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Have a Merry Christmas - and remember those who didn't...

There are eight Medals earned for actions on this day, or a period that ends on this day. There are a slough of Medals from the Fort Fisher campaign that will show up in January, but cover actions on this day as well. Six are from the Civil War, one is a lifesaving Medal, and the last was earned during World War II.

Thus far in our military history, the gift of Christmas is that there are as yet no posthumous awards for actions on this day.

Civil War. Note the "rank" of Robert Blake. A liberated slave, Blake also represents one of the few Civil War Medals accredited to a Confederate state.


Rank and organization: Contraband, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: Virginia. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Accredited to: Virginia. Citation: On board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, in an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Serving the rifle gun, Blake, an escaped slave, carried out his duties bravely throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy's abandonment of positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.


Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1835, Whitefield, Maine. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Behaving in a gallant manner, Farley animated his men and kept up a rapid and effective fire on the enemy throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy's abandonment of his positions, leaving a caisson and 1 gun behind.


Rank and organization. Quartermaster, U.S. Navy Born 1835 Denmark. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864 Citation: Served as quartermaster on board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Acting courageously under the fierce hostile fire, Miller behaved gallantly throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy's withdrawal and abandonment of its arms.


Rank and organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Serving on board the U.S. Steam Gunboat Marblehead off Legareville, Stono River, 25 December 1863, during an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Wounded in the fierce battle, Moore returned to his quarters until so exhausted by loss of blood that he had to be taken below. This engagement resulted in the enemy's abandonment of his positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind.


Rank and organization: Captain of the Forecastle, U.S. Navy. Born: 1831, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Ticonderoga during attacks on Fort Fisher, 24 and 25 December 1864. As captain of a gun, Taylor performed his duties with coolness and skill as his ship took position in the line of battle and delivered its fire on the batteries on shore. Despite the depressing effect caused when an explosion of the 100-pounder Parrott rifle killed 8 men and wounded 12 more, and the enemy's heavy return fire, he calmly remained at his station during the 2 days' operations.


Rank and organization: Captain, Company C, 142d New York Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Fisher, N.C., 25 December 1864. Entered service at:------. Birth: Hartford, N.Y. Date of issue: 28 March 1892. Citation: During the bombardment of the fort by the fleet, captured and brought the flag of the fort, the flagstaff having been shot down.
Interim Awards, 1871-1898. Corporal Morris gives Seaman Blizzard the gift of life.


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 25 January 1855, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Citation: For leaping overboard from the U.S. Flagship Lancaster, at Villefranche, France, 25 December 1881, and rescuing from drowning Robert Blizzard, ordinary seaman, a prisoner, who had jumped overboard.

World War II. One soldier makes a difference during the Battle of the Bulge.


Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant (then Private), U.S. Army, Company G, 318th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near, Chaumont, Belgium, 25 December 1944. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 45, 12 June 1945. Citation: He alone made it possible for his company to advance until its objective was seized. Company G had cleared a wooded area of snipers, and 1 platoon was advancing across an open clearing toward another wood when it was met by heavy machinegun fire from 2 German positions dug in at the edge of the second wood. These positions were flanked by enemy riflemen. The platoon took cover behind a small ridge approximately 40 yards from the enemy position. There was no other available protection and the entire platoon was pinned down by the German fire. It was about noon and the day was clear, but the terrain extremely difficult due to a 3-inch snowfall the night before over ice-covered ground. Pvt. Wiedorfer, realizing that the platoon advance could not continue until the 2 enemy machinegun nests were destroyed, voluntarily charged alone across the slippery open ground with no protecting cover of any kind. Running in a crouched position, under a hail of enemy fire, he slipped and fell in the snow, but quickly rose and continued forward with the enemy concentrating automatic and small-arms fire on him as he advanced. Miraculously escaping injury, Pvt. Wiedorfer reached a point some 10 yards from the first machinegun emplacement and hurled a handgrenade into it. With his rifle he killed the remaining Germans, and, without hesitation, wheeled to the right and attacked the second emplacement. One of the enemy was wounded by his fire and the other 6 immediately surrendered. This heroic action by 1 man enabled the platoon to advance from behind its protecting ridge and continue successfully to reach its objective. A few minutes later, when both the platoon leader and the platoon sergeant were wounded, Pvt. Wiedorfer assumed command of the platoon, leading it forward with inspired energy until the mission was accomplished. 


We all owe a debt that can never be repaid.  My minor service contribution is no way could ever approach the sacrifice of those veteras past, preset ad future.  I am forever grateful for those better tha me.
 Amen, MAJ Mike.  Amen.
Add another Amen, MAJ Mike.

Merry Christmas, everyone.
 John,.   There you go again, and bring out the truth.

MAJ Mike, the more we know about everything, including the past, the more we come to the conclusion about your view and it's wisdom, we come to the same conclusion. For the record,  tack up another “Amen” to MAJ  Mike's comment.

By the way, “Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.” We don't do this just for ourselves but  as a respect for these men. This is what they wanted for us.
"Amen", indeed.

A very merry Merry Christmas to all of you.
Here is a young man who remembers:
 Another Amen. 

Merry Christmas to you all. After a long 12 shift working in our local emergency department, I made it home to spend a few hours with my wife and our grandson. My prayers included those who sacrificed so much, and those far from home who continue to man the trenches and patrol the wastelands. God Bless them all!

The citation of Robert Blake uses the term "Contraband" as the rank which seems odd, but that is exactly correct.  The Secretary of the Navy authorized the enlistment into the Navy of escaped slaves who had been seized as contraband of war  rather than being returned to their owners who were in rebellion against the Union.  They were entered onto the ship's book with the rating of Contraband and were entitled to pay of $10 per month plus rations.  The Army also adopted a policy of using escaped slaves, but at first only as laborers with pay of $8 per month.  Later in the war, with the establishment of the United States Colored Troops, escaped slaves could join the Army as soldiers.  One of the largest concentrations of escaped slaves, or contrabands, was at Fortress Monroe at Hampton Roads.  Blake's actions would have to have been one of the first that resulted in the award of the Medal of Honor to a former slave.