Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 14 April

There are nine Medals awarded for actions on this day in our military history.  Five from the Civil War, one from the Second Nicaraguan Campaign, two from World War II, and one from Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Two awards are posthumous.

Civil War

JORDAN, ROBERT

Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1826, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Attached to the U.S.S. Minnesota and temporarily serving on the U.S.S. Mount Washington, during action against the enemy in the Nansemond River, 14 April 1863. When the Mount Washington drifted against the bank following several successive hits which struck her boilers and stopped her engines, Jordan boarded the stricken vessel and, for 6 hours as fierce artillery and musketry continued to rake her decks, calmly assisted in manning a 12-pound howitzer which had been mounted on the open hurricane deck.

SIMONDS, WILLIAM EDGAR

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 25th Connecticut Infantry. Place and date: At Irish Bend, La., 14 April 1863. Entered service at: Canton, Conn. Birth: ——. Date of issue: 25 February 1899. Citation. Displayed great gallantry, under a heavy fire from the enemy, in calling in the skirmishers and assisting in forming the line of battle.

THIELBERG, HENRY

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1833, Germany. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Serving temporarily on board the U.S.S. Mount Washington during the Nansemond River action, 14 April 1863. After assisting in hauling up and raising the flagstaff, Thielberg volunteered to go up on the pilothouse and observe the movements of the enemy and although 3 shells struck within a few inches of his head, remained at his post until ordered to descend.

WOOD, ROBERT B.

Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: New Garden Ohio. Accredited to: Ohio. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Attached to the U.S.S. Minnesota and temporarily serving on the U.S.S. Mount Washington, during action against the enemy in the Nansemond River, 14 April 1863. When the U.S.S. Mount Washington drifted against the bank and all men were driven from the decks by escaping steam following several successive hits which struck her boilers and stopped her engines, Wood boarded the stricken vessel and, despite a strike on the head by a spent ball, continued at his gun for 6 hours as fierce artillery and musketry continued to rake her decks.

WOODS, SAMUEL

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835, California. Accredited to. California. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: As captain of the gun, serving temporarily on board the U.S.S. Mount Washington, during the Nansemond River action, 14 April 1863. When one of his comrades was struck by a bullet and knocked overboard, Woods fearlessly jumped into the water and swam after him. Before he reached him, the man sank beneath the surface and Woods promptly swam back to the vessel, went to his gun, and fought it to the close of the action. At the close of the battle, he tirelessly cared for the wounded.

Second Nicaraguan Campaign

TRUESDELL, DONALD L

Rank and Organization: Chief Warrant Officer 2 (then Corporal) USMC working the Nicaraguan Guardia Nacional.  Place and date: Near the Coco River, Northern Nicaragua, April 14, 1932.  Citation: Cpl. Truesdale was second in command of a Guardia Nacional Patrol in active operations against armed bandit forces in the vicinity of Constancia, near Coco River, northern Nicaragua, on 24 April 1932. While the patrol was in formation on the trail searching for a bandit group with which contact had just previously been made, a rifle grenade fell from its carrier and struck a rock, igniting the detonator. Several men close to the grenade at the time were in danger. Cpl. Truesdale, who was several yards away, could easily have sought cover and safety for himself. Knowing full well the grenade would explode within two or three seconds, he rushed for the grenade, grasped it in his right hand, and attempted to throw it away from the patrol. The grenade exploded in his hand, blowing it off and inflicting serious multiple wounds about his body. Cpl. Truesdale, in taking the full shock of the explosion himself, saved the members of the patrol from loss of life or serious injury.

World War II

*MAGRATH, JOHN D.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company G, 85th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division. Place and date: Near Castel d’Aiano, Italy, 14 April 1945. Entered service at: East Norwalk, Conn. Birth: East Norwalk, Conn. G.O. No.: 71, 17 July 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when his company was pinned down by heavy artillery, mortar, and small arms fire, near Castel d’Aiano, Italy. Volunteering to act as a scout, armed with only a rifle, he charged headlong into withering fire, killing 2 Germans and wounding 3 in order to capture a machinegun. Carrying this enemy weapon across an open field through heavy fire, he neutralized 2 more machinegun nests; he then circled behind 4 other Germans, killing them with a burst as they were firing on his company. Spotting another dangerous enemy position to this right, he knelt with the machinegun in his arms and exchanged fire with the Germans until he had killed 2 and wounded 3. The enemy now poured increased mortar and artillery fire on the company’s newly won position. Pfc. Magrath fearlessly volunteered again to brave the shelling in order to collect a report of casualties. Heroically carrying out this task, he made the supreme sacrifice–a climax to the valor and courage that are in keeping with highest traditions of the military service.

STREET, GEORGE LEVICK, III

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Tirante. Place and date: Harbor of Quelpart Island, off the coast of Korea, 14 April 1945. Entered service at. Virginia. Born: 27 July 1913, Richmond, Va. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Silver Star with 1 Gold Star. Citation. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Tirante during the first war patrol of that vessel against enemy Japanese surface forces in the harbor of Quelpart Island, off the coast of Korea, on 14 April 1945. With the crew at surface battle stations, Comdr. (then Lt. Comdr.) Street approached the hostile anchorage from the south within 1,200 yards of the coast to complete a reconnoitering circuit of the island. Leaving the 10-fathom curve far behind he penetrated the mined and shoal-obstructed waters of the restricted harbor despite numerous patrolling vessels and in defiance of 5 shore-based radar stations and menacing aircraft. Prepared to fight it out on the surface if attacked, Comdr. Street went into action, sending 2 torpedoes with deadly accuracy into a large Japanese ammunition ship and exploding the target in a mountainous and blinding glare of white flames. With the Tirante instantly spotted by the enemy as she stood out plainly in the flare of light, he ordered the torpedo data computer set up while retiring and fired his last 2 torpedoes to disintegrate in quick succession the leading frigate and a similar flanking vessel. Clearing the gutted harbor at emergency full speed ahead, he slipped undetected along the shoreline, diving deep as a pursuing patrol dropped a pattern of depth charges at the point of submergence. His illustrious record of combat achievement during the first war patrol of the Tirante characterizes Comdr. Street as a daring and skilled leader and reflects the highest credit upon himself, his valiant command, and the U.S. Naval Service.

