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Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor


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Established in July 1862, the Medal of Honor is the United States's highest award. The Medal of Honor is awarded for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty".



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Home of Heroes is a military history reference site used by thousands of visitors every day to research military medals, award recipient bios, real heroes stories, and military history. Here you will find detailed information regarding the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Heroes Stories, Military Medals and Awards, Wars and History, and the Flag of Freedom. Home of Heroes is being continually updated for online visitors. Recipients will be added in periodic updates when additional citations are received and confirmed.

Many visitors to our site find our Medal of Honor Interesting Facts to be full of valuable information.

Medal of Honor

There are over 3,519 Medal of Honor recipients in our database.

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The Silver Star Medal is the United States' third highest award exclusively for combat valor in all branches of service.

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Medal of Honor - History

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Пробудите в себе героя и выполните самые опасные задания за всю историю серии Medal of Honor. Популярная серия военных шутеров позволила игрокам оказаться в самых разных временных эпохах — от Второй мировой войны до современных операций в роли спецназовцев. Наденьте гарнитуру виртуальной реальности и отправляйтесь на войну в Европе в игре Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. Сразитесь в секторе «Омаха», помогите французскому сопротивлению и проникните в тыл врага, чтобы помешать нацистам в самых легендарных местах сражений.

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2. Joseph H. De Castro

Joseph H. De Castro was only 18-hears-old when he enlisted as the standard bearer for the 19th Massachusetts Infantry. De Castro went on to face one of the bloodiest offensives during the Civil War, Pickett&rsquos Charge.

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The battle, named after Confederate Major General George Pickett, took place on July 3, 1863. An assault, commanded by Robert E. Lee, created a bombardment of consistent cannon fire unlike anything previously experienced in the war. One witness reported the scene as &ldquoA continuous succession of crashing sounds as to make us feel as if the very heavens had been rent asunder&hellip&rdquo.

Along with six soldiers from his unit, De Castro witnessed one Confederate brigade, the Garnett Brigade, storm the walls where they were stationed. Instead of pulling back, De Castro took charge. He raged through cannon fire with only the Union flag in hand, storming against the oncoming wave of Confederate soldiers.

Wikipedia

As De Castro rampaged, he locked on to the 19th Virginia Infantry&rsquos standard bearer. Wielding his flagstaff like a baton, he clubbed him to the ground. The flag down, De Castro pried it from his enemy&rsquos hands and sprinted back to his commanding general. Stunned, De Castro&rsquos commander just stared in awe at his flag bearer. Before he could tell De Castro anything else, he surrendered the enemy flag to his commander, and pivoted back toward the fray, the Union flag waving over his head.


February 20, 1945 Falling on Grenades: the Indestructible Jack Lucas

On one training jump, both parachutes failed. Somehow, Lucas fell 3,500-feet and sustained only minor injuries. According to his team leader, “Jack was the last one out of the plane and the first one on the ground”.

In the days and weeks following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, enlistment and recruiting offices across the nation were flooded with volunteers. Birmingham Alabama saw 600 men in the first few hours, alone. In Boston, lines snaked out the door as men waited for hours, to volunteer.

But for his age, Jack Lucas would have been right there with them.

At 5𔄂″ and a muscular 180-pounds, Jacklyn Harrell “Jack” Lucas was big for his age. On August 8, 1942, Lucas forged his mother’s signature on parental consent papers and claimed to be seventeen, enlisting in the United States Marine Corps. He was fourteen years old.

A year later, a letter to a girlfriend from V Amphibious Corps at Pearl Harbor, revealed his true age of fifteen. Military censors had Lucas removed from his combat unit and nearly sent him home, but Jack was vehement. He was assigned to driving a truck, but this was a problem. Being in the “rear with the gear” was not his idea of military service. Lucas got into so many fights he was court-martialed, sentenced to five months of breaking rocks, given nothing but bread & water.

Iwo Jima

Lucas was released from the brig in January 1945, when he deserted his post, stowing away on the transport USS Deuel to get closer to the action. He turned himself in on February 8, volunteering to fight. Jack turned seventeen on February fourteen. Six days later, he got his wish.

February 20 was day two of the five-week battle for Iwo Jima, some of the bloodiest fighting of the Pacific war, in WW2. Advancing toward a Japanese airstrip under heavy fire, Lucas and three Marines took shelter in a trench, only to realize there were eleven Japanese soldiers, barely feet away. He managed to shoot two when his rifle jammed, looking down as that first grenade, came over the parapet.

