The youngest Medal of Honor recipient was William “Willie” Johnston from St. Johnsbury, Vermont. He was eleven years old when he joined with his father and served as a drummer boy in Company D of the 3rd Vermont Infantry. During the Seven Days retreat in the Peninsula Campaign, Willie was the only drummer in his division to come away with his instrument, during a general rout. His superiors considered this a meritorious feat, when fellow soldiers had thrown away their guns. As a result, he received the Medal of Honor on the recommendation of his division commander. After he was mustered out of service on December 30, 1864, nothing is known of his life after his discharge from the Army. Tomorrow, A New Book by Jax Garren. Rita Bay
Category Archives: Event of the Week
Californian Staff Sergeant Clinton L. Romesha of the U.S. Army 3rd Squadron, 61st Calvary Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry. It was presented to Sgt Romesha on 2/11/2013. His citation read:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Section Leader with Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, during combat operations against an armed enemy at Combat Outpost Keating, Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on 3 October 2009. On that morning, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his comrades awakened to an attack by an estimated 300 enemy fighters occupying the high ground on all four sides of the complex, employing concentrated fire from recoilless rifles, rocket propelled grenades, anti-aircraft machine guns, mortars and small arms fire. Staff Sergeant Romesha moved uncovered under intense enemy fire to conduct a reconnaissance of the battlefield and seek reinforcements from the barracks before returning to action with the support of an assistant gunner. Staff Sergeant Romesha took out an enemy machine gun team and, while engaging a second, the generator he was using for cover was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, inflicting him with shrapnel wounds. Undeterred by his injuries, Staff Sergeant Romesha continued to fight and upon the arrival of another soldier to aid him and the assistant gunner, he again rushed through the exposed avenue to assemble additional soldiers. Staff Sergeant Romesha then mobilized a five-man team and returned to the fight equipped with a sniper rifle.
With complete disregard for his own safety, Staff Sergeant Romesha continually exposed himself to heavy enemy fire, as he moved confidently about the battlefield engaging and destroying multiple enemy targets, including three Taliban fighters who had breached the combat outpost’s perimeter. While orchestrating a successful plan to secure and reinforce key points of the battlefield, Staff Sergeant Romesha maintained radio communication with the tactical operations center. As the enemy forces attacked with even greater ferocity, unleashing a barrage of rocket-propelled grenades and recoilless rifle rounds, Staff Sergeant Romesha identified the point of attack and directed air support to destroy over 30 enemy fighters. After receiving reports that seriously injured soldiers were at a distant battle position, Staff Sergeant Romesha and his team provided covering fire to allow the injured soldiers to safely reach the aid station. Upon receipt of orders to proceed to the next objective, his team pushed forward 100 meters under overwhelming enemy fire to recover and prevent the enemy fighters from taking the bodies of the fallen comrades. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s heroic actions throughout the day-long battle were critical in suppressing an enemy that had far greater numbers. His extraordinary efforts gave Bravo Troop the opportunity to regroup, reorganize and prepare for the counterattack that allowed the Troop to account for its personnel and secure Combat Post Keating. Staff Sergeant Romesha’s discipline and extraordinary heroism above and beyond the call of duty reflect great credit upon himself, Bravo Troop, 3d Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division and the United States Army.
Tomorrow, Another MOH Recipient. Rita Bay
Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye (9/7/1924 – 12/17/2012) was a Medal of Honor recipient and a United States Senator from Hawaii (1963 – 2012), a member of the Democratic Party, US Representative (1959 – 1963) and the President pro tempore of the United States Senate. He also was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Citation Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army. Tomorrow, Another Medal of Honor Recipient Rita Bay
William Harvey Carney (February 29, 1840 – December 8, 1908) was the first African American soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Fort Wagner. His actions at Fort Wagner preceded those of any other black recipient but he was not presented with the honor until nearly 37 years later. He was the second African-American to be awarded the Medal, the first recipient having been Robert Blake, in 1864.
