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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 25 April

There are sixteen Medals awarded for actions on this day, two of them posthumous.  They span the Civil War, Indian Campaigns, World War II and Vietnam.

Civil War. Nine naval Medals actions during the assault on New Orleans, 1862.  Navy citation writers from this era are much more interesting and informative than their terse Army counterparts.

BRENNAN, CHRISTOPHER

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1832, Ireland. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 17, 10 July 1863. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Mississippi during attacks on Forts Jackson and St. Philip and during the taking of New Orleans, 24-25 April 1862. Taking part in the actions which resulted in the damaging of the Mississippi and several casualties on it, Brennan showed skill and courage throughout the entire engagements which resulted in the taking of St. Philip and Jackson and in the surrender of New Orleans.

BUCK, JAMES

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1808, Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Brooklyn in the attack upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip and at the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. Although severely wounded by a heavy splinter, Buck continued to perform his duty until positively ordered below. Later stealing back to his post, he steered the ship for 8 hours despite his critical condition. His bravery was typical of the type which resulted in the taking of the Forts Jackson and St. Philip and in the capture of New Orleans.

FLOOD, THOMAS

Rank and organization: Boy, U.S. Navy. Born: 1840, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Pensacola in the attack on Forts Jackson and St. Philip and at the taking of new Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. Swept from the bridge by a shell which wounded the signal quartermaster, Flood returned to the bridge after assisting the wounded man below and taking over his duties, "Performed them with coolness, exactitude and the fidelity of a veteran seaman. His intelligence and character cannot be spoken of too warmly."

McLEOD, JAMES

Rank and organization: Captain of the Foretop, U.S. Navy. Born: Scotland. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Captain of foretop, and a volunteer from the Colorado, McLeod served on board the U.S.S. Pensacola during the attack upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip and the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. Acting as gun captain of the rifled howitzer aft which was much exposed, he served this piece with great ability and activity, although no officer superintended it.

PARKER, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Captain of the Afterguard, U.S. Navy. Birth: Boston, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: At the wheel on board the U.S.S. Cayuga during the capture of Forts St. Philip and Jackson, and New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. As his ship led the advance column toward the barrier and both forts opened fire simultaneously, striking the vessel from stem to stern, Parker conscientiously performed his duties throughout the action in which attempts by 3 rebel steamers to butt and board were thwarted, and the ships driven off. Eleven gunboats were successfully engaged and the enemy garrisons forced to surrender during this battle in which the Cayuga sustained 46 hits.

RICHARDS, LOUIS

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Richards served as quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Pensacola in the attack upon Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and at the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. Through all the din and roar of battle, he steered the ship through the narrow opening of the barricade, and his attention to orders contributed to the successful passage of the ship without once fouling the shore or the obstacles of the barricade.

SHUTES, HENRY

Rank and organization: Captain of the Forecastle, U.S. Navy. Born: 1804, Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland. G.O. No.: 71, 15 January 1866. Citation: Served as captain of the forecastle on board the U.S.S. Wissahickon during the battle of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862; and in the engagement at Fort McAllister, 27 February 1863. Going on board the U.S.S. Wissahickon from the U.S.S. Don where his seamanlike qualities as gunner's mate were outstanding, Shutes performed his duties with skill and courage. Showing a presence of mind and prompt action when a shot from Fort McAllister penetrated the Wissahickon below the water line and entered the powder magazine, Shutes contributed materially to the preservation of the powder and safety of the ship.

WRIGHT, EDWARD

Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1829, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Cayuga during the capture of Forts St. Philip and Jackson and the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. As his ship led the advance column toward the barrier and both forts opened fire simultaneously, striking the vessel from stem to stern Wright conscientiously performed his duties throughout the action in which attempts by 3 rebel steamers to butt and board were repelled, and the ships driven off or forced to surrender. Eleven gunboats were successfully engaged and the enemy garrisons captured during this battle in which the Cayuga sustained 46 hits.

YOUNG, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. navy. Born: 1835, New York. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Cayuga during the capture of Forts St. Philip and Jackson and the taking of New Orleans, 24 and 25 April 1862. As his ship led the advance column toward the barrier and both forts opened fire simultaneously, striking the vessel from stem to stern, Young calmly manned a Parrot gun throughout the action in which attempts by three rebel steamers to butt and board were thwarted and the ships driven off or captured, 11 gunboats were successfully engaged and garrisons forced to surrender. During the battle, the Cayuga sustained 46 hits.

