Posted in Men of Valor

Edward C. Byers, Jr. Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH Citation

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CHIEF SPECIAL WARFARE OPERATOR (SEA, AIR, AND LAND)

EDWARD C. BYERS, JR.

UNITED STATES NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Hostage Rescue Force Team Member in Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM from 8 to 9 December 2012. As the rescue force approached the target building, an enemy sentry detected them and darted inside to alert his fellow captors. The sentry quickly reemerged, and the lead assaulter attempted to neutralize him. Chief Byers with his team sprinted to the door of the target building. As the primary breacher, Chief Byers stood in the doorway fully exposed to enemy fire while ripping down six layers of heavy blankets fastened to the inside ceiling and walls to clear a path for the rescue force. The first assaulter pushed his way through the blankets, and was mortally wounded by enemy small arms fire from within. Chief Byers, completely aware of the imminent threat, fearlessly rushed into the room and engaged an enemy guard aiming an AK-47 at him. He then tackled another adult male who had darted towards the corner of the room. During the ensuing hand-to-hand struggle, Chief Byers confirmed the man was not the hostage and engaged him. As other rescue team members called out to the hostage, Chief Byers heard a voice respond in English and raced toward it. He jumped atop the American hostage and shielded him from the high volume of fire within the small room. While covering the hostage with his body, Chief Byers immobilized another guard with his bare hands, and restrained the guard until a teammate could eliminate him. His bold and decisive actions under fire saved the lives of the hostage and several of his teammates. By his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of near certain death, Chief Petty Officer Byers reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.


Born: Aug. 4, 1979 in Toledo, Oh…. Enlisted in 1998 and served as a corpsman until entering Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training… Graduate of BUD/S Class 242… Served in two combat assignments and 11 deployments… Awarded the Bronze Star five times and the Purple Heart twice… Is one of two Medal of Honor recipients currently serving in the Armed Forces

Posted in Men of Valor

Dakota L. Meyer Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CORPORAL

DAKOTA L. MEYER

MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Corporal Dakota L. Meyer, United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. When the forward element of his combat team began to be hit by intense fire from roughly 50 Taliban insurgents dug-in and concealed on the slopes above Ganjgal village, Corporal Meyer mounted a gun-truck, enlisted a fellow Marine to drive, and raced to attack the ambushers and aid the trapped Marines and Afghan soldiers. During a six hour fire fight, Corporal Meyer single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, saved 36 Marines and soldiers and recovered the bodies of his fallen brothers. Four separate times he fought the kilometer up into the heart of a deadly U-shaped ambush. During the fight he killed at least eight Taliban, personally evacuated 12 friendly wounded, and provided cover for another 24 Marines and soldiers to escape likely death at the hands of a numerically superior and determined foe. On his first foray his lone vehicle drew machine gun, mortar, rocket grenade and small arms fire while he rescued five wounded soldiers. His second attack disrupted the enemy’s ambush and he evacuated four more wounded Marines. Switching to another gun-truck because his was too damaged they again sped in for a third time, and as turret gunner killed several Taliban attackers at point blank range and suppressed enemy fire so 24 Marines and soldiers could break-out. Despite being wounded, he made a fourth attack with three others to search for missing team members. Nearly surrounded and under heavy fire he dismounted the vehicle and searched house to house to recover the bodies of his fallen team members. By his extraordinary heroism, presence of mind amidst chaos and death, and unselfish devotion to his comrades in the face of great danger, Corporal Meyer reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


Born: 26 Jun. 1988 in Columbia, Ky…. Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7… Is only the second Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions during the War on Terror and is the first living Marine to receive the Medal since the Vietnam War.

