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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 15 June

15 June.  Three eras, 10 Medals, and no one died while earning theirs.

Civil War

First up is Lieutenant William H. Appleton, who is cited for two actions. The first, on 15 June, 1864 was as Petersburg, Virginia, where he was the first soldier of General W. F. Smith’s XVIIIth Corps to break into the Confederate works held by Beauregard’s men. Lieutenant Appleton was the first to break into the (unknown to General Smith) comparatively lightly held, and the initial assault captured 5 of the 13 works. However, Smith, whose corps had been savaged in the fighting at Cold Harbor when attacking a (fully manned) fortification belt less impressive than those at Petersburg, stopped for the night to rest and reset, unaware that Petersburg was his for the taking, Beauregard stating that at this point Petersburg was ‘at the mercy of the Federal commander, who had all but captured it.’ 3 months later, along with 15 other soldiers, he would be cited for the assault at New Market Heights. We’ll cover that one when we get to it.

APPLETON, WILLIAM H.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company H, 4th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Petersburg, Va., 15 June 1864; At New Market Heights, Va., 29 September 1864. Entered service at: Portsmouth, N.H. Born: 24 March 1843, Chichester, N.H. Date of issue: 18 February 1891. Citation: The first man of the Eighteenth Corps to enter the enemy's works at Petersburg, Va., 15 June 1864. Valiant service in a desperate assault at New Market Heights, Va., inspiring the Union troops by his example of steady courage.

Sergeant Tom Fallon was an interesting man

FALLON, THOMAS T.
Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 37th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Williamsburg, Va., 5 May 1862. At Fair Oaks, Va., 30-31 May 1862. At Big Shanty, Ga., 14-15 June 1864. Entered service at: Freehold, N.J. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 13 February 1891. Citation: At Williamsburg, Va., assisted in driving rebel skirmishers to their main line. Participated in action, at Fair Oaks, Va., though excused from duty because of disability. In a charge with his company at Big Shanty, Ga., was the first man on the enemy's works.

HALLOCK, NATHAN M.
Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 124th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Bristoe Station, Va., 15 June 1863. Entered service at: Middletown, N.Y. Birth: Orange County, N.Y. Date of issue: 10 September 1897. Citation: At imminent peril saved from death or capture a disabled officer of his company by carrying him under a hot musketry fire, to a place of safety.


The next three had a hot day at Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia, during Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.
HERINGTON, PITT B.
Rank and organization: Private, Company E, 11th Iowa Infantry. Place and date: Near Kennesaw Mountain, Ga., 15 June 1864. Entered service at: Tipton, Cedar County, Iowa. Born: 1840, Michigan. Date of issue: 27 November 1899. Citation: With one companion and under a fierce fire of the enemy at close range, went to the rescue of a wounded comrade who had fallen between the lines and carried him to a place of safety.

MAYES, WILLIAM B.
Rank and organization. Private, Company K, 11th Iowa Infantry. Place and date: Near Kennesaw Mountain, Ga., 15 June 1864. Entered service at: DeWitt, Clinton County, Iowa. Birth: Marion County, Ohio. Date of issue. 27 November 1899. Citation: With one companion and under a fierce fire from the enemy at short range went to the rescue of a wounded comrade who had fallen between the lines and carried him to a place of safety.

STURGEON, JAMES K.
Rank and organization: Private, Company F, 46th Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Kennesaw Mountain, Ga., 15 June 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Perry County, Ohio. Date of issue: 2 January 1895. Citation: Advanced beyond the lines, and in an encounter with 3 Confederates shot 2 and took the other prisoner.
 

Sergeant Nugent was a scrupulous observer of the Rules of Engagement, in such a way as to warm the cockles of an ACLU lawyer's heart.

NUGENT, CHRISTOPHER
Rank and organization: Orderly Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1840, County of Caven, Ireland. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 32, 16 April 1864. Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Fort Henry, Crystal River, Fla., 15 June 1863. Reconnoitering on the Crystal River on this date and in charge of a boat from the Fort Henry, Orderly Sgt. Nugent ordered an assault upon a rebel breastwork fortification. In this assault, the orderly sergeant and his comrades drove a guard of 11 rebels into the swamp, capturing their arms and destroying their camp equipage while gallantly withholding fire to prevent harm to a woman among the fugitives. On 30 July 1863, he further proved his courage by capturing a boat off Depot Key, Fla., containing 2 men and a woman with their baggage.


Interim 1871-1898

Today, these awards would be the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, for bravery not involving combat.  That said, one wonders how the rest of the party was?

O'CONNER, JAMES F.
Rank and organization: Landsman, Engineer's Force, U.S. Navy. Born: 1862, Portsmouth, Va. Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 326, 18 October 1884. Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Jean Sands, opposite the Norfolk Navy Yard, on the night of 15 June 1880, and rescuing from drowning a young girl who had fallen overboard.

SWEENEY, WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Landsman, Engineer's Force, U.S. Navy. Born: 1856, Boston, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. C O. No.326, 18 October 1884. Citation: For jumping overboard from the U.S.S. Jean Sands, opposite the Navy Yard, Norfolk, Va., on the night of 15 June 1880, and rescuing from drowning a young girl who had fallen overboard.

Vietnam.   A sailor who would be comfortable in the turret of a tank, methinks.
KELLEY, THOMAS G.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Navy, River Assault Division 152. place and date: Ong Muong Canal, Kien Hoa province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 June 1969. Entered service at: Boston, Mass. Born: 13 May 1939, Boston, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in the afternoon while serving as commander of River Assault Division 152 during combat operations against enemy aggressor forces. Lt. Comdr. (then Lt.) Kelley was in charge of a column of 8 river assault craft which were extracting a company of U.S. Army infantry troops on the east bank of the Ong Muong Canal in Kien Hoa province, when one of the armored troop carriers reported a mechanical failure of a loading ramp. At approximately the same time, Viet Cong forces opened fire from the opposite bank of the canal. After issuing orders for the crippled troop carrier to raise its ramp manually, and for the remaining boats to form a protective cordon around the disabled craft, Lt. Comdr. Kelley realizing the extreme danger to his column and its inability to clear the ambush site until the crippled unit was repaired, boldly maneuvered the monitor in which he was embarked to the exposed side of the protective cordon in direct line with the enemy's fire, and ordered the monitor to commence firing. Suddenly, an enemy rocket scored a direct hit on the coxswain's flat, the shell penetrating the thick armor plate, and the explosion spraying shrapnel in all directions. Sustaining serious head wounds from the blast, which hurled him to the deck of the monitor, Lt. Cmdr. Kelley disregarded his severe injuries and attempted to continue directing the other boats. Although unable to move from the deck or to speak clearly into the radio, he succeeded in relaying his commands through 1 of his men until the enemy attack was silenced and the boats were able to move to an area of safety. Lt. Comdr. Kelley's brilliant leadership, bold initiative, and resolute determination served to inspire his men and provide the impetus needed to carry out the mission after he was medically evacuated by helicopter. His extraordinary courage under fire, and his selfless devotion to duty sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
 
*Indicates a posthumous award - but, wait!  There aren't any asterisks!  Yay!