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.

Philippine Insurrection, two Medals for the same fight.

GALT, STERLING A.

Rank and organization: Artificer, Company F, 36th Infantry, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At Bamban, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 9 November 1899. Entered service at: Pawneytown, Md. Birth: Pawneytown, Md. Date of issue: 30 April 1902. Citation: Distinguished bravery and conspicuous gallantry in action against insurgents.

HUNTSMAN, JOHN A.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 36th Infantry, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At Bamban, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 9 November 1899. Entered service at: Lawrence, Kans. Birth: Oskaloosa County, Iowa. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: For distinguished bravery and conspicuous gallantry in action against insurgents.

World War I.  The Armistice is two days away, but these soldiers aren’t slowing down at all.

*BARKELEY, DAVID B.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division. Place and date: Near Pouilly, France, 9 November 1918. Entered service at: San Antonio, Tex. Birth: Laredo, Tex. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: When information was desired as to the enemy’s position on the opposite side of the Meuse River, Pvt. Barkeley, with another soldier, volunteered without hesitation and swam the river to reconnoiter the exact location. He succeeded in reaching the opposite bank, despite the evident determination of the enemy to prevent a crossing. Having obtained his information, he again entered the water for his return, but before his goal was reached, he was seized with cramps and drowned.

JOHNSTON, HAROLD I.

Rank and organization: Sergeant (then Private First Class), U.S. Army, Company A, 356th Infantry, 89th Division. Place and date: Near Pouilly, France, 9 November 1918. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Birth: Kendell, Kans. C O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: When information was desired as to the enemy’s position on the opposite side of the Meuse River, Sgt. Johnston

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, with another soldier, volunteered without hesitation and swam the river to reconnoiter the exact location of the enemy. He succeeded in reaching the opposite bank, despite the evident determination of the enemy to prevent a crossing. Having obtained his information, he again entered the water for his return. This was accomplished after a severe struggle which so exhausted him that he had to be assisted from the water, after which he rendered his report of the exploit.

VAN IERSEL, LUDOVICUS M. M.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 9th Infantry, 2d Division. Place and date: At Mouzon, France, 9 November 1918. Entered service at: Glen Rock, N.J. Birth: Holland. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. Citation: While a member of the reconnaissance patrol, sent out at night to ascertain the condition of a damaged bridge, Sgt. Van Iersel volunteered to lead a party across the bridge in the face of heavy machinegun and rifle fire from a range of only 75 yards. Crawling alone along the debris of the ruined bridge he came upon a trap

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, which gave away and precipitated him into the water. In spite of the swift current he succeeded in swimming across the stream and found a lodging place among the timbers on the opposite bank. Disregarding the enemy fire, he made a careful investigation of the hostile position by which the bridge was defended and then returned to the other bank of the river, reporting this valuable information to the battalion commander.

World War II was tough on today’s recipients, all awards being posthumous. All three recipients died to save others.

*GOTT, DONALD J. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 729th Bomber Squadron, 452d Bombardment Group. Place and date: Saarbrucken, Germany, 9 November 1944. Entered service at: Arnett, Okla. Born: 3 June 1923, Arnett, Okla. G.O. No.: 38, 16 May 1945. Citation: On a bombing run upon the marshaling yards at Saarbrucken a B-17 aircraft piloted by 1st. Lt. Gott was seriously damaged by antiaircraft fire. Three of the aircraft’s engines were damaged beyond control and on fire; dangerous flames from the No. 4 engine were leaping back as far as the tail assembly. Flares in the cockpit were ignited and a fire raged therein

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, which was further increased by free-flowing fluid from damaged hydraulic lines. The interphone system was rendered useless. In addition to these serious mechanical difficulties the engineer was wounded in the leg and the radio operator’s arm was severed below the elbow. Suffering from intense pain, despite the application of a tourniquet, the radio operator fell unconscious. Faced with the imminent explosion of his aircraft, and death to his entire crew, mere seconds before bombs away on the target, 1st. Lt. Gott and his copilot conferred. Something had to be done immediately to save the life of the wounded radio operator. The lack of a static line and the thought that his unconscious body striking the ground in unknown territory would not bring immediate medical attention forced a quick decision. 1st. Lt. Gott and his copilot decided to fly the flaming aircraft to friendly territory and then attempt to crash land. Bombs were released on the target and the crippled aircraft proceeded alone to Allied-controlled territory. When that had been reached

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, 1st. Lt. Gott had the copilot personally inform all crewmembers to bail out. The copilot chose to remain with 1st. Lt. Gott in order to assist in landing the bomber. With only one normally functioning engine, and with the danger of explosion much greater, the aircraft banked into an open field, and when it was at an altitude of 100 feet it exploded, crashed, exploded again and then disintegrated. All 3 crewmembers were instantly killed. 1st. Lt. Gott’s loyalty to his crew, his determination to accomplish the task set forth to him, and his deed of knowingly performing what may have been his last service to his country was an example of valor at its highest.

