Hitting about on the average, we have 10 Medals for this day in history. Continue reading “Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 1 November”
Today the Medal first appears during the tail end of the Indian Campaigns with some Buffalo Soldiers from the 9th Cavalry. Sergeant Jordan is cited for his conduct in two separate fights. Today’s awards also includes one of the “catch-up” awards made during 2014 stemming from the review of the possible impacts of racism in the awards process.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 9th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., 14 May 1880; at Carrizo Canyon, N. Mex., 12 August 1881. Entered service at: Nashville, Tenn. Birth: Williamson County, Tenn. Date of issue: 7 May 1890. Citation: While commanding a detachment of 25 men at Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., repulsed a force of more than 100 Indians. At Carrizo Canyon, N . Mex., while commanding the right of a detachment of 19 men, on 12 August 1881, he stubbornly held his ground in an extremely exposed position and gallantly forced back a much superior number of the enemy, preventing them from surrounding the command.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 9th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Carrizo Canyon, N. Mex., 12 August 1881. Entered service at: Pike County, Mo. Birth: Covington, Ky. Date of issue: 7 December 1890. Citation: Forced the enemy back after stubbornly holding his ground in an extremely exposed position and prevented the enemy’s superior numbers from surrounding his command.
The Medal stays low on this day until Vietnam, when it again appears.
*ALVARADO, LEONARD L.
Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam on August 12, 1969. On that day, as Specialist Four Alvarado and a small reaction force moved through dense jungle en route to a beleaguered friendly platoon, Specialist Four Alvarado detected enemy movement and opened fire. Despite his quick reaction, Specialist Four Alvarado and his comrades were soon pinned down by the hostile force that blocked the path to the trapped platoon. Specialist Four Alvarado quickly moved forward through the hostile machinegun fire in order to engage the enemy troops. Suddenly, an enemy grenade exploded nearby, wounding and momentarily stunning him. Retaliating immediately, he killed the grenadier just as another enemy barrage wounded him again. Specialist Four Alvarado crawled forward through the fusillade to pull several comrades back within the hastily-formed perimeter. Realizing his element needed to break away from the hostile force, Specialist Four Alvarado began maneuvering forward alone. Though repeatedly thrown to the ground by exploding satchel charges, he continued advancing and firing, silencing several emplacements, including one enemy machinegun position. From his dangerous forward position, he persistently laid suppressive fire on the hostile forces, and after the enemy troops had broken contact, his comrades discovered that he had succumbed to his wounds. Specialist Four Alvarado’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.
*WORLEY, KENNETH L.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Bo Ban, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, 12 August 1968. Entered service at: Fresno, Calif. Born: 27 April 1948, Farmington, N. Mex. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machine gunner with Company L, 3d Battalion, in action against enemy forces. After establishing a night ambush position in a house in the Bo Ban, Hamlet of Quang Nam Province, security was set up and the remainder of the patrol members retired until their respective watch. During the early morning hours the marines were abruptly awakened by the platoon leader’s warning that “grenades” had landed in the house. Fully realizing the inevitable result of his actions, L/Cpl. Worley, in a valiant act of heroism, instantly threw himself upon the grenade nearest him and his comrades, absorbing with his body, the full and tremendous force of the explosion. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved his comrades from serious injury and possible loss of life although 5 of his fellow marines incurred minor wounds as the other grenades exploded. L/Cpl. Worley’s gallant actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
*Indicates posthumous award.
The Medal didn’t surface on this day in history until the Vietnam War.
*WHEAT, ROY M.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 11 August 1967. Entered service at Jackson, Miss. Born: 24 July 1947, Moselle, Miss. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. L/Cpl. Wheat and 2 other marines were assigned the mission of providing security for a Navy construction battalion crane and crew operating along Liberty Road in the vicinity of the Dien Ban District, Quang Nam Province. After the marines had set up security positions in a tree line adjacent to the work site, L/Cpl. Wheat reconnoitered the area to the rear of their location for the possible presence of guerrillas. He then returned to within 10 feet of the friendly position, and here unintentionally triggered a well concealed, bounding type, antipersonnel mine. Immediately, a hissing sound was heard which was identified by the 3 marines as that of a burning time fuse. Shouting a warning to his comrades, L/Cpl. Wheat in a valiant act of heroism hurled himself upon the mine, absorbing the tremendous impact of the explosion with his body. The inspirational personal heroism and extraordinary valor of his unselfish action saved his fellow marines from certain injury and possible death, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
I have my usual nit to pick with the citation. Lance Corporal Wheat gave his life for his buddies. Country didn’t enter into it.
