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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 21 November

Four Five awards of the Medal on this day.  Two to sailors for lifesaving in the late 1800's, two during World War II, both of those posthumous, and a new one, in Afghanistan in 2010.

Interim Awards, 1871-1898

CHANDRON, AUGUST

Rank and organization: Seaman Apprentice, Second Class, U.S. Navy. Born: 1866, France. Accredited to: New York. (Letter, Capt. N. Judlow, U.S. Navy, No. 8326B; 21 November 1885.) Citation: On board the U.S.S. Quinnebaug, Alexandria, Egypt, on the morning of 21 November 1885. Jumping overboard from that vessel, Chandron, with the aid of Hugh Miller, boatswain's mate, rescued William Evans, ordinary seaman, from drowning.

MILLER, HUGH

Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1859 Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. (Letter Capt. N. Judlow U.S. Navy, No. 8326/B; 21 November 1885.) Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Quinnebaug, at Alexandria, Egypt, on the morning of 21 November 1885 and assisting in saving a shipmate from drowning.

WWII.  Day two of the assault on Tarawa, and two Medals already.  A year later, we find ourselves in the Hurtgen Forest of Germany, a completely different kind of hell.  It is small unit leaders like this that win wars - provided everybody above them is doing their jobs.  Tomorrow, we'll see that Lieutenant Hawkins was well supported from above - at least in terms of courageous leadership.

*HAWKINS, WILLIAM DEAN

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 19 .April 1914, Fort Scott, Kans. Appointed from: El Paso, Tex. Citation: For valorous and gallant conduct above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of a Scout Sniper Platoon attached to the Assault Regiment in action against Japanese-held Tarawa in the Gilbert Island, 20 and 21 November 1943. The first to disembark from the jeep lighter, 1st Lt. Hawkins unhesitatingly moved forward under heavy enemy fire at the end of the Betio Pier, neutralizing emplacements in coverage of troops assaulting the main beach positions. Fearlessly leading his men on to join the forces fighting desperately to gain a beachhead, he repeatedly risked his life throughout the day and night to direct and lead attacks on pillboxes and installations with grenades and demolitions. At dawn on the following day, 1st Lt. Hawkins resumed the dangerous mission of clearing the limited beachhead of Japanese resistance, personally initiating an assault on a hostile position fortified by S enemy machineguns, and, crawling forward in the face of withering fire, boldly fired pointblank into the loopholes and completed the destruction with grenades. Refusing to withdraw after being seriously wounded in the chest during this skirmish, 1st Lt. Hawkins steadfastly carried the fight to the enemy, destroying 3 more pillboxes before he was caught in a burst of Japanese shellfire and mortally wounded. His relentless fighting spirit in the face of formidable opposition and his exceptionally daring tactics served as an inspiration to his comrades during the most crucial phase of the battle and reflect the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

*MINICK, JOHN W.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 121st Infantry, 8th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Hurtgen, Germany, 21 November 1944. Entered service at: Carlisle, Pa. Birth: Wall, Pa. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, in action involving actual conflict with the enemy on 21 November 1944, near Hurtgen, Germany. S/Sgt. Minick's battalion was halted in its advance by extensive minefields, exposing troops to heavy concentrations of enemy artillery and mortar fire. Further delay in the advance would result in numerous casualties and a movement through the minefield was essential. Voluntarily, S/Sgt. Minick led 4 men through hazardous barbed wire and debris, finally making his way through the minefield for a distance of 300 yards. When an enemy machinegun opened fire, he signaled his men to take covered positions, edged his way alone toward the flank of the weapon and opened fire, killing 2 members of the guncrew and capturing 3 others. Moving forward again, he encountered and engaged single-handedly an entire company killing 20 Germans and capturing 20, and enabling his platoon to capture the remainder of the hostile group. Again moving ahead and spearheading his battalion's advance, he again encountered machinegun fire. Crawling forward toward the weapon, he reached a point from which he knocked the weapon out of action. Still another minefield had to be crossed. Undeterred, S/Sgt. Minick advanced forward alone through constant enemy fire and while thus moving, detonated a mine and was instantly killed.

Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan.  As of this writing, this is the most recent award of the Medal, and the 8th to a living recipient in the Global War on Terror.

CARPENTER, WILLIAM KYLE

Rank and Organization: Lance CorporalOrganization, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines. Place and Date: Marjah District, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, November 21, 2010,
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with Company F, 2d Battalion, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division (Forward), 1 Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attach with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine. By his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, Lance Corporal Carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.