Today we open with period of Indian Campaigns. As is usual for the Indian Campaigns – if a fight generated one Medal, it tended to generate several, indicative of the lack of options for recognizing heroic conduct during the era. Battle of the Big Dry Wash, Arizona, is one of those fights.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Big Dry Fork, Ariz., 17 July 1882. Entered service at: Owensboro, Ky. Birth: Owensboro, Ky. Date of issue: 12 July 1892. Citation: Gallantly charged hostile Indians, and with his carbine compelled a party of them to keep under cover of their breastworks, thus being enabled to recover a severely wounded soldier.
MORGAN, GEORGE H.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Big Dry Fork, Ariz., 17 July 1882. Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minn. Birth: Canada. Date of issue: 15 July 1892. Citation: Gallantly held his ground at a critical moment and fired upon the advancing enemy (hostile Indians) until he was disabled by a shot.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company D, 3d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Big Dry Wash, Ariz., 17 July 1862. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Baltimore, Md. Date of issue: 16 December 1882. Citation: Gallantry in action.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 6th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Big Dry Wash, Ariz., 17 July 1882. Entered service at: Mohawk, N.Y. Birth: Mohawk, N.Y. Date of issue: 12 July 1892. Citation: Rallied his command and led it in the advance against the enemy’s fortifled position.
The Medal skips over the ‘splendid little wars’ and campaigns and the War to End War and resurfaces again in World War II, at Guadalcanal, and around the world to the European Theater, on Sicily.
DAVIS, CHARLES W.
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Guadalcanal Island, 12 January 1943. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Birth: Gordo, Ala. G.O. No.: 40, 17 July 1943. Citation: For d1stinguishing himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy on Guadalcanal Island. On 12 January 1943, Maj. Davis (then Capt.), executive officer of an infantry battalion, volunteered to carry instructions to the leading companies of his battalion which had been caught in crossfire from Japanese machineguns. With complete disregard for his own safety, he made his way to the trapped units, delivered the instructions, supervised their execution, and remained overnight in this exposed position. On the following day, Maj. Davis again volunteered to lead an assault on the Japanese position which was holding up the advance. When his rifle jammed at its first shot, he drew his pistol and, waving his men on, led the assault over the top of the hill. Electrified by this action, another body of soldiers followed and seized the hill. The capture of this position broke Japanese resistance and the battalion was then able to proceed and secure the corps objective. The courage and leadership displayed by Maj. Davis inspired the entire battalion and unquestionably led to the success of its attack.
WAYBUR, DAVID C.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 3d Reconnaissance Troop, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Agrigento, Sicily, 17 July 1943. Entered service at: Piedmont, Calif. Birth: Oakland, Calif. G.O. No.: 69, 21 October 1943. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict with the enemy. Commander of a reconnaissance platoon, 1st Lt. Waybur volunteered to lead a 3-vehicle patrol into enemy-held territory to locate an isolated Ranger unit. Proceeding under cover of darkness, over roads known to be heavily mined, and strongly defended by road blocks and machinegun positions, the patrol’s progress was halted at a bridge which had been destroyed by enemy troops and was suddenly cut off from its supporting vehicles by 4 enemy tanks. Although hopelessly outnumbered and out-gunned, and himself and his men completely exposed, he quickly dispersed his vehicles and ordered his gunners to open fire with their .30 and .50 caliber machineguns. Then, with ammunition exhausted, 3 of his men hit and himself seriously wounded, he seized his .45 caliber Thompson submachinegun and standing in the bright moonlight directly in the line of fire, alone engaged the leading tank at 30 yards and succeeded in killing the crewmembers, causing the tank to run onto the bridge and crash into the stream bed. After dispatching 1 of the men for aid he rallied the rest to cover and withstood the continued fire of the tanks till the arrival of aid the following morning.
The Medal then takes a 10 year break on this day, until 1953, in Korea.
*PENDLETON, CHARLES F.
Rank and organization: Corporal. U.S. Army, Company D, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Choo Gung-Dong, Korea, 16 and 17 July 1953. Entered service at: Fort Worth, Tex. Born: 26 September 1931, Camden, Tenn. Citation: Cpl. Pendleton, a machine gunner with Company D, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. After consolidating and establishing a defensive perimeter on a key terrain feature, friendly elements were attacked by a large hostile force. Cpl. Pendleton delivered deadly accurate fire into the approaching troops, killing approximately 15 and disorganizing the remainder with grenades. Unable to protect the flanks because of the narrow confines of the trench, he removed the machine gun from the tripod and, exposed to enemy observation, positioned it on his knee to improve his firing vantage. Observing a hostile infantryman jumping into the position, intent on throwing a grenade at his comrades, he whirled about and killed the attacker, then inflicted such heavy casualties on the enemy force that they retreated to regroup. After reorganizing, a second wave of hostile soldiers moved forward in an attempt to overrun the position and, later, when a hostile grenade landed nearby, Cpl. Pendleton quickly retrieved and hurled it back at the foe. Although he was burned by the hot shells ejecting from his weapon, and he was wounded by a grenade, he refused evacuation and continued to fire on the assaulting force. As enemy action increased in tempo, his machine gun was destroyed by a grenade but, undaunted, he grabbed a carbine and continued his heroic defense until mortally wounded by a mortar burst. Cpl. Pendleton’s unflinching courage, gallant self-sacrifice, and consummate devotion to duty reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the finest traditions of the military service.
*Indicates a posthumous award.