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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 17 August

The Medal makes it's first appearance on this day in history during the China Relief Expediiton, in 1900.  There are a slew of Medals, to twelve Marines and two sailors, covering the period from 28 June to 17 August, with most of them of the type that would be covered by different awards today - but back then, the Medal of Honor was the only award of its type.  As is my convention, for Medals which cover more than one day, I list them on the last day of the covered period.  This is also a rare day, as all the recipients... survived the events.  Not one posthumous award.  Which is more than we can say of the awards for actions since 9/11/2001. [This was originally written when Rumsfeld/Gates were pretty much ensuring that it was the Medal of Posthumous Honor.  Things have broken free, as well they should have, under Panetta and Hagel.]
 

BOYDSTON, ERWIN JAY

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 22 April, 1875, Deer Creek, Colo. Accredited to: California. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation. In the presence of the enemy at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Under a heavy fire from the enemy during this period, Boydston assisted in the erection of barricades.

CARR, WILLIAM LOUIS

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 1 April 1875, Peabody, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In action at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Throughout this action and in the presence of the enemy, Carr distinguished himself by his conduct.

GAIENNIE, LOUIS RENE

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 9 June 1878, St. Louis, Mo. Enrered service at: St. Louis, Mo. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900, Gaiennie distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

HORTON, WILLIAM CHARLIE

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Place and date: Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Born: 21 July 1876, Chicago, Ill. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In action against the enemy at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Although under heavy fire from the enemy, Horton assisted in the erection of barricades.

MOORE, ALBERT

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 25 December 1862, Merced, Calif. Accredited to: California. G.O. No.:55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Although under a heavy fire from the enemy, Moore assisted in the erection of barricades.

MURPHY, JOHN ALPHONSUS

Rank and organization: Drummer, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 26 February 1881, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: Washington, D.C. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900, Murphy distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

MURRAY, WILLIAM H.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 3 June 1876, Brooklyn, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. During this period, Murray distinguished himself by meritorious conduct. (Served as Henry W. Davis. )

PETERSEN, CARL EMIL

Rank and organization: Chief Machinist, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Peking, China, 28 June to 17 August 1900. Entered service at: New Jersey. Born: 24 August 1875, Hamburg, Germany. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking, China, 28 June to 17 August 1900. During this period Chief Machinist Petersen distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

PRESTON, HERBERT IRVING

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 6 August 1876, Berkeley, N.J. Accredited to: New Jersey G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Throughout this period, Preston distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

SCANNELL, DAVID JOHN

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 30 March 1875, Boston, Mass. Accredited to: Massachusetts. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Throughout this period, Scannell distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

SILVA, FRANCE

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 8 May 1876, Haywards, Calif. Accredited to: California. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901 Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the action at Peking; China, 28 June to 17 August 1900.1Throughout this period, Silva distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

UPHAM, OSCAR J.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 14 January 1871, Toledo, Ohio. Accredited to: Illinois. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy at Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Although under a heavy fire from the enemy during this period, Upham assisted in the erection of barricades.

WESTERMARK, AXEL

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 8 April 1875, Finland. Accredited to: California. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 28 June to 17 August 1900. Throughout this period, Westermark distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.

ZION, WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 23 October 1872, Knightstown, Ind. Accredited to: California. G.O. No.: 55 19 July 1901. Citation: In the presence of the enemy during the battle of Peking, China, 21 July to 17 August 1900. Throughout this period, Zion distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.
 

The Medal next appears during WWII, near La Lande, France, in 1944.
 

BENDER, STANLEY

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company E, 7th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near La Lande, France, 17 August 1944. Entered service at: Chicago, 111. Born: 31 October 1909, Carlisle, W. Va. G.O. No.: 7, 1 February 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 17 August 1944, near La Lande, France, he climbed on top of a knocked-out tank, in the face of withering machinegun fire which had halted the advance of his company, in an effort to locate the source of this fire. Although bullets ricocheted off the turret at his feet, he nevertheless remained standing upright in full view of the enemy for over 2 minutes. Locating the enemy machineguns on a knoll 200 yards away, he ordered 2 squads to cover him and led his men down an irrigation ditch, running a gauntlet of intense machinegun fire, which completely blanketed 50 yards of his advance and wounded 4 of his men. While the Germans hurled hand grenades at the ditch, he stood his ground until his squad caught up with him, then advanced alone, in a wide flanking approach, to the rear of the knoll. He walked deliberately a distance of 40 yards, without cover, in full view of the Germans and under a hail of both enemy and friendly fire, to the first machinegun and knocked it out with a single short burst. Then he made his way through the strong point, despite bursting hand grenades, toward the second machinegun, 25 yards distant, whose 2-man crew swung the machinegun around and fired two bursts at him, but he walked calmly through the fire and, reaching the edge of the emplacement, dispatched the crew. Signaling his men to rush the rifle pits, he then walked 35 yards further to kill an enemy rifleman and returned to lead his squad in the destruction of the 8 remaining Germans in the strong point. His audacity so inspired the remainder of the assault company that the men charged out of their positions, shouting and yelling, to overpower the enemy roadblock and sweep into town, knocking out 2 antitank guns, killing 37 Germans and capturing 26 others. He had sparked and led the assault company in an attack which overwhelmed the enemy, destroying a roadblock, taking a town, seizing intact 3 bridges over the Maravenne River, and capturing commanding terrain which dominated the area. 


Next up is Korea, and a rare warrior who threw himself on a grenade... and survived.
 

SIMANEK, ROBERT E .

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 17 August 1952. Entered service at: Detroit, Mich. Born: 26 April 1930, Detroit, Mich. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. While accompanying a patrol en route to occupy a combat outpost forward of friendly lines, Pfc. Simanek exhibited a high degree of courage and a resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in protecting the lives of his fellow marines. With his unit ambushed by an intense concentration of enemy mortar and small-arms fire, and suffering heavy casualties, he was forced to seek cover with the remaining members of the patrol in a nearby trench line. Determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his body and shielding his fellow marines from serious injury or death. Gravely wounded as a result of his heroic action, Pfc. Simanek, by his daring initiative and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.