Posted in Men of Valor

Leroy A. Petry Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

STAFF SERGEANT

LEROY A. PETRY

ARMY

For service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry, United States Army. Staff Sergeant Leroy A. Petry distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the vicinity of Paktya Province, Afghanistan, on 26 May 2008. As a Weapons Squad Leader with D Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Staff Sergeant Petry moved to clear the courtyard of a house that potentially contained high-value combatants. While crossing the courtyard, Staff Sergeant Petry and another Ranger were engaged and wounded by automatic weapons fire from enemy fighters. Still under enemy fire, and wounded in both legs, Staff Sergeant Petry led the other Ranger to cover. He then reported the situation and engaged the enemy with a hand grenade, providing suppression as another Ranger moved to his position. The enemy quickly responded by maneuvering closer and throwing grenades. The first grenade explosion knocked his two fellow Rangers to the ground and wounded both with shrapnel. A second grenade then landed only a few feet away from them. Instantly realizing the danger, Staff Sergeant Petry, unhesitatingly and with complete disregard for his safety, deliberately and selflessly moved forward, picked up the grenade, and in an effort to clear the immediate threat, threw the grenade away from his fellow Rangers. As he was releasing the grenade it detonated, amputating his right hand at the wrist and further injuring him with multiple shrapnel wounds. Although picking up and throwing the live grenade grievously wounded Staff Sergeant Petry, his gallant act undeniably saved his fellow Rangers from being severely wounded or killed. Despite the severity of his wounds, Staff Sergeant Petry continued to maintain the presence of mind to place a tourniquet on his right wrist before communicating the situation by radio in order to coordinate support for himself and his fellow wounded Rangers. Staff Sergeant Petry’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service, and reflect great credit upon himself, 75th Ranger Regiment, and the United States Army.


Born: 29 Jul. 1979, Sanfa Fe, N.M…. Company D, 2d Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment… Served six tours in Afghanistan and two in Iraq, totaling 28 months in combat… Also awarded the Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars… Despite losing his arm, Petry remained in the Army – deploying to Afghanistan for one more tour – until retiring as a Master Sergeant in 2014… Only the second living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War.

Posted in Men of Valor

Salvatore A. Giunta Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

STAFF SERGEANT

SALVATORE AUGUSTINE GIUNTA

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant [then Specialist] Salvatore Augustine Giunta, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Specialist Giunta distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan, on 25 October 2007. While conducting a patrol as team leader with Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Combat Team, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-coordinated insurgent force. While under heavy enemy fire, Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader, helped him to cover, and administered medical aid. While administering first aid, enemy fire struck Specialist Giunta’s body armor and his secondary weapon. Without regard to the ongoing fire, Specialist Giunta engaged the enemy before prepping and throwing grenades, using the explosions for cover in order to conceal his position. Attempting to reach additional wounded fellow soldiers who were separated from the squad, Specialist Giunta and his team encountered a barrage of enemy fire that forced them to the ground. The team continued forward and upon reaching the wounded soldiers, Specialist Giunta realized that another soldier was still separated from the element. Specialist Giunta then advanced forward on his own initiative. As he crested the top of a hill, he observed two insurgents carrying away an American soldier. He immediately engaged the enemy, killing one and wounding the other. Upon reaching the wounded soldier, he began to provide medical aid, as his squad caught up and provided security. Specialist Giunta’s unwavering courage, selflessness, and decisive leadership while under extreme enemy fire were integral to his platoon’s ability to defeat an enemy ambush and recover a fellow American soldier from the enemy. Specialist Salvatore A. Giunta’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, Company B, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, and the United States Army.


Born: Jan. 21, 1985, Clinton, Iowa… First living Medal of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War… Left the Army in 2011

Posted in Men of Valor

Joe M. Jackson Medal of Honor citation


The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

LIEUTENANT COLONEL

JOE MADISON JACKSON

AIR FORCE

For service as set forth in the following:

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant Colonel Joe Madison Jackson, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 311th Air Commando Squadron, 315th Special Operations Wing, in action at Kham Duc, Republic of Vietnam, on 12 May 1968. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson distinguished himself as Pilot of a C-123 aircraft. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson volunteered to attempt the rescue of a three-man USAF Combat Control Team from the special forces camp at Kham Duc. Hostile forces had overrun the forward outpost and established gun positions on the airstrip. They were raking the camp with small arms, mortars, light and heavy automatic weapons, and recoilless rifle fire. The camp was engulfed in flames and ammunition dumps were continuously exploding and littering the runway with debris. In addition, eight aircraft had been destroyed by the intense enemy fire and one aircraft remained on the runway reducing its usable length to only 2,200 feet. To further complicate the landing, the weather was deteriorating rapidly, thereby permitting only one air strike prior to his landing. Although fully aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson elected to land his aircraft and attempt to rescue. Displaying superb airmanship and extraordinary heroism, he landed his aircraft near the point where the combat control team was reported to be hiding. While on the ground, his aircraft was the target of intense hostile fire. A rocket landed in front of the nose of the aircraft but failed to explode. Once the combat control team was aboard, Lieutenant Colonel Jackson succeeded in getting airborne despite the hostile fire directed across the runway in front of his aircraft. Lieutenant Colonel Jackson’s profound concern for his fellowmen, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself, and the Armed Forces of his country.


