Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 14 July

Medal of Honor Recipient Charles M Holton. Courtesy the CMOHS,

Today is an unusual day thus far in the series – only one Medal, awarded for actions at Falling Waters, Viriginia, during the Civil War, in a skirmish during the Union Army of the Potomac’s pursuit of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia during the latter’s withdrawal from Gettysburg.

HOLTON, CHARLES M.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company A, 7th Michigan Cavalry. Place and date: At Falling Waters, Va., 14 July 1863. Entered service at: Battle Creek, Mich. Born: 25 May 1838, Potter, N.Y. Date of issue: 21 March 1889. Citation: Capture of flag of 55th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.). In the midst of the battle with foot soldiers he dismounted to capture the flag.

Let First Sergeant Holton tell the tale, as quoted in Deeds of Valor By Walter F. Beyer and Oscar Frederick Keydel: Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 14 July”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 13 July

Medal of Honor recipient Ryan M Pitts.
U.S. Army photo by Monica King.

There are 12 13 Medals awarded for actions on this day in only two fights, one during the Indian Campaigns and the other during the China Relief Expedition – and now, one in Afghanistan. Today’s list reflects the fact that we really had no other award of this nature to bestow back in the 19th century.**  Many of these awards here today would most likely be Bronze Stars w/V, Silver Stars, and Distinguished Service Crosses.  That said – bear in mind that all these awards have been reviewed and stood the test of time.  With an average of a little over 9 per day, today is one of those days that makes up for the short ones.

During the Indian Campaigns, a fight with the Apaches in the Whetstone Mountains of Arizona. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 13 July”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 12 July

Medal of Honor Recipient Roy W Harmon. Courtesy the CMOHS.

There are 20 Medals awarded for actions on this day.  As is usual when there are this many on a given day, the bulk come from the 19th Century to prior to WWI, when the award criteria (and the entire award system) were different.

The Medal spread itself all over on this day.  The Civil War, the Indian Campaigns, the China Relief Expedition, World War II and Vietnam.

Civil War.  The first Medal is for the Battle of Peachtree Creek – which was fought on 20 July 1864, but the citation reads 12 July.  Digging around, I see that references citing this Medal prior to the official Senate book cite the 20 July battle, and not the 12th.  I suspect the date of the 12th for this citation is in error.  But I’m leaving it here, with this caveat, since I’m using the official US Army source at the Center for Military History, which itself publishes this caveat: Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 12 July”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 11 July

Medal of Honor recipient Gordon R. Roberts. Courtesy the CMOHS.

There are four Medals awarded for actions on this day in history. Today we open with the Indian Campaigns, and the Battle of the Clearwater. While a win for the Army, the Nez Perce gave General O.O. Howard a bloody nose and lived to fight another day, though in the end, the Nez Perce War ended badly for the Nez Perce, with Chief Joseph famously attributed as saying, “Hear me, my chiefs! I am tired. My heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

HUMPHREY, CHARLES F.Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 4th U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Clearwater, Idaho, 11 July 1877. Entered service at: ——. Birth: New York. Date of issue: 2 March 1897. Citation: Voluntarily and successfully conducted, in the face of a withering fire, a party which recovered possession of an abandoned howitzer and 2 Gatling guns lying between the lines a few yards from the Indians

Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 11 July”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 10 July

Medal of Honor recipient John J Parle. Courtesy the CMOHS.

With only two awards for this day thus far in the history of the Medal, with the exception of noting that some of the Medals on the 8th and 9th of July do span to the 10th, these are the only two which stand-along on the 10th. We start with some naval action at Charleston, South Carolina.

ANDERSON, ROBERT N

Rank: Quartermaster (Highest rank: Acting Master’s Mate) Unit/Command: U.S.S. CRUSADER and the U.S.S. KEOKUK Date: July 10, 1863 Place: Charleston, South Carolina.
Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Crusader and the Keokuk during various actions of those vessels. Carrying out his duties skillfully while on board the U.S.S. Crusader, Q.M. Anderson, on all occasions, set forth the greatest intrepidity and devotion. During the attack on Charleston, while serving on board the U.S.S. Keokuk, Q.M. Anderson was stationed at the wheel when shot penetrated the house and, with the scattering of the iron, used his own body as a shield for his commanding officer.

The Medal then stood idle, biding it’s time on 10 July until World War II, and the invasion of Sicily.

