previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 18 July

We open with the Civil War - and Fort Wagner, where the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry charged into... Glory.

CARNEY, WILLIAM H.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Wagner, S.C., 18 July 1863. Entered service at: New Bedford, Mass. Birth: Norfolk, Va. Date of issue: 23 May 1900. Citation: When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded.

CROSS, JAMES E.

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company K, 12th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Blackburns Ford, Va., 18 July 1861. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Darien, N.Y. Date of issue: 5 April 1898. Citation: With a companion, refused to retreat when the part of the regiment to which he was attached was driven back in disorder, but remained upon the skirmish line for some time thereafter, firing upon the enemy.

HIBSON, JOSEPH C.

Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 48th New York Infantry. Place and date: Near Fort Wagner, S.C., 13 July 1863, Near Fort Wagner, S.C., 14 July 1863; Near Fort Wagner, S.C., 18 July 1863. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: England. Date of issue: 23 October 1897. Citation: While voluntarily performing picket duty under fire on 13 July 1863, was attacked and his surrender demanded, but he killed his assailant. The day following responded to a call for a volunteer to reconnoiter the enemy's position, and went within the enemy's lines under fire and was exposed to great danger. On 18 July voluntarily exposed himself with great gallantry during an assault, and received 3 wounds that permanently disabled him for active service.

RAND, CHARLES F.

Rank and organization: Private, Company K, 12th New York Infantry. Place and date: At Blackburns Ford, Va., 18 July 1861. Entered service at: Batavia, N.Y. Birth: Batavia, N.Y. Date of issue: 23 October 1897. Citation: Remained in action when a part of his regiment broke in disorder, joined another company, and fought with it through the remainder of the engagement.
 
Next we find ourselves in World War I, and two Marines who received both the Army and Navy versions of the Medal of Honor, because they were Marines serving with an Army unit...
CUKELA, LOUIS (Army Medal)
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 66th Company, 5th Regiment. Place and date: Near Villers-Cotterets, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minn. Born: 1 May 1888, Sebenes, Austria. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. (Also received Navy Medal of Honor.) Citation: When his company, advancing through a wood, met with strong resistance from an enemy strong point, Sgt. Cukela crawled out from the flank and made his way toward the German lines in the face of heavy fire, disregarding the warnings of his comrades. He succeeded in getting behind the enemy position and rushed a machinegun emplacement, killing or driving off the crew with his bayonet. With German handgrenades he then bombed out the remaining portion of the strong point, capturing 4 men and 2 damaged machineguns.

CUKELA, LOUIS (Navy Medal)

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 66th Company, 5th Regiment. Born: 1 May 1888, Sebenes, Austria. Accredited to: Minnesota. (Also received Army Medal of Honor.) Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, during action in the Forest de Retz, near Viller-Cottertes, France, 18 July 1918. Sgt. Cukela advanced alone against an enemy strong point that was holding up his line. Disregarding the warnings of his comrades, he crawled out from the flank in the face of heavy fire and worked his way to the rear of the enemy position. Rushing a machinegun emplacement, he killed or drove off the crew with his bayonet, bombed out the remaining part of the strong point with German handgrenades and captured 2 machineguns and 4 men.

*KOCAK, MATEJ (Army Medal)

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 66th Company, 5th Regiment, 2d Division. Place and date: Near Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 31 December 1882, Gbely (Slovakia), Austria. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. (Also received Navy Medal of Honor.) Citation: When the advance of his battalion was checked by a hidden machinegun nest, he went forward alone, unprotected by covering fire from his own men, and worked in between the German positions in the face of fire from enemy covering detachments. Locating the machinegun nest, he rushed it and with his bayonet drove off the crew. Shortly after this he organized 25 French colonial soldiers who had become separated from their company and led them in attacking another machinegun nest, which was also put out of action.

*KOCAK, MATEJ (Navy Medal)

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 31 December 1882, Gbely (Slovakia), Austria. Accredited to: New York. ( Also received Army Medal of Honor. ) Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, 2d Division, in action in the Viller-Cottertes section, south of Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. When a hidden machinegun nest halted the advance of his battalion, Sgt. Kocak went forward alone unprotected by covering fire and worked his way in between the German positions in the face of heavy enemy fire. Rushing the enemy position with his bayonet, he drove off the crew. Later the same day, Sgt. Kocak organized French colonial soldiers who had become separated from their company and led them in an attack on another machinegun nest which was also put out of action.

*DILBOY, GEORGE

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company H, 103d Infantry, 26th Division. Place and date: Near Belleau, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: Keene, N.H. Birth: Greece. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Pfc. Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machinegun from 100 yards. From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement, falling within 25 yards of the gun with his right leg nearly severed above the knee and with several bullet holes in his body. With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing 2 of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew.