Indian Campaigns.  Put aside Judge Roy Bean, because for a while, these men were the Law along the Pecos.

FACTOR, POMPEY

Rank and organization: Private, Indian Scouts. Place and date: At Pecos River, Tex., 25 April 1875. Entered service at:------. Birth: Arkansas. Date of issue: 28 May 1875. Citation: With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol.

PAYNE, ISAAC

Rank and organization: Trumpeter, Indian Scouts. Place and date: At Pecos River, Tex., 25 April 1875. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Mexico. Date of issue: 28 May 1875. Citation: With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol.

WARD, JOHN

Rank and organization: Sergeant, 24th U.S. Infantry Indian Scouts Place and date: At Pecos River, Tex., 25 April 1875. Entered service at. Fort Duncan, Tex. Birth: Arkansas. Date of issue: 28 May 1875. Citation. With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol.
 

World War II. 

*GONZALES, DAVID M.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 127th Infantry, 32d Infantry Division. Place and date: Villa Verde Trail, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 25 April 1945. Entered service at: Pacoima, Calif. Birth: Pacoima, Calif. G.O. No.: 115, 8 December 1945. Citation: He was pinned down with his company. As enemy fire swept the area, making any movement extremely hazardous, a 500-pound bomb smashed into the company's perimeter, burying 5 men with its explosion. Pfc. Gonzales, without hesitation, seized an entrenching tool and under a hail of fire crawled 15 yards to his entombed comrades, where his commanding officer, who had also rushed forward, was beginning to dig the men out. Nearing his goal, he saw the officer struck and instantly killed by machinegun fire. Undismayed, he set to work swiftly and surely with his hands and the entrenching tool while enemy sniper and machinegun bullets struck all about him. He succeeded in digging one of the men out of the pile of rock and sand. To dig faster he stood up regardless of the greater danger from so exposing himself. He extricated a second man, and then another. As he completed the liberation of the third, he was hit and mortally wounded, but the comrades for whom he so gallantly gave his life were safely evacuated. Pfc. Gonzales' valiant and intrepid conduct exemplifies the highest tradition of the military service.

*KNIGHT, RAYMOND L. (Air Mission)

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: In Northern Po Valley, Italy, 24-25 April 1945. Entered service at: Houston, Tex. Birth: Texas. G.O. No.: 81, 24 September 1945. Citation: He piloted a fighter-bomber aircraft in a series of low-level strafing missions, destroying 14 grounded enemy aircraft and leading attacks which wrecked 10 others during a critical period of the Allied drive in northern Italy. On the morning of 24 April, he volunteered to lead 2 other aircraft against the strongly defended enemy airdrome at Ghedi. Ordering his fellow pilots to remain aloft, he skimmed the ground through a deadly curtain of antiaircraft fire to reconnoiter the field, locating 8 German aircraft hidden beneath heavy camouflage. He rejoined his flight, briefed them by radio, and then led them with consummate skill through the hail of enemy fire in a low-level attack, destroying 5 aircraft, while his flight accounted for 2 others. Returning to his base, he volunteered to lead 3 other aircraft in reconnaissance of Bergamo airfield, an enemy base near Ghedi and 1 known to be equally well defended. Again ordering his flight to remain out of range of antiaircraft fire, 1st Lt. Knight flew through an exceptionally intense barrage, which heavily damaged his Thunderbolt, to observe the field at minimum altitude. He discovered a squadron of enemy aircraft under heavy camouflage and led his flight to the assault. Returning alone after this strafing, he made 10 deliberate passes against the field despite being hit by antiaircraft fire twice more, destroying 6 fully loaded enemy twin-engine aircraft and 2 fighters. His skillfully led attack enabled his flight to destroy 4 other twin-engine aircraft and a fighter plane. He then returned to his base in his seriously damaged plane. Early the next morning, when he again attacked Bergamo, he sighted an enemy plane on the runway. Again he led 3 other American pilots in a blistering low-level sweep through vicious antiaircraft fire that damaged his plane so severely that it was virtually nonflyable. Three of the few remaining enemy twin-engine aircraft at that base were destroyed. Realizing the critical need for aircraft in his unit, he declined to parachute to safety over friendly territory and unhesitatingly attempted to return his shattered plane to his home field. With great skill and strength, he flew homeward until caught by treacherous air conditions in the Appennines Mountains, where he crashed and was killed. The gallant action of 1st Lt. Knight eliminated the German aircraft which were poised to wreak havoc on Allied forces pressing to establish the first firm bridgehead across the Po River; his fearless daring and voluntary self-sacrifice averted possible heavy casualties among ground forces and the resultant slowing on the German drive culminated in the collapse of enemy resistance in Italy.

