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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 26 October

When the Medal was orginally authorized by Congress, the Navy was specifically granted permission to award it for peacetime actions in recognition of the special perils inherent in the Naval Service in it's day-to-day operations.  Today, those kinds of actions would be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, but back in the day, they were Medals of Honor.  We start the six Medals awarded for actions on this day in history with two of those Naval Medals.

Interim Awards 1871-1898

 

FLANNAGAN, JOHN

Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1852, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Supply, Flannagan rescued from drowning David Walsh, seaman, of Le Havre, France, 26 October 1878.

SWEENEY, ROBERT

Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born. 1853 Montreal, Canada. Accredited to: New Jersey. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Second award. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge, at Hampton Roads, Va., 26 October 1881, Sweeney jumped overboard and assisted in saving from drowning a shipmate who had fallen overboard into a strongly running tide.


WWI
 

*SAWELSON, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company M, 312th Infantry, 78th Division. Place and date: At Grand-Pre, France, 26 October, 1918. Entered service at: Harrison, N.J. Born: S August 1895, Newark, N.J. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: Hearing a wounded man in a shell hole some distance away calling for water, Sgt. Sawelson, upon his own initiative, left shelter and crawled through heavy machinegun fire to where the man lay, giving him what water he had in his canteen. He then went back to his own shell hole, obtained more water, and was returning to the wounded man when he was killed by a machinegun bullet.


WWII
 

*CARSWELL, HORACE S., JR. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: Major, 308th Bombardment Group, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: Over South China Sea, 26 October 1944. Entered service at: San Angelo, Tex. Birth: Fort Worth, Tex. G.O. No.: 14, 4 February 1946. Citation: He piloted a B-24 bomber in a one-plane strike against a Japanese convoy in the South China Sea on the night of 26 October 1944. Taking the enemy force of 12 ships escorted by at least 2 destroyers by surprise, he made 1 bombing run at 600 feet, scoring a near miss on 1 warship and escaping without drawing fire. He circled. and fully realizing that the convoy was thoroughly alerted and would meet his next attack with a barrage of antiaircraft fire, began a second low-level run which culminated in 2 direct hits on a large tanker. A hail of steel from Japanese guns, riddled the bomber, knocking out 2 engines, damaging a third, crippling the hydraulic system, puncturing 1 gasoline tank, ripping uncounted holes in the aircraft, and wounding the copilot; but by magnificent display of flying skill, Maj. Carswell controlled the plane's plunge toward the sea and carefully forced it into a halting climb in the direction of the China shore. On reaching land, where it would have been possible to abandon the staggering bomber, one of the crew discovered that his parachute had been ripped by flak and rendered useless; the pilot, hoping to cross mountainous terrain and reach a base. continued onward until the third engine failed. He ordered the crew to bail out while he struggled to maintain altitude. and, refusing to save himself, chose to remain with his comrade and attempt a crash landing. He died when the airplane struck a mountainside and burned. With consummate gallantry and intrepidity, Maj. Carswell gave his life in a supreme effort to save all members of his crew. His sacrifice. far beyond that required of him, was in keeping with the traditional bravery of America's war heroes.
 

PAIGE, MITCHELL

Rank and organization: Platoon Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Place and date: Solomon Islands, 26 October 1942. Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Born: 31 August 1918, Charleroi, Pa. Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous gallantry in action above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a company of marines in combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands on 26 October 1942. When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machinegun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire against the advancing hordes until reinforcements finally arrived. Then, forming a new line, he dauntlessly and aggressively led a bayonet charge, driving the enemy back and preventing a breakthrough in our lines. His great personal valor and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Korea
 

*SKINNER, SHERROD E., JR.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Battery F, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 26 October 1952. Entered service at: East Lansing, Mich. Born: 29 October 1929, Hartford, Conn. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as an artillery forward observer of Battery F, in action against enemy aggressor forces on the night of 26 October 1952. When his observation post in an extremely critical and vital sector of the main line of resistance was subjected to a sudden and fanatical attack by hostile forces, supported by a devastating barrage of artillery and mortar fire which completely severed communication lines connecting the outpost with friendly firing batteries, 2d Lt. Skinner, in a determined effort to hold his position, immediately organized and directed the surviving personnel in the defense of the outpost, continuing to call down fire on the enemy by means of radio alone until his equipment became damaged beyond repair. Undaunted by the intense hostile barrage and the rapidly-closing attackers, he twice left the protection of his bunker in order to direct accurate machine gun fire and to replenish the depleted supply of ammunition and grenades. Although painfully wounded on each occasion, he steadfastly refused medical aid until the rest of the men received treatment. As the ground attack reached its climax, he gallantly directed the final defense until the meager supply of ammunition was exhausted and the position overrun. During the 3 hours that the outpost was occupied by the enemy, several grenades were thrown into the bunker which served as protection for 2d Lt. Skinner and his remaining comrades. Realizing that there was no chance for other than passive resistance, he directed his men to feign death even though the hostile troops entered the bunker and searched their persons. Later, when an enemy grenade was thrown between him and 2 other survivors, he immediately threw himself on the deadly missile in an effort to protect the others, absorbing the full force of the explosion and sacrificing his life for his comrades. By his indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, 2d Lt. Skinner served to inspire his fellow marines in their heroic stand against the enemy and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.