Several news sites today are reporting that California Congressman Duncan Hunter, himself an OIF and OEF veteran, is asking the Sec Def to go back over award citations to make sure the troops are really getting the honors they deserve.
About damn time, is what I say — but I’m still pleased as punch that Hunter is stepping out and saying it, too.
I wrote about this issue in July for the New York Times’ At War blog and stand by what I wrote then: It is pathetic that, in the longest war in our nation’s history, there have been so few recipients of the Medal of Honor, our highest valor award.
Please consider sending a message to your elected officials to encourage them to also ask for a review of the valor awards, particularly those who have received Silver Stars and the Distinguished Service Cross/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross troops since 9/11. And, lest you think such a thing would be cumbersome, we’re not really talking about that many records that would need to be reviewed. Only about 22 people have received the DSC/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross for these present day wars and only about 400 have received the Silver Star for actions in Iraq & Afghanistan. This is a totally doable request. Ironically, to date the Pentagon’s main reasoning for being so stingy with the Medal of Honor is that they say the integrity of the MOH must be preserved. I agree wholeheartedly, but I can’t see how the integrity of a medal is preserved by denying it to people for doing very nearly the same actions that were deemed worthy of the MOH a generation ago.
Below you’ll find some names and award citations that, I think, illustrate that the same standards are not being applied with regard to who gets which medals now. Every citation you see here is inspiring and, even if you don’t agree with me, I think you’ll be impressed and awed after reading what our troops have done in the name of our country during these last 70-some odd years.
(I have removed the names of these individuals because I am, by no means, implying that the MOH recipients did not deserve it — they most certainly did — and because the present day troops whose actions are recounted here would probably not likely having their names on this blog in this context.) It took me several hours on a Saturday afternoon to find and compare these citation narratives, which were chosen at random. There are likely better examples out there that I haven’t found yet.
1. Helicopter Pilots
Medal of Honor, Vietnam
XXXX distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date XXXX volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate three seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by force.
He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous anti-aircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners an unobstructed view of all routes into the base.
As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission.
Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gun ships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board.
As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire.
Silver Star Recipient, Afghanistan,
Chinook pilot assigned to 3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment (TF Talon), in front of the Talon headquarters on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan March 9.
In November 2009, XXXX and his crew were called for a casualty evacuation mission in Baghdis province, western Afghanistan. As XXXX and his crew approached the pick-up site, his left door gunner reported heavy tracer fire coming at them. XXXX and his co-pilot maneuvered to avoid the rounds.
Once they were able to land, ground troops began loading five wounded Soldiers on the aircraft. Very quickly, the aircraft began taking more enemy fire. With less than a minute on ground, insurgents fired a rocket propelled grenade at XXXX’s Chinook. The round penetrated the nose, flew between the two pilots, and hit the flight engineer in the back of the head before coming to a rest inside the helicopter, unexploded.
XXXX and his crew continued to take a barrage of enemy fire, but XXXX directed the team to stay on ground until the last patient was loaded. Once the fifth patient was loaded, XXXX led the team out of the hot landing zone and back to a coalition base where the casualties could receive treatment.
After they determined the aircraft was still flyable, XXXX made the decision to conduct a second casualty evacuation of several wounded and dead Afghan National Army soldiers.