You enlist (or don’t flee the draft) because of country. In combat – only the fanatics die for that reason. The rest of us die because we got an unlucky draw from the statistics pool, or we do it for our buddies. The job is to make sure the *other* guy gets the unlucky draw. No knock on Wheat, I just don’t like this phraseology in the citations. Too much “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” in it for my non-Victorian tastes. It is a much more common feature of Sea Service citations than Army or Air Force.
*Indicates a posthumous award.
Today we open with the Civil War, and one of the opening battles – this one being nearly a local one to the Castle – Wilson’s Creek, near Springfield, Missouri. Wilson’s Creek was a saga of opportunities lost or squandered by both sides, and in microcosm displayed the fissures that would eventually doom the southern cause in Missouri and Arkansas – the squabbles amongst the generals. The Federals lost an able general when Lyons was killed, and saddled with a mediocre one in Franz Sigel – who’s greatest contribution overall to the war effort was his ability to get the German immigrants in Missouri and elsewhere to enlist in the Union army. Wilson’s Creek also marks the rising of the star of John Schofield, who would reach great heights and make a mark in American history.
Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 1st Iowa Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: Burlington, Iowa. Born: 14 November 1842, Germany. Date of issue: 16 February 1897. Citation: Voluntarily left the line of battle, and, exposing himself to imminent danger from a heavy fire of the enemy, assisted in capturing a riderless horse at large between the lines and hitching him to a disabled gun, saved the gun from capture.
IMMELL, LORENZO D.
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company F, 2d U.S. Artillery. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Ross, Ohio. Date of issue: 19 July 1890. Citation: Bravery in action.
SCHOFIELD, JOHN M.
Rank and organization: Major, 1st Missouri Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Born: 29 September 1831, Gerry, N.Y. Date of issue: 2 July 1892. Citation: Was conspicuously gallant in leading a regiment in a successful charge against the enemy.
WHERRY, WILLIAM M.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company D, 3d U.S. Reserve Missouri Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Born: 13 September 1836, St. Louis, Mo. Date of issue: 30 October 1895. Citation: Displayed conspicuous coolness and heroism in rallying troops that were recoiling under heavy fire.
WOOD, H. CLAY
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, 11th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Wilsons Creek, Mo., 10 August 1861. Entered service at: Winthrop, Maine. Birth: Winthrop, Maine. Date of issue: 28 October 1893. Citation: Distinguished gallantry.
And our last Medal of the day was awarded for actions during the First World War. Mestrovitch’s brothers soldier on today.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 111th Infantry, 28th Division. Place and date: At Fismette, France, 10 August 1918. Entered service at: Pittsburgh, Pa. Birth: Montenegro. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Seeing his company commander lying wounded 30 yards in front of the line after his company had withdrawn to a sheltered position behind a stone wall, Sgt. Mestrovitch voluntarily left cover and crawled through heavy machinegun and shell fire to where the officer lay. He took the officer upon his back and crawled to a place of safety, where he administered first-aid treatment, his exceptional heroism saving the officer’s life.
*Indicates a posthumous award.
An average day for the Medal, with 10 awards. We open with the Civil War and Cedar Mountain, Virginia, 1862.
CORLISS, GEORGE W.
Rank and organization: Captain, Company C, 5th Connecticut Infantry. Place and date: At Cedar Mountain, Va., 9 August 1862. Entered service at: New Haven, Conn. Birth: ——. Date ·S issue: 10 September 1897. Citation: Seized a fallen flag of the regiment, the color bearer having been killed, carried it forward in the face of a severe fire, and though himself shot down and permanently disabled, planted the staff in the earth and kept the flag flying.
YOUNKER, JOHN L.
Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 12th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Cedar Mountain, Va., 9 August 1862. Entered service at: —–. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 1 November 1893. Citation: voluntarily carried an order, at great risk of life in the face of a fire of grape and canister; in doing this he was wounded.
The Indian Campaigns. A rough day at Big Hole, Montana.
BROWN, LORENZO D.Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 7th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Big Hole, Mont. 9 August 1877. Entered service at: Indianapolis, Ind. Birth: Davidson County, N.C. Date of issue: 8 May 1878. Citation: After having been severely wounded in right shoulder, continued to do duty in a most courageous manner.
Rank and organization: Private, Company L, 2d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Big Hole, Mont., 9 August 1877; at Camas Meadows, Idaho, 20 August 1877. Entered service at:——. Birth: Philadelphia Pa. Date of issue: 28 February 1878. Citation: Conspicuous gallantry, especial skill as sharpshooter.
