Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 13 May

There are nine Medals awarded for actions on this day. Nine for the same action during the Philippine Insurrection, and three during Vietnam. Two were posthumous.

Philippine Insurrection. This is a fascinating fight – and seven of the 11 participants got the Medal. There was one fatality, the leader of the unit (a civilian, in fact, who died of wounds). “While at Baliuag, Lawton asked William H. Young, a civilian adventurer from Connecticut, and his detachment of 25 “specially qualified enlisted men”, known as Young’s Scouts, to reconnoiter the country around San Miguel de Mayumo and San Ildefonso (also in Bulacan Province). These towns controlled the approaches to San Isidro. Sixteen of the scouts were from the 1st North Dakota Volunteer Infantry, 6 from the 2nd Oregon Volunteers and 3 from the 4th U.S. Cavalry.” I would note that there was at least one artilleryman there, Captain Birkhimer of my regiment, the 3rd Artillery. Interesting article with pictures by Arnaldo Dumindin, at the Philippine-American War, 1899-1902

ANDERS, Frank L RANK: CORPORAL (HIGHEST RANK: MAJOR) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 1ST NORTH DAKOTA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: , LUZON, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
CITATION: With 11 other scouts, without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them or to get into a position to do so, charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy who were in line and in a position that could only be carried by a frontal attack.

BIRKHIMER, William E RANK: CAPTAIN (HIGHEST RANK: BRIGADIER GENERAL U.S.A. RET.) UNIT/COMMAND: 3D U.S. ARTILLERY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: SAN MIGUEL DE MAYUMO, LUZON, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
CITATION: With 12 men charged and routed 300 of the enemy.

DOWNS, Willis H RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: WAGONEER) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY H, 1ST NORTH DAKOTA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: SAN MIGUEL DE MAYUMO, LUZON, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
CITATION: With 11 other scouts, without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them or to get into a position to do so, charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy who were in line and in a position that could only be carried by a frontal attack.

JENSEN, Gotfred RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY D, 1ST NORTH DAKOTA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: SAN MIGUEL DE MAYUMO, LUZON
CITATION: With 11 other scouts, without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them or to get into a position to do so, charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy, who were in line and in a position that could only be carried by a frontal attack.

LYON, Edward E RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 2D OREGON VOLUNTEER INFANTRY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: SAN MIGUEL DE MAYUMO, LUZON, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
CITATION: With 11 other scouts without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them or to get into a position to do so, charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy, who were in line and in a position that could only be carried by a frontal attack.

LYON, Edward E RANK: PRIVATE UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY B, 2D OREGON VOLUNTEER INFANTRY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: SAN MIGUEL DE MAYUMO, LUZON, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
CITATION: With 11 other scouts without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them or to get into a position to do so, charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy, who were in line and in a position that could only be carried by a frontal attack.

QUINN, Peter H RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: TRUMPETER) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY L, 4TH U.S. CAVALRY DATE: MAY 13, 1899 PLACE: SAN MIGUEL DE MAYUMO, LUZON, PHILIPPINE ISLANDS
CITATION: With 11 other scouts, without waiting for the supporting battalion to aid them or to get into a position to do so, charged over a distance of about 150 yards and completely routed about 300 of the enemy, who were in line and in a position that could only be carried by a frontal attack.

Vietnam. Three tough fights, three tough fighters.

*OLSON, Kenneth L RANK: SPECIALIST FOURTH CLASS UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 5TH BATTALION, 12TH INFANTRY, 199TH INFANTRY BRIGADE (SEPARATE) DATE: MAY 13, 1968 PLACE: REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
CITATION: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Olson distinguished himself at the cost of his life while serving as a team leader with Company A. Sp4c. Olson was participating in a mission to reinforce a reconnaissance platoon which was heavily engaged with a well-entrenched Viet Cong force. When his platoon moved into the area of contact and had overrun the first line of enemy bunkers, Sp4c. Olson and a fellow soldier moved forward of the platoon to investigate another suspected line of bunkers. As the two men advanced they were pinned down by intense automatic-weapons fire from an enemy position 10 meters to their front. With complete disregard for his safety, Sp4c. Olson exposed himself and hurled a hand grenade into the Viet Cong position. Failing to silence the hostile fire, he again exposed himself to the intense fire in preparation to assault the enemy position. As he prepared to hurl the grenade, he was wounded, causing him to drop the activated device within his own position. Realizing that it would explode immediately, Sp4c. Olson threw himself upon the grenade and pulled it in to his body to take the full force of the explosion. By this unselfish action Sp4c. Olson sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his fellow comrades-in-arms. His extraordinary heroism inspired his fellow soldiers to renew their efforts and totally defeat the enemy force. Sp4c. Olson’s profound courage and intrepidity were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