Operation Iraqi Freedom

*DUNHAM, JASON L.

Rank and Organization: Corporal, United States Marine Corps
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Rifle Squad Leader, 4th Platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (Reinforced), Regimental Combat Team 7, First Marine Division (Reinforced), on 14 April 2004. Corporal Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander’s convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah. As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty, Corporal Dunham gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 13 April

There are nine Medals awarded for actions on this day.  None were posthumous.  They span from the Civil War, to naval lifesaving awards in the Interim Awards, 1901-1911 period, on to the Vera Cruz campaign, World War II and Vietnam.

Civil War

WESTON, JOHN F.

Rank and organization: Major, 4th Kentucky Cavalry. Place and date: Near Wetumpka, Ala., 13 April 1865. Entered service at: Kentucky. Birth: Kentucky. Date of issue: 9 April 1898. Citation: This officer, with a small detachment, while en route to destroy steamboats loaded with supplies for the enemy, was stopped by an unfordable river, but with 5 of his men swam the river, captured 2 leaky canoes, and ferried his men across. He then encountered and defeated the enemy, and on reaching Wetumpka found the steamers anchored in midstream. By a ruse obtained possession of a boat, with which he reached the steamers and demanded and received their surrender.

Interim Awards 1901-1911

COX, ROBERT EDWARD

Rank and organizarion: Chief Gunner’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 22 December 1855, St. Albans, W. Va. Accredited to: West Virginia. G.O. No.: 43, 14 April 1921. (Medal presented by President Harding.) Citation: For extraordinary heroism on U.S.S. Missouri 13 April, 1904. While at target practice off Pensacola, Fla., an accident occurred in the after turret of the Missouri whereby the lives of 5 officers and 28 men were lost. The ship was in imminent danger of destruction by explosion, and the prompt action of C.G. Cox and 2 gunners’ mates caused the fire to be brought under control, and the loss of the Missouri, together with her crew, was averted.

MONSSEN, MONS

Rank and organization. Chief Gunner’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 20 January 1867, Norway. G.O. No.: 160, 26 May 1904. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Missouri, for extraordinary heroism in entering a burning magazine through the scuttle and endeavoring to extinguish the fire by throwing water with his hands until a hose was passed to him, 13 April 1904.

NORDSTROM, ISIDOR

Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 24 May 1876, Goteborg, Sweden. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 142, 4 December 1924. Citation: For gallant conduct upon the occasion of the disastrous fire of accidentally ignited powder charges, which occurred in the forward turret of the U.S.S. Kearsarge during target practice on 13 April 1906. Chief Boatswain Nordstrom, then chief boatswain’s mate, was among the first to enter the turret in order to assist in bringing out the injured.

SCHEPKE, CHARLES S.

Rank and organization: Gunner’s Mate First Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 26 December 1878, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 160, 26 May 1904. Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving on the U.S.S. Missouri in remaining by a burning magazine and assisting to extinguish the fire, 13 April 1904.

Mexican Campaign (Vera Cruz)

GAUJOT, JULIEN E.

Rank and organization: Captain, Troop K, 1st U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Aqua Prieta, Mexico, 13 April 1911. Entered service at: Williamson, W. Va. Birth: Keweenaw, Mich. Date of issue: 23 November 1912. Citation: Crossed the field of fire to obtain the permission of the rebel commander to receive the surrender of the surrounded forces of Mexican Federals and escort such forces, together with 5 Americans held as prisoners, to the American line.

World War II

ANDERSON, BEAUFORD T.

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, 381st Infantry, 96th Infantry Division. Place and date: Okinawa, 13 April 1945. Entered service at: Soldiers Grove, Wis. Birth: Eagle, Wis. G.O. No.: 63, 27 June 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. When a powerfully conducted predawn Japanese counterattack struck his unit’s flank, he ordered his men to take cover in an old tomb, and then, armed only with a carbine, faced the onslaught alone. After emptying 1 magazine at pointblank range into the screaming attackers, he seized an enemy mortar dud and threw it back among the charging Japs, killing several as it burst. Securing a box of mortar shells, he extracted the safety pins, banged the bases upon a rock to arm them and proceeded alternately to hurl shells and fire his piece among the fanatical foe, finally forcing them to withdraw. Despite the protests of his comrades, and bleeding profusely from a severe shrapnel wound, he made his way to his company commander to report the action. T/Sgt. Anderson’s intrepid conduct in the face of overwhelming odds accounted for 25 enemy killed and several machineguns and knee mortars destroyed, thus single-handedly removing a serious threat to the company’s flank.

KERSTETTER, DEXTER J.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 130th Infantry, 33d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Galiano, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 13 April 1945. Entered service at: Centralia, Wash. Birth: Centralia, Wash. G.O. No.: 97,1 November 1945. Citation: He was with his unit in a dawn attack against hill positions approachable only along a narrow ridge paralleled on each side by steep cliffs which were heavily defended by enemy mortars, machineguns, and rifles in well-camouflaged spider holes and tunnels leading to caves. When the leading element was halted by intense fire that inflicted 5 casualties, Pfc. Kerstetter passed through the American line with his squad. Placing himself well in advance of his men, he grimly worked his way up the narrow steep hogback, meeting the brunt of enemy action. With well-aimed shots and rifle-grenade fire, he forced the Japs to take cover. He left the trail and moving down a cliff that offered only precarious footholds, dropped among 4 Japs at the entrance to a cave, fired his rifle from his hip and killed them all. Climbing back to the trail, he advanced against heavy enemy machinegun, rifle, and mortar fire to silence a heavy machinegun by killing its crew of 4 with rifle fire and grenades. He expended his remaining ammunition and grenades on a group of approximately 20 Japs, scattering them, and returned to his squad for more ammunition and first aid for his left hand, which had been blistered by the heat from his rifle. Resupplied, he guided a fresh platoon into a position from which a concerted attack could be launched, killing 3 hostile soldiers on the way. In all, he dispatched 16 Japs that day. The hill was taken and held against the enemy’s counterattacks, which continued for 3 days. Pfc. Kerstetter’s dauntless and gallant heroism was largely responsible for the capture of this key enemy position, and his fearless attack in the face of great odds was an inspiration to his comrades in their dangerous task.