Medal of Honor – Vietnam
Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: An Loc Province, Republic of Vietnam, 24 May 1969.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. XXXX distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company A, near the village of Lang Sau. Company A was directed to assist a friendly unit which was endangered by intense fire from a North Vietnamese Battalion located in a heavily fortified base camp. S/Sgt. XXXX quickly organized the men of his platoon into effective combat teams and spearheaded the attack by destroying 4 enemy occupied bunkers. He then raced some 200 meters under heavy enemy fire to reach an adjoining platoon which had begun to falter. After rallying this unit and assisting their wounded, S/Sgt. XXXX returned to his own sector with critically needed munitions. Without pausing he moved to the forefront and destroyed 4 enemy occupied bunkers and a machine gun which had threatened his advancing platoon. Although painfully wounded by an enemy grenade, S/Sgt. XXXX refused medical attention and continued his assault by neutralizing 2 more enemy bunkers nearby. While searching one of these emplacements S/Sgt. XXXX narrowly escaped death when an enemy soldier detonated a grenade at close range. Shortly thereafter, he ran to the aid of a severely wounded officer and struck down an enemy soldier who was threatening the officer’s life. S/Sgt. XXXX then continued to rally his men and led them through the entrenched enemy until his company was relieved. His exemplary leadership and great personal courage throughout the 4-hour battle ensured the success of his own and nearby units, and resulted in the saving of numerous lives of his fellow soldiers. By individual acts of bravery he destroyed 10 enemy bunkers and accounted for a large toll of the enemy, including 2 key enemy commanders. His extraordinary heroism at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Iraq, Silver Star
SSG XXXX, Operational Detachment Alpha 062 (ODA-062), Company C, 2d Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in action at Baqubah, Iraq, on 9 April 2004
Staff Sergeant XXXX distinguished himself through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against enemy forces, in Baqubah, Iraq, on 9 April 2004, while serving as the Detachment Weapons Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha XXX Company C, 2d Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), under Advanced Operational Base 060. Staff Sergeant XXXX’s heroism and bravery under intense enemy fire and in total disregard for personal safety, saved the life of a wounded American Soldier and led to the overwhelming success and survival of his Operational Detachment Alpha 062 in an engagement with Anti Iraqi Forces (AIF).
While Staff Sergeant XXXX and his detachment were patrolling to downtown Baqubah after receiving multiple reports that 500 AIF were staged to conduct attacks on Coalition and Iraqi government entities and structures, Staff Sergeant XXXX and two other detachment members moved to the rooftop of the Diyala Police Station and emplaced hasty defensive fighting positions. As the attack began his hasty defensive position was destroyed by three direct hits from a volley of approximately a dozen rocket propelled grenades (RPG), fired from four separate positions. During the initial phases of the attack, Staff Sergeant XXXX dug a trapped and wounded Soldier out of the rubble and revived him under intense hostile fire and continuous barrages of RPGs.
Realizing that the massing of fires was the prelude to an all-out assault, Staff Sergeant XXXX emerged from the destroyed fighting position firing his M-249 machine gun at the AIF attackers. The AIF continued to systematically target his rooftop position with a sustained attack of at least 25 RPGs supported by medium machine gun and various small arms fire. Without regard for his own personal safety, Staff Sergeant XXXX engaged and killed several AIF attempting to breach the building’s defensive perimeter by moving to multiple positions and engaging the enemy with withering fire in a close-pitched battle. Staff Sergeant XXXX then repositioned himself to his initial exposed defensive position to counter another enemy flanking maneuver killing several more attackers at close range and destroying an enemy machine gun position with an AT-4. As the battle continued, Staff Sergeant XXXX further exposed himself to enemy fire as he systematically moved around the rooftop perimeter coordinating and directing friendly fires in order to gain fire superiority over the enemy.
Having repelled the enemy assault, Staff Sergeant XXXX then moved from the rooftop to the first floor of the jail compound of the Diyala Police Station. He then organized U.S. Forces to retake the detention facility from approximately 350 inmates who were rioting and attempting to escape. The inmates had broken out of their cells to get away from a very large fire in the jail portion of the police station caused by the intense RPG fire. While leading the U.S. Forces to retake the detention facility, Staff Sergeant XXXX was forced to engage a very large inmate, whose ultimate plan was to pull Staff Sergeant XXXX into a sea of rioting prisoners, in hand-to-hand combat. While engaged with the inmate in unarmed combat, and risking his own safety, he instructed U.S. Forces to fire non-lethal ammunition at the prisoner. The inmate was shot three times with non-lethal rounds and continued to fight Staff Sergeant XXXX with intense vigor until Staff Sergeant XXXX subdued him using hand-to-hand techniques, quelling the riotous intentions of the rest of the prisoners.
Staff Sergeant XXXX demonstrated an extraordinary degree of heroism under fire, by rallying his Special Forces detachment in the successful repelling of an over-whelming superior battalion-sized enemy force, which maintained the integrity and authority of the Diyala Police Station and the Iraqi Interim Government Counsel. His heroic actions are in keeping with the finest traditions of gallantry and intrepidity, which reflect great credit upon himself, the Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.