DUNAGAN, Kern W RANK: MAJOR (RANK AT TIME OF ACTION: CAPTAIN) UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 1ST BATTALION, 46TH INFANTRY, AMERICAL DIVISION DATE: MAY 13, 1969 PLACE: QUANG TIN PROVINCE, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
CITATION: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Maj. (then Capt.) Dunagan distinguished himself during the period 13 and 14 May 1969, while serving as commanding officer, Company A. On 13 May 1969, Maj. Dunagan was leading an attack to relieve pressure on the battalion’s forward support base when his company came under intense fire from a well-entrenched enemy battalion. Despite continuous hostile fire from a numerically superior force, Maj. Dunagan repeatedly and fearlessly exposed himself in order to locate enemy positions, direct friendly supporting artillery, and position the men of his company. In the early evening, while directing an element of his unit into perimeter guard, he was seriously wounded during an enemy mortar attack, but he refused to leave the battlefield and continued to supervise the evacuation of dead and wounded and to lead his command in the difficult task of disengaging from an aggressive enemy. In spite of painful wounds and extreme fatigue, Maj. Dunagan risked heavy fire on two occasions to rescue critically wounded men. He was again seriously wounded. Undaunted, he continued to display outstanding courage, professional competence, and leadership and successfully extricated his command from its untenable position on the evening of 14 May. Having maneuvered his command into contact with an adjacent friendly unit, he learned that a six-man party from his company was under fire and had not reached the new perimeter. Maj. Dunagan unhesitatingly went back and searched for his men. Finding one soldier critically wounded, Maj. Dunagan, ignoring his wounds, lifted the man to his shoulders and carried him to the comparative safety of the friendly perimeter. Before permitting himself to be evacuated, he insured all of his wounded received emergency treatment and were removed from the area. Throughout the engagement, Maj. Dunagan’s actions gave great inspiration to his men and were directly responsible for saving the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Maj. Dunagan’s extraordinary heroism, above and beyond the call of duty, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

*WINDER, David F RANK: PRIVATE FIRST CLASS UNIT/COMMAND: HEADQUARTERS & HEADQUARTERS COMPANY, 3D BATTALION, 1ST INFANTRY, 11TH INFANTRY BRIGADE, AMERICAL DIVISION DATE: MAY 13, 1970
PLACE: REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
CITATION: Pfc. Winder distinguished himself while serving in the Republic of Vietnam as a senior medical aidman with Company A. After moving through freshly cut rice paddies in search of a suspected company-size enemy force, the unit started a thorough search of the area. Suddenly they were engaged with intense automatic-weapons and rocket-propelled-grenade fire by a well-entrenched enemy force. Several friendly soldiers fell wounded in the initial contact and the unit was pinned down. Responding instantly to the cries of his wounded comrades, Pfc. Winder began maneuvering across approximately 100 meters of open, bullet-swept terrain toward the nearest casualty. Unarmed and crawling most of the distance, he was wounded by enemy fire before reaching his comrades. Despite his wounds and with great effort, Pfc. Winder reached the first casualty and administered medical aid. As he continued to crawl across the open terrain toward a second wounded soldier he was forced to stop when wounded a second time. Aroused by the cries of an injured comrade for aid, Pfc. Winder’s great determination and sense of duty impelled him to move forward once again, despite his wounds, in a courageous attempt to reach and assist the injured man. After struggling to within 10 meters of the man, Pfc. Winder was mortally wounded. His dedication and sacrifice inspired his unit to initiate an aggressive counterassault which led to the defeat of the enemy. Pfc. Winder’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

*Asterisk indicates a 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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