*METZGER, WILLIAM E., JR. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 729th Bomber Squadron 452d Bombardment Group. Place and date: Saarbrucken, Germany, 9 November 1944. Entered service at: Lima, Ohio. Born: 9 February 1922, Lima, Ohio. G.O. No.: 38, 16 May 1945. Citation: On a bombing run upon the marshaling yards at Saarbrucken, Germany, on 9 November 1944, a B17 aircraft on which 2d Lt. Metzger was serving as copilot was seriously damaged by antiaircraft fire. Three of the aircraft’s engines were damaged beyond control and on fire; dangerous flames from the No. 4 engine were leaping back as far as the tail assembly. Flares in the cockpit were ignited and a fire roared therein which was further increased by free-flowing fluid from damaged hydraulic lines. The interphone system was rendered useless. In addition to these serious mechanical difficulties the engineer was wounded in the leg and the radio operator’s arm was severed below the elbow. Suffering from intense pain, despite the application of a tourniquet, the radio operator fell unconscious. Faced with the imminent explosion of his aircraft and death to his entire crew, mere seconds before bombs away on the target, 2d Lt. Metzger and his pilot conferred. Something had to be done immediately to save the life of the wounded radio operator. The lack of a static line and the thought that his unconscious body striking the ground in unknown territory would not bring immediate medical attention forced a quick decision. 2d Lt. Metzger and his pilot decided to fly the flaming aircraft to friendly territory and then attempt to crash land. Bombs were released on the target and the crippled aircraft proceeded along to Allied-controlled territory. When that had been reached 2d Lt. Metzger personally informed all crewmembers to bail out upon the suggestion of the pilot. 2d Lt. Metzger chose to remain with the pilot for the crash landing in order to assist him in this emergency. With only 1 normally functioning engine and with the danger of explosion much greater, the aircraft banked into an open field, and when it was at an altitude of 100 feet it exploded, crashed, exploded again, and then disintegrated. All 3 crewmembers were instantly killed. 2d Lt. Metzger’s loyalty to his crew, his determination to accomplish the task set forth to him, and his deed of knowingly performing what may have been his last service to his country was an example of valor at its highest.

*GURKE, HENRY

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 6 November 1922, Neche, N. Dak. Accredited to: North Dakota. Citation: For extraordinary heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 3d Marine Raider Battalion during action against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area on 9 November 1943. While his platoon was engaged in the defense of a vital road block near Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville Island. Pfc. Gurke, in company with another Marine, was delivering a fierce stream of fire against the main vanguard of the Japanese. Concluding from the increasing ferocity of grenade barrages that the enemy was determined to annihilate their small

, 2-man foxhole, he resorted to a bold and desperate measure for holding out despite the torrential hail of shells. When a Japanese grenade dropped squarely into the foxhole, Pfc. Gurke, mindful that his companion manned an automatic weapon of superior fire power and therefore could provide more effective resistance, thrust him roughly aside and flung his own body over the missile to smother the explosion. With unswerving devotion to duty and superb valor, Pfc. Gurke sacrificed himself in order that his comrade might live to carry on the fight. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Vietnam.  Three harder’n woodpecker lips Captains – including the legendary Lance Sijan, the embodiment of POW resistance.

*SIJAN, LANCE P.

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Air Force, 4th Allied POW Wing, Pilot of an F-4C aircraft. Place and date: North Vietnam

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, 9 November 1967. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Born: 13 April 1942, Milwaukee, Wis. Citation: While on a flight over North Vietnam, Capt. Sijan ejected from his disabled aircraft and successfully evaded capture for more than 6 weeks. During this time, he was seriously injured and suffered from shock and extreme weight loss due to lack of food. After being captured by North Vietnamese soldiers, Capt. Sijan was taken to a holding point for subsequent transfer to a prisoner of war camp. In his emaciated and crippled condition

, he overpowered 1 of his guards and crawled into the jungle, only to be recaptured after several hours. He was then transferred to another prison camp where he was kept in solitary confinement and interrogated at length. During interrogation, he was severely tortured; however, he did not divulge any information to his captors. Capt. Sijan lapsed into delirium and was placed in the care of another prisoner. During his intermittent periods of consciousness until his death, he never complained of his physical condition and, on several occasions, spoke of future escape attempts. Capt. Sijan’s extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Armed Forces.

