List of Medal of Honor recipients

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Gold medal, an inverted five-pointed star surmounted by an eagle, hanging from a formal blue ribbon in a display
A Medal of Honor on display

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War. It is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipient must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal it is commonly presented after the recipient has been killed (posthumously).[1]

The President of the United States, in the name of the United States Congress, has awarded 3,471 Medals of Honor to the nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen since the decoration's creation in 1861.[2] The citations highlighting these acts resided in archives, some for more than 100 years and were only sporadically printed. In 1973, the U.S. Senate ordered the citations compiled and printed as Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor recipients: 1863–1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973). This book was later updated and reprinted in 1979.[3]

The first Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Private Jacob Parrott during the American Civil War for his role in the Great Locomotive Chase. The first African American recipient for this award was William Harvey Carney who, despite being shot in the face, shoulders, arms, and legs, refused to let the American flag touch the ground. The only female Medal of Honor recipient is Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon. Her medal was rescinded in 1917 along with many other non-combat awards, but it was restored by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.[4]

While current law, (United States Code Title 10), beginning in 1918, explicitly state that recipients must be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of performing a valorous act that warrants the award, exceptions have been made. For example, Charles Lindbergh, while a reserve member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, received his Medal of Honor as a civilian pilot. In addition, the Medal of Honor was presented to the British Unknown Warrior by General Pershing on October 17, 1921; later the U.S. Unknown Soldier was reciprocally awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry, on November 11, 1921. Although being a U.S. citizen is not a prerequisite for eligibility to receive the medal, apart from a few exceptions, Medals of Honor can only be awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces. Sixty-one Canadians who were serving in the United States armed forces have received the Medal of Honor; most received it for actions in the American Civil War. Since 1900, only four have been awarded to Canadians.[5] In the Vietnam War, Peter C. Lemon was the only Canadian recipient of the Medal of Honor.[6]

American Civil War[change | change source]

Main articles: Lists of American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: A–F, G–L, M–P, Q–S and T–Z

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was an undeclared war between the United States (the Union) and the Southern states of the newly formed Confederate States of America under Jefferson Davis. The Medal of Honor was established during this conflict; 1522 were awarded (32 posthumously) for acts of bravery and gallantry in combat.[2] Almost half of all of the awarded Medals of Honor were presented for actions in the Civil War.[2]

Indian Wars[change | change source]

The term Indian Wars is the name generally used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between colonial or federal governments and the American Indian population resident in North America before the arrival of white settlers.[7] During this conflict the Medal of Honor was presented to 426 soldiers, 13 posthumously for acts of bravery and gallantry in combat.[2]

Korean Expedition[change | change source]

The United States expedition to Korea in 1871, also known as Sinmiyangyo (Western Disturbance of the Year Sinmi year), was the first American military action in Korea. It took place predominantly on and around the Korean island of Ganghwa. The reason for the presence of the American military expeditionary force in Korea was to support an American diplomatic delegation sent to establish trade and diplomatic relations with Korea and to ascertain the fate of the General Sherman merchant ship. The isolationist nature of the Joseon Dynasty government and the assertiveness of the Americans led to an armed conflict between the two parties. Eventually, the United States failed to secure its objectives.[8]

