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.
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.
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.
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.