Medal of Honor – Vietnam
Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 22 February 1969.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer of Company A, in action against the enemy in the northern A Shau Valley. Capt. (then 1st Lt.) XXXX’s company came under intense fire from a large well concealed enemy force. Capt. XXXX maneuvered to a position from which he could assess the situation and confer with his platoon leaders. As they departed to execute the plan he had devised, the enemy attacked and Capt. XXXX was wounded along with all of the other members of the command group, except the executive officer. Capt.XXXX continued to direct the activity of his company. Advancing through heavy enemy fire, he personally neutralized one enemy position and calmly ordered an assault against the hostile emplacements. He then moved through the hazardous area coordinating aircraft support with the activities of his men. When his executive officer was mortally wounded, Capt. XXXX reorganized the company and directed the fire of his men as they hurled grenades against the enemy and drove the hostile forces into retreat. Wounded again in the final assault, Capt. XXXX refused medical attention, established a defensive posture, and supervised the preparation of casualties for medical evacuation. His indomitable courage, inspiring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger inspired his marines to such aggressive action that they overcame all enemy resistance and destroyed a large bunker complex. Capt.XXXXs heroic actions reflect great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps, and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Silver Star, Afghanistan,
SSG XXXX, Operational Detachment Alpha , Company A, 2d Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Pashmul, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on 24 June 2006
Staff Sergeant XXXX, United States Army, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry in action as the Medical Sergeant for Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.
On 24 June 2006, while conducting a cordon and search mission to capture or kill Taliban leadership in Panjawi District, Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, Sergeant XXXX was assigned to lead a support by fire element as part of an effort to seize a compound located on key terrain adjacent to the detachment’s perimeter. His element consisted of one US Army Embedded Tactical Trainer (ETT), an interpreter, and nine Afghan Soldiers. As they moved to a position approximately 75 meters south of the objective, they came under heavy Taliban fire. Sergeant XXXX maneuvered his element through enemy fire to his designated position and prepared his weapons to support the assault. The compound was quickly cleared and secured by the assault team. Immediately following the assault, an unexpectedly large Taliban Force counter-attacked with automatic fires. From his support by fire position, Sergeant XXXX initiated lethal direct fires on the enemy, who were attempting to close on the target compound. Sergeant XXXX’s action blunted the enemy envelopment of the element in the compound.
Sergeant XXXX’s small group immediately began receiving a heavy volume of accurate machinegun, rocket-propelled grenade, and small arms fires from all directions. Sergeant XXXX maneuvered his element to close with and destroy an enemy automatic weapon that was placing effective fire on the beleaguered element within the compound. Continuing to maneuver his element, Sergeant XXXX moved through an opening in a low mud wall and unknowingly into the midst of group of Taliban fighters. Sergeant XXXX, the ETT, and the interpreter reacted with furious fire in several directions and employed hand grenades at extremely close ranges, killing many of the enemy. Groups of enemy fighters continued to approach to within 15 meters and fire directly into Sergeant XXXX’s position while shouting insults and threats at the Afghan National Army Soldiers, indicating their intent to capture the group. As Sergeant XXXX exposed himself to employ a grenade at a nearby group of enemy fighters, a bullet struck him in the back of the head, knocking him down, resulting in his temporary loss of vision and hearing. As he groped for his weapon and attempted to regain his bearings, two Afghan Soldiers were forced to withdraw from their support by fire position, leaving Sergeant XXXX’s small element further isolated.
When Sergeant XXXX regained his vision, he returned to cover, refused medical attention, and rejoined the battle. In a valiant attempt to inspire the remaining defenders, he shouted words of encouragement at them and directed their fires against the determined and advancing Taliban. He then led them in an assault upon Taliban fighters who now seemed more determined to capture the isolated element. While attempting to maneuver on the flank of the approaching Taliban fighters, now as close as ten meters, the ETT was seriously injured by a rocket-propelled grenade. Sergeant XXXX, ignoring his own bleeding head wound, selflessly risked his own life while immediately moving to retrieve the injured ETT. Caught in the open and completely exposed to enemy fire, he was brought down a second time by a burst of machine gun fire that destroyed his M4 carbine and shattered his left shoulder and upper arm. As he lay wounded, he continued encouraging the members of his element, and directed their fire as they became the target of an even heavier fusillade of machinegun and rocket-propelled grenade fires.