Born:14 Mar. 1923, Newnan, Ga…. Enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941 and served as a B-25 crew chief during World War II… Became a commissioned officer and ended the war as a B-25 pilot… Flew 107 combat missions during the Korean War as an F-86 pilot… Flew 298 combat missions during the Vietnam War as a C-123 pilot.

Posted in Men of Valor

Kenneth E. Stumpf Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

SERGEANT

KENNETH EDWARD STUMPF

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Kenneth Edward Stumpf, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a squad leader of the 3d Platoon, Company C, 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces while on a search and destroy mission near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on 25 April 1967. As Staff Sergeant Stumpf’s company approached a village, it encountered a North Vietnamese rifle company occupying a well fortified bunker complex. During the initial contact, three men from his squad fell wounded in front of a hostile machinegun emplacement. The enemy’s heavy volume of fire prevented the unit from moving to the aid of the injured men, but Staff Sergeant Stumpf left his secure position in a deep trench and ran through the barrage of incoming rounds to reach his wounded comrades. He picked up one of the men and carried him back to the safety of the trench. Twice more Staff Sergeant Stumpf dashed forward while the enemy turned automatic weapons and machineguns upon him, yet he managed to rescue the remaining two wounded squad members. He then organized his squad and led an assault against several enemy bunkers from which continuously heavy fire was being received. He and his squad successfully eliminated two of the bunker positions, but one to the front of the advancing platoon remained a serious threat. Arming himself with extra hand grenades, Staff Sergeant Stumpf ran over open ground, through a volley of fire directed at him by a determined enemy, toward the machinegun position. As he reached the bunker, he threw a hand grenade through the aperture. It was immediately returned by the occupants, forcing Staff Sergeant Stumpf to take cover. Undaunted, he pulled the pins on two more grenades, held them for a few seconds after activation, then hurled them into the position, this time successfully destroying the emplacement. With the elimination of this key position, his unit was able to assault and overrun the enemy. Staff Sergeant Stumpf’s relentless spirit of aggressiveness, intrepidity, and ultimate concern for the lives of his men, are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.


Born: 28 Sep. 1944, Neenah, Wisc…. Retired as Master Sergeant.

Posted in Men of Valor

Mike Colalillo Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

PRIVATE

MICHAEL “MIKE” COLALILLO

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private Michael “Mike” Colalillo, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty on 7 April 1945, while serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division. Private Colalillo was pinned down with other members of his company during an attack against strong enemy positions in the vicinity of Untergriesheim, Germany. Heavy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire made any move hazardous when he stood up, shouted to the company to follow, and ran forward in the wake of a supporting tank, firing his machine pistol. Inspired by his example, his comrades advanced in the face of savage enemy fire. When his weapon was struck by shrapnel and rendered useless, he climbed to the deck of a friendly tank, manned an exposed machinegun on the turret of the vehicle, and, while bullets rattled about him, fired at an enemy emplacement with such devastating accuracy that he killed or wounded at least ten hostile soldiers and destroyed their machinegun. Maintaining his extremely dangerous post as the tank forged ahead, he blasted three more positions, destroyed another machinegun emplacement and silenced all resistance in his area, killing at least three and wounding an undetermined number of riflemen as they fled. His machinegun eventually jammed; so he secured a submachine gun from the tank crew to continue his attack on foot. When our armored forces exhausted their ammunition and the order to withdraw was given, he remained behind to help a seriously wounded comrade over several hundred yards of open terrain rocked by an intense enemy artillery and mortar barrage. By his intrepidity and inspiring courage Private First Class Colalillo gave tremendous impetus to his company’s attack, killed or wounded 25 of the enemy in bitter fighting, and assisted a wounded soldier in reaching the American lines at great risk of his own life.


Born: 11 Dec 1925, Hibbing, Minn…. Also awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star.