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[9]
Andrews, JohnJohn Andrews Navy Ordinary Seaman aboard the USS Benicia 01871-06-09 June 9 1871 – 01871-06-10 June 10 1871 USS Benicia Stood on the gunwale on the Benicia's launch, lashed to the ridgerope and remained unflinchingly in this dangerous position and gave his soundings with coolness and accuracy under a heavy fire.
Two soldiers with rifles and one man in a sailor suit standing on a ship deck in front of a large flag. (Brown at right) Brown, CharlesCharles Brown Marine Corps Corporal aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado Assisted in capturing the Korean flag from the citadel of the fort
Coleman, JohnJohn Coleman Marine Corps Private aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado For hand-to-hand combat and saving the life of Alexander McKenzie
Dougherty, JamesJames Dougherty Marine Corps Private aboard the USS Carondelet 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Carondelet Returned to duty after being wounded several times
Franklin, FrederickFrederick Franklin Navy Quartermaster aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado For assuming command of Company D, after Lt. McKee was wounded, and handling the company until relieved
Grace, Patrick H.Patrick H. Grace Navy Chief Quartermaster aboard the USS Benicia 01871-06-10 June 10 1871 – 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Benicia Carrying out his duties with coolness, Grace set forth gallant and meritorious conduct throughout this action
Two soldiers with rifles and one man in a sailor suit standing on a ship deck in front of a large flag. (Hayden at left) Hayden, CyrusCyrus Hayden Navy Carpenter aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado Serving as color bearer of the battalion, Hayden planted his flag and protected it under heavy fire
Head and shoulders of an otherwise-cleancut man with an enormous mustache, in circa-1900 formal dress. Lukes, William F.William F. Lukes Navy Landsman Ganghwa Island 01871-06-09 June 9 1871 – 01871-06-10 June 10 1871 USS Colorado Fighting the enemy inside the fort, Lukes received a severe cut over the head
McKenzie, AlexanderAlexander McKenzie Navy Boatswain's Mate aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado Fighting at the side of Lt. McKee during this action, McKenzie was struck by a sword and received a severe cut in the head from the blow.
McNamara, MichaelMichael McNamara Marine Corps Private aboard the USS Benicia 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Benicia For taking a match-lock from the hands of the enemy while advancing to the parapet
Merton, James F.James F. Merton Navy Landsman Ganghwa Island 01871-06-09 June 9 1871 – 01871-06-10 June 10 1871 USS Colorado Merton was severely wounded in the arm while trying to force his way into the fort
Owens, MichaelMichael Owens Marine Corps Private aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado Fighting courageously in hand-to-hand combat, Owens was badly wounded by the enemy during this action
Large foreign flag behind three 1870s soldiers or sailors on a shipdeck (Purvis in center) Purvis, HughHugh Purvis Marine Corps Private aboard the USS Alaska 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Alaska Braving the enemy fire, Purvis was the first to scale the walls of the fort and capture their flag
Rogers, Samuel F.Samuel F. Rogers Navy Quartermaster aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado Fighting courageously at the side of Lt. McKee during this action, Rogers was wounded by the enemy
Troy, WilliamWilliam Troy Navy Ordinary Seaman aboard the USS Colorado 01871-06-11 June 11 1871 USS Colorado Fighting at the side of Lt. McKee, by whom he was especially commended, Troy was badly wounded by the enemy

Spanish-American War[change | change source]

The Spanish-American War (Spanish: Guerra Hispano-Estadounidense, desastre del 98, Guerra Hispano-Cubana-Norteamericana or Guerra de Cuba ) was a military conflict between Spain and the United States that began in April 1898. Hostilities halted in August of that year, and the Treaty of Paris was signed in December. The war began after the American demand for Spain's peacefully resolving the Cuban fight for independence was rejected, though strong expansionist sentiment in the United States may have motivated the government to target Spain's remaining overseas territories: Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam and the Caroline Islands.[10]

Riots in Havana by pro-Spanish "Voluntarios" gave the United States reason to send in the warship USS Maine. This action by the U.S. indicated high national interest. Tension among the American people was raised because of the explosion of the USS Maine, and "yellow journalism" that accused Spain of extensive atrocities, agitating American public opinion. The war ended after decisive naval victories for the United States in the Philippines and Cuba. The Treaty of Paris ended the conflict 109 days after the outbreak of war giving the United States ownership of the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam.[11]

Samoan Civil War[change | change source]

The Samoan Civil War is a Western definition of political activity in the Samoa Islands of the South Pacific in the late 19th century. By this non-Samoan definition, the Samoan Civil Wars were a series of wars between Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, ending in the partitioning of the island chain in 1899. The concluding event was the Second Samoan Civil War. The first Samoan Civil War lasted for eight years. The warring Samoan parties were supplied arms, training and sometimes even combat troops by Germany, Britain and the United States. These three powers valued Samoa as a refueling station for coal fired shipping. In addition, these countries sought to gain more power in Europe and wanted Samoa due to the scarcity of unclaimed territory from 1870 onwards.[12]

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[13]
Fisher, Frederick T.Frederick T. Fisher Navy Gunner's Mate First Class aboard the USS Philadelphia, Samoa 01899-04-01 April 1 1899 USS Philadelphia For distinguishing himself by his conduct in the presence of the enemy
Forsterer, Bruno A.Bruno A. Forsterer Marine Corps Sergeant Samoa 01899-04-01 April 1 1899 Unknown For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy.
Hulbert, Henry L.Henry L. Hulbert Marine Corps Private Samoa 01899-04-01 April 1 1899 Unknown For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy. Subsequently awarded the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Cross for actions during World War I.
McNally, Michael J.Michael J. McNally Marine Corps Sergeant Samoa 01899-04-01 April 1 1899 Unknown For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy

Philippine-American War[change | change source]

The Philippine-American War[n 1] was an armed military conflict between the United States and the First Philippine Republic, fought between 1899 to at least 1902, which arose from a Filipino political struggle against U.S. occupation of the Philippines. While the conflict was officially declared over on July 4, 1902,[14][15][16] American troops continued hostilities against remnants of the Philippine Army and other resistance groups until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions part of the war.[16]

