There are nine Medals awarded for actions on this day, and this grouping has some interesting fillips scattered among them. They span the Civil War, Indian Campaigns, Philippine Insurrection, Korea and Vietnam. Three awards are posthumous.
Civil War. Cox’n Cooper earns his second award, the first being earned at Mobile Bay, 5 August 1864.
COOPER, JOHN (SECOND AWARD)
Citation: Served as quartermaster on Acting Rear Admiral Thatcher’s staff. During the terrific fire at Mobile, on 26 April 1865, at the risk of being blown to pieces by exploding shells, Cooper advanced through the burning locality, rescued a wounded man from certain death, and bore him on his back to a place of safety.
Indian Campaigns. Mr. Cody’s Medal was the subject of some controversy, finally settled in 1989.
CODY, WILLIAM F.
Rank: Civilian Scout. Born: Scott County, Iowa. Organization: 3rd Cavalry U.S. Army. Action date: 26 April 1872. Place: Platte River, Nebraska. Citation: Gallantry in action.
(In 1916, the general review of all Medals of Honor deemed 900 unwarranted. This recipient was one of them. In June 1989, the U.S. Army Board of Correction of Records restored the medal to this recipient.)
FOLEY, JOHN H.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Loupe Fork, Platte River, Nebr., 26 April 1872. Entered service at:——. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 22 May 1872. Citation: Gallantry in action.
STRAYER, WILLIAM H.
Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Loupe Forke, Platte River, Nebr., 26 April 1872. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Maytown, Pa. Date of issue: 22 May 18721. Citation: Gallantry in action.
VOKES, LEROY H.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company B, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Loupe Fork, Platte River, Nebr., 26 April 1872. Entered service at:——. Birth: Lake County, Ill. Date of issue: 22 May 1872. Citation: Gallantry in action.
SHELTON, GEORGE M.
Rank and organization: Private, Company 1, 23d U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At La Paz, Leyte, Philippine Islands, 26 April 1900. Entered service at: Bellington, Tex. Birth: Brownwood, Tex. Date of issue: 10 March 1902. Citation: Advanced alone under heavy fire of the enemy and rescued a wounded comrade.
Korean War. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one.
*DUKE, RAY E.
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Mugok, Korea, 26 April 1951. Entered service at: Whitwell (Marion County), Tenn. Born: 9 May 1923, Whitwell, Tenn. G.O. No.: 20, 19 March 1954. Citation: Sfc. Duke, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Upon learning that several of his men were isolated and heavily engaged in an area yielded by his platoon when ordered to withdraw, he led a small force in a daring assault which recovered the position and the beleaguered men. Another enemy attack in strength resulted in numerous casualties but Sfc. Duke, although wounded by mortar fragments, calmly moved along his platoon line to coordinate fields of fire and to urge his men to hold firm in the bitter encounter. Wounded a second time he received first aid and returned to his position. When the enemy again attacked shortly after dawn, despite his wounds, Sfc. Duke repeatedly braved withering fire to insure maximum defense of each position. Threatened with annihilation and with mounting casualties, the platoon was again ordered to withdraw when Sfc. Duke was wounded a third time in both legs and was unable to walk. Realizing that he was impeding the progress of 2 comrades who were carrying him from the hill, he urged them to leave him and seek safety. He was last seen pouring devastating fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants. The consummate courage, superb leadership, and heroic actions of Sfc. Duke, displayed during intensive action against overwhelming odds, reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.
Vietnam War. Captain Estocin’s Medal action was clear, but questions surrounding his death or capture clouded things until 1993.
*ESTOCIN, MICHAEL J.
Rank and organization. Captain (then Lt. Cmdr.), U.S. Navy, Attack Squadron 192, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Place and date: Haiphong, North Vietnam, 20 and 26 April 1967. Entered service at: Akron Ohio, 2() July 1954. Born: 27 April 1931, Turtle Creek, Pa. Citation. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 20 and 26 April 1967 as a pilot in Attack Squadron 192, embarked in USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Leading a 3-plane group of aircraft in support of a coordinated strike against two thermal power plants in Haiphong, North Vietnam, on 20 April 1967, Capt. Estocin provided continuous warnings to the strike group leaders of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) threats, and personally neutralized 3 SAM sites. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by an exploding missile, he reentered the target area and relentlessly prosecuted a SHRIKE attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. With less than 5 minutes of fuel remaining he departed the target area and commenced in-flight refueling which continued for over 100 miles. Three miles aft of Ticonderoga, and without enough fuel for a second approach, he disengaged from the tanker and executed a precise approach to a fiery arrested landing. On 26 April 1967, in support of a coordinated strike against the vital fuel facilities in Haiphong, he led an attack on a threatening SAM site, during which his aircraft was seriously damaged by an exploding SAM; nevertheless, he regained control of his burning aircraft and courageously launched his SHRIKE missiles before departing the area. By his inspiring courage and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Captain Estocin upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
*LEE, MILTON A.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company B, 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile). place and date: Near Phu Bai, Thua Thien province, Republic of Vietnam, 26 April 1968. Entered service at: San Antonio, Tex. Born: 28 February 1949, Shreveport, La. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Lee distinguished himself near the city of Phu Bai in the province of Thua Thien. Pfc. Lee was serving as the radio telephone operator with the 3d platoon, Company B. As lead element for the company, the 3d platoon received intense surprise hostile fire from a force of North Vietnamese Army regulars in well-concealed bunkers. With 50 percent casualties, the platoon maneuvered to a position of cover to treat their wounded and reorganize, while Pfc. Lee moved through the heavy enemy fire giving lifesaving first aid to his wounded comrades. During the subsequent assault on the enemy defensive positions, Pfc. Lee continuously kept close radio contact with the company commander, relaying precise and understandable orders to his platoon leader. While advancing with the front rank toward the objective, Pfc. Lee observed 4 North Vietnamese soldiers with automatic weapons and a rocket launcher Lying in wait for the lead element of the platoon. As the element moved forward, unaware of the concealed danger, Pfc. Lee immediately and with utter disregard for his own personal safety, passed his radio to another soldier and charged through the murderous fire. Without hesitation he continued his assault, overrunning the enemy position, killing all occupants and capturing 4 automatic weapons and a rocket launcher. Pfc. Lee continued his 1-man assault on the second position through a heavy barrage of enemy automatic weapons fire. Grievously wounded, he continued to press the attack, crawling forward into a firing position and delivering accurate covering fire to enable his platoon to maneuver and destroy the position. Not until the position was overrun did Pfc. Lee falter in his steady volume of fire and succumb to his wounds. Pfc. Lee’s heroic actions saved the lives of the lead element and were instrumental in the destruction of the key position of the enemy defense. Pfc. Lee’s gallantry at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, the 502d Infantry, and the U.S. Army.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.