There have been ten Medals awarded for actions on this day, spanning from the Civil War to Vietnam.
One third of the Medals, and all that went to living recipients, come from the Civil War. Three sailors, three soldiers, three battles.
Rank and organization: Captain of the Afterguard, U.S. Navy. Born: 12 March 1839, England. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Served as pilot of the U.S.S. Santee when that vessel was engaged in cutting out the rebel armed schooner Royal Yacht from Galveston Bay, 7 November 1861, and evinced more coolness, in passing the 4 forts and the rebel steamer General Rusk, than was ever before witnessed by his commanding officer. “Although severely wounded in the encounter, he displayed extraordinary courage under the most painful and trying circumstances.”
HALL, HENRY SEYMOUR
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company G, 27th New York Infantry; and Captain, Company F, 121st New York Infantry. Place and date. At Gaines Mill, Va., 27 June 1862. At Rappallannock Station, Va., 7 November 1863. Entered service at: New York. Birth: New York. Date of issue: 17 August 1891. Citation: Although wounded at Gaines Mill
, Va., he remained on duty and participated in the battle with his company. At Rappahannock Station, Va., while acting as aide, rendered gallant and prompt assistance in reforming the regiments inside the enemy’s works.
MORRILL, WALTER G.
Rank and organization: Captain, Company B, 20th Maine Infantry. Place and date: At Rappahannock Station, Va., 7 November 1863. Entered service at: Brownville, Maine. Birth: Brownville, Maine. Date of issue: 5 April 1898. Citation: Learning that an assault was to be made upon the enemy’s works by other troops, this officer voluntarily joined the storming party with about 50 men of his regiment, and by his dash and gallantry rendered effective service in the assault.
ROBERTS, OTIS O.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company H, 6th Maine Infantry. Place and date: At Rappanhannock Station, Va., 7 November 1863. Entered service at: Dexter, Maine. Birth: Sangerville, Maine. Date of issue: 28 December 1863. Citation: Capture of flag of 8th Louisiana Infantry (C.S.A.) in a hand_to_hand struggle with the color bearer.
Rank and organization: Signal Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Birth: Cape May County, N.J. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: During action of the main squadron of ships against heavily defended Forts Beauregard and Walker on Hilton Head, 7 November 1861. Serving as signal quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Mohican, Thompson steadfastly steered the ship with a steady and bold heart under the batteries; was wounded by a piece of shell but remained at his station until he fell from loss of blood. Legs since amputated.
Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Elizabethtown, N.J. G.O. No: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Captain of an 11_inch gun aboard the U.S.S. Mohican during action of the main squadron of ships against the heavily defended Forts Beauregard and Walker on Hilton Head, and against ships of the Confederate Fleet, 7 November 1861. Cool and courageous at his battle station, Williams maintained steady fire against the enemy while under the fort batteries during a 4_hour engagement which resulted in silencing the batteries of the forts and in the rout of the rebel steamers.
WWII. Private Nishimoto is one of the Nisei of the storied 442d Regimental Combat Team who’s Medal was awarded in 2000 by President Clinton, as the Army made right a miscarriage of justice in awards policies. Sergeant Thomas is a Marine who held himself accountable for his actions to a degree most of will never face. Leonard’s award was made in 2014, resulting from another review of awards for possibly having been downgraded due to racial prejudice that resulted in several new awards. The abbreviated citation is not unsual with those awards.
LEONARD, WILLIAM F.
Then-Pfc. William F. Leonard is being recognized for his valorous actions while serving as a squad leader with Company C, 30th Infantry, on Nov. 7, 1944, near St. Die, France. Leonard’s platoon was reduced to eight men by blistering artillery, mortar, machine-gun, and rifle power. Leonard led the survivors in an assault over a tree-and-shrub-covered hill, continuously swept by automatic fire. Killing two snipers at ranges of 50 and 75 yards, he disregarded bullets that pierced his back to engage and destroy a machine-gun with rifle grenades, killing its two-man crew. Stunned by an exploding bazooka shell, he continued his relentless advance to knock out a second a machine-gun and capture the roadblock objective.
*NISHIMOTO, JOE M.
Private First Class Joe M. Nishimoto distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 7 November 1944
, near La Houssiere, France. After three days of unsuccessful attempts by his company to dislodge the enemy from a strongly defended ridge, Private First Class Nishimoto, as acting squad leader, boldly crawled forward through a heavily mined and booby-trapped area. Spotting a machine gun nest, he hurled a grenade and destroyed the emplacement. Then, circling to the rear of another machine gun position, he fired his submachine gun at point-blank range, killing one gunner and wounding another. Pursuing two enemy riflemen, Private First Class Nishimoto killed one, while the other hastily retreated. Continuing his determined assault, he drove another machine gun crew from its position. The enemy
, with their key strong points taken, were forced to withdraw from this sector. Private First Class Nishimoto’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him
, his unit, and the United States Army.
*THOMAS, HERBERT JOSEPHRank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born: 8 February 1918
, Columbus, Ohio. Accredited to: West Virginia. Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the battle at the Koromokina River, Bougainville Islands, Solomon Islands, on 7 November 1943. Although several of his men were struck by enemy bullets as he led his squad through dense jungle undergrowth in the face of severe hostile machinegun fire, Sgt. Thomas and his group fearlessly pressed forward into the center of the Japanese position and destroyed the crews of 2 machineguns by accurate rifle fire and grenades. Discovering a third gun more difficult to approach, he carefully placed his men closely around him in strategic positions from which they were to charge after he had thrown a grenade into the emplacement. When the grenade struck vines and fell back into the midst of the group, Sgt. Thomas deliberately flung himself upon it to smother the explosion, valiantly sacrificing his life for his comrades. Inspired by his selfless action, his men unhesitatingly charged the enemy machinegun and, with fierce determination, killed the crew and several other nearby-defenders. The splendid initiative and extremely heroic conduct of Sgt. Thomas in carrying out his prompt decision with full knowledge of his fate reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Vietnam. Specialist Stryker is one of the two Strykers who earned the Medal that the Stryker IAV is named after. We will meet the other, PFC Stuart Stryker, in March.
*STRYKER, ROBERT F.
Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Loc Ninh, Republic of Vietnam, 7 November 1967. Entered service at: Throop, N.Y. Born: 9 November 1944
, Auburn, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Stryker
, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving with Company C. Sp4c. Stryker was serving as a grenadier in a multicompany reconnaissance in force near Loc Ninh. As his unit moved through the dense underbrush, it was suddenly met with a hail of rocket, automatic weapons and small arms fire from enemy forces concealed in fortified bunkers and in the surrounding trees. Reacting quickly, Sp4c. Stryker fired into the enemy positions with his grenade launcher. During the devastating exchange of fire, Sp4c. Stryker detected enemy elements attempting to encircle his company and isolate it from the main body of the friendly force. Undaunted by the enemy machinegun and small-arms fire, Sp4c. Stryker repeatedly fired grenades into the trees, killing enemy snipers and enabling his comrades to sever the attempted encirclement. As the battle continued, Sp4c. Stryker observed several wounded members of his squad in the killing zone of an enemy claymore mine. With complete disregard for his safety, he threw himself upon the mine as it was detonated. He was mortally wounded as his body absorbed the blast and shielded his comrades from the explosion. His unselfish actions were responsible for saving the lives of at least 6 of his fellow soldiers. Sp4c. Stryker’s great personal bravery was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself
, his unit, and the U.S. Army.