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.
BALDWIN, FRANK D. SECOND AWARD
Place and date: At McClellans Creek, Tex., 8 November 1874. Citation: Rescued, with 2 companies, 2 white girls by a voluntary attack upon Indians whose superior numbers and strong position would have warranted delay for reinforcements, but which delay would have permitted the Indians to escape and kill their captives.
WWI. Keeping the Hun on the run from France continues.
HATLER, M. WALDO
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 356th Infantry, 89th Division. Place and date: Near Pouilly, France, 8 November 1918. Entered service at: Neosho, Mo. Born: 6 January 1894, Bolivar, Mo. G.O. No.: 74, W.D., 1919. Citation: When volunteers were called for to secure information as to the enemy’s position on the opposite bank of the Meuse River, Sgt. Hatler was the first to offer his services for this dangerous mission. Swimming across the river, he succeeded in reaching the German lines, after another soldier, who had started with him, had been seized with cramps and drowned in midstream. Alone he carefully and courageously reconnoitered the enemy’s positions, which were held in force, and again successfully swam the river, bringing back information of great value.
WWII. A very interesting trio of Medals from the landings in French Morocco, as we tried desperately to not have to kill a lot of french soldiers (and losing our own, in the process, of course.) Of course, honor had to be satisfied on the French side of things. The last Medal from the WWII grouping is to a soldier who demonstrates why combat troops love medics.
, DEMAS T.
Rank and organization: Colonel
, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date. Near Port Lyautey
, French Morocco, 8 November 1942. Entered service at: Michigan. Born: 9 April 1900, Traverse City, Mich. G.O. No.: 11, 4 March 1943. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 8 November 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Col. Craw volunteered to accompany the leading wave of assault boats to the shore and pass through the enemy lines to locate the French commander with a view to suspending hostilities. This request was first refused as being too dangerous but upon the officer’s insistence that he was qualified to undertake and accomplish the mission he was allowed to go. Encountering heavy fire while in the landing boat and unable to dock in the river because of shell fire from shore batteries, Col. Craw, accompanied by 1 officer and 1 soldier, succeeded in landing on the beach at Mehdia Plage under constat low-level strafing from 3 enemy planes. Riding in a bantam truck toward French headquarters
, progress of the party was hindered by fire from our own naval guns. Nearing Port Lyautey, Col. Craw was instantly killed by a sustained burst of machinegun fire at pointblank range from a concealed position near the road.
HAMILTON, PIERPONT M.
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: Near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, 8 November 1942. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 3 August 1898, Tuxedo Park, N.Y. G.O. No.: 4, 23 January 1943. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 8 November 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Lt. Col. Hamilton volunteered to accompany Col. Demas Craw on a dangerous mission to the French commander, designed to bring about a cessation of hostilities. Driven away from the mouth of the Sebou River by heavy shelling from all sides, the landing boat was finally beached at Mehdia Plage despite continuous machinegun fire from 3 low-flying hostile planes. Driven in a light truck toward French headquarters, this courageous mission encountered intermittent firing, and as it neared Port Lyautey a heavy burst of machinegun fire was delivered upon the truck from pointblank range, killing Col. Craw instantly. Although captured immediately, after this incident, Lt. Col. Hamilton completed the mission .
WILBUR, WILLIAM H.
Rank and organization: Colonel, U.S. Army, Western Task Force, North Africa. Place and date: Fedala, North Africa, 8 November 1942. Entered service at: Palmer, Mass. Birth: Palmer, Mass. G.O. No.: 2, 13 January 1943. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. Col. Wilbur prepared the plan for making contact with French commanders in Casablanca and obtaining an armistice to prevent unnecessary bloodshed. On 8 November 1942, he landed at Fedala with the leading assault waves where opposition had developed into a firm and continuous defensive line across his route of advance. Commandeering a vehicle, he was driven toward the hostile defenses under incessant fire, finally locating a French officer who accorded him passage through the forward positions. He then proceeded in total darkness through 16 miles of enemy-occupied country intermittently subjected to heavy bursts of fire, and accomplished his mission by delivering his letters to appropriate French officials in Casablanca. Returning toward his command
, Col. Wilbur detected a hostile battery firing effectively on our troops. He took charge of a platoon of American tanks and personally led them in an attack and capture of the battery. From the moment of landing until the cessation of hostile resistance, Col. Wilbur’s conduct was voluntary and exemplary in its coolness and daring.
*WILSON, ALFRED L.
Rank and organization: Technician Fifth Grade, U.S. Army, Medical Detachment, 328th Infantry, 26th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Bezange la Petite, France, 8 November 1944. Entered service at: Fairchance, Pa. Birth: Fairchance, Pa. G.O. No.: 47, 18 June 1945. Citation: He volunteered to assist as an aid man a company other than his own, which was suffering casualties from constant artillery fire. He administered to the wounded and returned to his own company when a shellburst injured a number of its men. While treating his comrades he was seriously wounded, but refused to be evacuated by litter bearers sent to relieve him. In spite of great pain and loss of blood, he continued to administer first aid until he was too weak to stand. Crawling from 1 patient to another, he continued his work until excessive loss of blood prevented him from moving. He then verbally directed unskilled enlisted men in continuing the first aid for the wounded. Still refusing assistance himself
, he remained to instruct others in dressing the wounds of his comrades until he was unable to speak above a whisper and finally lapsed into unconsciousness. The effects of his injury later caused his death. By steadfastly remaining at the scene without regard for his own safety, Cpl. Wilson through distinguished devotion to duty and personal sacrifice helped to save the lives of at least 10 wounded men.
Vietnam, and one very tough Puerto Rican soldier.
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company
, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, RVN. Place and date: Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 8 November 1966. Entered service at: Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico. Born: 1 March 1938, Ponce, Puerto Rico. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Rubio, Infantry, was serving as communications officer, 1st Battalion, when a numerically superior enemy force launched a massive attack against the battalion defense position. Intense enemy machinegun fire raked the area while mortar rounds and rifle grenades exploded within the perimeter. Leaving the relative safety of his post, Capt. Rubio received 2 serious wounds as he braved the withering fire to go to the area of most intense action where he distributed ammunition, re-established positions and rendered aid to the wounded. Disregarding the painful wounds, he unhesitatingly assumed command when a rifle company commander was medically evacuated. Capt. Rubio was wounded a third time as he selflessly exposed himself to the devastating enemy fire to move among his men to encourage them to fight with renewed effort. While aiding the evacuation of wounded personnel, he noted that a smoke grenade which was intended to mark the Viet Cong position for air strikes had fallen dangerously close to the friendly lines. Capt. Rubio ran to reposition the grenade but was immediately struck to his knees by enemy fire. Despite his several wounds
, Capt. Rubio scooped up the grenade, ran through the deadly hail of fire to within 20 meters of the enemy position and hurled the already smoking grenade into the midst of the enemy before he fell for the final time. Using the repositioned grenade as a marker, friendly air strikes were directed to destroy the hostile positions. Capt. Rubio’s singularly heroic act turned the tide of battle, and his extraordinary leadership and valor were a magnificent inspiration to his men. His remarkable bravery and selfless concern for his men are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on Capt. Rubio and the U.S. Army.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.