EDWARDS, WILLIAM D.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company F, 7th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Big Hole, Mont., 9 August 1877. Entered service at:——. Birth: Brooklyn, N.Y. Date of issue: 2 December 1878. Citatlon: Bravery in action.
Rank and organization: Musician, Company A, 7th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Big Hole, Mont., 9 August 1877. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Fort Belknap, Tex. Date of issue: 2 December 1878. Citation: Gallantry in action.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 7th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Big Hole, Mont., 9 August 1877. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 2 December 1878. Citation: Verified and reported the company while subjected to a galling fire from the enemy.
WILSON, MILDEN H.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company I, 7th U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Big Hole, Mont., 9 August 1877. Entered service at: Newark, Ohio. Birth: Huron County, Ohio. Date of issue: 2 December 1878. Citation: Gallantry in forming company from line of skirmishers and deploying again under a galling fire, and in carrying dispatches at the imminent risk of his life.
World War I, Chipilly Ridge, France.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company H, 131st Infantry, 33d Division. Place and date: At Chipilly Ridge, France, 9 August 1918. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 13 July 1887, Prizren, Serbia. G.O. No.: 44, W.D., 1919. Citation: At a critical point in the action, when all the officers with his platoon had become casualties, Cpl. Allex took command of the platoon and led it forward until the advance was stopped by fire from a machinegun nest. He then advanced alone for about 30 yards in the face of intense fire and attacked the nest. With his bayonet he killed 5 of the enemy, and when it was broken, used the butt of his rifle, capturing 15 prisoners.
World War II, in the air over France.
*LINDSEY, DARRELL R. (Air Mission)Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: L’Isle Adam railroad bridge over the Seine in occupied France, 9 August 1944. Entered service at: Storm Lake, Iowa. Birth: Jefferson, Iowa. G.O. No.: 43, 30 May 1945. Citation: On 9 August 1944, Capt. Lindsey led a formation of 30 B-26 medium bombers in a hazardous mission to destroy the strategic enemy held L’lsle Adam railroad bridge over the Seine in occupied France. With most of the bridges over the Seine destroyed, the heavily fortified L’Isle Adam bridge was of inestimable value to the enemy in moving troops, supplies, and equipment to Paris. Capt. Lindsey was fully aware of the fierce resistance that would be encountered. Shortly after reaching enemy territory the formation was buffeted with heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire. By skillful evasive action, Capt. Lindsey was able to elude much of the enemy flak, but just before entering the bombing run his B-26 was peppered with holes. During the bombing run the enemy fire was even more intense, and Capt. Lindsey’s right engine received a direct hit and burst into flames. Despite the fact that his ship was hurled out of formation by the violence of the concussion, Capt. Lindsey brilliantly maneuvered back into the lead position without disrupting the flight. Fully aware that the gasoline tanks might explode at any moment, Capt. Lindsey gallantly elected to continue the perilous bombing run. With fire streaming from his right engine and his right wing half enveloped in flames, he led his formation over the target upon which the bombs were dropped with telling effect. Immediately after the objective was attacked, Capt. Lindsey gave the order for the crew to parachute from the doomed aircraft. With magnificent coolness and superb pilotage, and without regard for his own life, he held the swiftly descending airplane in a steady glide until the members of the crew could jump to safety. With the right wing completely enveloped in flames and an explosion of the gasoline tank imminent, Capt. Lindsey still remained unperturbed. The last man to leave the stricken plane was the bombardier, who offered to lower the wheels so that Capt. Lindsey might escape from the nose. Realizing that this might throw the aircraft into an uncontrollable spin and jeopardize the bombardier’s chances to escape, Capt. Lindsey refused the offer. Immediately after the bombardier had bailed out, and before Capt. Lindsey was able to follow, the right gasoline tank exploded. The aircraft sheathed in fire, went into a steep dive and was seen to explode as it crashed. All who are living today from this plane owe their lives to the fact that Capt. Lindsey remained cool and showed supreme courage in this emergency.
Vietnam – near Cam Lo.