Ignoring his wounds, Sergeant XXXX maintained his composure, passed his radio to his interpreter, and assisted in directing a relief force to his position. When the relief force arrived to provide assistance, Sergeant XXXX, despite both of his serious wounds, again refused medical assistance and resolved to walk out on his own so that all assistance could be afforded the more seriously wounded ETT.
Sergeant XXXX’s courageous actions and determined spirit not only prevented his small element from being overrun, captured, or destroyed, but decisively engaged and eliminated enemy forces who would have joined the assault on the beleaguered element defending the compound. His gallantry, dedication to duty, and selfless sacrifice exemplified the warrior ethos and directly contributed to the detachment seizing the initiative, denying the enemy the use of key terrain, and forcing the Taliban retreat. The heroic accomplishments of Sergeant XXXX reflect great credit upon himself, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the United States Army.
Afghanistan, Distinguished Service Cross
Operational Detachment Alpha Company A, 2d Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) 24 June 2006
Panjawal District, Kandahar Province,
Surrounded on all sides by hardened Taliban fighters, a vastly outnumbered force of Americans and Afghans fought nearly to the last bullet. In June 2006, 47-year-old Master Sergeant XXXX of the 7th Special Forces Group – the Army’s elite Green Berets – was the team’s medic during Operation Kaika. The Taliban believed this isolated group of Americans and Afghans, numbering less than 70, would be an easy target. They were gravely mistaken.
When the terrorists sprang their trap, the sky exploded with the thunder of rifle, machine-gun, and grenade fire from both sides. The main group was separated by more than 100 yards, and the situation at both positions was dire.
XXXX heard over the radio that several wounded men ahead of a forward position could be overrun at any moment. Leading a team of eight, he quickly traversed the distance between the two positions and took stock of the situation. There he saw two wounded men – Staff Sergeant X and Staff Sergeant XY – farther ahead and knew he had to reach them. Disregarding three enemy machine-guns, XXXX dropped to his stomach and began an arduous crawl to the wounded troops. Restricted in his movements by his protective armor,XXXX Paused and removed the only shield he had from the hostile onslaught, his Interceptor bullet proof vest. He traded his armor for a cloth sign that he pinned to his back to alert the close-air support attack helicopters that he was friendly.
The 200 foot crawl was nearly an hour and a half of constant enemy fire directed at the brave American. Reaching a compound to which he could pull the wounded, he singlehandedly moved the two soldiers there and performed emergency first-aid. As night fell, XXXX made several trips to move the Binney and Fuerst back to the advanced position. From there, they were able to medevac the injured, and begin their own exfiltration to the security of the patrol base.