Without a moment’s thought, Lucas dove over his fellow Marine and onto the grenade, as another fell by his side. Let his Medal of Honor citation, pick up the story:

“Quick to act when the lives of the small group were endangered by two grenades which landed directly in front of them, Private First Class Lucas unhesitatingly hurled himself over his comrades upon one grenade and pulled the other one under him, absorbing the whole blasting force of the explosions in his own body in order to shield his companions from the concussion and murderous flying fragments”.

Only when a second company moved through the area, did someone realize he was still alive.

Six days later, Jack Lucas’ deserter classification was removed from his record. In time, all seventeen of his military convictions were overturned. He’d endure twenty-one surgeries and even then, no fewer than two hundred pieces of metal remained in his body, some the size of .22-caliber bullets.

Jack Lucas was ruled unfit for duty and discharged on September 18, 1945. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S Truman, on October 5, at seventeen the youngest recipient of the nation’s highest award for military valor, since the Civil War.

The man had more than earned the name “indestructible”, but wait. There’s more.

Lucas earned a business degree and returned to military service at age thirty-one, this time with the 82nd Airborne, of the United States Army. On one training jump, both parachutes failed. Somehow, Lucas fell 3,500-feet and sustained only minor injuries. According to his team leader, “Jack was the last one out of the plane and the first one on the ground“.

Two weeks later, he was back to jumping out of perfectly good aircraft.

Lucas was married several times in civil life, including to one woman, who attempted to have him killed. He later wrote his autobiography with help from writer D.K. Drum, appropriately entitled, “Indestructible”.

The USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) is a Wasp-class amphibious assault vessel, commissioned in 2001. When her keel was laid, Jack Lucas placed his Medal of Honor citation inside her hull, where it remains, to this day.

On August 3, 2006, sixteen living Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients including Jack Lucas were presented the Medal of Honor flag by Commandant of the Marine Corps General Michael Hagee, in front of over a thousand family, friends, and fellow Marines. Lucas commented, “To have these young men here in our presence — it just rejuvenates this old heart of mine. I love the Corps even more knowing that my country is defended by such fine young people.”

The Indestructible Jacklyn Lucas died of Leukemia on June 5, 2008. He was eighty years old. On September 18, 2016, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced plans to build a new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. DDG-125 is expected to be commissioned in 2023, to be named in his honor, the USS Jack H. Lucas.

Artist’s depiction, USS Jack H Lucas

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Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from Other Conflicts, and Peacetimes. This list incorporates additional details regarding the recipient's entry into service, specialties, mission details, and gravesite images.

Our Military's first medal was the Badge for Military Merit, established by General George Washington during the American Revolution and presented only three times. During the American Civil War, the Medal of Honor was established and presented nearly 3,000 times before World War I. Other than the now obsolete Certificate of Merit and Marine Corps Brevet Medal, it was the only award available in the U.S. Military, and in the Navy and Marine Corps, it could only be presented to enlisted sailors and Marines.

At the time of the Civil War, the Medal of Honor was the only award available for recognizing a significant act of heroism while serving the United States military. In some cases, it was awarded frivolously. The Civil War ended in 1865. In 1917, a review was made of Medal of Honor awards with the revocation of 911 deemed to have been awarded without proper merit.

At the same time, to recognize deeds of lesser heroism than what was required for the Medal of Honor, as well as to recognize distinguished service and/or achievement that was laudable but not necessarily heroic, a series of "lesser awards" in descending orders of precedence was established in the Military Pyramid of Honor. For more information see Medals and Awards.

Looking for more? Many visitors find our Medal of Honor Interesting Facts very informative!


Buffalo Bill Cody and the Medal of Honor

Photo Credit: Buffalo Bill Cody, ca. 1875 on left (George Eastman House) and his Congressional Medal of Honor on the right (Buffalo Bill Center of the West).

Buffalo Bill Cody’s name is deeply cemented in Wild West history. The famous frontiersman, Pony Express rider and buffalo hunter’s legendary antics were popularized (and usually exaggerated) in dime novels. His fame propelled him to created a stage show aptly named “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” show that debuted on May 19, 1883 in Omaha, Nebraska. However, not all of Cody’s actions were sensationalized – specifically his time in the military. For his role and “gallantry in action” during the Indian Wars, Buffalo Bill Cody was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor on April 26, 1872.