Eighty-six men were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in the Philippine–American War: 70 from the Army, 10 from the Navy, and 6 from the Marine Corps. Four of the awards were posthumous. Among the recipients were Webb Hayes, the son of former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, and two prominent Marine Corps officers, Hiram I. Bearss and David Dixon Porter. Bearss became known for leading long-range reconnaissance patrols behind enemy lines and was later wounded as a colonel in World War I. Porter was from a distinguished military family and rose to become a major general. José B. Nísperos, a member of the Philippine Scouts who was honored for continuing to fight after being wounded, was the first Asian recipient of the Medal of Honor.[17]

Boxer Rebellion[change | change source]

The Boxer Movement or Boxer Rebellion, which occurred in China from November 1899 to September 7, 1901, was an uprising by members of the Chinese Society of Right and Harmonious Fists against foreign influence in areas such as trade, politics, religion and technology that occurred in China during the final years of the Manchu rule (Qing Dynasty). The members of the Society of Right and Harmonious Fists were simply called boxers by the Westerners due to the martial arts and calisthenics they practiced. The uprising began as an anti-foreign, anti-imperialist peasant-based movement in northern China. They attacked foreigners who were building railroads and violating Feng shui, as well as Christians, who were held responsible for the foreign domination of China. In June 1900, the Boxers invaded Beijing and killed 230 non-Chinese. Tens of thousands of Chinese Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike, were killed mostly in Shandong and Shanxi Provinces as part of the uprising. The government of Empress Dowager Cixi was not helpful, and diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the legation quarter where they held out for fifty-five days until a multinational coalition rushed 20,000 troops to their rescue. The Chinese government was forced to indemnify the victims and make many additional concessions. Subsequent reforms implemented after the crisis of 1900 laid the foundation for the end of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the modern Chinese Republic.[18]

During the Boxer rebellion, 59 American servicemen received the Medal of Honor for their actions. Four of these were for Army personnel, twenty-two went to navy sailors and the remaining thirty-three went to marines. Harry Fisher was the first Marine to receive the medal posthumously and the only posthumous recipient for this conflict.[2]

United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914[change | change source]

The United States occupation of the Mexican port of Veracruz lasted for six months in response to the Tampico Affair of April 9, 1914. The incident came in the midst of poor diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, related to the ongoing Mexican Revolution.[19]

Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels ordered that 56 Medals of Honor be awarded to participants in the occupation of Veracruz, the most for any single action before or since. In total 63 Medals of Honor were received for actions during the occupation; 1 Army, 9 to members of the United States Marine Corps and 53 to Navy personnel.[2]

Invasion and occupation of Haiti[change | change source]

The first United States occupation of Haiti began on July 28, 1915 and ended in mid-August 1934.

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[20][21]
Head and shoulders of man in his 40s wearing a U.S. Marine uniform with ribbons, circa 1920. Butler, SmedleySmedley Butler Marine Corps Major Fort Riviere, Haiti 01915-11-17 November 17 1915 2nd Marines Second award – previously awarded a Medal of Honor for action in the Mexican Campaign.
Button, William R.William R. Button Marine Corps Corporal near Grande Riviere, Haiti 01919-10-31 October 31 1919 – 01919-11-01 November 1 1919 USS Antares (AG-10) 7th Marines For the assassination of rebel leader Charlemagne Péralte and the routing of his followers
Top half of a serious man in formal 1920s U.S. military dress wearing two star-shaped medals on ribbons around his neck. Daly, DanielDaniel Daly Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant near Fort-Liberté, Haiti 01915-10-24 October 24 1915 15th Company, 2nd Marines Second award – previously awarded a Medal of Honor for action in the Boxer Rebellion
Top half of man in 1920s tropical U.S. Marine uniform with flat-brimmed campaign hat. Hanneken, Herman H.Herman H. Hanneken Marine Corps Sergeant near Grande Riviere, Haiti 01919-10-31 October 31 1919 – 01919-11-01 November 1 1919 USS Antares (AG-10) 7th Marines For the assassination of rebel leader Charlemagne Péralte and the routing of his followers
Iams, Ross L.Ross L. Iams Marine Corps Sergeant Fort Riviere, Haiti 01915-11-17 November 17 1915 5th Company, 2nd Marines Approaching a breach in the wall which was the only entrance to the fort, Sergeant Iams unhesitatingly jumped through the breach despite constant fire from the Cacos and engaged the enemy in a desperate hand-to-hand combat until the bastion was captured and Caco resistance neutralized.
Marguiles, SamuelSamuel Marguiles Marine Corps Private Fort Riviere, Haiti 01915-11-17 November 17 1915 23rd Company, 2nd Marines Served under the name Samuel Gross.
Ostermann, Edward A.Edward A. Ostermann Marine Corps First Lieutenant near Fort-Liberté, Haiti 01915-10-24 October 24 1915 15th Company, 2nd Marines In command of one of the three squads which advanced in three different directions, led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding in the capture of Fort Dipitie.
Young man with slicked-down short hair in a circa 1915 U.S. Marine uniform with a very high collar. Upshur, William P.William P. Upshur Marine Corps Captain near Fort-Liberté, Haiti 01915-10-24 October 24 1915 15th Company, 2nd Marines In command of the three squads which advanced in three different directions, led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding the capture of Fort Dipitie.