While XY did not survive his severe injuries, X lived because of the bold decision made by a 47-year-old-medic more concerned with the lives of his friends than his own. For his actions, XXXX was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the first time a member of the 7th Special Forces Group was awarded this honor since July of 1964. SOURCE: DoD
Navy Cross, Afghanistan
Staff Sergeant XXXX,
United States Marine Corps, Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009
The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Staff SergeantXXXX United States Marine Corps, for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy as a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009 in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Assigned to the security element while other members of his team led two platoons of Afghan National Security Forces into Ganjgal Village for a pre-dawn meeting with village elders. Staff Sergeant XXXX heard over the radio that the dismounted patrol was ambushed by roughly fifty enemy fighters in fortified positions. With four members of his team in immediate danger of being surrounded, he drove a gun-truck, with one other Marine as his gunner, forward into the kill zone of a well prepared ambush. With only the machine gun fires of his gunner to suppress the enemy, he ignored heavy enemy fires and drove the vehicle into the kill zone three times to cover the withdrawal of the combined force and evacuate two dozen members of the Afghan National Security Forces. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, he made a fourth trip into the deepest point of the kill zone in another gun-truck with three other U.S. personnel to recover the bodies of the fallen team members. He positioned his vehicle to shield the U.S. members from the intense enemy fire as they dismounted to recover their bodies. By his decisive actions, bold initiative, and selfless dedication to duty, Staff Sergeant XXXX reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Air Force Cross, Afghanistan
Senior Airman XXXX, 21st Special Tactics Squadron, at Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 6 April 2008
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, takes pleasure in presenting the Air Force Cross to Senior Airman XXXX, United States Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an armed enemy of the United States while serving with the 21st Special Tactics Squadron, at Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 6 April 2008. On that date, while assigned as Special Tactics Combat Controller, Airman XXXX executed a day rotary-wing infiltration with his Special Forces team to capture high-value insurgents in a village on the surrounding mountains. While climbing near vertical terrain to reach their objective, the team was attacked in a well-coordinated and deadly ambush. Devastating sniper, machine gun, and rocket-propelled grenade fire poured down on the team from elevated and protected positions on all sides, immediately pinning down the assault force. Without regard for his life, Airman XXXX placed himself between the most immediate threats and provided suppressive fire with his M-4 rifle against enemy fire while fellow teammates were extracted from the line of fire. Airman XXXX bravely withstood the hail of enemy fire to control eight United States Air Force fighters and four United States Army attack helicopters. Despite a gunshot wound to the left leg and being trapped on a 60-foot cliff under constant enemy fire, Airman XXXX controlled more than 50 attack runs and repeatedly repelled the enemy with repeated danger close air strikes, several within 100 meters of his position. Twice, his actions prevented his element from being overrun during the intense 6 and a half hour battle. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Airman XXXX reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Medal of Honor, WWII
Staff Sergeant XXXX
Organization: U.S. Army
Division: 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division
Date of Issue: 03/29/1945
Place / Date: Near St. Die, France, 28 October 1944
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 28 October 1944, near St. Die, France. When his company was stopped in its effort to drive through the Mortagne Forest to reopen the supply line to the isolated third battalion, S/Sgt. XXXX braved the concentrated fire of machineguns in a lone assault on a force of German troops. Although his company had progressed less than 10 yards and had lost 3 killed and 6 wounded, S/Sgt. XXXX charged forward dodging from tree to tree firing a borrowed BAR from the hip. Despite intense machinegun fire which the enemy directed at him and rifle grenades which struck the trees over his head showering him with broken twigs and branches, S/Sgt. XXXX made his way to within 10 yards of the closest machinegun and killed the gunner with a hand grenade. An enemy soldier threw hand grenades at him from a position only 10 yards distant; however, S/Sgt. XXXX dispatched him with a single burst of BAR fire. Charging into the vortex of the enemy fire, he killed another machinegunner at 15 yards range with a hand grenade and forced the surrender of 2 supporting infantrymen. Although the remainder of the German group concentrated the full force of its automatic weapons fire in a desperate effort to knock him out, he proceeded through the woods to find and exterminate 5 more of the enemy. Finally, when the third German machinegun opened up on him at a range of 20 yards, S/Sgt. XXXX killed the gunner with BAR fire. In the course of the action, he personally killed 9 Germans, eliminated 3 enemy machineguns, vanquished a specialized force which was armed with automatic weapons and grenade launchers, cleared the woods of hostile elements, and reopened the severed supply lines to the assault companies of his battalion
Medal of Honor, Phillipines
Lieutenant Commander XXXX
Organization: U.S. Navy
Place / Date: Philippine waters, 7 December 1941 to 10 April 1942
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. XXXX’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.
Medal of Honor, WWII
Organization: U.S. Army
Division: Air Corps Reserve
Place / Date: Near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, 8 November 1942
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. On 8 November 1942, near Port Lyautey, French Morocco, Col. XXXX volunteered to accompany the leading wave of assault boats to the shore and pass through the enemy lines to locate the French commander with a view to suspending hostilities. This request was first refused as being too dangerous but upon the officer’s ins1stence that he was qualified to undertake and accomplish the mission he was allowed to go. Encountering heavy fire while in the landing boat and unable to dock in the river because of shell fire from shore batteries, Col. XXXX, accompanied by 1 officer and 1 soldier, succeeded in landing on the beach at Mehdia Plage under constant low-level strafing from 3 enemy planes. Riding in a bantam truck toward French headquarters, progress of the party was hindered by fire from our own naval guns. Nearing Port Lyautey, Col. XXXX was instantly killed by a sustained burst of machinegun fire at pointblank range from a concealed position near the road.