LEE, HOWARD V.Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein). place and date: Near Cam Lo, Republic of Vietnam, 8 and 9 August 1966. Entered service at: Dumfries, Va. Born: 1 August 1933, New York, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. A platoon of Maj. (then Capt.) Lee’s company, while on an operation deep in enemy territory, was attacked and surrounded by a large Vietnamese force. Realizing that the unit had suffered numerous casualties, depriving it of effective leadership, and fully aware that the platoon was even then under heavy attack by the enemy, Maj Lee took 7 men and proceeded by helicopter to reinforce the beleaguered platoon. Maj. Lee disembarked from the helicopter with 2 of his men and, braving withering enemy fire, led them into the perimeter, where he fearlessly moved from position to position, directing and encouraging the overtaxed troops. The enemy then launched a massive attack with the full might of their forces. Although painfully wounded by fragments from an enemy grenade in several areas of his body, including his eye, Maj. Lee continued undauntedly throughout the night to direct the valiant defense, coordinate supporting fire, and apprise higher headquarters of the plight of the platoon. The next morning he collapsed from his wounds and was forced to relinquish command. However the small band of marines had held their position and repeatedly fought off many vicious enemy attacks for a grueling 6 hours until their evacuation was effected the following morning. Maj. Lee’s actions saved his men from capture, minimized the loss of lives, and dealt the enemy a severe defeat. His indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
*Indicates a posthumous award.
When I finished this year-long series for the first time, back in 2010, there were no Medals awarded for actions on solely 8 August. In 2012, that changed.
GROBERG, FLORENT A
Rank and Organization: Captain, Personal Security Detachment Commander, Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Inf Bde Combat Team, 4th ID. Place and Date: 8 August 2012, Asadabad, Afghanistan.
Citation: Captain Florent A. Groberg 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 Personal Security Detachment Commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Asadbad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan on August 8, 2012. On that day, Captain Groberg was leading a dismounted movement consisting of several senior leaders to include two brigade commanders, two battalion commanders, two command sergeants major, and an Afghanistan National Army brigade commander. As they approached the Provincial Governor’s compound, Captain Groberg observed an individual walking close to the formation. When the individual made an abrupt turn towards the formation, he noticed an abnormal bulge underneath the individual’s clothing. Selflessly placing himself in front of one of the brigade commanders, Captain Groberg rushed forward, using his body to push the suspect away from the formation. Simultaneously, he ordered another member of the security detail to assist with removing the suspect. At this time, Captain Groberg confirmed the bulge was a suicide vest and with complete disregard for his life, Captain Groberg again with the assistance of the other member of the security detail, physically pushed the suicide bomber away from the formation. Upon falling, the suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest outside the perimeter of the formation, killing four members of the formation and wounding numerous others. The blast from the first suicide bomber caused the suicide vest of a previously unnoticed second suicide bomber to detonate prematurely with minimal impact on the formation. Captain Groberg’s immediate actions push the first suicide bomber away from the formation significantly minimized the impact of the coordinated suicide bombers’ attack on the formation, saving the lives of his comrades and several senior leaders. Captain Groberg’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty at the risk of life are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect credit upon himself, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
6 August We open with the Civil War and the Battle of Malvern Hill, followed by the battle of Atlanta. The first Medal is the first I’ve seen for essentially doing your job while very ill. In the second, Private Grimshaw took an alternative approach to throwing himself on a grenade.
WILSON, JOHN M.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Engineers. Place and date: At Malvern Hill, Va., 6 August 1862. Entered service at: Washington Territory. Birth: Olympia, Washington Territory. Date of issue: 3 July 1897. Citation: Remained on duty, while suffering from an acute illness and very weak, and participated in the action of that date. A few days previous he had been transferred to a staff corps, but preferred to remain until the close of the campaign, taking part in several actions.
Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 52d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Atlanta. Ga., 6 August 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Jefferson County, Ohio. Date of issue: 5 April 1894. Citation: Saved the lives of some of his comrades, and greatly imperiled his own by picking up and throwing away a lighted shell which had fallen in the midst of the company.
Then we skip forward until we find ourselves in the barren hills and desperate fighting of Korea, 1950
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 24th Company M, 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Haman, Korea, 6 August 1950. Entered service at: Bronx, N.Y. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 63, 2 August 1951. Citation: Pfc. Thompson, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While his platoon was reorganizing under cover of darkness, fanatical enemy forces in overwhelming strength launched a surprise attack on the unit. Pfc. Thompson set up his machine gun in the path of the onslaught and swept the enemy with withering fire, pinning them down momentarily thus permitting the remainder of his platoon to withdraw to a more tenable position. Although hit repeatedly by grenade fragments and small-arms fire, he resisted all efforts of his comrades to induce him to withdraw, steadfastly remained at his machine gun and continued to deliver deadly, accurate fire until mortally wounded by an enemy grenade. Pfc. Thompson’s dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit on himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of military service.
*Indicates a posthumous award.