Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 20 July

Medal of Honor recipient Gilbert G Collier. Courtesy the CMOHS.

We open with the Civil War, the Battle of Peachtree Creek, part of the Atlanta Campaign. A flag capture, a flag rescue, some conspicuous coolness (and he wasn’t even a rock star), some reckless bravery, and a touch of “leave no man behind.”

BUCKLEY, DENNIS

Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 136th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 20 July 1864. Entered service at: Avon, N.Y. Birth: Canada. Date of issue: 7 April 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of 31st Mississippi (C.S.A.).

CROSIER, WILLIAM H. H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company G, 149th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 20 July 1864. Entered service at: Skaneateles, N.Y. Birth: Skaneateles, N.Y. Date of issue: 12 January 1892. Citation: Severely wounded and ambushed by the enemy, he stripped the colors from the staff and brought them back into the line.

HAPEMAN, DOUGLAS

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 104th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 20 July 1864. Entered service at: Ottawa, Ill. Born: 15 January 1839, Ephratah, Fulton County, N.Y. Date of issue: 5 April 1898. Citation: With conspicuous coolness and bravery rallied his men under a severe attack, re-formed the broken ranks, and repulsed the attack.

SHANES, JOHN

Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 14th West Virginia Infantry. Place and date: At Carters Farm, Va., 20 July 1864. Entered service at:——. Birth: Monomgalis County, W.Va. Date of issue: 31 January 1896. Citation: Charged upon a Confederate field-piece in advance of his comrades and by his individual exertions silenced the piece.

WILLIAMS, WILLIAM H.

Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 82d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 20 July 1864. Entered service at: Miami County, Ohio. Birth: Hancock County, Ohio. Date of issue: 19 June 1894. Citation: Voluntarily went beyond the lines to observe the enemy; also aided a wounded comrade.

The Medal takes a breather until the William Randolph Hearst’s “Splendid Little War” and two sailors who worked together to save their ship while risking being boiled like lobsters.  Today this would be awarded as a Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism not involving combat with the enemy.

KEEFER, PHILIP B.

Rank and organization: Coppersmith, U.S. Navy. Born: 4 September 1875, Washington, D.C. Accredited to: District of Columbia. G.O. No.: 501, 14 December 1898. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de Cuba, 20 July 1898. Following the blow-out of a manhole gasket of that vessel which caused the fireroom to be filled with live steam and the floor plates to be covered with boiling water, Keefer showed courageous and zealous conduct in hauling fires from 2 furnaces of boiler B.

PENN, ROBERT

Rank and organization: Fireman First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 10 October 1872, City Point, Va. Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 501, 14 December 1898. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de Cuba, 20 July 1898. Performing his duty at the risk of serious scalding at the time of the blowing out of the manhole gasket on board the vessel, Penn hauled the fire while standing on a board thrown across a coal bucket 1 foot above the boiling water which was still blowing from the boiler.

The Medal kept her head down until Korea, and some tough soldiers who embody the spirit of the Infantry.

*COLLIER, GILBERT G.

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Cpl.), U.S. Army, Company F, 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Tutayon, Korea, 19-20 July 1953. Entered service at: Tichnor Ark. Born: 30 December 1930, Hunter, Ark. G.O. No.: 3, 12 January 1955. Citation: Sgt. Collier, a member of Company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Sgt. Collier was pointman and assistant leader of a combat patrol committed to make contact with the enemy. As the patrol moved forward through the darkness, he and his commanding officer slipped and fell from a steep, 60-foot cliff and were injured. Incapacitated by a badly sprained ankle which prevented immediate movement, the officer ordered the patrol to return to the safety of friendly lines. Although suffering from a painful back injury, Sgt. Collier elected to remain with his leader, and before daylight they managed to crawl back up and over the mountainous terrain to the opposite valley where they concealed themselves in the brush until nightfall, then edged toward their company positions. Shortly after leaving the daylight retreat they were ambushed and, in the ensuing fire fight, Sgt. Collier killed 2 hostile soldiers, received painful wounds, and was separated from his companion. Then, ammunition expended, he closed in hand-to-hand combat with 4 attacking hostile infantrymen, killing, wounding, and routing the foe with his bayonet. He was mortally wounded during this action, but made a valiant attempt to reach and assist his leader in a desperate effort to save his comrade’s life without regard for his own personal safety. Sgt. Collier’s unflinching courage, consummate devotion to duty, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.

*LIBBY, GEORGE D.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 3d Engineer Combat Battalion, 24th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Taejon, Korea, 20 July 1950. Entered service at: Waterbury, Conn. Birth: Bridgton, Maine. G.O. No.: 62, 2 August 1951. Citation: Sgt. Libby distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While breaking through an enemy encirclement, the vehicle in which he was riding approached an enemy roadblock and encountered devastating fire which disabled the truck, killing or wounding all the passengers except Sgt. Libby. Taking cover in a ditch Sgt. Libby engaged the enemy and despite the heavy fire crossed the road twice to administer aid to his wounded comrades. He then hailed a passing M-5 artillery tractor and helped the wounded aboard. The enemy directed intense small-arms fire at the driver, and Sgt. Libby, realizing that no one else could operate the vehicle, placed himself between the driver and the enemy thereby shielding him while he returned the fire. During this action he received several wounds in the arms and body. Continuing through the town the tractor made frequent stops and Sgt. Libby helped more wounded aboard. Refusing first aid, he continued to shield the driver and return the fire of the enemy when another roadblock was encountered. Sgt. Libby received additional wounds but held his position until he lost consciousness. Sgt. Libby’s sustained, heroic actions enabled his comrades to reach friendly lines. His dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of the U.S. Army.

*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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