Sgt. Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia but escaped through the Underground Railroad to join his father in Massachusetts. They bought the rest of the family and settled in Massachusetts where Carney joined the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry where he participated in the Battle of Fort Wagner. He saved the colors (the flag), even though suffering multiple wounds. He eventually made his way back to the Union lines, and turned over the colors to another survivor of the 54th, modestly saying “Boys, I only did my duty; the old flag never touched the ground!”
Citation: When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.
After the war he worked at a post office and was a guest speaker at public events until his death in 1908. Tomorrow, Another MOH winner. Rita Bay
Captain Chaplain Emil Joseph Kapaun (1916 – 1951) was a chaplain, Roman Catholic priest, and prisoner of war during the Korean Conflict and the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor. President Barack Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Kapaun’s nephew at the White House on April 11, 2013. Kapaun has been named a Servant of God by the Catholic Church on the path to sainthood.
His citation reads: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy at Unsan, Korea, from November 1-2, 1950. On November 1, as Chinese Communist Forces viciously attacked friendly elements, Chaplain Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades and rescue friendly wounded from no-man’s land. Though the Americans successfully repelled the assault, they found themselves surrounded by the enemy. Facing annihilation, the able-bodied men were ordered to evacuate. However, Chaplain Kapaun, fully aware of his certain capture, elected to stay behind with the wounded. After the enemy succeeded in breaking through the defense in the early morning hours of November 2, Chaplain Kapaun continually made rounds, as hand-to-hand combat ensued. As Chinese Communist Forces approached the American position, Chaplain Kapaun noticed an injured Chinese officer amongst the wounded and convinced him to negotiate the safe surrender of the American Forces. Shortly after his capture, Chaplain Kapaun, with complete disregard for his personal safety and unwavering resolve, bravely pushed aside an enemy soldier preparing to execute Sergeant First Class Herbert A. Miller. Not only did Chaplain Kapaun’s gallantry save the life of Sergeant Miller, but also his unparalleled courage and leadership inspired all those present, including those who might have otherwise fled in panic, to remain and fight the enemy until captured.
Chaplain Kapaun’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, the 1st Cavalry Division, and the United States Army.”
Tomorrow, Another recipient. Rita Bay
On July 25,1963 Congress established a set of guidelines under which the Medal of Honor could be awarded which include: while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or, while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
Originally, the Medal of Honor was only presented to the enlisted, but on March 3, 1863 this was extended to officers as well. It is illegal to sell, wear, or manufacture any decorations or medals authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States.
Title 18 United States Code. Sec. 1001, entitled “Statements or entries generally,” June 25, 1948, ch. 45, 62 Stat. 749 provides that: In General. – Whoever knowingly wears, manufactures, or sells any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title (18 United State Code) or imprisoned not more than six months or both. Source: Congressional Medal of Honor Society: http://www.cmohs.org/
Tomorrow, The Latest Medal of Honor Award. Rita Bay
Mary Edwards Walker (November 26, 1832 – February 21, 1919) was an American feminist, abolitionist, prohibitionist, alleged spy, prisoner of war, and surgeon. She is currently the only woman ever to receive the Medal of Honor.
Prior to the American Civil War she earned her medical degree, married and started a medical practice. She volunteered with the Union Army at the outbreak of the American Civil War and served as a nurse then a surgeon. Walker was at Manassas (First Bill Run), Frederickburg, and Chickamauga. She was captured by Confederate forces after crossing enemy lines to treat wounded civilians and arrested as a spy. She served for three months as a prisoner of war in Richmond, Virginia until released in a prisoner exchange.
After the war she was approved for the highest United States Armed Forces decoration for bravery, the Medal of Honor, for her efforts during the Civil War. She is the only woman to receive the medal and one of only eight civilians to receive it. Her medal was later rescinded based on a U.S. Army determination and then restored in 1977. After the war she was a writer and lecturer supporting the women’s suffrage movement until her death in 1919.