In early 1864, Cody enlisted in the 7th Kansas Cavalry, a volunteer Union regiment, and fought throughout the Civil War. After the war between the states, he was contracted as a civilian scout for the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars in the 1860s-70s. During these campaigns, Cody fought in nineteen battles and skirmishes with various American Indian tribes and was wounded once. It was during one of these face-offs that his actions made him a Medal of Honor recipient.

Buffalo Bill Cody at the age of 19 – around the time he served in the Civil War. Photo Credit: Buffalo Bill Historical Center

On April 26, 1872, while traveling along Nebraska’s Platte River near Fort McPherson, Cody showed his “gallantry in action”. He was scouting for the Third Cavalry, commanded by Captain Charles Meinhold, when he located a camp of horse-stealing enemies. In his report, Captain Meinhold described what happened next:

Mr. Cody had guided Sergeant Foley’s party with such skill that he [Foley] approached the Indian Camp within fifty yards before he was noticed. The Indians fired immediately upon Mr. Cody and Sergeant Foley. Mr. Cody killed one Indian, two others ran towards the main command and were killed.…

While this was going on Mr. Cody discovered a party of six mounted Indians and two lead horses running at full speed at a distance of about two miles down the river. I at once sent Lieutenant Lawson with Mr. Cody and fifteen men in pursuit.

He…gained a little upon them, so that they were compelled to abandon the two lead horses…but after running more than twelve miles…our jaded horses gave out and the Indians made good their escape.…Mr. William Cody’s reputation for bravery and skill as a guide is so well established that I need not say anything else but that he acted in his usual manner.

After receiving his Medal of Honor, the Buffalo Bill Historical Center noted that Cody rarely talked about it. He believed he was awarded the country’s highest honor because of his “continuous service during the Civil War, and afterwards in the Indian War” rather than the specific events of April 26, 1872. Cody could have simply been confused by the award and the fully meaning behind it since the Congressional Medal of Honor was relatively new. [The Medal of Honor was first awarded to U.S. Army honorees ten years before – in 1862.]

Cody passed away from kidney failure on January 10, 1917. A month after his death Congress revised the standards for awarding the prestigious honor. The U.S. Army revoked 911 recipients’ Medal of Honors after Congress decided that only military personnel could receive the award. Since Cody was recognized as a scout – considered civilian personnel – his medal was one that was stripped from him.

Even though his name was removed from the Medal of Honor roll, no one came to take the physical medal back. It was passed down in the Cody family before being donated to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming (the town was named after Buffalo Bill). The descendants and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center banded together to get Cody’s medal reinstated. With the help of Congressman Dick Cheney, Cody’s Medal of Honor was restored on June 12, 1989 along with the medals of four other civilian scouts from the Indian Wars.


The Medal of Honor and the Wounded Knee Massacre

T oday we honor the recipients of the Medal of Honor, a military honor often mistakenly called the Congressional Medal of Honor. With the award, the nation celebrates our true military heroes. But the odd circumstances of the history of the Medal of Honor mean that there are twenty medals that have been contested almost since the day they were awarded. These are the medals awarded to soldiers who participated in the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre.

In December 1890, the army was trying to calm tensions in the brand new state of South Dakota. There, Sioux were starving. Before 1889, they had lived on the Great Sioux Reservation, which covered the western half of what is now the state of South Dakota, but in 1889, the government had taken much of that land. Indians had been corralled onto six, much smaller reservations, with far less game for hunting. Their farms could not make up for the loss of hunting ground, for the 1889 land negotiations had taken place during the growing season, and Indians went home from the land meetings to find their fields ruined. Their food supply dropped further when an agent collecting information for the 1890 census undercounted the Indian population on which the government calculated necessary supplies and food stores. Indians went into the winter of 1889 hungry and dispirited. When an influenza epidemic engulfed the world that winter, the Sioux, especially Indian children, died in disproportionate numbers.

Spring 1890 brought rain and renewed hope for good farm yields, but a hot summer wind burned the crops away. Desperate Indians turned to a new religion, the Ghost Dance, which promised to resurrect the loved ones lost in the past year and to bring back ample food. Ghost Dancers did not threaten local settlers (who, indeed, visited Ghost Dances as spectators). But a new agent on the Pine Ridge reservation, Daniel Royer, believed that the Ghost Dancers were joining with Indians upset over the previous year’s land loss. They were, he insisted, plotting a war. He begged President Harrison to send in troops.