Occupation of the Dominican Republic[change | change source]

The United States occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916 to 1924. In May 1917, Rear Admiral William Caperton forced Arias to leave Santo Domingo by threatening the city with naval bombardment. U.S. Marines invaded and took control of the country within two months; in November that same year, the U.S. imposed a military government. The Marines restored order throughout most of the republic (with the exception of the eastern region); the country's budget was balanced, its debt was diminished, and economic growth resumed; infrastructure projects produced new roads that linked all the country's regions for the first time in its history; a professional military organization, the Dominican Constabulary Guard, replaced the partisan forces that had waged a seemingly endless struggle for power.[22]

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[23]
Glowin, Joseph A.Joseph A. Glowin Marine Corps Corporal Guayacanes, Dominican Republic 01916-07-03 July 3 1916 13th Company, Artillery Battalion, 1st Brigade For action against a considerable force of rebels
Williams, Ernest C.Ernest C. Williams Marine Corps First Lieutenant San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic 01916-11-29 November 29 1916 1st Brigade For leading the capture of a fort
Winans, RoswellRoswell Winans Marine Corps First Sergeant Guayacanes, Dominican Republic 01916-07-03 July 3 1916 1st Brigade For action against a considerable force of rebels

World War I[change | change source]

World War I, also known as the First World War and the Great War, was a global military conflict which took place primarily in Europe from 1914–1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths.[24] Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized from 1914–1918.[25] The immediate cause of the war was the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary and member of the Black Hand. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against Serbia activated a series of alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations. Within a month, much of Europe was in a state of open warfare.[26]

During this War, 119 men received the Medal for their actions, 33 of them posthumously.[2]

Occupation of Nicaragua[change | change source]

The United States occupied Nicaragua from 1909 to 1933 and intervened in the country several times before that. The American interventions in Nicaragua were designed to prevent the construction of a trans-isthmian canal by any nation but the USA. Nicaragua assumed a quasi-protectorate status under the 1916 Chamorro-Bryan Treaty. The occupation ended as Augusto César Sandino, a Nicaraguan revolutionary, led guerrilla armies against US troops. Furthermore, the onset of the Great Depression made it costly for the USA to maintain occupation.[27]

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[28]
Head and shoulders of man in circa 1940 U.S. Marine khaki uniform, wearing many campaign ribbons. Schilt, Christian F.Christian F. Schilt Marine Corps First Lieutenant Quilali, Nicaragua 01928-01-06 January 6 1928 – 01928-01-08 January 8 1928 Observation Squadron 7-M For evacuating wounded Marines by plane while under fire
Truesdale, Donald L.Donald L. Truesdale Marine Corps Corporal near Constancia, near Coco River, northern Nicaragua 01932-04-24 April 24 1932 a Guardia Nacional Patrol Served under the name "Truesdale" before officially changing name to "Truesdell" on 25 July 1942.[29] Lost his hand while attempting to save his patrol from an accidentally activated grenade.

World War II[change | change source]

See also: List of Medal of Honor recipients for the Battle of Iwo Jima

World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict. The conflicts joined from two separate conflicts. The first began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War; the other began in Europe in 1939 with the German and Russian invasion of Poland.[n 2] This global conflict split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis powers. It involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 60 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history.[30] The worldwide financial cost of the war is estimated at a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars,[31][32] making it the most costly war both in capital expenditures as well as loss of lives.

During this conflict 464 United States military personnel received the Medal of Honor, 266 of them posthumously. A total of 42 Medals of Honor, representing 9% of all awarded during World War II, were presented for action in just two battles – 15 for actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and 27 for actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima. A total of 21 (4.5% of all World War II Medals of Honor) were awarded to members of the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for actions in numerous battles across six different campaigns.[33] Additionally, the only Medal of Honor ever presented to a member of the United States Coast Guard was received for actions during this war.[2]

Korean War[change | change source]

The Korean War was ignited by the 1950 invasion of South Korea when the North Korean Army moved south on June 25, 1950 to attempt to reunite the Korean peninsula, which had been formally divided since 1948. The conflict was then expanded by the United States, China's and the Soviet Union's involvement. The main hostilities were during the period from June 25, 1950, until the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953.