Vietnam

NORRIS, THOMAS R.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, SEAL Advisor, Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 10 to 13 April 1972. Entered service at: Silver Spring, Md. Born: 14 January 1944, Jacksonville, Fla. Citation: Lt. Norris completed an unprecedented ground rescue of 2 downed pilots deep within heavily controlled enemy territory in Quang Tri Province. Lt. Norris, on the night of 10 April, led a 5-man patrol through 2,000 meters of heavily controlled enemy territory, located 1 of the downed pilots at daybreak, and returned to the Forward Operating Base (FOB). On 11 April, after a devastating mortar and rocket attack on the small FOB, Lt. Norris led a 3-man team on 2 unsuccessful rescue attempts for the second pilot. On the afternoon of the 12th, a forward air controller located the pilot and notified Lt. Norris. Dressed in fishermen disguises and using a sampan, Lt. Norris and 1 Vietnamese traveled throughout that night and found the injured pilot at dawn. Covering the pilot with bamboo and vegetation, they began the return journey, successfully evading a North Vietnamese patrol. Approaching the FOB, they came under heavy machinegun fire. Lt. Norris called in an air strike which provided suppression fire and a smoke screen, allowing the rescue party to reach the FOB. By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, undaunted courage, and selfless dedication in the face of extreme danger, Lt. Norris enhanced the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

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A blast from the past…

Specifically, April 13, 2010, on the old blog.

A pen-named Sergeant gripes:

Sgt Hill: The chow hall just now opened. While I’m here and the line is already (an hour and a half long). Guess I am not eating again..

Digital Journal: Wow. Somebody should do something about that. Maybe call congress?

Sgt. Hill: Nah. Conservatives think we should just suck it up because we are in a war zone, and Liberals want us all to die anyway. Nobody gives a F***.

Over at  Digital Journal, you can catch Samantha Torrence’s thoroughly email-researched shocking exposé of the horrifying conditions our troops are expected to endure as they suffer the ravages of indifferent leadership, venal, grasping contractors, lazy fobbits and the other horrors of war inside the wire.

CHOW LINE ALONG THE MUDDY TRAIL. 128th Infantrymen en route to Oro Bay from Pongani.

Sergeant Hill has it correct regarding this conservative: I do think he should just suck it up because he’s in a war zone, and especially since he doesn’t seem to be spending a whole lot of time outside the wire (to be sure, he may well, the article isn’t clear on that subject).  Lord knows he has to sacrifice – waiting a half hour for 10 minutes on the computer, so that he can email his pet reporter (and hopefully his mother).  It is the soldier’s right to gripe, and were I in his situation I would gripe too, among my friends and fellow fobbits.  But I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t whine like a puling baby to a reporter, and I sure wouldn’t whine in front of dirty, bone-tired guys with clean weapons.  In fact, I might skip my shower that day so they’d have time (and maybe some warm water) to take a long one.

U.S. Army Sgt. Edward Westfield from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, leads his fire team back to base after a dismounted patrol mission near Forward Operating Base Baylough in the Zabul province of Afghanistan on March 20, 2009.

In a discussion of this article with a buncha combat-patched soldiers whose patches span America’s combat adventures from the vacation in Southeast Asia to the current ones in Southwest Asia…  one comment stands out, from a senior NCO of my acquaintance:

We came to a war and garrison broke out…. but not everywhere. There are still lots of little places out there where Soldiers and Marines are actually in a counterinsurgency fight, carrying the real weight of this war. They are dealing with real Afghans, real problems and real insurgents with real bad intentions. There are lots of places where Soldiers and Marines are doing their level best under very primitive conditions and THOSE are the guys who are actually experiencing Afghanistan, not some pipsqueak “SGT” at Camp Mike Spann who takes a ride outside the wire every now and again, is in no real and immediate danger, never deals with Afghans and cries that nobody gives a fuck about him.

If “SGT Hill” wants someone to give a f*ck, I will. F*ck him. There; that should make him happy.

Heh.  In some respects, that has been the American Way of War since the Civil War –

“We came to a war and garrison broke out…”

I mean that in the manner that our logistics are generally the envy of everybody we’ve fought with or against since the Army of the Potomac built the huge depot at Belle Plains…  Even our *bad* logistics, which tend only to be bad in comparison to our *good* logistics, especially when laid against everybody else’s logistics.

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 12 April

There are nine Medals awarded for actions on this day. One is a posthumous award. They span from naval lifesaving awards in 1872 though the Philippine Insurrection, and World War II.

Interim Awards, 1871-1898

DENHAM, AUSTIN

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1849, England. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 176, 9 July 1872. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Kansas near Greytown, Nicaragua, 12 April 1872. Displaying great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned, Denham, by heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life.

HILL, GEORGE

Rank and organization: Chief Quarter Gunner, U.S. Navy. Born: 1844, England. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 176, 9 July 1872. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Kansas, Hill displayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned, near Greytown, Nicaragua, 12 April 1872, and by extraordinary heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life.

JOHNSON, JOHN

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 176, 9 July 1872. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Kansas near Greytown, Nicaragua 12 April 1872, Johnson displayed great coolness and self-possession ai the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned and, by extraordinary heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life

O’NEAL, JOHN

Rank and organization: Boatswain’s Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1841, Ireland. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 176, 9 July 1872. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Kansas, O’Neal displayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned near Greytown, Nicaragua, 12 April 1872, and by personal exertion prevented greater loss of life.

PILE, RICHARD

Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1849, West Indies. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 176, 9 July 1872. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Kansas, Pile displayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned, near Greytown, Nicaragua, 12 April 1872, and by his extraordinary heroism and personal exertion prevented greater loss of life.

SMITH, JAMES

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1838, Hawaiian Islands. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 176, 9 July 1872. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Kansas, Smith displayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned near Greytown, Nicaragua, 12 April 1872, and by extraordinary heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life.