Harrison obliged. On November 20, 1890, troops moved from Nebraska onto South Dakota’s Rosebud and Pine Ridge Reservations. As they marched in, panicked Ghost Dancers ran to the Badlands to hide. As army officers negotiated with them to get them to return to their agencies, army officers tried to round up leading figures who had opposed the 1889 land cession to keep them from fomenting discontent.

On December 15, as police tried to arrest Sitting Bull, an officer murdered him. Sitting Bull’s terrified supporters ran to the neighboring reservation to take shelter with Sitanka, a famous negotiator, who was on good terms with army officers. But when they heard that Sitting Bull had been killed, Sitanka’s supporters themselves fled southward across the state to gain the protection of the great leader Red Cloud, who had been negotiating with Americans since 1868.

Army officers believed Sitanka’s men were running not for shelter, but to join with the Ghost Dancers in the Badlands. This was a delicate moment. The Ghost Dancers had agreed to return to their agencies, but would certainly be spooked if they heard of Sitting Bull’s murder. Frantically, troops combed the center of South Dakota to intercept Sitanka’s people before they reached the Badlands.

On December 28, members of Sitanka’s band overtook two army scouts watering their horses. The men told the soldiers they were on their way to the Pine Ridge agency. The army scouts informed their commander, who intercepted the Sioux with guns and demanded an unconditional surrender. Sitanka and his men agreed. Sitanka was deathly ill with pneumonia, and the two groups were going to the same place. It only made sense to travel together. The commanding officer put Sitanka, who was bleeding from his mouth and nose and having terrible trouble breathing, into an army wagon for the trip to Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge reservation. There the Indians and soldiers settled down for the night. They would travel to the agency in the morning.

But in the morning things went deadly wrong. During the night, a new commander, James Forsyth, had arrived and taken command. Dead-set on making the surrender a show of force, he insisted on disarming the Indians before they set off for the agency. Many of the young men refused to give up their guns, which were not only expensive, but were the only hope the men had for feeding their families through the winter. As soldiers struggled to wrench a gun from a man’s hands, it went off into the sky. “Fire! Fire on them!” Forsyth screamed.

The soldiers did. The first volley brought down the men who were being disarmed, as well as about 25 of the soldiers themselves, who had moved into a circle around the Indians during the course of the morning. In the haze from the gun smoke, men grabbed weapons from nearby soldiers and dove for a dry creek bed that ran behind the camp, hoping they could escape. The women and children had been separated from the Indian men during the morning. When the firing began, women ran for wagons and horses…or just ran.

But they could not escape. Over the next two hours, frenzied soldiers hunted down and killed every Sioux they could find. Soldiers trained artillery on the fleeing wagons as troops on horses combed the hills for fugitives. Some of the escaping women were ridden down three miles from the encampment. When the wagons were motionless, the soldiers moved the guns to the creek bed and shot everyone who moved. Within a few hours, at least 230 Sioux, mostly women and children, were dead.

The outcry against this butchery started in the army itself. Forsyth’s commanding officer, General Nelson Miles, was incensed that a simple surrender with a peaceful band of Indians had become what he called a “criminal military blunder and a horrible massacre of women and children.” He demanded an inquiry into Forsyth’s actions. Miles’s report was so damning his own secretary asked him to soften it. But President Harrison’s administration was in terrible electoral trouble, and his men wanted no part of an attack on soldiers that would imply that Harrison’s agents had both created a war and then mismanaged it. They dismissed Miles’s report with their own, which blamed the Indians for the massacre and concluded that the soldiers had acted the part of heroes. In spring 1891, President Harrison awarded the first of twenty Medals of Honor that would go to soldiers for their actions at Wounded Knee.

That the president would make these awards was not as unusual in 1890 as it would be today. Congress had created the Medal of Honor during the Civil War to honor officers and privates who had distinguished themselves by gallantry in action. At first, Congress established no criteria for earning the medals, and by 1890, they were available almost for the asking. Between 1891 and 1897, presidents gave out more than five hundred medals.

This profligacy cheapened the medal so much that in 1897, the secretary of war announced that future awards would require “incontestable proof of the most distinguished gallantry in action.” The army later insisted that evidence of heroism must come from official reports, and that officers, rather than the honoree, must request the medal. In 1916, a military panel stripped medals from 2600 recipients. Since then, Medals of Honor have been increasingly hard to come by. Only 95 were awarded to soldiers of World War I, 324 to soldiers of World War II. Korea and Vietnam combined saw 240 Army recipients. Only three soldiers have been honored for their heroism in Afghanistan or Iraq.