In South Korea, the war is often called "6•25", or the 6•25 War (Korean: 6•25 전쟁), from the date of the start of the conflict or, more formally, Hanguk Jeonjaeng literally “Korean War”. In North Korea, while commonly known as the Korean War, it is formally called the Fatherland Liberation War. In the early days of the war, United States President Harry Truman called the United Nations response a "police action".[34] The war is sometimes called "The Forgotten War" because it is a major conflict of the 20th century that gets less attention than World War II, which preceded it, and the controversial Vietnam War, which succeeded it.[35] In China, the conflict was known as the War to Resist America and Aid Korea, but is today commonly called the "Korean War".[36]

During this war, 135 Medals of Honor were presented for bravery in action, 97 of them posthumously.[2]

Vietnam War[change | change source]

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the American War, occurred from 1959 to April 30, 1975. The term "Vietnam Conflict" is often used to refer to events which took place between 1959 and April 30, 1975. The war was fought between the Communist-supported Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the United States supported Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). During the Vietnam War, 246 Medals of Honor were received, 154 of them posthumously. Soldiers of the Army received the most with 160, followed by 57 to the Marines, 16 to the Navy and the remaining 13 to the Air Force.[2] The first medal of the war was presented to Roger Donlon for rescuing and administering first aid to several wounded soldiers and leading a group against an enemy force.[37] The first African American recipient of the war was Milton L. Olive, III who sacrificed himself to save others by smothering a grenade with his body.[38] Riley L. Pitts was killed after attacking an enemy force with rifle fire and grenades and was the first African American commissioned officer of the war to receive the medal.[39] Thomas Bennett was a conscientious objector who received the medal for his actions as a medic;[40] three chaplains received the medal, including Vincent R. Capodanno, who served with the Marine Corps and was known as the Grunt Padre.[41]

USS Liberty incident[change | change source]

The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a neutral United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli jet fighter planes and motor torpedo boats on June 8, 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 and wounded more than 170 crew members, and damaged the ship severely.[42]

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[43]
William L. McGonagle Navy Commander eastern Mediterranean Sea 01967-06-08 June 8 1967 – 01967-06-09 June 9 1967 USS Liberty (AGTR-5) Continued to lead his ship despite being severely wounded

Battle of Mogadishu (1993)[change | change source]

The Battle of Mogadishu (also referred to as the "Battle of the Black Sea") or for Somalis Ma-alinti Rangers (“The Day of the Rangers”) was a battle that was part of Operation Gothic Serpent that was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, by forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II against Somali militia fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the Second Battle of Mogadishu in 2006.[44] The Medals were awarded to two DELTA operatives who volunteered to attempt to save the pilot of one of the downed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, despite facing hundreds, possibly thousands of rebels.

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[45]
Head and torso of a white man with dark hair, wearing a military jacket with an assortment of ribbon bars and badges on the left breast and chevrons and patches on the upper sleeve. Gordon, GaryGary Gordon  Army Master Sergeant Mogadishu, Somalia 01993-10-03 October 3 1993 1st SFOD-D For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive
Head and torso of a white man standing erect and looking upwards, wearing a military jacket with an assortment of ribbon bars and badges on the left breast and chevrons and patches on the upper sleeve. Shughart, RandyRandy Shughart  Army Sergeant First Class Mogadishu, Somalia 01993-10-03 October 3 1993 1st SFOD-D For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive

War in Afghanistan[change | change source]

The War in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, was launched by the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO allies in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was the beginning of the War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda.[46] Since 2001, six American service-members have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, three of them posthumously. Army Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti received his medal for attempting to rescue a wounded soldier at the cost of his own life. Navy Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy received his for actions against insurgent forces and for sacrificing his life to call for help when his team had been overwhelmed by a much larger enemy force.[47] Army Staff Sergeant Robert James Miller's surviving family was presented with his medal on October 6, 2010.[48] The fourth recipient, Salvatore Giunta received his for his actions in 2007 when he risked his life to save a wounded comrade. He is the first living recipient since the Vietnam War. A second living recipient, Sergeant First Class Leroy Petry, received the medal from President Obama during a July 12, 2011, ceremony.[49] Marine Corps Corporal Dakota Meyer became the third living recipient awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Ganjgal.[50][51]

