previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 29 May

The Medal opens for us today during the period of the Interim Awards, 1901-1911, where we find a sailor earning his first of *two* Medals.  Today, this Medal would be a Navy and Marine Corps Medal,  which is the highest award for sailors for heroism not involving combat.  We will see Watertender King again on 13 September.


Rank and organization: Watertender, U.S. Navy. Born: 7 February 1865, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 72, 6 December 1901. Second award. Citation: On board the U.S.S. Vicksburg, for heroism in the line of his profession at the time of the accident to the boilers, 29 May 1901.

Moving along to WWII...

From the same series of fights that enabled the breakout from the Anzio beach-head  that earned Lieutenant (then Staff Sergeant) Davila his Medal, let's hear it for a staff officer who knew what was important. 

The commander of the Tank Destroyer was probably justified in his reluctance to move forward, and would not have been condemned for not moving.  Just as yesterday, when it was the machine gun teams reluctant to move forward, it is the warriors who fight the fights like this that make the difference between winning and losing at the sharp end.  It's a shame when leaders like this are wasted by levels above them (military and civlian) who are unable to meet the same standards set by soldiers like Captain Galt and Staff Sergeant Davila.


Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, 168th Infantry, 34th Infantry Division. Place and date: At Villa Crocetta, Italy, 29 May 1944. Entered service at: Stanford, Mont. Birth: Geyser, Mont. G.O. No.: 1, 1 February 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Galt, Battalion S3, at a particularly critical period following 2 unsuccessful attacks by his battalion, of his own volition went forward and ascertained just how critical the situation was. He volunteered, at the risk of his life, personally to lead the battalion against the objective. When the lone remaining tank destroyer refused to go forward, Capt. Galt jumped on the tank destroyer and ordered it to precede the attack. As the tank destroyer moved forward, followed by a company of riflemen, Capt. Galt manned the .30-caliber machinegun in the turret of the tank destroyer, located and
directed fire on an enemy 77mm. anti-tank gun, and destroyed it. Nearing the enemy positions, Capt. Galt stood fully exposed in the turret, ceaselessly firing his machinegun and tossing hand grenades into the enemy zigzag series of trenches despite the hail of sniper and machinegun bullets ricocheting off the tank destroyer. As the tank destroyer moved, Capt. Galt so maneuvered it that 40 of the enemy were trapped in one trench. When they refused to surrender, Capt. Galt pressed the trigger of the machinegun and dispatched every one of them. A few minutes later an 88mm shell struck the tank destroyer and Capt. Galt fell mortally wounded across his machinegun. He had personally killed 40 Germans and wounded many more. Capt. Galt pitted his judgment and superb courage against overwhelming odds, exemplifying the highest measure of devotion to his country and the finest traditions of the U.S. Army.
 *Indicate a posthumous award.