previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 31 March

There are 13 Medals awarded for actions on this day, an eclectic mix of combat and lifesaving awards spanning from the Civil War to Vietnam.  One award is posthumous.

Civil War.  The end game of the war, as the armies maneuver, one confidently, one desperately, to choke off Richmond. 

BOEHM, PETER M.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company K, 15th New York Cavalry. Place and date: At Dinwiddie Courthouse, Va., 31 March 1865. Entered service at: Brooklyn, N.Y. Birth: New York. Date of issue: 15 December 1898. Citation: While acting as aide to General Custer, took a flag from the hands of color bearer, rode in front of a line that was being driven back and, under a heavy fire, rallied the men, re-formed the line, and repulsed the charge.

HOOPER, WILLIAM B.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company L, 1st New Jersey Cavalry. Place and date: At Chamberlains Creek, Va., 31 March 1865. Entered service at:------. Birth: Willimantic, Conn. Date of issue: 3 July 1865. Citation: With the assistance of a comrade, headed off the advance of the enemy, shooting two of his color bearers; also posted himself between the enemy and the led horses of his own command, thus saving the herd from capture.

KING, HORATIO C.

Rank and organization: Major and Quartermaster, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: Near Dinwiddie Courthouse, Va., 31 March 1865. Entered service at: Brooklyn, N.Y. Born: 22 December 1837, Portland, Maine. Date of issue: 23 September 1897. Citation: While serving as a volunteer aide, carried orders to the reserve brigade and participated with it in the charge which repulsed the enemy.

LUTES, FRANKLIN W.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company D, 111th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 31 March 1865. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Oneida County, N.Y. Date of issue: 3 April 1865. Citation: Capture of flag of 41st Alabama Infantry (C.S.A.), together with the color bearer and one of the color guard.

O'CONNOR, ALBERT

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company A, 7th Wisconsin Infantry. Place and date: At Gravelly Run, Va., 31 March and 1 April 1865. Entered service at: West Point Township, Columbia County, Wis. Birth: Canada. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: On 31 March 1865, with a comrade, recaptured a Union officer from a detachment of 9 Confederates, capturing 3 of the detachment and dispersing the remainder, and on 1 April 1865, seized a stand of Confederate colors, killing a Confederate officer in a hand_to_hand contest over the colors and retaining the colors until surrounded by Confederates and compelled to relinquish them.

SICKLES, WILLIAM H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 7th Wisconsin Infantry. Place and date: At Gravelly Run, Va., 31 March 1865. Entered service at: Columbia County, Wis. Birth: Danube, N.Y. Date of issue: Unknown. Citation: With a comrade, attempted capture of a stand of Confederate colors and detachment of 9 Confederates, actually taking prisoner 3 members of the detachment, dispersing the remainder, and recapturing a Union officer who was a prisoner in hands of the detachment.

WILSON, JOHN

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company L, 1st New Jersey Cavalry. Place and date: At Chamberlains Creek, Va., 31 March 1865. Entered service at: Jersey City, N.J. Birth: England. Date of issue: 3 July 1865. Citation: With the assistance of one comrade, headed off the advance of the enemy, shooting 2 of his color bearers; also posted himself between the enemy and the lead horses of his own command, thus saving the herd from capture.
 

Philippine Insurrection.  A lifesaving award.

STOKES, JOHN

Rank and organization: Chief Master-at-Arms, U.S. Navy. Born: 12 June 1871, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 525 29 July 1899. Citation: On board the U.S.S. New York off the coast of Jamaica, 31 March 1899. Showing gallant conduct, Stokes jumped overboard and assisted in the rescue of Peter Mahoney, watertender, U.S. Navy.

Interim Awards, 1901-1911.  Three more lifesaving awards, all for the same action.

CAHEY, THOMAS

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 13 April 1870, Bellfast, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 85, 22 March 1902. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Petrel for heroism and gallantry, fearlessly exposing his own life to danger in saving others on the occasion of the flre on board that vessel, 31 March 1901.

GIRANDY, ALPHONSE

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 21 January 1868, Guadaloupe, West Indies. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 85, 22 March 1902. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Petrel, for heroism and gallantry, fearlessly exposing his own life to danger for the saving of others, on the occasion of the fire on board that vessel, 31 March 1901.

PFEIFER, LOUIS FRED

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. (Served as Theis, Louis F., during first enlistment.) Born: 19 June 1876, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: New Jersey. G.O. No.: 85, 22 March 1902. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Petrel; for heroism and gallantry, fearlessly exposing his own life to danger for the saving of the others on the occasion of the fire on board that vessel, 31 March 1901.

World War II.  In death ground, fight.

*SHOCKLEY, WILLIAM R.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 128th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 31 March 1945. Entered service at: Selma, Calif. Birth: Bokoshe, Okla. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945. Citation: He was in position with his unit on a hill when the enemy, after a concentration of artillery fire, launched a counterattack.. He maintained his position under intense enemy fire and urged his comrades to withdraw, saying that he would "remain to the end" to provide cover. Although he had to clear two stoppages which impeded the reloading of his weapon, he halted one enemy charge. Hostile troops then began moving in on his left flank, and he quickly shifted his gun to fire on them. Knowing that the only route of escape was being cut off by the enemy, he ordered the remainder of his squad to withdraw to safety and deliberately remained at his post. He continued to fire until he was killed during the ensuing enemy charge. Later, 4 Japanese were found dead in front of his position. Pfc. Shockley, facing certain death, sacrificed himself to save his fellow soldiers, but the heroism and gallantry displayed by him enabled his squad to reorganize and continue its attack.
 

Vietnam.  Gotta like this Redleg Lieutenant.  One tough cookie.

THACKER, BRIAN MILES

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Battery A, 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery. Place and date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 31 March 1971. Entered service at: Salt Lake City, Utah. Born: 25 April 1945, Columbus, Ohio. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Thacker, Field Artillery, Battery A, distinguished himself while serving as the team leader of an Integrated Observation System collocated with elements of 2 Army of the Republic of Vietnam units at Fire Base 6. A numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force launched a well-planned, dawn attack on the small, isolated, hilltop fire base. Employing rockets, grenades, flame-throwers, and automatic weapons, the enemy forces penetrated the perimeter defenses and engaged the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. Throughout the morning and early afternoon, 1st Lt. Thacker rallied and encouraged the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam soldiers in heroic efforts to repulse the enemy. He occupied a dangerously exposed observation position for a period of 4 hours while directing friendly air strikes and artillery fire against the assaulting enemy forces. His personal bravery and inspired leadership enabled the outnumbered friendly forces to inflict a maximum of casualties on the attacking enemy forces and prevented the base from being overrun. By late afternoon, the situation had become untenable. 1st Lt. Thacker organized and directed the withdrawal of the remaining friendly forces. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he remained inside the perimeter alone to provide covering fire with his M-16 rifle until all other friendly forces had escaped from the besieged fire base. Then, in an act of supreme courage, he called for friendly artillery fire on his own position to allow his comrades more time to withdraw safely from the area and, at the same time, inflict even greater casualties on the enemy forces. Although wounded and unable to escape from the area himself, he successfully eluded the enemy forces for 8 days until friendly forces regained control of the fire base. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by 1st Lt. Thacker were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the military service .

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.