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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 14 March

There are twelve Medals awarded for actions on this day, from the Civil War through Vietnam, including a future US Senator.  Two are posthumous.

Civil War. Eight Medals, a mix of Navy and Army, covering three battles.


BRINN, ANDREW

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: New York. Birth: Scotland. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Mississippi during her abandonment and firing in the engagement at Port Hudson, 14 March 1863. Remaining under enemy fire for 21/2 hours, Brinn remained on board the grounded vessel until all the abandoning crew had landed. After asking to be assigned some duty, he was finally ordered to save himself and to leave the Mississippi which had been deliberately fired to prevent her falling into rebel hands.

HICKMAN, JOHN

Rank and organization: Second Class Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837, Richmond, Va. Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Richmond in the attack on Port Hudson, 14 March 1863. Damaged by a 6-inch solid rifle shot which shattered the starboard safety-valve chamber and also damaged the port safety-valve, the fireroom of the U.S.S. Richmond immediately became filled with steam to place it in an extremely critical condition. Acting courageously in this crisis, Hickman persisted in penetrating the steam-filled room in order to haul the hot fires of the furnaces and continued this action until the gravity of the situation had been lessened.

O'DONNELL, MENOMEN

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company A, 11th Missouri Infantry. Place and date: At Vicksburg, Miss., 22 May 1863. At Fort DeRussey, La., 14 March 1864. Entered service at: Illinois. Born: 30 April 1830, Ireland. Date of issue. 11 September 1897. Citation Voluntarily joined the color guard in the assault on the enemy's works when he saw indications of wavering and caused the colors of his regiment to be planted on the parapet. Voluntarily placed himself in the ranks of an assaulting column (being then on staff duty) and rode with it Into the enemy's works, being the only mounted officer present, was twice wounded in battle.

RUSH, JOHN

Rank and organization: First Class Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835 Washington, D.C. Accredited to: District of Columbia. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Richmond in the attack on Port Hudson, 14 March 1863. Damaged by a 6_inch solid rifle shot which shattered the starboard safety_valve chamber and also damaged the port safety valve, the fireroom of the Richmond immediately became filled with steam to place it in an extremely critical condition. Acting courageously in this crisis, Rush persisted in penetrating the steam_filled room in order to haul the hot fires of the furnaces, and continued this action until the gravity of the situation had been lessened.

TERRY, JOHN D.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company E, 23d Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At New Bern, N.C., 14 March 1862. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Birth: Montville, Maine. Date of issue: 12 October 1867. Citation: In the thickest of the fight, where he lost his leg by a shot, still encouraged the men until carried off the field.

THOMPSON, J. (JAMES) HARRY

Rank and organization: Surgeon, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: At New Bern, N.C., 14 March 1862. Entered service at: New York. Birth: England. Date of issue: 11 November 1870. Citation: Voluntarily reconnoitered the enemy's position and carried orders under the hottest fire.

VANTINE, JOSEPH E.

Rank and organization: First Class Fireman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Richmond in the attack on Port Hudson, 14 March 1863. Damaged by a 6_inch solid rifle shot which shattered the starboard safety_valve chamber and also damaged the port safety valve, the fireroom of the Richmond immediately filled with steam to place it in an extremely critical condition. Acting courageously in this crisis, Vantine persisted in penetrating the steam_filled room in order to haul the hot fires of the furnaces and continued this action until the gravity of the situation had been lessened.

VAUGHN, PINKERTON R.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1839, Downingtown, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Mississippi during her abandonment and firing in the action with the Port Hudson batteries, 14 March 1863. During the abandonment of the Mississippi which had to be grounded, Sgt. Vaughn rendered invaluable assistance to his commanding officer, remaining with the ship until all the crew had landed and the ship had been fired to prevent its falling into enemy hands. Persistent until the last, and conspicuously cool under the heavy shellfire, Sgt. Vaughn was finally ordered to save himself as he saw fit.
 

World War II.  Entering the end game in Germany, the Medal shows no mercy.  In the next-to-the-last big battle of the Pacific, Iwo Jima adds two more recipients.