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[47]
Head and torso portrait of a young white man in a formal military uniform with a U.S. flag in the background Giunta, SalvatoreSalvatore Giunta Army Staff Sergeant Korengal Valley, Kunar Province 02007-10-25 October 25 2007 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For risking his life to save a wounded soldier from being captured. Was the first living recipient since the Vietnam War.
Dakota Meyer 2.jpg Meyer, DakotaDakota Meyer Marine Corps Sergeant Ganjgal, Kunar Province 02009-09-08 September 8 2009 Embedded Training Team 2-8 Defied order from superiors and rescued 23 Afghan Allies and 13 Americans in the heat of battle.
Young white man in military fatigues Miller, Robert JamesRobert James Miller  Army Staff Sergeant Nari District, Kunar Province 02008-01-25 January 25 2008 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Fatally shot while diverting gunfire from Taliban forces in Afghanistan so that his fellow soldiers could escape.
A white man with close-cropped blond hair standing with his hands in his pockets, wearing a camouflage uniform and a long blue and white scarf hanging untied around his neck. Behind him are a wall of sandbags, a tree and, in the distance, mountains. Monti, Jared C.Jared C. Monti  Army Sergeant First Class Gowardesh, Nuristan Province 02006-06-21 June 21 2006 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Killed while trying to rescue a wounded soldier from intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire
Top half of young man in circa 2000 dress U.S. Navy uniform of junior officer. Murphy, Michael P.Michael P. Murphy  Navy Lieutenant Near Asadabad, Kunar Province 02005-06-28 June 28 2005 SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 Led a four-man reconnaissance team in a fight against superior numbers, exposed himself to hostile fire in order to call for help
Headshot portrait of a man wearing an Army Combat Uniform and Army Ranger tan beret. Petry, LeroyLeroy Petry Army Sergeant First Class Paktia Province 02008-05-26 May 26 2008 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment While shot through both legs, saved his fellow Rangers by picking up and throwing a live enemy grenade, thus amputating his hand.

Iraq War[change | change source]

The Iraq War, also known as the Second Gulf War,[52] Operation Iraqi Freedom (US),[53] Operation TELIC (UK)[54] or the occupation of Iraq,[55] was a conflict which began on March 20, 2003 with the United States-led invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition composed of U.S. and U.K. troops supported by smaller contingents from Australia, Poland, and other nations.[56] Four service members have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq; two from the Army, one from the Marine Corps and one from the Navy. Paul R. Smith was the first to receive it for his actions on April 4, 2003 when he held enemy forces back, allowing other wounded soldiers to be evacuated to safety. The other three, Corporal Jason Dunham of the Marine Corps, Specialist Ross A. McGinnis of the Army and Master-at-Arms Second Class Michael A. Monsoor of the Navy received it after being killed while using their own bodies to smother grenades to protect their comrades.[57]

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[57]
Head and shoulders of serious young man in circa 2000 U.S. Marine dress uniform. Dunham, JasonJason Dunham  Marine Corps Corporal Iraq, near Syrian border 02004-04-14 April 14 2004 3rd Battalion 7th Marines Fought hand-to-hand with the enemy and hurled himself on a grenade to protect fellow Marines
Head and shoulders of a smiling young man in circa 2000 U.S. Army uniform with beret, before a large American flag. McGinnis, Ross A.Ross A. McGinnis  Army Specialist Adhamiyah, Iraq 02006-12-04 December 4 2006 C Company, 1-26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division Saved the lives of four soldiers by diving on a grenade while inside HMMWV (Humvee)
Soldier in action in circa 2000 U.S. camouflage battle dress, carrying a combat rifle and wearing sunglasses and helmet. Behind him in the dusty air is a similarly equipped soldier. Monsoor, Michael A.Michael A. Monsoor  Navy Master-at-Arms Second Class Ramadi, Iraq 02006-09-29 September 29 2006 SEAL Team Three, Delta Platoon Saved the lives of his fellow SEALs at his sniper position by diving on a grenade
Head and shoulders of smiling man in circa 2000 U.S. Army battle dress. Smith, Paul R.Paul R. Smith  Army Sergeant First Class then-Saddam Int. Airport 02003-04-04 April 4 2003 B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Held the enemy at bay allowing for the wounded to be carried out, died in the process

Peacetime[change | change source]

Before World War II, the Medal of Honor could be received for actions not involving direct combat with the enemy and 193 men earned the medal in this way.[2] Most of these medals were presented to members of the United States Navy for rescuing or attempting to rescue someone from drowning.[2] One of those awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing others was Fireman Second Class Trinidad, who as of 2010 has been the only Asian American Sailor to be awarded the Medal of Honor.[58] In addition to the medals that were presented for lifesaving acts, one Medal of Honor was presented to William Halford who sailed in a small boat for 31 days to get help for the other members of the USS Saginaw who had been stranded on an island.[59] Three explorers were also presented with the medal by special acts of Congress. Charles Lindbergh received the medal for flying the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean as well as Floyd Bennett and Richard Evelyn Byrd who received it for their participation in what was thought to be the first successful heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and back. One recipient, Adolphus W. Greely received his for a lifetime of military service.[60]

Foreign[change | change source]

While current law, (e.g., United States Code Title 10 (relating to service members in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps), beginning in 1918, explicitly states that recipients must be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of performing a valorous act that warrants the award, exceptions have been made. Apart from these rare exceptions, Medals of Honor can only be awarded to members of the U.S. Armed Forces, although being a U.S. citizen is not a prerequisite. Sixty-one Canadians who were serving in the United States Armed Forces have been awarded the Medal of Honor, with a majority awarded for actions in the American Civil War. Since 1900, only four have been awarded to Canadians.[5] In the Vietnam War, Peter C. Lemon was the only Canadian recipient of the Medal of Honor.[61]