Philippine Insurrection

SLETTELAND, THOMAS

Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 1st North Dakota Infantry. Place and date: Near Paete, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 12 April 1899. Entered service at: Grafton, N. Dak. Birth: Norway. Date of issue: 11 March 1902. Citation: Single-handed and alone defended his dead and wounded comrades against a greatly superior force of the enemy.

World War II

ERWIN, HENRY E. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 52d Bombardment Squadron, 29th Bombardment Group, 20th Air Force. Place and date: Koriyama, Japan, 12 April 1945. Entered service at: Bessemer, Ala. Born: 8 May 1921, Adamsville, Ala. G.O. No.: 44, 6 June 1945. Citation: He was the radio operator of a B-29 airplane leading a group formation to attack Koriyama, Japan. He was charged with the additional duty of dropping phosphoresce smoke bombs to aid in assembling the group when the launching point was reached. Upon entering the assembly area, aircraft fire and enemy fighter opposition was encountered. Among the phosphoresce bombs launched by S/Sgt. Erwin, 1 proved faulty, exploding in the launching chute, and shot back into the interior of the aircraft, striking him in the face. The burning phosphoresce obliterated his nose and completely blinded him. Smoke filled the plane, obscuring the vision of the pilot. S/Sgt. Erwin realized that the aircraft and crew would be lost if the burning bomb remained in the plane. Without regard for his own safety, he picked it up and feeling his way, instinctively, crawled around the gun turret and headed for the copilot’s window. He found the navigator’s table obstructing his passage. Grasping the burning bomb between his forearm and body, he unleashed the spring lock and raised the table. Struggling through the narrow passage he stumbled forward into the smoke-filled pilot’s compartment. Groping with his burning hands, he located the window and threw the bomb out. Completely aflame, he fell back upon the floor. The smoke cleared, the pilot, at 300 feet, pulled the plane out of its dive. S/Sgt. Erwin’s gallantry and heroism above and beyond the call of duty saved the lives of his comrades

*HASTINGS, JOE R.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 386th Infantry, 97th Infantry Division. Place and date: Drabenderhohe, Germany, 12 April 1945. Entered service at: Magnolia, Ohio. Birth: Malvern, Ohio. G.O. No.: 101, 8 November 1945. Citation: He fought gallantly during an attack against strong enemy forces defending Drabenderhohe, Germany, from the dug-in positions on commanding ground. As squad leader of a light machinegun section supporting the advance of the 1st and 3d Platoons, he braved direct rifle, machinegun, 20mm., and mortar fire, some of which repeatedly missed him only by inches, and rushed forward over 350 yards of open, rolling fields to reach a position from which he could fire on the enemy troops. From this vantage point he killed the crews of a 20mm. gun and a machinegun, drove several enemy riflemen from their positions, and so successfully shielded the 1st Platoon, that it had time to reorganize and remove its wounded to safety. Observing that the 3d Platoon to his right was being met by very heavy 40mm. and machinegun fire, he ran 150 yards with his gun to the leading elements of that unit, where he killed the crew of the 40mm. gun. As spearhead of the 3d Platoon’s attack, he advanced, firing his gun held at hip height, disregarding the bullets that whipped past him, until the assault had carried 175 yards to the objective. In this charge he and the riflemen he led killed or wounded many of the fanatical enemy and put 2 machineguns out of action. Pfc. Hastings, by his intrepidity, outstanding leadership, and unrelenting determination to wipe out the formidable German opposition, cleared the path for his company’s advance into Drabenderhohe. He was killed 4 days later while again supporting the 3d Platoon.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 11 April

There are five Medals awarded for actions on this day, three of them posthumous. They span from the Civil War to World War II to Vietnam. All the Medals from Vietnam were posthumous.

Civil War. The Civil War iconic Medal. Flag capture.

DORLEY, AUGUST

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 1st Louisiana Cavalry. Place and date: At Mount Pleasant, Ala., 11 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: Capture of flag.

World War II. Earning that pilot pay.

MICHAEL, EDWARD S. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 364th Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group. Place and date: Over Germany, 11 April 1944. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 2 May 1918, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 5, 15 January 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as pilot of a B17 aircraft on a heavy-bombardment mission to Germany, 11 April 1944. The group in which 1st Lt. Michael was flying was attacked by a swarm of fighters. His plane was singled out and the fighters pressed their attacks home recklessly, completely disregarding the Allied fighter escort and their own intense flak. His plane was riddled from nose to tail with exploding cannon shells and knocked out of formation, with a large number of fighters following it down, blasting it with cannon fire as it descended. A cannon shell exploded in the cockpit, wounded the copilot, wrecked the instruments, and blew out the side window. 1st Lt. Michael was seriously and painfully wounded in the right thigh. Hydraulic fluid filmed over the windshield making visibility impossible, and smoke filled the cockpit. The controls failed to respond and 3,000 feet were lost before he succeeded in leveling off. The radio operator informed him that the whole bomb bay was in flames as a result of the explosion of 3 cannon shells, which had ignited the incendiaries. With a full load of incendiaries in the bomb bay and a considerable gas load in the tanks, the danger of fire enveloping the plane and the tanks exploding seemed imminent. When the emergency release lever failed to function, 1st Lt. Michael at once gave the order to bail out and 7 of the crew left the plane. Seeing the bombardier firing the navigator’s gun at the enemy planes, 1st Lt. Michael ordered him to bail out as the plane was liable to explode any minute. When the bombardier looked for his parachute he found that it had been riddled with 20mm. fragments and was useless. 1st Lt. Michael, seeing the ruined parachute, realized that if the plane was abandoned the bombardier would perish and decided that the only chance would be a crash landing. Completely disregarding his own painful and profusely bleeding wounds, but thinking only of the safety of the remaining crewmembers, he gallantly evaded the enemy, using violent evasive action despite the battered condition of his plane. After the plane had been under sustained enemy attack for fully 45 minutes, 1st Lt. Michael finally lost the persistent fighters in a cloud bank. Upon emerging, an accurate barrage of flak caused him to come down to treetop level where flak towers poured a continuous rain of fire on the plane. He continued into France, realizing that at any moment a crash landing might have to be attempted, but trying to get as far as possible to increase the escape possibilities if a safe landing could be achieved. 1st Lt. Michael flew the plane until he became exhausted from the loss of blood, which had formed on the floor in pools, and he lost consciousness. The copilot succeeded in reaching England and sighted an RAF field near the coast. 1st Lt. Michael finally regained consciousness and insisted upon taking over the controls to land the plane. The undercarriage was useless; the bomb bay doors were jammed open; the hydraulic system and altimeter were shot out. In addition, there was no airspeed indicator, the ball turret was jammed with the guns pointing downward, and the flaps would not respond. Despite these apparently insurmountable obstacles, he landed the plane without mishap.

