Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 11 November

The Medal is no respecter of holidays.  I was glad to see that the Medal didn’t rear it’s head on November 11, 1918.  Sometimes you can have too much irony, even if it’s all imputed, vice intended.
Four Medals were earned for actions on this day, from the Indian Campaigns to World War II. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 11 November”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 10 November

The Medal takes today easy.  Two awards, neither posthumous.  WWII and Iraq.

World War II

BRITT, MAURICE L.

Rank and organization: Captain (then Lieutenant), U.S. Army, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: North of Mignano, Italy, 10 November 1943. Entered service at: Lonoke, Ark. Born: 29 June 1919, Carlisle, Ark. G.O. No.: 23, 24 March 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Disdaining enemy hand grenades and close-range machine pistol, machinegun, and rifle, Lt. Britt inspired and led a handful of his men in repelling a bitter counterattack by approximately 100 Germans against his company positions north of Mignano, Italy, the morning of 10 November 1943. During the intense fire fight, Lt. Britt’s canteen and field glasses were shattered; a bullet pierced his side; his chest, face, and hands were covered with grenade wounds. Despite his wounds, for which he refused to accept medical attention until ordered to do so by his battalion commander following the battle, he personally killed 5 and wounded an unknown number of Germans, wiped out one enemy machinegun crew, fired 5 clips of carbine and an undetermined amount of Ml rifle ammunition, and threw 32 fragmentation grenades. His bold, aggressive actions, utterly disregarding superior enemy numbers, resulted in capture of 4 Germans, 2 of them wounded, and enabled several captured Americans to escape. Lt. Britt’s undaunted courage and prowess in arms were largely responsible for repulsing a German counterattack which, if successful, would have isolated his battalion and destroyed his company.

Iraq

BELLAVIA, DAVID G.

RANK: STAFF SERGEANT CONFLICT/ERA: WAR ON TERRORISM (IRAQ) UNIT/COMMAND: 3RD PLATOON, ALPHA COMPANY, 2ND BATTALION, 2ND INFANTRY REGIMENT, 3RD BRIGADE COMBAT TEAM, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION
MILITARY SERVICE BRANCH: U.S. ARMY MEDAL OF HONOR ACTION DATE: NOVEMBER 10, 2004 MEDAL OF HONOR ACTION PLACE: FALLUJAH, IRAQ Staff Sergeant David G. Bellavia distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty on November 10, 2004, while serving as a squad leader in support of Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah, Iraq. While clearing a house, a squad from Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s platoon became trapped within a room by intense enemy fire coming from a fortified position under the stairs leading to the second floor. Recognizing the immediate severity of the situation, and with disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Bellavia retrieved an automatic weapon and entered the doorway of the house to engage the insurgents. With enemy rounds impacting around him, Staff Sergeant Bellavia fired at the enemy position at a cyclic rate, providing covering fire that allowed the squad to break contact and exit the house. A Bradley Fighting Vehicle was brought forward to suppress the enemy; however, due to high walls surrounding the house, it could not fire directly at the enemy position. Staff Sergeant Bellavia then re-entered the house and again came under intense enemy fire. He observed an enemy insurgent preparing to launch a rocket-propelled grenade at his platoon. Recognizing the grave danger the grenade posed to his fellow soldiers, Staff Sergeant Bellavia assaulted the enemy position, killing one insurgent and wounding another who ran to a different part of the house. Staff Sergeant Bellavia, realizing he had an un-cleared, darkened room to his back, moved to clear it. As he entered, an insurgent came down the stairs firing at him. Simultaneously, the previously wounded insurgent reemerged and engaged Staff Sergeant Bellavia. Staff Sergeant Bellavia, entering further into the darkened room, returned fire and eliminated both insurgents. Staff Sergeant Bellavia then received enemy fire from another insurgent emerging from a closet in the darkened room. Exchanging gunfire, Staff Sergeant Bellavia pursued the enemy up the stairs and eliminated him. Now on the second floor, Staff Sergeant Bellavia moved to a door that opened onto the roof. At this point, a fifth insurgent leapt from the third floor roof onto the second floor roof. Staff Sergeant Bellavia engaged the insurgent through a window, wounding him in the back and legs, and caused him to fall off the roof. Acting on instinct to save the members of his platoon from an imminent threat, Staff Sergeant Bellavia ultimately cleared an entire enemy-filled house, destroyed four insurgents, and badly wounded a fifth. Staff Sergeant Bellavia’s bravery, complete disregard for his own safety, and unselfish and courageous actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States.

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 9 November

The Medal lives up to the daily average of circa 12 with 11 awards for deeds on this day in history.  The Medal got a slow start, not unusual since 19th Century wars tended to slow down as winter approached – but once the Medal starts, it gets rolling during the Phillipine Insurrection and doesn’t slow down until Vietnam, with stops in WWI and WWII along the way. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 9 November”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 8 November

There are seven Medals awarded for actions on this day in our history militant, and a very interesting group of heroes it is.  We start with a second award, have a combat swimmer, three Medals for trying to *prevent* a battle, a heroic medic, and we end up with one “very tough ‘Rican”, as Boq would say.

Indian Campaigns.  We met Captain Baldwin before, on 12 July, when he earned his first Medal during the Civil War. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 8 November”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 6 November

There are only two Medals awarded for actions on this day.  One each for WWII and Korea, both posthumous.

WWII. Lieutenant Turney survived the fight for which he was cited, but not the overall battle.  There is an interesting afterstory to Lieutenant Leonard’s story. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 6 November”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 5 November

There are 8 Medals awarded for actions on this day in our military history, only one of them posthumous.  They span from the Indian Campaigns to Vietnam.  I’ve had the honor to meet, and in fact work for, one of the Holders.

Indian Campaigns – What a difference 130 or so years makes in the usage of language.  Today this citation would read as a criminal charge, not an award.  Of course, there are those who would argue, from a PC perspective, that that is exactly what it is anyway. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 5 November”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 4 November

Only three Medals for this day in history, all in the modern era – one for World War II the other two for those dark desperate days of Korea, 1950.  While it looks like the Medal was a particularly harsh mistress on this day – in truth, only two of these awards, the ones for Korea, went to two Marines who died earning them.  Tech 5 Okubo survived World War II, and died in 1967, 34 years before the Army was forced to face the racist realities of it’s WWII awards policies, and 22 Medals were presented to Nisei soldiers or their surviving families. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 4 November”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 2 November

The Medal doesn’t make an appearance on this day in history until World War II in 1943.

WWII – There are three Medals, one to an infantryman who survived his fight, and two to aviators who did not live to receive their awards.  Major Wilkins took a lot of Japanese sailors and naval hardware with him to Valhalla. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 2 November”