But we still honor twenty men for their actions in the Wounded Knee Massacre.


Congressional Medal of Honor Heroes of Guadalcanal

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps.
Place and date: As Commanding Officer of Company C, 1st Marine Raider Battalion, during the enemy Japanese attack on Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 12-13 September 1942.
Born: 21 October 1910, Pawnee, Oklahoma.
Appointed from: Illinois.
Other Navy awards: Silver Star Medal.

Completely reorganized following the severe engagement of the night before, Maj. Bailey's company, within an hour after taking its assigned position as reserve battalion between the main line and the coveted airport, was threatened on the right flank by the penetration of the enemy into a gap in the main line. In addition to repulsing this threat, while steadily improving his own desperately held position, he used every weapon at his command to cover the forced withdrawal of the main line before a hammering assault by superior enemy forces.

After rendering invaluable service to the battalion commander in stemming the retreat, reorganizing the troops and extending the reverse position to the left, Maj. Bailey, despite a severe head wound, repeatedly led his troops in fierce hand-to-hand combat for a period of 10 hours. His great personal valor while exposed to constant and merciless enemy fire, and his indomitable fighting spirit inspired his troops to heights of heroic endeavor which enabled them to repulse the enemy and hold Henderson Field. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Congressional Medal of Honor

JOHN BASILONE

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps.
Place and date: While serving with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in the Lunga Area, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, on 24 and 25 October 1942.
Born: 4 November 1916, Buffalo, New York.
Accredited to: New Jersey.
Other Navy award: Navy Cross.

While the enemy was hammering at the Marines' defensive positions, Sgt. Basilone, in charge of two sections of heavy machineguns, fought valiantly to check the savage and determined assault. In a fierce frontal attack with the Japanese blasting his guns with grenades and mortar fire, one of Sgt. Basilone's sections, with its guncrews, was put out of action, leaving only two men able to carry on. Moving an extra gun into position, he placed it in action, then, under continual fire, repaired another and personally manned it, gallantly holding his line until replacements arrived.

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.

Congressional Medal of Honor Awarded Posthumously

HAROLD WILLIAM BAUER

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps.
Place and date: As Squadron Commander of Marine Fighting Squadron 212 in the South Pacific Area during the period 10 May to 14 November 1942.
Born: 20 November 1908. Woodruff, Kansas.
Appointed from: Nebraska.

Volunteering to pilot a fighter plane in defense of our positions on Guadalcanal, Lt. Col. Bauer participated in two air battles against enemy bombers and fighters outnumbering our force more than two to one, boldly engaged the enemy and destroyed one Japanese bomber in the engagement of 28 September and shot down four enemy fighter planes in flames on 3 October, leaving a fifth smoking badly.

After successfully leading 26 planes on an over-water ferry flight of more than 600 miles on 16 October, Lt. Col. Bauer, while circling to land, sighted a squadron of enemy planes attacking the U.S.S. McFarland. Undaunted by the formidable opposition and with valor above and beyond the call of duty, he engaged the entire squadron and, although alone and his fuel supply nearly exhausted, fought his plane so brilliantly that four of the Japanese planes were destroyed before he was forced down by lack of fuel.

His intrepid fighting spirit and distinctive ability as a leader and an airman, exemplified in his splendid record of combat achievement, were vital factors in the successful operations in the South Pacific Area.

Congressional Medal of Honor

ANTHONY CASAMENTO

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, First Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division.
Place and date: Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 1 November 1942.
Entered service at: Brooklyn, New York.
Born: 16 November 1920, Brooklyn, New York.

Serving as a leader of a machine gun section, Corporal Casamento directed his unit to advance along a ridge near the Matanikau River where they engaged the enemy. He positioned his section to provide covering fire for two flanking units and to provide direct support for the main force of his company which was behind him. 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. Corporal Casamento single-handedly engaged and destroyed one machine gun emplacement to his front and took under fire the other emplacement on the flank. Despite the heat and ferocity of the engagement, he continued to man his weapon and repeatedly repulsed multiple assaults by the enemy forces, thereby protecting the flanks of the adjoining companies and holding his position until the arrival of his main attacking force. Corporal Casamento's courageous fighting spirit, heroic conduct, and unwavering dedication to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

Congressional Medal of Honor

CHARLES W. DAVIS

Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Guadalcanal Island, 12 January 1943.
Entered service at: Montgomery, Alabama.
Born: Gordo, Alabama.
G.O. No.: 40, 17 July 1943.