Vietnam. Marine, Air Force, Army.

*DE LA GARZA, EMILIO A., JR.

Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Near Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 11 April 1970. Entered service at: Chicago, 111. Born: 23 June 1949, East Chicago, Ind. 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 E. Returning with his squad from a night ambush operation, L/Cpl. De La Garza joined his platoon commander and another marine in searching for 2 enemy soldiers who had been observed fleeing for cover toward a small pond. Moments later, he located 1 of the enemy soldiers hiding among the reeds and brush. As the 3 marines attempted to remove the resisting soldier from the pond, L/Cpl. De La Garza observed him pull the pin on a grenade. Shouting a warning, L/Cpl. De La Garza placed himself between the other 2 marines and the ensuing blast from the grenade, thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the sacrifice of his life. By his prompt and decisive action, and his great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, L/Cpl. De La Garza upheld and further enhanced the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.

*PITSENBARGER WILLIAM H.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Airman First Class Pitsenbarger distinguished himself by extreme valor on 11 April 1966 near Cam My, Republic of Vietnam, while assigned as a Pararescue Crew Member, Detachment 6, 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. On that date, Airman Pitsenbarger was aboard a rescue helicopter responding to a call for evacuation of casualties incurred in an ongoing firefight between elements of the United States Army’s 1st Infantry Division and a sizeable enemy force approximately 35 miles east of Saigon. With complete disregard for personal safety, Airman Pitsenbarger volunteered to ride a hoist more than one hundred feet through the jungle, to the ground. On the ground, he organized and coordinated rescue efforts, cared for the wounded, prepared casualties for evacuation, and insured that the recovery operation continued in a smooth and orderly fashion. Through his personal efforts, the evacuation of the wounded was greatly expedited. As each of the nine casualties evacuated that day was recovered, Airman Pitsenbarger refused evacuation in order to get more wounded soldiers to safety. After several pick-ups, one of the two rescue helicopters involved in the evacuation was struck by heavy enemy ground fire and was forced to leave the scene for an emergency landing. Airman Pitsenbarger stayed behind on the ground to perform medical duties. Shortly thereafter, the area came under sniper and mortar fire. During a subsequent attempt to evacuate the site, American forces came under heavy assault by a large Viet Cong force. When the enemy launched the assault, the evacuation was called off and Airman Pitsenbarger took up arms with the besieged infantrymen. He courageously resisted the enemy, braving intense gunfire to gather and distribute vital ammunition to American defenders. As the battle raged on, he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to care for the wounded, pull them out of the line of fire, and return fire whenever he could, during which time he was wounded three times. Despite his wounds, he valiantly fought on, simultaneously treating as many wounded as possible. In the vicious fighting that followed, the American forces suffered 80 percent casualties as their perimeter was breached, and Airman Pitsenbarger was fatally wounded. Airman Pitsenbarger exposed himself to almost certain death by staying on the ground, and perished while saving the lives of wounded infantrymen. His bravery and determination exemplify the highest professional standards and traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Air Force.

*ROBINSON, JAMES W., JR.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company C, 2d Battalion, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date:Cam My,Republic of Vietnam, 11 April 1966. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 30 August 1940, Hinsdale, Ill. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Company C was engaged in fierce combat with a Viet Cong battalion. Despite the heavy fire, Sgt. Robinson moved among the men of his fire team, instructing and inspiring them, and placing them in advantageous positions. Enemy snipers located in nearby trees were inflicting heavy casualties on forward elements of Sgt. Robinson’s unit. Upon locating the enemy sniper whose fire was taking the heaviest toll, he took a grenade launcher and eliminated the sniper. Seeing a medic hit while administering aid to a wounded sergeant in front of his position and aware that now the 2 wounded men were at the mercy of the enemy, he charged through a withering hail of fire and dragged his comrades to safety, where he rendered first aid and saved their lives. As the battle continued and casualties mounted, Sgt. Robinson moved about under intense fire to collect from the wounded their weapons and ammunition and redistribute them to able-bodied soldiers. Adding his fire to that of his men, he assisted in eliminating a major enemy threat. Seeing another wounded comrade in front of his position, Sgt. Robinson again defied the enemy’s fire to effect a rescue. In so doing he was himself wounded in the shoulder and leg. Despite his painful wounds, he dragged the soldier to shelter and saved his life by administering first aid. While patching his own wounds, he spotted an enemy machinegun which had inflicted a number of casualties on the American force. His rifle ammunition expended, he seized 2 grenades and, in an act of unsurpassed heroism, charged toward the entrenched enemy weapon. Hit again in the leg, this time with a tracer round which set fire to his clothing, Sgt. Robinson ripped the burning clothing from his body and staggered indomitably through the enemy fire, now concentrated solely on him, to within grenade range of the enemy machinegun position. Sustaining 2 additional chest wounds, he marshaled his fleeting physical strength and hurled the 2 grenades, thus destroying the enemy gun position, as he fell dead upon the battlefield. His magnificent display of leadership and bravery saved several lives and inspired his soldiers to defeat the numerically superior enemy force. Sgt. Robinson’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity, at the cost of his life, are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon the 1st Infantry Division and the U.S. Armed Forces

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.

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A Zen moment of state-of-the-art assault rifles

For their era, anyway.

Just observing.

Well, that Greener Martini police shotgun (fifth from the top) not so much, as it was specifically designed to *not* use standard cartridges, and the wee Khyber carbine below that even less so, being the product of the Kabul armory and a piece I wouldn’t let a democrat poltician shoot, much less a friend.

