There are thirteen Medals awarded for actions on this day, from the Civil War, through World War II and Vietnam. Four are posthumous.
GALLOWAY, GEORGE N.
Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 95th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Alsops Farm, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. Date of issue: 24 October 1895. Citation: Voluntarily held an important position under heavy fire.
McKAY, CHARLES W.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 154th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Dug Gap, Ga., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Allegheny, Cattaraugus County, N.Y. Birth: Mansfield, N.Y. Date of issue: 13 April 1894. Citation: Voluntarily risked his life in rescuing under the fire of the enemy a wounded comrade who was Iying between the lines.
Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 82d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At McDowell, Va., 8 May 1862. Entered service at: Hardin County, Ohio. Birth: Licking County, Ohio. Date of issue: 14 August 1893. Citation: After the charge of the command had been repulsed, he rushed forward alone with an empty gun and captured two of the enemy’s sharpshooters.
Rank and organization: Captain, Company C., 61st New York Infantry. Place and date: At Todds Tavern, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Orange County, N.Y. Date of issue: 21 August 1893. Citation: Led the regiment in charge at a critical moment under a murderous fire until he fell desperately wounded.
PHELPS, CHARLES E.
Rank and organization: Colonel, 7th Maryland Infantry. Place and date: At Laurel Hill, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Born: 1 May 1833, Guilford, Vt. Date of issue: 30 March 1898. Citation: Rode to the head of the assaulting column, then much broken by severe losses and faltering under the close fire of artillery, placed himself conspicuously in front of the troops, and gallantly rallied and led them to within a few feet of the enemy’s works, where he was severely wounded and captured.
ROBERTSON, ROBERT S.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company K, 93d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Corbins Bridge, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Argyle, N.Y. Birth: Argyle, N.Y. Date of issue: 2 August 1897. Citation: While acting as aide_de_camp to a general officer, seeing a regiment break to the rear, he seized its colors, rode with them to the front in the face of the advancing enemy, and rallied the retreating regiment.
ROBINSON, JOHN C.
Rank and organization: Brigadier General, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At Laurel Hill, Va., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Binghamton, N.Y. Birth: Binghamton, N.Y. Date of issue: 28 March 1894. Citation: Placed himself at the head of the leading brigade in a charge upon the enemy’s breastworks; was severely wounded.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 154th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Dug Gap, Ga., 8 May 1864. Entered service at: Allegany, Cattaraugus County, N.Y. Birth: Groton, N.Y. Date of issue: 13 April 1894. Citation: Risked his life in rescuing a wounded comrade under fire of the enemy.
World War II. The Battle of Coral Sea looms large today. And while it may have been Victory in Europe day, in the Pacific, there was still hard fighting in the Philippines.
HALL, WILLIAM E.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Naval Reserve. Place and date: Coral Sea, 7 and 8 May 1942. Entered service at: Utah. Born: 31 October 1913, Storrs, Utah. Citation: For extreme courage and conspicuous heroism in combat above and beyond the call of duty as pilot of a scouting plane in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942. In a resolute and determined attack on 7 May, Lt. (j.g.) Hall dived his plane at an enemy Japanese aircraft carrier, contributing materially to the destruction of that vessel. On 8 May, facing heavy and fierce fighter opposition, he again displayed extraordinary skill as an airman and the aggressive spirit of a fighter in repeated and effectively executed counterattacks against a superior number of enemy planes in which 3 enemy aircraft were destroyed. Though seriously wounded in this engagement, Lt. (j.g.) Hall, maintaining the fearless and indomitable tactics pursued throughout these actions, succeeded in landing his plane safe.
*KROTIAK, ANTHONY L.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company I, 148th Infantry, 37th Infantry Division. Place and date: Balete Pass, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 8 May 1945. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 15 August 1915, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 18, 13 February 1946. Citation: He was an acting squad leader, directing his men in consolidating a newly won position on Hill B when the enemy concentrated small arms fire and grenades upon him and 4 others, driving them to cover in an abandoned Japanese trench. A grenade thrown from above landed in the center of the group. Instantly pushing his comrades aside and jamming the grenade into the earth with his rifle butt, he threw himself over it, making a shield of his body to protect the other men. The grenade exploded under him, and he died a few minutes later. By his extraordinary heroism in deliberately giving his life to save those of his comrades, Pfc. Krotiak set an inspiring example of utter devotion and self-sacrifice which reflects the highest traditions of the military service.