On 12 January 1943, Maj. Davis (then Capt.), executive officer of an infantry battalion, volunteered to carry instructions to the leading companies of his battalion which had been caught in crossfire from Japanese machineguns. With complete disregard for his own safety, he made his way to the trapped units, delivered the instructions, supervised their execution, and remained overnight in this exposed position.

On the following day, Maj. Davis again volunteered to lead an assault on the Japanese position which was holding up the advance. When his rifle jammed at its first shot, he drew his pistol and, waving his men on, led the assault over the top of the hill. Electrified by this action, another body of soldiers followed and seized the hill. The capture of this position broke Japanese resistance and the battalion was then able to proceed and secure the corps objective.

The courage and leadership displayed by Maj. Davis inspired the entire battalion and unquestionably led to the success of its attack.

Congressional Medal of Honor

MERRITT AUSTIN EDSON

Rank and organization: Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps.
Place and date: As Commanding Officer of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion, with Parachute Battalion attached, Solomon Islands, on the night of 13-14 September 1942.
Born: 25 April 1897, Rutland, Vermont.
Appointed from: Vermont.
Other Navy awards: Navy Cross with Gold Star, Silver Star Medal, Legion of Merit with Gold Star.

After the airfield on Guadalcanal had been seized from the enemy on 8 August, Col. Edson, with a force of 800 men, was assigned to the occupation and defense of a ridge dominating the jungle on either side of the airport. Facing a formidable Japanese attack which, augmented by infiltration, had crashed through our front lines, he, by skillful handling of his troops, successfully withdrew his forward units to a reserve line with minimum casualties.

When the enemy, in a subsequent series of violent assaults, engaged our force in desperate hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, rifles, pistols, grenades, and knives, Col. Edson, although continuously exposed to hostile fire throughout the night, personally directed defense of the reserve position against a fanatical foe of greatly superior numbers. By his astute leadership and gallant devotion to duty, he enabled his men, despite severe losses, to cling tenaciously to their position on the vital ridge, thereby retaining command not only of the Guadalcanal airfield, but also of the 1st Division's entire offensive installations in the surrounding area.

Congressional Medal of Honor

JOSEPH JACOB FOSS

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Place and date: At Guadalcanal, 9-19 November 1942.
Entered service at: South Dakota.
Born: 17 April 1915, Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy from 9 October to 19 November 1942, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others so severely that their destruction was extremely probable. In addition, during this period, he successfully led a large number of escort missions, skillfully covering reconnaissance, bombing, and photographic planes as well as surface craft. On 15 January 1943, he added three more enemy planes to his already brilliant successes for a record of aerial combat achievement unsurpassed in this war. Boldly searching out an approaching enemy force on 25 January, Capt. Foss led his 8 F-4F Marine planes and four Army P-38's into action and, undaunted by tremendously superior numbers, intercepted and struck with such force that four Japanese fighters were shot down and the bombers were turned back without releasing a single bomb. His remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal.

Congressional Medal of Honor Awarded Posthumously

WILLIAM G. FOURNIER

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 10 January 1943.
Entered service at: Winterport, Maine.
Born: Norwich, Connecticut.
G.O. No.: 28, 5 June 1943.

As leader of a machinegun section charged with the protection of other battalion units, Sgt. Fournier's group was attacked by a superior number of Japanese, his gunner killed, his assistant gunner wounded, and an adjoining guncrew put out of action.

Ordered to withdraw from this hazardous position, Sgt. Fournier refused to retire but rushed forward to the idle gun and, with the aid of another soldier who joined him, held up the machinegun by the tripod to increase its field action. They opened fire and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy.

While so engaged both these gallant soldiers were killed, but their sturdy defensive was a decisive factor in the following success of the attacking battalion.

Congressional Medal of Honor Awarded Posthumously

LEWIS HALL

Rank and organization: Technician Fifth Grade, U.S. Army, Company M, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Mount Austen, Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, 10 January 1943.
Entered service at: Obetz, Rural Station 7, Columbus, Ohio.
Born: 1895, Bloom, Ohio.
G.O. No.: 28, 5 June 1943.