After the war, Walker was recommended for the Medal of Honor by Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and George Henry Thomas. On November 11, 1865, President Andrew Johnson signed a bill to present her the medal. The 1917 the Army Medal of Honor Board never rescinded any medals in 1917 but instead deleted 911 names from the Army Medal of Honor Roll including that of Dr. Mary Edwards Walker. Walker continued to wear her medal until her death. President Jimmy Carter restored her medal posthumously in 1977.
Tomorrow, Another Medal of Honor Award Recipient. Rita Bay
In 1862 during the American Civil War, Union Major General Ormsby Mitchel who commanded the Federal troops in middle Tennessee planned to move south with his army and take Huntsville, AL and Chattanooga, TN. Twenty-two Army volunteers, led by civilian scout James J Andrews, hijacked a train in Big Shanty (now Kennesaw, GA) while the passengers were dining, and headed toward Chattanooga TN doing as much damage as possible to the Western and Atlantic Railroad. Because the Union men had cut the telegraph wires, the Confederates could not send warnings ahead to forces along the railway.
Captain William Allen Fuller (1836 -1905) was the conductor of the train pulled by the ‘General.’ Fuller first chased the train on foot and then by handcar. The hilly area with steep grades allowed him to keep up with the train, which stopped periodically to sabotage the rails and communications. When Fuller reached an area where the tracks had been destroyed, he pursued on foot again. Fuller picked up 11 Confederate troops at Calhoun, commandeered an engine and ran it tender-first (in reverse) in pursuit.
With The Texas still chasing the General tender-first, the two trains steamed through Dalton and Tunnel Hill. The raiders continued to sever the telegraph wires, but they were unable to burn bridges or damage Tunnel Hill. The wood they had hoped to burn was soaked by rain. Finally, at milepost 116.3, north of Ringgold GA, just 18 miles from Chattanooga, with the locomotive out of fuel, Andrews’ men abandoned the General and scattered. Within two weeks, the Confederates captured the raiders and executed some quickly as spies. Fuller was honored as a hero.
Tomorrow, The First Lady Medal of Honor Winner. Rita Bay
In July 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed law into law the Army version of the Medal of Honor. Jacob Wilson Parrott (July 17, 1843–December 22, 1908) was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor, the new military award presented by the United States Department of War to Parrott and other Union Army soldiers who participated in the Great Locomotive Chase in 1862 during the American Civil War (1861–1865).
Under the command of civilian scout/spy James J. Andrews, a group of Union soldiers stole the “General” locomotive in what is now Kennesaw GA and headed north toward Chattanooga TN with the intent of cutting Huntsville AL off from military reinforcements by rail. They were captured and all the prisoners were tried in military courts, or courts-martial. Fourteen were hanged. The remaining raiders worried about also being executed attempted to escape and eight succeeded.
The remaining six were held as prisoners of war and exchanged for Confederate prisoners on March 17, 1863. Parrott was taken to Washington, D.C. where he met President Abraham Lincoln. Parrott who had been physically abused as a prisoner, was awarded the first Medal of Honor. He was presented with the Medal of Honor by Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton. He served with the Union Army for the rest of the war. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1863 after the Battle of Stones River and as a first lieutenant in 1864. Later, all but two of the other soldiers also received the medals, with posthumous awards to families for those who had been executed.
Parrott’s Citation Read: One of the 19 of 22 men (including 2 civilians) who, by direction of Gen. Mitchell (or Buell) penetrated nearly 200 miles south into enemy territory and captured a railroad train at Big Shanty, Ga., in an attempt to destroy the bridges and tracks between Chattanooga and Atlanta. Date of issue: March 25, 1863.
Parrott returned to Kenton, Ohio after the war and worked as a cabinet maker and ran a stone quarry out south of Kenton, Ohio. Parrott suffered a heart attack and died while walking home from the county courthouse in Kenton, Ohio in 1908.
Tomorrow, the Great Locomotive Chase. Rita Bay