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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 19 June

There are 24 Medals awarded for actions on this day - 17 of them from one event.

We start off with the Civil War, and another one of those "mess o' medals" that characterize some Navy engagements. Remember, the Medal of Honor was our first formal award for heroism since the lapsing of the Purple Heart, an award instituted by General George Washington, and not originally associated with combat wounding, as it is now. During the era of the Civil through Spanish American Wars, the Medal of Honor was the only award available on a regularized basis. What follows now are 17 awards for the same fight among the crew of the same ship, which in modern times would probably be spread amongst the Bronze and Silver Stars.

AHEAM, MICHAEL
Rank and organization: Paymaster's Steward, U.S. Navy. Enlisted in: France. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Carrying out his duties courageously, PmS. Aheam exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by his divisional officer for gallantry under enemy fire.

BICKFORD, JOHN F.
Rank and organization: Captain of the Top, U.S. Navy. Born: 1843, Tremont, Maine. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as the first loader of the pivot gun during this bitter engagement Bickford exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by his divisional officer.

BOND, WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1839, Boston, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Carrying out his duties courageously, Bond exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by his divisional officer.

HALEY, JAMES
Rank and organization. Captain of the Forecastle, U.S. Navy. Born: 1824, Ireland. Accredited to. Ohio. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as captain of the forecastle on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as captain of a gun during the bitter engagement, Haley exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly commended by his division officer for his gallantry and meritorious achievement under enemy fire.

HAM, MARK G.
Rank and organization: Carpenter's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1820, Portsmouth, N.H. Accredited to: New Hampshire. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Performing his duties intelligently and faithfully, Ham distinguished himself in the face of the bitter enemy fire and was highly commended by his divisional officer.

HARRISON, GEORGE H.
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1842, Massachusetts. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No. 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as sponger and loader of the 11-inch pivot gun during the bitter engagement, Harrison exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by the divisional officer.

HAYES, JOHN
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1831, Philadelphia, Pa. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as second captain of the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Hayes exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by the divisional officer.

LEE, JAMES H.
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1840, New York. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as sponger of the No. 1 gun during this bitter engagement, Lee exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by the divisional officer.

MOORE, CHARLES
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Entered service at: 25 March 1862, Gibraltar, England. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as sponger and loader of the 1 l_inch pivot gun of the second division during this bitter engagement, Moore exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by the divisional officer.

PEASE, JOACHIM
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: Long Island, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as loader on the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Pease exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by the divisional officer for gallantry under fire.

PERRY, THOMAS
Rank and organization: Boatswain's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 1836 New York. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as boatswain's mate on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as captain of the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Perry exhibited marked coolness and good conduct under the enemy fire and was recommended for gallantry by his divisional officer.

POOLE, WILLIAM B.
Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1833 Maine. Accredited to: Maine. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Service as quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Stationed at the helm, Poole steered the ship during the engagement in a cool and most creditable manner and was highly commended by his divisional officer for his gallantry under fire.

READ, CHARLES A.
Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 1837, Sweden Accredited to: Ohio. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as coxswain on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as the first sponger of the pivot gun during this bitter engagement, Read exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by his divisional officer.

READ, GEORGE E.
Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1838, Rhode Island. Accredited to: Rhode Island. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864 Citation: Served as seaman on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as the first loader of the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Read exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended for his gallantry under fire by his divisional officer.

SAUNDERS, JAMES
Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1809, Massachusetts. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 59, 22 June 1865. Citation: Served as quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Carrying out his duties courageously throughout the bitter engagement, Saunders was prompt in reporting damages done to both ships, and it is testified to by Commodore Winslow that he is deserving of all commendation, both for gallantry and for encouragement of others in his division.

SMITH, WILLIAM
Rank and organization: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy. Born: 1838, Ireland. Accredited to: New Hampshire. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Citation: Served as second quartermaster on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as captain of the 11-inch pivot gun of the second division, Smith carried out his duties courageously and deserved special notice for the deliberate and cool manner in which he acted throughout the bitter engagement. It is stated by rebel officers that this gun was more destructive and did more damage than any other gun of Kearsarge.

STRAHAN, ROBERT
Rank and organization: Captain of the Top, U.S. Navy. Birth: New Jersey. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864. Accredited to: New Jersey. Citation: Served as captain of the top on board the U.S.S. Kearsarge when she destroyed the Alabama off Cherbourg, France, 19 June 1864. Acting as captain of the No. 1 gun, Strahan carried out his duties in the face of heavy enemy fire and exhibited marked coolness and good conduct throughout the engagement. Strahan was highly recommended by his division officer for his gallantry and meritorious achievements.
 