*PARLE, JOHN JOSEPH

Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve. Born: 26 May 1920, Omaha, Nebr. Accredited to: Nebraska. Citation: For valor and courage above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of Small Boats in the U.S.S. LST 375 during the amphibious assault on the island of Sicily, 9-10 July 1943. Realizing that a detonation of explosives would prematurely disclose to the enemy the assault about to be carried out, and with full knowledge of the peril involved, Ens. Parle unhesitatingly risked his life to extinguish a smoke pot accidentally ignited in a boat carrying charges of high explosives, detonating fuses and ammunition. Undaunted by fire and blinding smoke, he entered the craft, quickly snuffed out a burning fuse, and after failing in his desperate efforts to extinguish the fire pot, finally seized it with both hands and threw it over the side. Although he succumbed a week later from smoke and fumes inhaled, Ens. Parle’s heroic self-sacrifice prevented grave damage to the ship and personnel and insured the security of a vital mission. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

*Indicates a posthumous award.

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 9 July

Medal of Honor recipient Donald D Pucket. Courtesy the CMOHS.

There are nine Medals awarded for actions on this day in history.  First up – the Civil War, a naval action involving USS Ceres and the Battle of Monocacy, Maryland.

HAND, ALLEXANDER

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1836, Delaware. Accredited to: Delaware. G.O. No.: 11 , 3 April 1 863. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Ceres in the fight near Hamilton, Roanoke River, 9 July 1862. Fired on by the enemy with small arms, Hand courageously returned the raking enemy fire and was spoken of for “good conduct and cool bravery under enemy fire,” by the commanding officer.

KELLEY, JOHN

Rank and organization: Second Class Fireman, U.S. Navy. Birth: Ireland. Accredited to: Ireland. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Served as second-class fireman on board the U.S.S. Ceres in the fight near Hamilton, Roanoke River, 9 July 1862. When his ship was fired on by the enemy with small arms, Kelley returned the raking fire, courageously carrying out his duties through the engagement and was spoken of for “good conduct and cool bravery under enemy fires,” by the commanding officer. DAVIS, GEORGE E.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company D, 10th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: At Monocacy, Md., 9 July 1864. Entered service at: Burlington, Vt. Birth: Dunstable, Mass. Date of issue: 27 May 1892. Citation: While in command of a small force, held the approaches to the 2 bridges against repeated assaults of superior numbers, thereby materially delaying Early’s advance on Washington.

DAVIS, GEORGE E Rank: First Lieutenant (Highest Rank: Captain) Unit/Command: Company D, 10TH Vermont Infantry Date: July 9, 1864  Place: Monocacy, Maryland
Citation: While in command of a small force, held the approaches to the two bridges against repeated assaults of superior numbers, thereby materially delaying Early’s advance on Washington.

SCOTT, ALEXANDER

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, 10th Vermont Infantry. Place and date: At Monocacy, Md., 9 July 1864. Entered service at: Winooski, Vt. Birth: Canada. Date of issue: 28 September 1897. Citation: Under a very heavy fire of the enemy saved the national flag of his regiment from capture.

Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 9 July”

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 8 July

Medal of Honor Recipient Dan D Schoonover. Courtesy the CMOHS.
There are NINE Medals awarded for actions on this day in history. We start off with an odd one – a Medal of Honor for getting shot by your own side, during the Indian War period.  Interestingly enough for this resident of Kansas – three of these Medals have a Kansas connection.  Two were earned in Kansas, and a third earned by a Kansan. I also learned today that my “indian name” is CO-RUX-TE-CHOD-ISH.

CO-RUX-TE-CHOD-ISH (Mad Bear)

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Pawnee Scouts, U.S. Army. Place and date: At Republican River, Kans., 8 July 1869. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Nebraska. Date of issue: 24 August 1869. Citation: Ran out from the command in pursuit of a dismounted Indian; was shot down and badly wounded by a bullet from his own command.

On hopes that Corporal Kyle wasn’t the trooper who shot Mad Bear…

KYLE, JOHN

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company M, 5th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: Near Republican River, Kans., 8 July 1869. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Cincinnati, Ohio. Date of issue: 24 August 1869. Citation: This soldier and 2 others were attacked by 8 Indians, but beat them off and badly wounded 2 of them.