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 10 April

There are three Medals awarded for actions on this day, and none were posthumous as a result of the action itself. One each for the Indian Campaigns, World War II and Vietnam. SP4 Duran’s is technically posthumous, not because he died during his action, but because his action wasn’t formally recognized until well after his death in 1977.

Indian Campaigns

GLOVER, T. B.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Troop B, 2d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Mizpah Creek, Mont., 10 April 1879; at Pumpkin Creek, Mont., 10 February 1880. Entered service at:——. Birth: New York, N.Y. Date of issue: 20 November 1897. Citation: While in charge of small scouting parties, fought, charged, surrounded, and captured war parties of Sioux Indians.

World War II. Doing a lot with rather a little.

BULKELEY, JOHN DUNCAN

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Commander, Commander of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Philippine waters, 7 December 1941 to 10 April 1942. Entered service at: Texas. Born: 19 August 1911, New York, N.Y. Other awards: Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit. Citation: For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as commander of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, in Philippine waters during the period 7 December 1941 to 10 April 1942. The remarkable achievement of Lt. Comdr. Bulkeley’s command in damaging or destroying a notable number of Japanese enemy planes, surface combatant and merchant ships, and in dispersing landing parties and land-based enemy forces during the 4 months and 8 days of operation without benefit of repairs, overhaul, or maintenance facilities for his squadron, is believed to be without precedent in this type of warfare. His dynamic forcefulness and daring in offensive action, his brilliantly planned and skillfully executed attacks, supplemented by a unique resourcefulness and ingenuity, characterize him as an outstanding leader of men and a gallant and intrepid seaman. These qualities coupled with a complete disregard for his own personal safety reflect great credit upon him and the Naval Service

Vietnam. His duty position was “Acting” M60 machine gunner. I would say so – acting with wicked lethality and courage.

*DURAN, JESUS S

Rank and Organization: Specialist Fourth Class, Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Tay Ninh, Republic of Vietnam, 10 April, 1969. Citation: Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an acting M-60 machine gunner in Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on April 10, 1969. That afternoon, the reconnaissance platoon was moving into an elaborate enemy bunker complex when the lead elements began taking concentrated ambush fire from every side. The command post was in imminent danger of being overrun. With an M-60 machinegun blazing from his hip, Specialist Four Duran rushed forward and assumed a defensive position near the command post. As hostile forces stormed forward, Specialist Four Duran stood tall in a cloud of dust raised by the impacting rounds and bursting grenades directed towards him and thwarted the enemy with devastating streams of machinegun fire. Learning that two seriously wounded troopers lay helplessly pinned down under harassing fire, Specialist Four Duran assaulted the suppressive enemy positions, firing deadly bursts on the run. Mounting a log, he fired directly into the enemy’s foxholes, eliminating four and cutting down several others as they fled. Specialist Four Duran then continued to pour effective fire on the disorganized and fleeing enemy. Specialist Four Duran’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, his unit and the United States Army.

*Asterisk indicates a posthumous award.

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 9 April

Another one of those busy days for the Medal as the Civil War approaches its denouement. There are twenty-five Medals awarded for actions on this day, from the Civil War to World War II. Two are posthumous.

Civil War. Twenty-three Medals, earned during the battles of Appomattox Courthouse (or for the whole campaign) and Fort Blakely, Alabama.

CALLAHAN, JOHN H.

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 122d Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Macoupin County, Ill. Birth: Shelby County, Ky. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

CAREY, JAMES L.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company G, 10th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Courthouse, Va., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: —— Birth: Onondaga County, N.Y. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: Daring bravery and urging the men forward in a charge.

COOK, JOHN H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 119th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Pleasant Hill, La., 9 April 1864. Entered service at: Quincy, Ill. Birth: England. Date of issue: 19 September 1890. Citation: During an attack by the enemy, voluntarily left the brigade quartermaster, with whom he had been detailed as a clerk, rejoined his command, and, acting as first lieutenant, led the line farther toward the charging enemy.

DONALDSON, JOHN

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company L, 4th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Courthouse, Va., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Butler County, Pa. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of 4th Virginia Cavalry (C.S.A.).

FINKENBINER, HENRY S.

Rank and organization: Private, Company D, 107th Ohio Infantry Place and date: At Dingles Mill, S.C., 9 April 1865. Entered service at. ——. Birth: North Industry, Ohio. Date of issue: 30 March 1898. Citation: While on the advance skirmish line and within direct and close fire of the enemy’s artillery, crossed the mill race on a burning bridge and ascertained the enemy’s position.

FUNK, WEST

Rank and organization: Major, 121st Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Appomattox Courthouse, Va., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Boston, Mass. Date of issue: 15 October 1872. Citation: Capture of flag of 46th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).

HIGBY, CHARLES

Rank and organization: Private, Company F, 1st Pennsylvania Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Campaign, Va., 29 March to 9 April 1865. Entered service at: New Brighton, Pa. Birth: Pittsburgh, Pa. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

McCONNELL, SAMUEL

Rank and organization: Captain, Company H, 119th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Bushnell, McDonough County, Ill. Birth: Belmont County, Ohio. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: While leading his company in an assault, Capt. McConnell braved an intense fire that mowed down his unit. Upon reaching the breastworks he found that he had only one member of his company with him, Pvt. Wagner. He was so close to an enemy gun that the blast knocked him down a ditch. Getting up, he entered the gun pit, the guncrew fleeing before him. About 30 paces away he saw a Confederate flag bearer and guard which he captured with the last shot in his pistol.

MERRIAM, HENRY C.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 73d U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Houlton, Maine. Birth: Houlton, Maine. Date of issue: 28 June 1894. Citation: Volunteered to attack the enemy’s works in advance of orders and, upon permission being given, made a most gallant assault.

MILLER, HENRY A.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company B, 8th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Decatur, Ill. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag

MOORE, DANIEL B.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company E, 11th Wisconsin Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Mifflin, Wis. Born: 12 June 1838, Iowa County, Wis. Date of issue: 8 August 1900. Citation: At the risk of his own life saved the life of an officer who had been shot down and overpowered by superior numbers.

