assault by sweeping the enemy with accurate bursts while explosions and ricocheting bullets threw blinding dust and dirt about him. He broke up a second counterattack by hurling grenades into the midst of the enemy forces, and then refused to withdraw, volunteering to maintain his post and cover the movement of American riflemen as they reorganized to meet any further hostile action. The major effort of the enemy did not develop until the morning of 21 April. It found Pfc. May still supporting the rifle company in the face of devastating rifle, machinegun, and mortar fire. While many of the friendly troops about him became casualties, he continued to fire his machinegun until he was severely wounded and his gun rendered useless by the burst of a mortar shell. Refusing to withdraw from the violent action, he blasted fanatical Japanese troops with hand grenades until wounded again, this time mortally. By his intrepidity and the extreme tenacity with which he held firm until death against overwhelming forces, Pfc. May killed at least 16 Japanese, was largely responsible for maintaining the American lines, and inspired his comrades to efforts which later resulted in complete victory and seizure of the mountain stronghold.

Vietnam

*MARTINI, GARY W.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. place and date: Binh Son, Republic of Vietnam, 21 April 1967. Entered service at: portland, Oreg. Born: 21 September 1948, Lexington, Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 21 April 1967, during Operation UNION* elements of Company F, conducting offensive operations at Binh Son, encountered a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them. The marines in Pfc. Martini’s platoon assaulted across an open rice paddy to within 20 meters of the enemy trench line where they were suddenly struck by hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. The enemy onslaught killed 14 and wounded 18 marines, pinning the remainder of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike. In the face of imminent danger, Pfc. Martini immediately crawled over the dike to a forward open area within 15 meters of the enemy position where, continuously exposed to the hostile fire, he hurled hand grenades, killing several of the enemy. Crawling back through the intense fire, he rejoined his platoon which had moved to the relative safety of a trench line. From this position he observed several of his wounded comrades Lying helpless in the fire-swept paddy. Although he knew that 1 man had been killed attempting to assist the wounded, Pfc. Martini raced through the open area and dragged a comrade back to a friendly position. In spite of a serious wound received during this first daring rescue, he again braved the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion Lying wounded only 20 meters in front of the enemy trench line. As he reached the fallen marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the marine toward his platoon’s position. Observing men from his unit attempting to leave the security of their position to aid him, concerned only for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover, and through a final supreme effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety, before he fell, succumbing to his wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Martini unhesitatingly yielded his life to save 2 of his comrades and insure the safety of the remainder of his platoon. His outstanding courage, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty reflected the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

*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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