Today the show opens during the Civil War with four Medals awarded, including one tough Quartermaster and that Civil War classic, the flag capture.
CLARK, JOHN W.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant and Regimental Quartermaster, 6th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: Near Warrenton, Va., 28 July 1863. Entered service at: Vermont. Born: 21 October 1830, Montpelier, Vt. Date of issue: 17 August 1891. Citation: Defended the division train against a vastly superior force of the enemy; he was severely wounded, but remained in the saddle for 20 hours afterward until he had brought his train through in safety.
Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 46th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Atlanta, Ga., 28 July 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Franklin County, Ohio. Date of issue: 2 December 1864. Citation: Capture of flag of 30th Louisiana Infantry (C.S.A.).
MURPHY, ROBINSON B.
Rank and organization: Musician, Company A, 127th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Atlanta, Ga., 28 July 1864. Entered service at: Oswego, Kendall County, Ill. Birth: Oswego, Kendall County, Ill. Date of issue: 22 July 1890. Citation: Being orderly to the brigade commander, he voluntarily led two regiments as reinforcements into line of battle, where he had his horse shot under him.
Rank and Organization: Private (Highest rank, Sergeant) Company E, 1ST U.S. Cavalry DATE: JULY 28, 1864 PLACE: NEAR MALVERN, VIRGINIA, USA
CITATION: Capture of flag of the 18th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.).
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company G, 37th Ohio Infantry Place and date: At Ezra Chapel, Ga., 28 July 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 10 May 1894. Citation: At great hazard of his life he saved his commanding officer, then badly wounded, from capture.
Now we fast-forward to World War One and an Iron Corporal.
MANNING, SIDNEY E.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army Company G, 167th Infantry, 42d Division. Place and date: Near Breuvannes, France, 28 July 1918. Entering service at: Flomaton, Ala. Born: 17 July 1892, Butler County, Ala. G.O. No.: 44, W.D., 1919. Citation: When his platoon commander and platoon sergeant had both become casualties soon after the beginning of an assault on strongly fortified heights overlooking the Ourcq River, Cpl. Manning took command of his platoon, which was near the center of the attacking line. Though himself severely wounded he led forward the 35 men remaining in the platoon and finally succeeded in gaining a foothold on the enemy’s position, during which time he had received more wounds and all but 7 of his men had fallen. Directing the consolidation of the position, he held off a large body of the enemy only 50 yards away by fire from his automatic rifle. He declined to take cover until his line had been entirely consolidated with the line of the platoon on the front when he dragged himself to shelter, suffering from 9 wounds in all parts of the body.
Moving ahead to World War II, a bad day at the office over Germany.
MORGAN, JOHN C. (Air Mission)
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 326th Bomber Squadron, 92d Bomber Group. Place and date: Over Europe, 28 July 1943. Entered service at: London, England. Born: 24 August 1914, Vernon, Tex. G.O. No.: 85, 17 December 1943. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty, while participating on a bombing mission over enemy-occupied continental Europe, 28 July 1943. Prior to reaching the German coast on the way to the target, the B17 airplane in which 2d Lt. Morgan was serving as copilot was attacked by a large force of enemy fighters, during which the oxygen system to the tail, waist, and radio gun positions was knocked out. A frontal attack placed a cannon shell through the windshield, totally shattering it, and the pilot’s skull was split open by a .303 caliber shell, leaving him in a crazed condition. The pilot fell over the steering wheel, tightly clamping his arms around it. 2d Lt. Morgan at once grasped the controls from his side and, by sheer strength, pulled the airplane back into formation despite the frantic struggles of the semiconscious pilot. The interphone had been destroyed, rendering it impossible to call for help. At this time the top turret gunner fell to the floor and down through the hatch with his arm shot off at the shoulder and a gaping wound in his side. The waist, tail, and radio gunners had lost consciousness from lack of oxygen and, hearing no fire from their guns, the copilot believed they had bailed out. The wounded pilot still offered desperate resistance in his crazed attempts to fly the airplane. There remained the prospect of flying to and over the target and back to a friendly base wholly unassisted. In the face of this desperate situation, 2d Lt. Officer Morgan made his decision to continue the flight and protect any members of the crew who might still be in the ship and for 2 hours he flew in formation with one hand at the controls and the other holding off the struggling pilot before the navigator entered the steering compartment and relieved the situation. The miraculous and heroic performance of 2d Lt. Morgan on this occasion resulted in the successful completion of a vital bombing mission and the safe return of his airplane and crew.
We were so close to having a rare day for the Medal. One in which all the recipients survived the event to receive their award. Alas, Vietnam broke the streak for 28 July, because Corpsman Caron had a duty to perform, and perform it he did.
*CARON, WAYNE MAURICE
Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman Third Class, U.S. Navy, Headquarters and Service Company, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 28 July 1968. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Born: 2 November 1946, Middleboro, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as platoon corpsman with Company K, during combat operations against enemy forces. While on a sweep through an open rice field HC3c. Caron’s unit started receiving enemy small arms fire. Upon seeing 2 marine casualties fall, he immediately ran forward to render first aid, but found that they were dead. At this time, the platoon was taken under intense small-arms and automatic weapons fire, sustaining additional casualties. As he moved to the aid of his wounded comrades, HC3c. Caron was hit in the arm by enemy fire. Although knocked to the ground, he regained his feet and continued to the injured marines. He rendered medical assistance to the first marine he reached, who was grievously wounded, and undoubtedly was instrumental in saving the man’s life. HC3c. Caron then ran toward the second wounded marine, but was again hit by enemy fire, this time in the leg. Nonetheless, he crawled the remaining distance and provided medical aid for this severely wounded man. HC3c. Caron started to make his way to yet another injured comrade, when he was again struck by enemy small-arms fire. Courageously and with unbelievable determination, HC3c. Caron continued his attempt to reach the third marine until he was killed by an enemy rocket round. His inspiring valor, steadfast determination and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
*Indicates a posthumous award.