Hiding amongs all the Kearsarge veterans we find Private Williams of the 82d Ohio, fighting at Peachtree Creek in the Atlanta Campaign.

WILLIAMS, WILLIAM H.
Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 82d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Peach Tree Creek, Ga., 20 July 1864. Entered service at: Miami County, Ohio. Birth: Hancock County, Ohio. Date of issue: 19 June 1894. Citation: Voluntarily went beyond the lines to observe the enemy; also aided a wounded comrade.

The Medal then takes a break until World War II.

*BAKER, THOMAS A.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 105th Infantry, 27th Infantry Division. Place and date: Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944. Entered service at: Troy, N.Y. Birth: Troy, N.Y. G.O. No.: 35, 9 May 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Saipan, Mariana Islands, 19 June to 7 July 1944. When his entire company was held up by fire from automatic weapons and small-arms fire from strongly fortified enemy positions that commanded the view of the company, Sgt. (then Pvt.) Baker voluntarily took a bazooka and dashed alone to within 100 yards of the enemy. Through heavy rifle and machinegun fire that was directed at him by the enemy, he knocked out the strong point, enabling his company to assault the ridge. Some days later while his company advanced across the open field flanked with obstructions and places of concealment for the enemy, Sgt. Baker again voluntarily took up a position in the rear to protect the company against surprise attack and came upon 2 heavily fortified enemy pockets manned by 2 officers and 10 enlisted men which had been bypassed. Without regard for such superior numbers, he unhesitatingly attacked and killed all of them. Five hundred yards farther, he discovered 6 men of the enemy who had concealed themselves behind our lines and destroyed all of them. On 7 July 1944, the perimeter of which Sgt. Baker was a part was attacked from 3 sides by from 3,000 to 5,000 Japanese. During the early stages of this attack, Sgt. Baker was seriously wounded but he insisted on remaining in the line and fired at the enemy at ranges sometimes as close as 5 yards until his ammunition ran out. Without ammunition and with his own weapon battered to uselessness from hand-to-hand combat, he was carried about 50 yards to the rear by a comrade, who was then himself wounded. At this point Sgt. Baker refused to be moved any farther stating that he preferred to be left to die rather than risk the lives of any more of his friends. A short time later, at his request, he was placed in a sitting position against a small tree . Another comrade, withdrawing, offered assistance. Sgt. Baker refused, insisting that he be left alone and be given a soldier's pistol with its remaining 8 rounds of ammunition. When last seen alive, Sgt. Baker was propped against a tree, pistol in hand, calmly facing the foe. Later Sgt. Baker's body was found in the same position, gun empty, with 8 Japanese lying dead before him. His deeds were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

McCAMPBELL, DAVID
Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy, Air Group 15. Place and date: First and second battles of the Philippine Sea, 19 June 1944. Entered service at: Florida. Born: 16 January 1 910, Bessemer, Ala. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with 2 Gold Stars, Air Medal. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commander, Air Group 15, during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Comdr. McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed 7 hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Comdr. McCampbell, assisted by but l plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming airpower, he shot down 9 Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Comdr. McCampbell and the U.S. Naval Service.

MEAGHER, JOHN
Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company E, 305th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Ozato, Okinawa, 19 June 1945. Entered service at: Jersey City, N.J. Birth: Jersey City, N.J. G.O. No.: 60, 26 June 1946. Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. In the heat of the fight, he mounted an assault tank, and, with bullets splattering about him, designated targets to the gunner. Seeing an enemy soldier carrying an explosive charge dash for the tank treads, he shouted fire orders to the gunner, leaped from the tank, and bayoneted the charging soldier. Knocked unconscious and his rifle destroyed, he regained consciousness, secured a machinegun from the tank, and began a furious 1-man assault on the enemy. Firing from his hip, moving through vicious crossfire that ripped through his clothing, he charged the nearest pillbox, killing 6. Going on amid the hail of bullets and grenades, he dashed for a second enemy gun, running out of ammunition just as he reached the position. He grasped his empty gun by the barrel and in a violent onslaught killed the crew. By his fearless assaults T/Sgt. Meagher single-handedly broke the enemy resistance, enabling his platoon to take its objective and continue the advance.

We skip Korea and go on to Vietnam.

