Medal of Honor

Jan

8

1945

Battle of the Bulge – three Medal of Honor heroes

American Infantrymen pause to rest, just past Amonines, Belgium. This snow makes the fighting very rough in this area.

As he jumped to his feet 10 yards from the gun and charged forward, machine gun fire tore through his camouflage robe and a rifle bullet seared a 10-inch gash across his back sending him spinning 15 yards down hill into the snow. When the indomitable sergeant sprang to his feet to renew his 1-man assault, a German egg grenade landed beside him. He kicked it aside, and as it exploded 5 yards away, shot and killed the German machine gunner and assistant gunner. His carbine empty, he jumped into the emplacement and hauled out the third member of the gun crew by the collar.

Dec

21

1944

Malmedy – lone infantryman beats off Panzers

A crude German attempt to use false colours to disguise a Panzer in order to surprise US positions.

Deprived of tanks and with heavy infantry casualties, the enemy was forced to withdraw. Through his extensive knowledge of weapons and by his heroic and repeated braving of murderous enemy fire, Sgt. Currey was greatly responsible for inflicting heavy losses in men and material on the enemy, for rescuing 5 comrades, 2 of whom were wounded, and for stemming an attack which threatened to flank his battalion’s position.

Jun

6

1944

0830: Gallantry overcomes disaster on Omaha

His coolness and his dauntless daring courage while constantly risking his life during a period of many hours had an inestimable effect on his comrades and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army….courage, gallantry, and intrepid leadership…indomitable courage and personal bravery

Jun

6

1944

0700: Utah beach assault sustained

Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., seen in Ste. Mere-Eglise on July 12, hours before he died of a coronary thrombosis. Arthritis caused him to walk with a stick. The 4th Infantry Division commander described him as “the most gallant soldier and finest gentleman I have ever known.”

He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice.

Nov

19

1943

Captain Cromwell goes down with USS Sculpin

USS Sculpin (SS-191) off San Francisco, California, on 1 May 1943, following an overhaul.

Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk.

Nov

9

1943

U.S. Marine Henry Gurke’s self sacrifice on Bougainville

Through the Bougainville mud and muck, a Marine artillery unit carries food to the forward gun positions.  At times sinking into mud up to their hips, the Marines worked from sunrise to sunset.  Because it was almost impossible for vehicles to plow through the mud, most of the work was done by hand.

When a Japanese grenade dropped squarely into the foxhole, Private First Class Gurke, mindful that his companion manned an automatic weapon of superior fire power and therefore could provide more effective resistance, thrust him roughly aside and flushing his own body over the missile to smother the explosion.

Feb

3

1943

Heroism of four Chaplains on U.S.A.T. Dorchester

Painting of the rescue of USAT Dorchester survivors by USCGC Escanaba (WPG-77) on 3 February 1943 in the North Atlantic Ocean. Unattributed United States Coast Guard image

They distributed life jackets from a locker; when the supply of life jackets ran out, each of the chaplains gave theirs to other soldiers. When the last lifeboats were away, the chaplains prayed with those unable to escape the sinking ship. 27 minutes after the torpedo struck, the Dorchester disappeared below the waves with 672 men still aboard. The last anyone saw of the four chaplains, they were standing on the deck, arms linked and praying together.

Nov

13

1942

U.S. and Japanese clash off Guadalcanal

Sullivan brothers on USS Juneau (Joseph, Francis, Albert, Madison and George Sullivan (from left to right)) pictured on the 14 February 1942.

In the midst of a violent night engagement, the fire of a determined and desperate enemy seriously wounded Lt. Comdr. McCandless and rendered him unconscious, killed or wounded the admiral in command, his staff, the captain of the ship, the navigator, and all other personnel on the navigating and signal bridges. Faced with the lack of superior command upon his recovery, and displaying superb initiative, he promptly assumed command of the ship and ordered her course and gunfire against an overwhelmingly powerful force.

Nov

1

1942

Bloody fight for Guadalcanal continues

A U.S. Marine patrol crosses the Matanikau River on Guadalcanal in September, 1942.  It was near this location that Anthony Casamento's machine gun team made their stand - every single one of them was killed or seriously wounded.

During the course of this engagement, all members of his section were either killed or severely wounded and he himself suffered multiple, grievous wounds. Nonetheless, Corporal Casamento continued to provide critical supporting fire for the attack and in defense of his position. Following the loss of all effective personnel, he set up, loaded, and manned his unit’s machine gun, tenaciously holding the enemy forces at bay.

Oct

25

1942

John Basilone beats off Japanese on Guadalcanal

FIELD TELEPHONE, still in working order after being hit by a shell fragment when a Japanese “knee-mortar” shell landed six feet away. In the absence of reliable radio communications, wire communications were heavily relied upon. The EE–8 field telephone and the sound-powered telephone were used for long and short distances, respectively.

A little later, with ammunition critically low and the supply lines cut off, Sgt. Basilone, at great risk of his life and in the face of continued enemy attack, battled his way through hostile lines with urgently needed shells for his gunners, thereby contributing in large measure to the virtual annihilation of a Japanese regiment. His great personal valor and courageous initiative were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.