EDWARDS, DANIEL R.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 3d Machine Gun Battalion, 1st Division. Place and date: Near Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: Bruceville, Tex. Born: 9 April 1897, Moorville, Tex. G.O. No.: 14, W.D., 1923. Citation: Reporting for duty from hospital where he had been for several weeks under treatment for numerous and serious wounds and although suffering intense pain from a shattered arm, he crawled alone into an enemy trench for the purpose of capturing or killing enemy soldiers known to be concealed therein. He killed 4 of the men and took the remaining 4 men prisoners; while conducting them to the rear one of the enemy was killed by a high explosive enemy shell which also completely shattered 1 of Pfc. Edwards' legs, causing him to be immediately evacuated to the hospital. The bravery of Pfc. Edwards, now a tradition in his battalion because of his previous gallant acts, again caused the morale of his comrades to be raised to high pitch.

 
 
The Medal takes a break until 1969, during the Vietnam War
 
*EVANS, RODNEY J.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. Place and date: Tay Ninh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 18 July 1969. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 17 July 1948, Chelsea, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Evans distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism while serving as a squad leader in a reconnaissance sweep through heavy vegetation to reconnoiter a strong enemy position. As the force approached a well-defined trail, the platoon scout warned that the trail was booby-trapped. Sgt. Evans led his squad on a route parallel to the trail. The force had started to move forward when a nearby squad was hit by the blast of a concealed mine. Looking to his right Sgt. Evans saw a second enemy device. With complete disregard for his safety he shouted a warning to his men, dived to the ground and crawled toward the mine. Just as he reached it an enemy soldier detonated the explosive and Sgt. Evans absorbed the full impact with his body. His gallant and selfless action saved his comrades from probable death or injury and served as an inspiration to his entire unit. Sgt. Evans' gallantry in action at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

McGINTY, JOHN J. III

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant (then S/Sgt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 18 July 1966. Entered service at: Laurel Bay, S.C. Born: 2 1 January 1940, Boston, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 2d Lt. McGinty's platoon, which was providing rear security to protect the withdrawal of the battalion from a position which had been under attack for 3 days, came under heavy small arms, automatic weapons and mortar fire from an estimated enemy regiment. With each successive human wave which assaulted his 32-man platoon during the 4-hour battle, 2d Lt. McGinty rallied his men to beat off the enemy. In 1 bitter assault, 2 of the squads became separated from the remainder of the platoon. With complete disregard for his safety, 2d Lt. McGinty charged through intense automatic weapons and mortar fire to their position. Finding 20 men wounded and the medical corpsman killed, he quickly reloaded ammunition magazines and weapons for the wounded men and directed their fire upon the enemy. Although he was painfully wounded as he moved to care for the disabled men, he continued to shout encouragement to his troops and to direct their fire so effectively that the attacking hordes were beaten off. When the enemy tried to out-flank his position, he killed 5 of them at point-blank range with his pistol. When they again seemed on the verge of overrunning the small force, he skillfully adjusted artillery and air strikes within 50 yards of his position. This destructive firepower routed the enemy, who left an estimated 500 bodies on the battlefield. 2d Lt. McGinty's personal heroism, indomitable leadership, selfless devotion to duty, and bold fighting spirit inspired his men to resist the repeated attacks by a fanatical enemy, reflected great credit upon himself, and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.

MODRZEJEWSKI, ROBERT J.

Rank and organization: Major (then Capt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company K, 3d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division, FMF. place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 15 to 18 July 1966. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Born: 3 July 1934, Milwaukee, Wis. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 15 July, during Operation HASTINGS, Company K was landed in an enemy-infested jungle area to establish a blocking position at a major enemy trail network. Shortly after landing, the company encountered a reinforced enemy platoon in a well-organized, defensive position. Maj. Modrzejewski led his men in the successful seizure of the enemy redoubt, which contained large quantities of ammunition and supplies. That evening, a numerically superior enemy force counterattacked in an effort to retake the vital supply area, thus setting the pattern of activity for the next 2 1/2 days. In the first series of attacks, the enemy assaulted repeatedly in overwhelming numbers but each time was repulsed by the gallant marines. The second night, the enemy struck in battalion strength, and Maj. Modrzejewski was wounded in this intensive action which was fought at close quarters. Although exposed to enemy fire, and despite his painful wounds, he crawled 200 meters to provide critically needed ammunition to an exposed element of his command and was constantly present wherever the fighting was heaviest, despite numerous casualties, a dwindling supply of ammunition and the knowledge that they were surrounded, he skillfully directed artillery fire to within a few meter* of his position and courageously inspired the efforts of his company in repelling the aggressive enemy attack. On 18 July, Company K was attacked by a regimental-size enemy force. Although his unit was vastly outnumbered and weakened by the previous fighting, Maj. Modrzejewski reorganized his men and calmly moved among them to encourage and direct their efforts to heroic limits as they fought to overcome the vicious enemy onslaught. Again he called in air and artillery strikes at close range with devastating effect on the enemy, which together with the bold and determined fighting of the men of Company K, repulsed the fanatical attack of the larger North Vietnamese force. His unparalleled personal heroism and indomitable leadership inspired his men to a significant victory over the enemy force and reflected great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service.
 
*Indicates a posthumous award.