Five soldiers in the same fight at Fort Selden, New Mexico, same unit, same citation:

BRATLING, Frank RANK: CORPORAL
LYTLE, Leonidas S RANK: SERGEANT (HIGHEST RANK: FIRST SERGEANT)
MORRIS, James L RANK: FIRST SERGEANT
SHEERIN, John RANK: BLACKSMITH
WILLS, Henry RANK: PRIVATE (HIGHEST RANK: SERGEANT)
CITATION: Services against hostile Indians.

The Medal takes a breather until WWII, on Saipan.

*TIMMERMAN, GRANT FREDERICK

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 14 February 1919, Americus, Kans. Accredited to: Kansas. Other Navy award: Bronze Star Medal. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as tank commander serving with the 2d Battalion, 6th Marines, 2d Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Saipan, Marianas Islands, on 8 July 1944. Advancing with his tank a few yards ahead of the infantry in support of a vigorous attack on hostile positions, Sgt. Timmerman maintained steady fire from his antiaircraft sky mount machinegun until progress was impeded by a series of enemy trenches and pillboxes. Observing a target of opportunity, he immediately ordered the tank stopped and, mindful of the danger from the muzzle blast as he prepared to open fire with the 75mm., fearlessly stood up in the exposed turret and ordered the infantry to hit the deck. Quick to act as a grenade, hurled by the Japanese, was about to drop into the open turret hatch, Sgt. Timmerman unhesitatingly blocked the opening with his body holding the grenade against his chest and taking the brunt of the explosion. His exceptional valor and loyalty in saving his men at the cost of his own life reflect the highest credit upon Sgt. Timmerman and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

And the last one for today is Korea, on Pork Chop Hill, another small bit of dirt where uncommon valor was a common virtue.

*SCHOONOVER, Dan D RANK: CORPORAL UNIT/COMMAND: COMPANY A, 13TH COMBAT ENGINEER BATTALION ATTACHED TO COMPANY G, 17TH INFANTRY, 7TH INFANTRY DIVISION DATE: JULY 8, 1953
PLACE: PORK CHOP HILL, NEAR SOKKOGAE
CITATION: Cpl. Schoonover distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. He was in charge of an engineer demolition squad attached to an infantry company which was committed to dislodge the enemy from a vital hill. Realizing that the heavy fighting and intense enemy fire made it impossible to carry out his mission, he voluntarily employed his unit as a rifle squad and, forging up the steep barren slope, participated in the assault on hostile positions. When an artillery round exploded on the roof of an enemy bunker, he courageously ran forward and leaped into the position, killing one hostile infantryman and taking another prisoner. Later in the action, when friendly forces were pinned down by vicious fire from another enemy bunker, he dashed through the hail of fire, hurled grenades in the nearest aperture, then ran to the doorway and emptied his pistol, killing the remainder of the enemy. His brave action neutralized the position and enabled friendly troops to continue their advance to the crest of the hill. When the enemy counterattacked he constantly exposed himself to the heavy bombardment to direct the fire of his men and to call in an effective artillery barrage on hostile forces. Although the company was relieved early the following morning, he voluntarily remained in the area, manned a machine gun for several hours, and subsequently joined another assault on enemy emplacements. When last seen he was operating an automatic rifle with devastating effect until mortally wounded by artillery fire. Cpl. Schoonover’s heroic leadership during two days of heavy fighting, superb personal bravery, and willing self-sacrifice inspired his comrades and saved many lives, reflecting lasting glory upon himself and upholding the honored traditions of the military service.

*Indicates a posthumous award.

Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 7 July

Medal of Honor recipient Benjamin L Salomon. Courtesy the CMOHS.

There are seven Medals awarded for actions on this day in history.  Today we open per usual, with the Civil War, at Cache River, Arkansas, where Union Brigadier Samuel Curtis (an officer I admire for his mental flexibility and nerve at the Battle of Pea Ridge) routed a rebel force, setting the stage to extend Union control down the Mississippi River and take Arkansas much closer to effectively out of the war.  Besides, how can I not love an Infantryman (First Sergeant Pike) who saves a cannon?

PIKE, EDWARD M.

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company A, 33d Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Cache River, Ark., 7 July 1862. Entered service at: Bloomington, Ill. Birth: Casce, Maine. Date of issue: 29 March 1899. Citation: While the troops were falling back before a superior force, this soldier, assisted by one companion, and while under severe fire at close range, saved a cannon from capture by the enemy.

The Medal takes a long break until WWII, on Saipan. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 7 July”