*POWERS, JOHN JAMES
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 July 1912, New York City, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. Other Navy award: Air Medal with 1 gold star. Citation: For distinguished and conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while pilot of an airplane of Bombing Squadron 5, Lt. Powers participated, with his squadron, in 5 engagements with Japanese forces in the Coral Sea area and adjacent waters during the period 4 to 8 May 1942. Three attacks were made on enemy objectives at or near Tulagi on 4 May. In these attacks he scored a direct hit which instantly demolished a large enemy gunboat or destroyer and is credited with 2 close misses, 1 of which severely damaged a large aircraft tender, the other damaging a 20,000-ton transport. He fearlessly strafed a gunboat, firing all his ammunition into it amid intense antiaircraft fire. This gunboat was then observed to be leaving a heavy oil slick in its wake and later was seen beached on a nearby island. On 7 May, an attack was launched against an enemy airplane carrier and other units of the enemy’s invasion force. He fearlessly led his attack section of 3 Douglas Dauntless dive bombers, to attack the carrier. On this occasion he dived in the face of heavy antiaircraft fire, to an altitude well below the safety altitude, at the risk of his life and almost certain damage to his own plane, in order that he might positively obtain a hit in a vital part of the ship, which would insure her complete destruction. This bomb hit was noted by many pilots and observers to cause a tremendous explosion engulfing the ship in a mass of flame, smoke, and debris. The ship sank soon after. That evening, in his capacity as Squadron Gunnery Officer, Lt. Powers gave a lecture to the squadron on point-of-aim and diving technique. During this discourse he advocated low release point in order to insure greater accuracy; yet he stressed the danger not only from enemy fire and the resultant low pull-out, but from own bomb blast and bomb fragments. Thus his low-dive bombing attacks were deliberate and premeditated, since he well knew and realized the dangers of such tactics, but went far beyond the call of duty in order to further the cause which he knew to be right. The next morning, 8 May, as the pilots of the attack group left the ready room to man planes, his indomitable spirit and leadership were well expressed in his own words, “Remember the folks back home are counting on us. 1 am going to get a hit if 1 have to lay it on their flight deck.” He led his section of dive bombers down to the target from an altitude of 18,000 feet, through a wall of bursting antiaircraft shells and into the face of enemy fighter planes. Again, completely disregarding the safety altitude and without fear or concern for his safety, Lt. Powers courageously pressed home his attack, almost to the very deck of an enemy carrier and did not release his bomb until he was sure of a direct hit. He was last seen attempting recovery from his dive at the extremely low altitude of 200 feet, and amid a terrific barrage of shell and bomb fragments, smoke, flame and debris from the stricken vessel.
*RICKETTS, MILTON ERNEST
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy. Born: 5 August 1913, Baltimore, Md. Appointed from: Maryland. Citation: For extraordinary and distinguished gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Repair Party of the U.S.S. Yorktown in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. During the severe bombarding of the Yorktown by enemy Japanese forces, an aerial bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which Lt. Ricketts’ battle station was located, killing, wounding or stunning all of his men and mortally wounding him. Despite his ebbing strength, Lt. Ricketts promptly opened the valve of a near-by fireplug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead beside the hose. His courageous action, which undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of fire to serious proportions, and his unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Combined Action platoon 1-3-2, 111 Marine Amphibious Force. place and date: Quang Ngai province, Republic of Vietnam, 8 May 1970. Entered service at: Omaha, Nebr. Born: 2 June 1951, San Antonio, Tex. 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 Combined Action platoon 1-3-2. During the early morning L/Cpl. Keith was seriously wounded when his platoon was subjected to a heavy ground attack by a greatly outnumbering enemy force. Despite his painful wounds, he ran across the fire-swept terrain to check the security of vital defensive positions and then, while completely exposed to view, proceeded to deliver a hail of devastating machine gun fire against the enemy. Determined to stop 5 of the enemy soldiers approaching the command post, he rushed forward, firing as he advanced. He succeeded in disposing of 3 of the attackers and in dispersing the remaining 2. At this point, a grenade detonated near L/Cpl. Keith, knocking him to the ground and inflicting further severe wounds. Fighting pain and weakness from loss of blood, he again braved the concentrated hostile fire to charge an estimated 25 enemy soldiers who were massing to attack. The vigor of his assault and his well-placed fire eliminated 4 of the enemy soldiers while the remainder fled for cover. During this valiant effort, he was mortally wounded by an enemy soldier. By his courageous and inspiring performance in the face of almost overwhelming odds, L/Cpl. Keith contributed in large measure to the success of his platoon in routing a numerically superior enemy force, and upheld the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.