Vietnam

SPRAYBERRY, JAMES M .

Rank and organization: Captain (then 1st Lt.), U.S. Army, Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry , 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 25 April 1968. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 24 April 1947, LaGrange, Ga. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Sprayberry, Armor, U.S. Army, distinguished himself by exceptional bravery while serving as executive officer of Company D. His company commander and a great number of the men were wounded and separated from the main body of the company. A daylight attempt to rescue them was driven back by the well entrenched enemy's heavy fire. Capt. Sprayberry then organized and led a volunteer night patrol to eliminate the intervening enemy bunkers and to relieve the surrounded element. The patrol soon began receiving enemy machinegun fire. Capt. Sprayberry quickly moved the men to protective cover and without regard for his own safety, crawled within close range of the bunker from which the fire was coming. He silenced the machinegun with a hand grenade. Identifying several l-man enemy positions nearby, Capt. Sprayberry immediately attacked them with the rest of his grenades. He crawled back for more grenades and when 2 grenades were thrown at his men from a position to the front, Capt. Sprayberry, without hesitation, again exposed himself and charged the enemy-held bunker killing its occupants with a grenade. Placing 2 men to cover his advance, he crawled forward and neutralized 3 more bunkers with grenades. Immediately thereafter, Capt. Sprayberry was surprised by an enemy soldier who charged from a concealed position. He killed the soldier with his pistol and with continuing disregard for the danger neutralized another enemy emplacement. Capt. Sprayberry then established radio contact with the isolated men, directing them toward his position. When the 2 elements made contact he organized his men into litter parties to evacuate the wounded. As the evacuation was nearing completion, he observed an enemy machinegun position which he silenced with a grenade. Capt. Sprayberry returned to the rescue party, established security, and moved to friendly lines with the wounded. This rescue operation, which lasted approximately 71/2 hours, saved the lives of many of his fellow soldiers. Capt. Sprayberry personally killed 12 enemy soldiers, eliminated 2 machineguns, and destroyed numerous enemy bunkers. Capt. Sprayberry's indomitable spirit and gallant action at great personal risk to his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

STUMPF, KENNETH E.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant (then Sp4c.), U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, 25 April 1967. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Born: 28 September 1944, Neenah, Wis. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Stumpf distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader of the 3d Platoon, Company C, on a search and destroy mission. As S/Sgt. Stumpf's company approached a village, it encountered a North Vietnamese rifle company occupying a well fortified bunker complex. During the initial contact, 3 men from his squad fell wounded in front of a hostile machinegun emplacement. The enemy's heavy volume of fire prevented the unit from moving to the aid of the injured men, but S/Sgt. Stumpf left his secure position in a deep trench and ran through the barrage of incoming rounds to reach his wounded comrades. He picked up 1 of the men and carried him back to the safety of the trench. Twice more S/Sgt. Stumpf dashed forward while the enemy turned automatic weapons and machineguns upon him, yet he managed to rescue the remaining 2 wounded squad members. He then organized his squad and led an assault against several enemy bunkers from which continuously heavy fire was being received He and his squad successfully eliminated 2 of the bunker positions, but one to the front of the advancing platoon remained a serious threat. Arming himself with extra hand grenades, S/Sgt. Stumpf ran over open ground, through a volley of fire directed at him by a determined enemy, toward the machinegun position. As he reached the bunker, he threw a hand grenade through the aperture. It was immediately returned by the occupants, forcing S/Sgt. Stumpf to take cover. Undaunted, he pulled the pins on 2 more grenades, held them for a few seconds after activation, then hurled them into the position, this time successfully destroying the emplacement. With the elimination of this key position, his unit was able to assault and overrun the enemy. S/Sgt. Stumpf's relentless spirit of aggressiveness, intrepidity, and ultimate concern for the lives of his men, are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.
 

*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.