As leader of a machinegun squad charged with the protection of other battalion units, his group was attacked by a superior number of Japanese, his gunner killed, his assistant gunner wounded, and an adjoining guncrew put out of action. Ordered to withdraw from his hazardous position, he refused to retire but rushed forward to the idle gun and with the aid of another soldier who joined him and held up the machinegun by the tripod to increase its field of action he opened fire and inflicted heavy casualties upon the enemy. While so engaged both these gallant soldiers were killed, but their sturdy defense was a decisive factor in the following success of the attacking battalion.

Congressional Medal of Honor

DOUGLAS ALBERT MUNRO

Rank and organization: Signalman First Class, U.S. Coast Guard
Born: 11 October 1919, Vancouver, British Columbia.
Accredited to: Washington.

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty as Petty Officer in Charge of a group of 24 Higgins boats, engaged in the evacuation of a battalion of Marines trapped by enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruz Guadalcanal, on 27 September 1942. After making preliminary plans for the evacuation of nearly 500 beleaguered Marines, Munro, under constant strafing by enemy machineguns on the island, and at great risk of his life, daringly led five of his small craft toward the shore. As he closed the beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw the enemy's fire and protect the heavily loaded boats, he valiantly placed his craft with its two small guns as a shield between the beachhead and the Japanese. When the perilous task of evacuation was nearly completed, Munro was instantly killed by enemy fire, but his crew, two of whom were wounded, carried on until the last boat had loaded and cleared the beach. By his outstanding leadership, expert planning, and dauntless devotion to duty, he and his courageous comrades undoubtedly saved the lives of many who otherwise would have perished. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Congressional Medal of Honor Awarded Posthumously

NORMAN SCOTT

Rank and organization: Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy.
Born: 10 August 1889, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Appointed from: Indiana.

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during action against enemy Japanese forces off Savo Island on the night of 11-12 October and again on the night of 12-13 November 1942. In the earlier action, intercepting a Japanese Task Force intent upon storming our island positions and landing reinforcements at Guadalcanal, Rear Adm. Scott, with courageous skill and superb coordination of the units under his command, destroyed 8 hostile vessels and put the others to flight. Again challenged, a month later, by the return of a stubborn and persistent foe, he led his force into a desperate battle against tremendous odds, directing close-range operations against the invading enemy until he himself was killed in the furious bombardment by their superior firepower. On each of these occasions his dauntless initiative, inspiring leadership and judicious foresight in a crisis of grave responsibility contributed decisively to the rout of a powerful invasion fleet and to the consequent frustration of a formidable Japanese offensive. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.


History

The Badge of Military Merit was created by General George Washington on 7 August 1792. After the Revolutionary War, the American people had little or no use for decorations, as such, as they appeared to relate to European royalty too closely, and the Badge fell into disuse. However, the Civil War with its severe fighting and deeds of valor revealed the need for such valor to be recognized. An authorization for the medal for the Army was introduced into Legislation in the Senate on 17 February 1862. This gave the Army authorization for the medal and followed a pattern of an award approved for Naval persons in December 1861. It was Resolved that: "The President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to cause two thousand "medals of honor" to be prepared with suitable emblematic devices, and to direct that the same be presented, in the name of Congress, to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection, and the sum of ten thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby appropriated out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the purpose of carrying this resolution into effect." Christian Schussel created the original design identical to the design approved by the Navy, with the exception of the laurel and oak. Anthony C. Pacquot engraved the Medal. The Medal had a star with five points, each tipped with trefoils and centered with a crown of laurel and oak. There was a band of 34 stars representing the number of States in 1862 in the middle. Minerva, personifying the United States, stands with a left hand resting on fasces and right hand holding a shield blazoned with the arms of the United States.

An Act of Congress amended the initial law on 3 March 1863 to extend the provisions of the law to include officers. Misuse by non-military organizations in imitating the ribbon led to a Joint Resolution of Congress, Fifty-Fourth Congress, Sess. I, 2 May 1896 authorizing a change in the design of the ribbon. A bowknot (rosette) was adopted to be worn in place of the medal. The ribbon and bowknot (rosette), legally recognized and prescribed by the President, was communicated in War Department Orders dated 10 November 1896. The design for the current medal was designed by Major General George L. Gillespie and authorized by Congress, 23 April 1904. The medal was worn in precedence to all other military decorations hanging from the neck or pinned over the left breast. In 1944, the current neck ribbon was adopted. It is to be worn outside of the shirt collar and inside the coat, above all other decorations.



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