MYERS, WILLIAM H.

Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 1st Maryland Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Courthouse, Va., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 14 June 1871. Citation: Gallantry in action; was 5 times wounded.

NICHOLS, HENRY C.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company E, 73d U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Brandon, Vt. Date of issue: 3 August 1897. Citation: Voluntarily made a reconnaissance in advance of the line held by his regiment and, under a heavy fire, obtained information of great value.

PAYNE, THOMAS H. L.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company E, 37th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Mendota, La Salle County, Ill. Born: 5 October 1840, Boston, Mass. Date of issue: 1 April 1898. Citation: While acting regimental quartermaster, learning of an expected assault, requested assignment to a company that had no commissioned officers present; was so assigned, and was one of the first to lead his men into the enemy’s works.

PENTZER, PATRICK H.

Rank and organization: Captain, Company C, 97th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Gillespie, Macoupin County, Ill. Birth: Marion County, Mo. Date of issue: 9 October 1 879. Citation: Among the first to enter the enemy’s entrenchments, he received the surrender of a Confederate general officer and his headquarters flag.

REBMANN, GEORGE F.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 119th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Browning, Schuyler County, Ill. Birth: Schuyler County, Ill. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

ROCKEFELLER, CHARLES M.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Company A, 178th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: New York. Birth: New York. Date of issue: 2 August 1897. Citation: Voluntarily and alone, under a heavy fire, obtained valuable information which a reconnoitering party of 25 men had previously attempted and failed to obtain, suffering severe loss in the attempt The information obtained by him was made the basis of the orders for the assault that followed. He also advanced with a few followers, under the fire of both sides, and captured 300 of the enemy who would otherwise have escaped.

SOVA., JOSEPH E.

Rank and organization: Saddler, Company H, 8th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Campaign, Va., 29 March to 9 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Chili, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

STICKELS, JOSEPH

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 83d Ohio Infantry. Place and date. At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Bethany, Ohio. Birth: Butler County, Ohio. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

TOBIE, EDWARD P.

Rank and organization: Sergeant Major, 1st Maine Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Campaign, Va., 29 March to 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Lewiston, Maine. Birth: Lewiston, Maine. Date of issue: 1 April 1898. Citation: Though severely wounded at Sailors Creek, 6 April, and at Farmville, 7 April, refused to go to the hospital, but remained with his regiment, performed the full duties of adjutant upon the wounding of that officer, and was present for duty at Appomattox.

VIFQUAIN, VICTOR

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 97th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Saline County, Nebr. Birth: Belgium. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

WHEATON, LOYD

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 8th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Illinois. Born: 15 July 1838, Calhoun County, Mich. Date of issue: 16 January 1894. Citation: Led the right wing of his regiment, and, springing through an embrasure, was the first to enter the enemy’s works, against a strong fire of artillery and infantry.

WHITMORE, JOHN

Rank and organization: Private, Company F, 119th Illinois Infantry. Place and date: At Ft. Blakely, Ala., 9 April 1865. Entered service at: Camden, Schuyler County, Ill. Birth: Brown County, Ill. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

WOODALL, WILLIAM H.

Rank and organization: Civilian scout, U.S. Army, Major General Philip H. Sheridan’s Headquarters, during Civil War. Place and date: Virginia, Appomattox campaign, Sailors Creek, March 29 to April 9, 1865. Entered service at Winchester, Virginia. Birthdate: unknown. Date of issue: 25 April 1865. Place: Washington, D.C., 3 May 1865. Note: Was Chief Civilian Scout for Major General Philip H. Sheridan’s Cavalry Corps, which consisted of VI and XIX Corps. Citation: Captured flag of Brigadier General Rufus Barringer’s headquarters brigade.

(In 1916, the general review of all Medals of Honor deemed 900 unwarranted. This recipient was one of them. In June 1989, the U.S. Army Board of Correction of Records restored the medal to this recipient.)

World War II. Bookends, of a sort. The first Medal is in the opening campaign of the war against Germany, the second for the what turned out to be the closing ground campaign against Japan.

*BOOKER, ROBERT D.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, 34th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Fondouk, Tunisia, 9 April 1943. Entered service at: Callaway, Nebr. Born: 11 July 1920, Callaway, Nebr. G.O. No.: 34, 25 April 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action. On 9 April 1943 in the vicinity of Fondouk, Tunisia, Pvt. Booker, while engaged in action against the enemy, carried a light machinegun and a box of ammunition over 200 yards of open ground. He continued to advance despite the fact that 2 enemy machineguns and several mortars were using him as an individual target. Although enemy artillery also began to register on him, upon reaching his objective he immediately commenced firing. After being wounded he silenced 1 enemy machinegun and was beginning to fire at the other when he received a second mortal wound. With his last remaining strength he encouraged the members of his squad and directed their fire. Pvt. Booker acted without regard for his own safety. His initiative and courage against insurmountable odds are an example of the highest standard of self-sacrifice and fidelity to duty.

*MOSKALA, EDWARD J.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 383d Infantry, 96th Infantry Division. Place and date: Kakazu Ridge, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, 9 April 1945. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 6 November 1921, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 21, 26 February 1946. Citation: He was the leading element when grenade explosions and concentrated machinegun and mortar fire halted the unit’s attack on Kakazu Ridge, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands. With utter disregard for his personal safety, he charged 40 yards through withering, grazing fire and wiped out 2 machinegun nests with well-aimed grenades and deadly accurate fire from his automatic rifle. When strong counterattacks and fierce enemy resistance from other positions forced his company to withdraw, he voluntarily remained behind with 8 others to cover the maneuver. Fighting from a critically dangerous position for 3 hours, he killed more than 25 Japanese before following his surviving companions through screening smoke down the face of the ridge to a gorge where it was discovered that one of the group had been left behind, wounded. Unhesitatingly, Pvt. Moskala climbed the bullet-swept slope to assist in the rescue, and, returning to lower ground, volunteered to protect other wounded while the bulk of the troops quickly took up more favorable positions. He had saved another casualty and killed 4 enemy infiltrators when he was struck and mortally wounded himself while aiding still another disabled soldier. With gallant initiative, unfaltering courage, and heroic determination to destroy the enemy, Pvt. Moskala gave his life in his complete devotion to his company’s mission and his comrades’ well-being. His intrepid conduct provided a lasting inspiration for those with whom he served.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award

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Today’s Medal of Honor Moment for 8 April

There are eight Medals awarded for actions on this day, one of them posthumous.  They span the Civil War, World War II, and Vietnam.