LASSEN, CLYDE EVERETT
Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, Helicopter Support Squadron 7, Detachment 104, embarked in U.S.S. Preble (DLG-15). place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 19 June 1968. Entered service at: Jacksonville, Fla. Born: 14 March 1942, Fort Myers, Fla. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as pilot and aircraft commander of a search and rescue helicopter, attached to Helicopter Support Squadron 7, during operations against enemy forces in North Vietnam. Launched shortly after midnight to attempt the rescue of 2 downed aviators, Lt. (then Lt. (J.G.)) Lassen skillfully piloted his aircraft over unknown and hostile terrain to a steep, tree-covered hill on which the survivors had been located. Although enemy fire was being directed at the helicopter, he initially landed in a clear area near the base of the hill, but, due to the dense undergrowth, the survivors could not reach the helicopter. With the aid of flare illumination, Lt. Lassen successfully accomplished a hover between 2 trees at the survivors' position Illumination was abruptly lost as the last of the flares were expended, and the helicopter collided with a tree, commencing a sharp descent. Expertly righting his aircraft and maneuvering clear, Lt. Lassen remained in the area, determined to make another rescue attempt, and encouraged the downed aviators while awaiting resumption of flare illumination. After another unsuccessful, illuminated rescue attempt, and with his fuel dangerously low and his aircraft significantly damaged, he launched again and commenced another approach in the face of the continuing enemy opposition. When flare illumination was again lost, Lt. Lassen, fully aware of the dangers in clearly revealing his position to the enemy, turned on his landing lights and completed the landing. On this attempt, the survivors were able to make their way to the helicopter. En route to the coast he encountered and successfully evaded additional hostile antiaircraft fire and, with fuel for only 5 minutes of flight remaining, landed safely aboard U.S.S. Jouett (DLG-29) .

RAY, RONALD ERIC
Rank and organization: Captain (then 1st Lt.), U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: la Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam, 19 June 1966. Entered service at: Atlanta, Ga. Born: 7 December 1941, Cordelle, Ga. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Ray distinguished himself while serving as a platoon leader with Company A. When 1 of his ambush patrols was attacked by an estimated reinforced Viet Cong company, Capt. Ray organized a reaction force and quickly moved through 2 kilometers of mountainous jungle terrain to the contact area. After breaking through the hostile lines to reach the beleaguered patrol, Capt. Ray began directing the reinforcement of the site. When an enemy position pinned down 3 of his men with a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire, he silenced the emplacement with a grenade and killed 4 Viet Cong with his rifle fire. As medics were moving a casualty toward a sheltered position, they began receiving intense hostile fire. While directing suppressive fire on the enemy position, Capt. Ray moved close enough to silence the enemy with a grenade. A few moments later Capt. Ray saw an enemy grenade land, unnoticed, near 2 of his men. Without hesitation or regard for his safety he dove between the grenade and the men, thus shielding them from the explosion while receiving wounds in his exposed feet and legs. He immediately sustained additional wounds in his legs from an enemy machinegun, but nevertheless he silenced the emplacement with another grenade. Although suffering great pain from his wounds, Capt. Ray continued to direct his men, providing the outstanding courage and leadership they vitally needed, and prevented their annihilation by successfully leading them from their surrounded position. Only after assuring that his platoon was no longer in immediate danger did he allow himself to be evacuated for medical treatment. By his gallantry at the risk of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, Capt. Ray has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army .

*WILLETT, LOUIS E.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Place and date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 15 February 1967. Entered service at: Brooklyn, N.Y. Born: 19 June 1945, Brooklyn, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Pfc. Willett distinguished himself while serving as a rifleman in Company C, during combat operations. His squad was conducting a security sweep when it made contact with a large enemy force. The squad was immediately engaged with a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire and pinned to the ground. Despite the deadly fusillade, Pfc. Willett rose to his feet firing rapid bursts from his weapon and moved to a position from which he placed highly effective fire on the enemy. His action allowed the remainder of his squad to begin to withdraw from the superior enemy force toward the company perimeter. Pfc. Willett covered the squad's withdrawal, but his position drew heavy enemy machinegun fire, and he received multiple wounds enabling the enemy again to pin down the remainder of the squad. Pfc. Willett struggled to an upright position, and, disregarding his painful wounds, he again engaged the enemy with his rifle to allow his squad to continue its movement and to evacuate several of his comrades who were by now wounded. Moving from position to position, he engaged the enemy at close range until he was mortally wounded. By his unselfish acts of bravery, Pfc. Willett insured the withdrawal of his comrades to the company position, saving their lives at the cost of his life. Pfc. Willett's valorous actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
 
*Indicates a posthumous award.