*MICHAEL, HARRY J.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company L, 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Neiderzerf, Germany, 14 March 1945. Entered service at: Milford, Ind. Birth: Milford, Ind. G.O. No.: 18, 13 February 1946. Citation: He was serving as a rifle platoon leader when his company began an assault on a wooded ridge northeast of the village of Neiderzerf, Germany, early on 13 March 1945. A short distance up the side of the hill, 2d Lt. Michael, at the head of his platoon, heard the click of an enemy machinegun bolt. Quietly halting the company, he silently moved off into the woods and discovered 2 enemy machineguns and crews. Executing a sudden charge, he completely surprised the enemy and captured the guns and crews. At daybreak, enemy voices were heard in the thick woods ahead. Leading his platoon in a flanking movement, they charged the enemy with hand grenades and, after a bitter fight, captured 25 members of an SS mountain division, 3 artillery pieces, and 20 horses. While his company was establishing its position, 2d Lt. Michael made 2 personal reconnaissance missions of the wood on his left flank. On his first mission he killed 2, wounded 4, and captured 6 enemy soldiers single-handedly. On the second mission he captured 7 prisoners. During the afternoon he led his platoon on a frontal assault of a line of enemy pillboxes, successfully capturing the objective, killing 10 and capturing 30 prisoners. The following morning the company was subjected to sniper fire and 2d Lt. Michael, in an attempt to find the hidden sniper, was shot and killed. The inspiring leadership and heroic aggressiveness displayed by 2d Lt. Michael upheld the highest traditions of the military service.

*PHILLIPS, GEORGE

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Born 14 July 1926, Rich Hill, Mo. Entered service at: Labadie, Mo. Citation. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 28th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 14 March 1945. Standing the foxhole watch while other members of his squad rested after a night of bitter handgrenade fighting against infiltrating Japanese troops, Pvt. Phillips was the only member of his unit alerted when an enemy handgrenade was tossed into their midst. Instantly shouting a warning, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pvt. Phillips willingly yielded his own life that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country

SIGLER, FRANKLIN EARL

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Place and date: Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 14 March 1945. Entered service at: New Jersey. Born: 6 November 1924, Glen Ridge, N.J. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands on 14 March 1945. Voluntarily taking command of his rifle squad when the leader became a casualty, Pvt. Sigler fearlessly led a bold charge against an enemy gun installation which had held up the advance of his company for several days and, reaching the position in advance of the others, assailed the emplacement with handgrenades and personally annihilated the entire crew. As additional Japanese troops opened fire from concealed tunnels and caves above, he quickly scaled the rocks leading to the attacking guns, surprised the enemy with a furious l-man assault and, although severely wounded in the encounter, deliberately crawled back to his squad position where he steadfastly refused evacuation, persistently directing heavy machinegun and rocket barrages on the Japanese cave entrances. Undaunted by the merciless rain of hostile fire during the intensified action, he gallantly disregarded his own painful wounds to aid casualties, carrying 3 wounded squad members to safety behind the lines and returning to continue the battle with renewed determination until ordered to retire for medical treatment. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of extreme peril, Pvt. Sigler, by his alert initiative, unfaltering leadership, and daring tactics in a critical situation, effected the release of his besieged company from enemy fire and contributed essentially to its further advance against a savagely fighting enemy. His superb valor, resolute fortitude, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice throughout reflect the highest credit upon Pvt. Sigler and the U.S. Naval Service.

Vietnam.  A future Senator who's Purple Hearts required hospitalization.

KERREY, JOSEPH R.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Naval Reserve, Sea, Air, and Land Team (SEAL). place and date: Near Nha Trang Bay, Republic of Vietnam, 14 March 1969. Entered service at: Omaha, Nebr. Born: 27 August 1943, Lincoln, Nebr. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a SEAL team leader during action against enemy aggressor (Viet Cong) forces. Acting in response to reliable intelligence, Lt. (J.G..) Kerrey led his SEAL team on a mission to capture important members of the enemy's area political cadre known to be located on an island in the bay of Nha Trang. In order to surprise the enemy, he and his team scaled a 350-foot sheer cliff to place themselves above the ledge on which the enemy was located. Splitting his team in 2 elements and coordinating both, Lt. (J.G..) Kerrey led his men in the treacherous downward descent to the enemy's camp. Just as they neared the end of their descent, intense enemy fire was directed at them, and Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey received massive injuries from a grenade which exploded at his feet and threw him backward onto the jagged rocks. Although bleeding profusely and suffering great pain, he displayed outstanding courage and presence of mind in immediately directing his element's fire into the heart of the enemy camp. Utilizing his radioman, Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey called in the second element's fire support which caught the confused Viet Cong in a devastating crossfire. After successfully suppressing the enemy's fire, and although immobilized by his multiple wounds, he continued to maintain calm, superlative control as he ordered his team to secure and defend an extraction site. Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey resolutely directed his men, despite his near unconscious state, until he was eventually evacuated by helicopter. The havoc brought to the enemy by this very successful mission cannot be over-estimated. The enemy soldiers who were captured provided critical intelligence to the allied effort. Lt. (J.G.) Kerrey's courageous and inspiring leadership, valiant fighting spirit, and tenacious devotion to duty in the face of almost overwhelming opposition sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.