Civil War.

ANDERSON, THOMAS

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company I, 1st West Virginia Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Station, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Washington County, Pa. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of Confederate flag.

BRAS, EDGAR A.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 8th Iowa Infantry. Place and date: Spanish Fort, Ala., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Louisa County, Iowa. Birth: Jefferson County, Iowa. Date of issue: 8 June 1865. Citation: Capture of flag.

READ, MORTON A.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Company D, 8th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox Station, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Brockport, N.Y. Birth: Brockport, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of 1st Texas Infantry (C.S.A.).

SCHORN, CHARLES

Rank and organization: Chief Bugler, Company M, 1st West Virginia Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Mason City, W. Va. Birth: Germany. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of the Sumter Flying Artillery (C.S.A.).

SHIELDS, BERNARD

Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 2d West Virginia Cavalry. Place and date: At Appomattox, Va., 8 April 1865. Entered service at: Ironton, Ohio. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 3 May 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of the Washington Artillery (C.S.A.).

World War II

CREWS, JOHN R.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company F, 253d Infantry, 63d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Lobenbacherhof, Germany, 8 April 1945. Entered service at: Bowlegs, Okla. Birth: Golden, Okla. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 8 April 1945 near Lobenbacherhof, Germany. As his company was advancing toward the village under heavy fire, an enemy machinegun and automatic rifle with rifle support opened upon it from a hill on the right flank. Seeing that his platoon leader had been wounded by their fire, S/Sgt. Crews, acting on his own initiative, rushed the strongpoint with 2 men of his platoon. Despite the fact that 1 of these men was killed and the other was badly wounded, he continued his advance up the hill in the face of terrific enemy fire. Storming the well-dug-in position single-handedly, he killed 2 of the crew of the machinegun at pointblank range with his M 1 rifle and wrested the gun from the hands of the German whom he had already wounded. He then with his rifle charged the strongly emplaced automatic rifle. Although badly wounded in the thigh by crossfire from the remaining enemy, he kept on and silenced the entire position with his accurate and deadly rifle fire. His actions so unnerved the remaining enemy soldiers that 7 of them surrendered and the others fled. His heroism caused the enemy to concentrate on him and permitted the company to move forward into the village.

Vietnam

LITTRELL, GARY LEE

Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Advisory Team 21, 11 Corps Advisory Group. place and date: Kontum province, Republic of Vietnam, 4-8 April 1970. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Born: 26 October 1944, Henderson, Ky. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sfc. Littrell, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Advisory Team 21, distinguished himself while serving as a Light Weapons Infantry Advisor with the 23d Battalion, 2d Ranger Group, Republic of Vietnam Army, near Dak Seang. After establishing a defensive perimeter on a hill on April 4, the battalion was subjected to an intense enemy mortar attack which killed the Vietnamese commander, 1 advisor, and seriously wounded all the advisors except Sfc. Littrell. During the ensuing 4 days, Sfc Littrell exhibited near superhuman endurance as he single-handedly bolstered the besieged battalion. Repeatedly abandoning positions of relative safety, he directed artillery and air support by day and marked the unit’s location by night, despite the heavy, concentrated enemy fire. His dauntless will instilled in the men of the 23d Battalion a deep desire to resist. Assault after assault was repulsed as the battalion responded to the extraordinary leadership and personal example exhibited by Sfc. Littrell as he continuously moved to those points most seriously threatened by the enemy, redistributed ammunition, strengthened faltering defenses, cared for the wounded and shouted encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language. When the beleaguered battalion was finally ordered to withdraw, numerous ambushes were encountered. Sfc. Littrell repeatedly prevented widespread disorder by directing air strikes to within 50 meters of their position. Through his indomitable courage and complete disregard for his safety, he averted excessive loss of life and injury to the members of the battalion. The sustained extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Sfc. Littrell over an extended period of time were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the U.S. Army.

*MICHAEL, DON LESLIE

Rank and organization: Specialist Fourth Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 4th Battalion, 503d Infantry, 1 73d Airborne Brigade. place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 8 April 1967. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 31 July 1947, Florence, Ala. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Michael, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving with Company C. Sp4c. Michael was part of a platoon which was moving through an area of suspected enemy activity. While the rest of the platoon stopped to provide security, the squad to which Sp4c. Michael was assigned moved forward to investigate signs of recent enemy activity. After moving approximately 125 meters, the squad encountered a single Viet Cong soldier. When he was fired upon by the squad’s machine gunner, other Viet Cong opened fire with automatic weapons from a well-concealed bunker to the squad’s right front. The volume of enemy fire was so withering as to pin down the entire squad and halt all forward movement. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Sp4c. Michael exposed himself to throw 2 grenades, but failed to eliminate the enemy position. From his position on the left flank, Sp4c. Michael maneuvered forward with 2 more grenades until he was within 20 meters of the enemy bunkers, when he again exposed himself to throw 2 grenades, which failed to detonate. Undaunted, Sp4c. Michael made his way back to the friendly positions to obtain more grenades. With 2 grenades in hand, he again started his perilous move towards the enemy bunker, which by this time was under intense artillery fire from friendly positions. As he neared the bunker, an enemy soldier attacked him from a concealed position. Sp4c. Michael killed him with his rifle and, in spite of the enemy fire and the exploding artillery rounds, was successful in destroying the enemy positions. Sp4c. Michael took up pursuit of the remnants of the retreating enemy. When his comrades reached Sp4c. Michael, he had been mortally wounded. His inspiring display of determination and courage saved the lives of many of his comrades and successfully eliminated a destructive enemy force. Sp4c. Michael’s actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.

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