The Medal of Honor has also been presented to several unknown soldiers: the British Unknown Warrior in the United Kingdom by General Pershing on October 17, 1921; later the U.S. Unknown Soldier was reciprocally awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry, on November 11, 1921. The Medal of Honor was also presented to the Romanian Unknown Soldier, the Unknown Soldier of France, entombed under the Arc de Triomphe, the Unknown Soldier of Belgium and the Unknown Soldier of Italy, entombed in the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II.[62]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. This conflict is also known as the Philippine Insurrection. This name was historically the most commonly used in the U.S., but Filipinos and some American historians refer to these hostilities as the Philippine-American War, and, in 1999, the U.S. Library of Congress reclassified its references to use this term.
  2. Official military histories in Commonwealth nations refer to the conflict as the Second World War, while the United States' official histories refer to the conflict as World War II. English translations of the official histories of other nations tend to resolve into English as Second World War also, for example zweite weltkrieg in German. See C.P. Stacey Official History of the Canadian Army in the Second World War, for example. "Official" usage of these terms is giving way to popular usage and the two terms are becoming interchangeable even in formal military history.

References[change | change source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. "A Brief History—The Medal of Honor". Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Department of Defense. August 8, 2006. http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/pis/med_of_honor.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 "Medal of Honor recipients". Statistics of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who received the Medal of Honor. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/mohstats.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  3. "Medal of Honor recipients". Listing of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who received the Medal of Honor during World War II. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  4. "Mary Edwards Walker". Women in History. http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/walk-mar.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Canada honours winners of top U.S. medal". CBC News. July 1, 2005. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/07/01/canadians-usmedal050701.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  6. "Thousands of Canadians, including a Medal of Honor recipient, served with the U.S. military in Vietnam". Veterans With a Mission. July 1, 2005. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2005/07/01/canadians-usmedal050701.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  7. "Winning the west the Army in the Indian Wars, 1865–1890". United States Army Center of Military History. April 27, 2001. http://www.history.army.mil/books/amh/AMH-14.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  8. Tyson, Carolyn A. (March 5, 2007). "Marine Amphibious Landing in Korea, 1871". Naval Historical Foundation. http://www.history.navy.mil/library/online/marine_amphib_korea.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  9. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the 1871 Korean Campaign. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/korean1871.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  10. "The Price of Freedom: Americans at War—Spanish American War". National Museum of American History. 2005. http://americanhistory.si.edu/militaryhistory/printable/section.asp?id=7.
  11. Dolan, Edward F. (April 27, 2001). The Spanish-American War. The Millbrook Press, Inc.. ISBN 0-7613-1453-9. http://books.google.com/?id=mHA7k2VInvEC&printsec=frontcover&q=. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  12. Stevenson, Robert Louis. A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/s/stevenson/robert_louis/s848fh/. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  13. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Philippine Insurrection. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/philippine.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  14. Delmendo, Sharon (2004). The Star-Entangled Banner: One Hundred Years of America in the Philippines. Rutgers University Press. p. 47. ISBN 0-8135-3411-9. http://books.google.com/?id=N6nkB_PDdXcC&pg=PA15&dq=Philippine+People+power+revolution. Retrieved December 31, 2012..
  15. Agoncillo, Teodoro (1960 (Eighth edition 1990)). History of the Filipino People. Quezon City: Garcia. ISBN 971-10-2415-2.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Constantino, Renato (1975). The Philippines: A Past Revisited. ISBN 971-8958-00-2.
  17. Owens, Ron (2004). Medal of Honor: Historical Facts & Figures. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company. pp. 71–73, 80–81. ISBN 978-1-56311-995-8. http://books.google.com/?id=s65pmBAUmD4C.
  18. Esherick, Joseph W. (1987). The Origins of the Boxer Uprising. University of California Press. p. 154. ISBN 0-520-06459-3. http://books.google.com/?id=jVESdBSMasMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Origins+of+the+Boxer+Uprising&cd=1#v=onepage&q=Medal%20of%20Honor. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  19. Yockelson, Mitchell (1997). "The United States Armed Forces and the Mexican Punitive Expedition: Part 1". Prologue Magazine 29. http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1997/fall/mexican-punitive-expedition-1.html.
  20. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the 1915 Haiti Campaign. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/haiti1915.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  21. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the 1919–1920 Haiti Campaign. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/haiti1919-20.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  22. Haggerty, Richard A. (1989). "Dominican Republic: A Country Study". http://countrystudies.us/dominican-republic/. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  23. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Dominican Campaign. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/dominic.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  24. "Military Casualties of World War One". http://www.firstworldwar.com/features/casualties.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  25. "The Treaty of Versailles and its Consequences". http://www.jimmyatkinson.com/papers/versaillestreaty.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.[dead link]
