The Medal opens with one of those mass of awards with little detail that happen now and again in the Civil War, Indian Campaigns, and the Spanish American War and Philippine Insurrection, when the Medal was about the only decoration in play. This is for a mass of troopers from the 8th Cavalry dated August 13, 1868, in “the vicinity of the Black Mountains, Arizona, USA. The citation is sparse: “Bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.” Some of the recipient dates (but not all) cover a range from 13 August to 31 October. It seems simplest to treat them all as a single event.
Then it was quiet for the Medal until 1952, in Korea. Hospital Corpsman Kilmer exemplifies the reason all combat veterans revere the medics.
*KILMER, JOHN E.
Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman, U.S. Navy, attached to duty as a medical corpsman with a Marine rifle company in the 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Korea, 13 August 1952. Entered service at: Houston, Tex. Born: 15 August 1930, Highland Park, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces. With his company engaged in defending a vitally important hill position well forward of the main line of resistance during an assault by large concentrations of hostile troops, HC Kilmer repeatedly braved intense enemy mortar, artillery, and sniper fire to move from 1 position to another, administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. Painfully wounded himself when struck by mortar fragments while moving to the aid of a casualty, he persisted in his efforts and inched his way to the side of the stricken marine through a hail of enemy shells falling around him. Undaunted by the devastating hostile fire
, he skillfully administered first aid to his comrade and, as another mounting barrage of enemy fire shattered the immediate area, unhesitatingly shielded the wounded man with his body. Mortally wounded by flying shrapnel while carrying out this heroic action, HC Kilmer, by his great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in saving the life of a comrade, served to inspire all who observed him. His unyielding devotion to duty in the face of heavy odds reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for another.
*Indicates a posthumous award.