Medal of Honor, Vietnam
Staff Sergeant XXXX
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company E, 3d Battalion
Division: 173d Airborne Brigade
Place / Date: Phu My District, Republic of Vietnam, 7 September 1970
S/Sgt. XXXX was riding in the lead armored personnel carrier in a 4-vehicle column when an enemy mine exploded in front of his vehicle. As the vehicle swerved from the road, a concealed enemy force waiting in ambush opened fire with automatic weapons and anti-tank grenades, striking the vehicle several times and setting it on fire. S/Sgt. XXXX escaped from the disabled vehicle and, without pausing to extinguish the flames on his clothing, rallied his stunned unit. He then led it in a vigorous assault, in the face of heavy enemy automatic weapons fire, on the entrenched enemy position. This prompt and courageous action routed the enemy and saved his unit from destruction. Following the assault, S/Sgt. XXXX heard the cries of 3 men still trapped inside the vehicle. Paying no heed to warnings that the ammunition and fuel in the burning personnel carrier might explode at any moment, S/Sgt. XXXX raced to the vehicle and climbed inside to rescue his wounded comrades. As he was lifting 1 of the men to safety, the vehicle exploded, mortally wounding him and the man he was attempting to save. By his extraordinary devotion to duty, indomitable courage, and utter disregard for his own safety, S/Sgt. XXXX saved his unit from destruction and selflessly sacrificed his life in a brave attempt to save 3 comrades. S/Sgt.XXXX’s conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the cost of his life were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.
Medal of Honor, WWII
Organization: U.S. Navy
Place / Date: Iwo Jima, 17 February 1945
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of LCI (G) 449 operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group 8, during the preinvasion attack on Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal defense guns, Lt. (then Lt. (j.g.)) XXXX directed shattering barrages of 40mm. and 20mm. gunfire against hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy’s savage counterfire which blasted the 449’s heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets of flame. Regaining consciousness despite profuse bleeding he was again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed the conning station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers and leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon recovering the second time, Lt. XXXX resolutely climbed down to the pilothouse and, fighting against his rapidly waning strength, took over the helm, established communication with the engineroom, and carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer able to stand, he propped himself against empty shell cases and rallied his men to the aid of the wounded; he maintained position in the firing line with his 20mm. guns in action in the face of sustained enemy fire, and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering fortitude, aggressive perseverance, and indomitable spirit against terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon Lt. XXXX and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
Medal of Honor, Korea
Organization: U.S. Army
Company: Company F
Division: 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
Place / Date: Near Chup’a-ri, Korea, 31 August 1951
Cpl. XXXX, a member of Company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When his platoon leader was killed, Cpl. XXXX assumed command and led his unit in an assault on strongly fortified enemy positions located on commanding terrain. When his platoon came under vicious, raking fire which halted the forward movement, Cpl. XXXX seized a 57mm. recoilless rifle and unhesitatingly moved ahead to a suitable firing position from which he delivered deadly accurate fire completely destroying an enemy bunker, killing its occupants. He then returned to his platoon and was resuming the assault when the unit was again subjected to intense hostile fire from 2 other bunkers. Disregarding his personal safety, armed with grenades he charged forward hurling grenades into 1 of the enemy emplacements, and although painfully wounded in this action he pressed on destroying the bunker and killing 6 of the foe. He then continued his attack against a third enemy position, throwing grenades as he ran forward, annihilating 4 enemy soldiers. He then led his platoon to the north slope of the hill where positions were occupied from which effective fire was delivered against the enemy in support of friendly troops moving up. Fearlessly exposing himself to enemy fire, he continuously moved about directing and encouraging his men until he was mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire. Cpl. XXXX’s extraordinary heroism, indomitable courage, and aggressive leadership reflect great credit on himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.