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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 29 August

We open with two Medals today.  From the first and last August of the Civil War.


SWEARER, BENJAMIN

Rank and organization: Seaman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1825, Baltimore, Md. Accredited to: Maryland. G.O. No.: 11, 3 April 1863. Citation: Embarked in a surfboat from the U.S.S. Pawnee during action against Fort Clark, off Baltimore Inlet, 29 August 1861. Taking part in a mission to land troops and to remain inshore and provide protection, Swearer rendered gallant service throughout the action and had the honor of being the first man to raise the flag on the captured fort.

WALTON, GEORGE W.

Rank and organization. Private, Company C, 97th Pennsylvania Infantry. Place and date: At Fort Hell, Petersburg, Va., 29 August 1864. Entered service at: Upper Oxford, Pa. Birth: Chester, Pa. Date of issue: 6 August 1902. Citation: Went outside the trenches, under heavy fire at short range, and rescued a comrade who had been wounded and thrown out of the trench by an exploding shell.

Next is a sharp little fight against the Nez Perce during the Indian Wars Period.
GARLAND, HARRY

Rank and organization: Corporal, Company L, 2d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Little Muddy Creek, Mont., 7 May 1877; at Camas Meadows, Idaho, 29 August 1877. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Boston, Mass. Date of issue: 28 February 1878. Citation: Gallantry in action with hostile Sioux, at Little Muddy Creek, Mont.; having been wounded in the hip so as to be unable to stand, at Camas Meadows, Idaho, he still continued to direct the men under his charge until the enemy withdrew.

As is true of most of the periods labeled as "Interim Awards," these three Medals from the Interim Awards 1915-16 are Navy Medals.  Today they would be awarded as Navy and Marine Corps Medals, the highest award for valor not involving combat, which was not an option back when these Medals were earned.
JONES, CLAUD ASHTON

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy. Born: 7 October 1885, Fire Creek, W.Va. Accredited to: West Virginia. (1 August 1932.) Citation: For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession as a senior engineer officer on board the U.S.S. Memphis, at a time when the vessel was suffering total destruction from a hurricane while anchored off Santo Domingo City, 29 August 1916. Lt. Jones did everything possible to get the engines and boilers ready, and if the elements that burst upon the vessel had delayed for a few minutes, the engines would have saved the vessel. With boilers and steampipes bursting about him in clouds of scalding steam, with thousands of tons of water coming down upon him and in almost complete darkness, Lt. Jones nobly remained at his post as long as the engines would turn over, exhibiting the most supreme unselfish heroism which inspired the officers and men who were with him. When the boilers exploded, Lt. Jones, accompanied by 2 of his shipmates, rushed into the firerooms and drove the men there out, dragging some, carrying others to the engineroom, where there was air to be breathed instead of steam. Lt. Jones' action on this occasion was above and beyond the call of duty.

*RUD, GEORGE WILLIAM

Rank and organization: Chief Machinist's Mate, U.S. Navy. Born: 7 October 1883, Minneapolis, Minn. Accredited to: Minnesota. (1 August 1932.) Citation: For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession while attached to the U.S.S. Memphis, at a time when that vessel was suffered total destruction from a hurricane while anchored off Santo Domingo City, 29 August 1916. C.M.M. Rud took his station in the engineroom and remained at his post amidst scalding steam and the rushing of thousands of tons of water into his department, receiving serious burns from which he immediately died.

WILLEY, CHARLES H.

Rank and organization: Machinist, U.S. Navy. Place and date: Off Santo Domingo City, Santo Domingo, 29 August 1916. Entered service at: Massachusetts. Born: 31 March 1889, East Boston, Mass. G.O. No.: --1 August 1932. Citation: For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession while serving on board the U.S.S. Memphis, at a time when that vessel was suffering total destruction from a hurricane while anchored off Santo Domingo City, 29 August 1916. Machinist Willey took his station in the engineer's department and remained at his post of duty amidst scalding steam and the rush of thousands of tons of water into his department as long as the engines would turn, leaving only when ordered to leave. When the boilers exploded, he assisted in getting the men out of the fireroom and carrying them into the engineroom, where there was air instead of steam to breathe. Machinist Willey's conduct on this occasion was above and beyond the call of duty.

We next find ourselves in WWII, near Brest, France, in 1944.  Charging the enemy with nothing but a trench knife, Sergeant McVeigh was a man with singular focus.

*McVElGH, JOHN J.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U .S. Army, Company H, 23d Infantry, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Brest, France, 29 August 1944. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Birth: Philadelphia, Pa. G.O. No.: 24, 6 April 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near Brest, France, on 29 August 1944. Shortly after dusk an enemy counterattack of platoon strength was launched against 1 platoon of Company G, 23d Infantry. Since the Company G platoon was not dug in and had just begun to assume defensive positions along a hedge, part of the line sagged momentarily under heavy fire from small arms and 2 flak guns, leaving a section of heavy machineguns holding a wide frontage without rifle protection. The enemy drive moved so swiftly that German riflemen were soon almost on top of 1 machinegun position. Sgt. McVeigh, heedless of a tremendous amount of small arms and flak fire directed toward him, stood up in full view of the enemy and directed the fire of his squad on the attacking Germans until his position was almost overrun. He then drew his trench knife. and single-handed charged several of the enemy. In a savage hand-to-hand struggle, Sgt. McVeigh killed 1 German with the knife, his only weapon, and was advancing on 3 more of the enemy when he was shot down and killed with small arms fire at pointblank range. Sgt. McVeigh's heroic act allowed the 2 remaining men in his squad to concentrate their machinegun fire on the attacking enemy and then turn their weapons on the 3 Germans in the road, killing all 3. Fire from this machinegun and the other gun of the section was almost entirely responsible for stopping this enemy assault, and allowed the rifle platoon to which it was attached time to reorganize, assume positions on and hold the high ground gained during the day.

*Indicates a posthumous award.