TAYLOR, JAMES ALLEN

Rank and organization: Captain (then 1st Lt.), U.S. Army, Troop B, 1st Cavalry, Americal Division. Place and date: West of Que Son, Republic of Vietnam, 9 November 1967. Entered service at: San Francisco, Calif. Born: 31 December 1937, Arcata, Calif. Citation: Capt. Taylor, Armor, was serving as executive officer of Troop B, 1st Squadron. His troop was engaged in an attack on a fortified position west of Que Son when it came under intense enemy recoilless rifle, mortar, and automatic weapons fire from an enemy strong point located immediately to its front. One armored cavalry assault vehicle was hit immediately by recoilless rifle fire and all 5 crewmembers were wounded. Aware that the stricken vehicle was in grave danger of exploding, Capt. Taylor rushed forward and personally extracted the wounded to safety despite the hail of enemy fire and exploding ammunition. Within minutes a second armored cavalry assault vehicle was hit by multiple recoilless rifle rounds. Despite the continuing intense enemy fire

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, Capt. Taylor moved forward on foot to rescue the wounded men from the burning vehicle and personally removed all the crewmen to the safety of a nearby dike. Moments later the vehicle exploded. As he was returning to his vehicle, a bursting mortar round painfully wounded Capt. Taylor, yet he valiantly returned to his vehicle to relocate the medical evacuation landing zone to an area closer to the front lines. As he was moving his vehicle, it came under machinegun fire from an enemy position not 50 yards away. Capt. Taylor engaged the position with his machinegun, killing the 3-man crew. Upon arrival at the new evacuation site, still another vehicle was struck. Once again Capt. Taylor rushed forward and pulled the wounded from the vehicle, loaded them aboard his vehicle, and returned them safely to the evacuation site. His actions of unsurpassed valor were a source of inspiration to his entire troop

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, contributed significantly to the success of the overall assault on the enemy position, and were directly responsible for saving the lives of a number of his fellow soldiers. His actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military profession and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army

YOUNG, GERALD O.

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Air Force, 37th ARS Da Nang AFB, Republic of Vietnam. Place and date: Khesanh, 9 November 1967. Entered service at: Colorado Springs, Colo. Born: 9 May 1930, Chicago, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Young distinguished himself while serving as a helicopter rescue crew commander. Capt. Young was flying escort for another helicopter attempting the night rescue of an Army ground reconnaissance team in imminent danger of death or capture. Previous attempts had resulted in the loss of 2 helicopters to hostile ground fire. The endangered team was positioned on the side of a steep slope which required unusual airmanship on the part of Capt. Young to effect pickup. Heavy automatic weapons fire from the surrounding enemy severely damaged 1 rescue helicopter

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, but it was able to extract 3 of the team. The commander of this aircraft recommended to Capt. Young that further rescue attempts be abandoned because it was not possible to suppress the concentrated fire from enemy automatic weapons. With full knowledge of the danger involved, and the fact that supporting helicopter gunships were low on fuel and ordnance, Capt. Young hovered under intense fire until the remaining survivors were aboard. As he maneuvered the aircraft for takeoff, the enemy appeared at point-blank range and raked the aircraft with automatic weapons fire. The aircraft crashed, inverted, and burst into flames. Capt. Young escaped through a window of the burning aircraft. Disregarding serious burns, Capt. Young aided one of the wounded men and attempted to lead the hostile forces away from his position. Later, despite intense pain from his burns, he declined to accept rescue because he had observed hostile forces setting up automatic weapons positions to entrap any rescue aircraft. For more than 17 hours he evaded the enemy until rescue aircraft could be brought into the area. Through his extraordinary heroism, aggressiveness, and concern for his fellow man, Capt. Young reflected the highest credit upon himself, the U.S. Air Force, and the Armed Forces of his country.

 

Afghanistan.  Specialist White has a bad day.

WHITE, KYLE J.

Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007. On that day, Specialist White and his comrades were returning to Bella Outpost from a shura with Aranas Village elders. As the soldiers traversed a narrow path surrounded by mountainous, rocky terrain, they were ambushed by enemy forces from elevated positions. Pinned against a steep mountain face, Specialist White and his fellow soldiers were completely exposed to enemy fire. Specialist White returned fire and was briefly knocked unconscious when a rocket-propelled grenade impacted near him. When he regained consciousness, another round impacted near him, embedding small pieces of shrapnel in his face. Shaking off his wounds, Specialist White noticed one of his comrades lying wounded nearby. Without hesitation

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, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire in order to reach the soldier and provide medical aid. After applying a tourniquet, Specialist White moved to an injured Marine, similarly providing aid and comfort until the Marine succumbed to his wounds. Specialist White then returned to the soldier and discovered that he had been wounded again. Applying his own belt as an additional tourniquet, Specialist White was able to stem the flow of blood and save the soldier’s life. Noticing that his and the other soldier’s radios were inoperative, Specialist White exposed himself to enemy fire yet again in order to secure a radio from a deceased comrade. He then provided information and updates to friendly forces, allowing precision airstrikes to stifle the enemy’s attack and ultimately permitting medical evacuation aircraft to rescue him, his fellow soldiers, Marines and Afghan Army soldiers. Specialist Kyle J. White’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade and the United States Army.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.

Published by The Armorer

A grumpy old Cincinnatus who feeds goats, dogs, cats, ducks, peafowl, a horse, and sundry avians, especially in the winter. From time to time you will see guns. Until such time as the Progressives repeal the 2nd Amendment, everything you see is legal, Federal, State, Local, where I live. Your progressive paradise may have different rules. Don't project them onto me. Federalism still exists, even if it is but a shadow of what the Framers intended.

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