  26. Keegan, John (1998). The First World War. Hutchinson. ISBN 0-09-180178-8.
  27. Merrill, Tim (1993). "Nicaragua: A Country Study". http://countrystudies.us/nicaragua/. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  28. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Second Nicaraguan Campaign. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/nicara.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  29. "CWO Donald L Truesdell". US Marine Corps History Division. https://www.mcu.usmc.mil/historydivision/pages/Whos_Who/Truesdell_DL.aspx. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  30. Dunnigan, James; Albert Nofi. Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow & Company, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3
  31. Mayer, E. (2000) "World War II" course lecture notes on Emayzine.com (Victorville, California: Victor Valley College)
  32. Coleman, P. (1999) "Cost of the War," World War II Resource Guide (Gardena, California: The American War Library)
  33. Congressional Medal of Honor Society
  34. The President's News Conference of June 29, 1950
  35. "Remembering the Forgotten War: Korea, 1950–1953". Naval History & Heritage Command. http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/korea/korea1.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  36. "War to Resist US Aggression And Aid Korea Marked in DPRK". (China's) Peoples Daily (English version). http://english.people.com.cn/english/200010/26/eng20001026_53620.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  37. Murphy, 1987, pp. 13–23
  38. Murphy, 1987, pp. 36–38
  39. Murphy, 1987, p. 97
  40. Murphy, 1987, pp. 156–158
  41. Murphy, 1987, pp. 150–151
  42. "USS Liberty (AGTR-5), 1964–1970". Navy Historical Center. January 14, 2001. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-l/agtr5.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  43. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Vietnam War (M—Z). United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/vietnam-m-z.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  44. Bowden, Mark (2000). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028850-3.
  45. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for Somalia. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/somalia.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  46. "The United States Army in Afghanistan". Operation Enduring Freedom. United States Army. March 17, 2006. http://www.history.army.mil/brochures/Afghanistan/Operation%20Enduring%20Freedom.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  47. 47.0 47.1 "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Afghanistan War. United States Army Center of Military History. January 7, 2010. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/afghanistan.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  48. "President Obama to Award Medal of Honor". White House Office of the Press Secretary. September 9, 2010. http://m.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/09/09/president-obama-award-medal-honor. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  49. "Army Ranger to be awarded Medal of Honor". Stars and Stripes (Washington, D.C.). May 31, 2011. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/5z6TnuVR3.
  50. "Soldiers' selfless acts should inspire at holidays". CNN. December 6, 2010. http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-12/politics/obama.medal.of.honor_1_jason-dunham-marine-cpl-honor-posthumously?_s=PM:POLITICSOn.
  51. Lamothe, Dan (July 19, 2011). "Obama OKs Medal of Honor for living Marine". Marine Corps Times (Springfield, Virginia). Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. http://www.webcitation.org/60MHLMWKw.
  52. "Rescue Operations in the Second Gulf War". Air & Space Power Journal. Spring 2005. http://www.airpower.maxwell.af.mil/airchronicles/apj/apj05/spr05/whitcomb.html.
  53. "Operation Iraqi Freedom". http://www.mnf-iraq.com/. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  54. Ministry of Defence. "Operations in Iraq: History of the military campaign in Iraq". http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInIraqHistoryofthemilitarycampaigninIraq.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  55. Fattah, Hassan M. (March 2007). "Saudi King Condemns U.S. Occupation of Iraq". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/28/world/middleeast/29saudicnd.html?ex=1332820800&en=da8a156f30f093ea&ei=5124&partner=digg&exprod=digg. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  56. Schifferes, Steve (March 18, 2003). "US Names Coalition of the Willing". BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/2862343.stm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  57. 57.0 57.1 "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Iraq War. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/iraq.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  58. Rodney Jaleco (19 October 2010). "Pinoy WWII vets still top Fil-Am concern". ABS-CBN. http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/10/19/10/pinoy-wwii-vets-still-top-fil-am-concern. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  59. "Lieutenant William Halford, USN, (1841–1919)". Naval Historical Center. March 20, 2006. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-h/w-halfor.htm. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  60. "Medal of Honor recipients". Interim (1920–1940). United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/interim1920-40.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  61. Tillman, Barrett (2006). Heroes: U.S. Army Medal of Honor recipients. Berkley Caliber. pp. 233–234. ISBN 0-425-21017-0.
  62. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients by Special Legislation. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/asaoc.html. Retrieved December 31, 2012.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Murphy, Edward F. (July 1987). Vietnam Medal of Honor Heroes. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-33890-1.

Other websites[change | change source]