Posted in Men of Valor

Gary L. Littrell Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

SERGEANT FIRST CLASS

GARY LEE LITTRELL

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant First Class Gary Lee Littrell, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces at Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, from 4 to 8 April 1970. Sergeant First Class Littrell, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, Advisory Team 21, distinguished himself while serving as a Light Weapons Infantry Advisor with the 23d Battalion, 2d Ranger Group, Republic of Vietnam Army, near Dak Seang. After establishing a defensive perimeter on a hill on 4 April the battalion was subjected to an intense enemy mortar attack which killed the Vietnamese commander, one advisor, and seriously wounded all the advisors except Sergeant First Class Littrell. During the ensuing four days, Sergeant First Class Littrell exhibited near superhuman endurance as he single-handedly bolstered the besieged battalion. Repeatedly abandoning positions of relative safety, he directed artillery and air support by day and marked the unit’s location by night, despite the heavy, concentrated enemy fire. His dauntless will instilled in the men of the 23d Battalion a deep desire to resist. Assault after assault was repulsed as the battalion responded to the extraordinary leadership and personal example exhibited by Sergeant First Class Littrell as he continuously moved to those points most seriously threatened by the enemy, redistributed ammunition, strengthened faltering defenses, cared for the wounded and shouted encouragement to the Vietnamese in their own language. When the beleaguered battalion was finally ordered to withdraw, numerous ambushes were encountered. Sergeant First Class Littrell repeatedly prevented widespread disorder by directing air strikes to within 50 meters of their position. Through his indomitable courage and complete disregard for his safety, he averted excessive loss of life and injury to the members of the battalion. The sustained extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Sergeant First Class Littrell over an extended period of time were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him and the United States Army.


Born: 26 Oct. 1944, Henderson, Ky…. Also awarded the Purple Heart and three Bronze Stars… Retired as Command Sergeant Major in 1983.

Posted in Men of Valor

Gary B. Beikirch Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

SERGEANT

GARY BURNELL BEIKIRCH

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Sergeant Gary Burnell Beikirch, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Detachment 8245, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Dak Seang, Republic of Vietnam, on 1 April 1970. Sergeant Beikirch, Medical Aidman, Detachment B-24, Company B, distinguished himself during the defense of Camp Dak Seang. The allied defenders suffered a number of casualties as a result of an intense, devastating attack launched by the enemy from well-concealed positions surrounding the camp. Sergeant Beikirch, with complete disregard for his personal safety, moved unhesitatingly through the withering enemy fire to his fallen comrades, applied first aid to their wounds and assisted them to the medical aid station. When informed that a seriously injured American officer was lying in an exposed position, Sergeant Beikirch ran immediately through the hail of fire. Although he was wounded seriously by fragments from an exploding enemy mortar shell, Sergeant Beikirch carried the officer to a medical aid station. Ignoring his own serious injuries, Sergeant Beikirch left the relative safety of the medical bunker to search for and evacuate other men who had been injured. He was again wounded as he dragged a critically injured Vietnamese soldier to the medical bunker while simultaneously applying mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to sustain his life. Sergeant Beikirch again refused treatment and continued his search for other casualties until he collapsed. Only then did he permit himself to be treated. Sergeant Beikirch’s complete devotion to the welfare of his comrades, at the risk of his life are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.


Born: 29 Aug. 1947, Rochester, N.Y.

Posted in Men of Valor

Brian M. Thacker Medal of Honor citation

Army MOH CitationThe President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

FIRST LIEUTENANT

BRIAN MILES THACKER

ARMY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to First Lieutenant (Field Artillery) Brian Miles Thacker, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 1st Battalion, 92d Artillery, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 31 March 1971. First Lieutenant Thacker, Field Artillery, Battery A, distinguished himself while serving as the team leader of an Integrated Observation System collocated with elements of two Army of the Republic of Vietnam units at Fire Base 6. A numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force launched a well-planned, dawn attack on the small, isolated, hilltop fire base. Employing rockets, grenades, flame-throwers, and automatic weapons, the enemy forces penetrated the perimeter defenses and engaged the defenders in hand-to-hand combat. Throughout the morning and early afternoon, First Lieutenant Thacker rallied and encouraged the U.S. and Republic of Vietnam soldiers in heroic efforts to repulse the enemy. He occupied a dangerously exposed observation position for a period of four hours while directing friendly air strikes and artillery fire against the assaulting enemy forces. His personal bravery and inspired leadership enabled the outnumbered friendly forces to inflict a maximum of casualties on the attacking enemy forces and prevented the base from being overrun. By late afternoon, the situation had become untenable. First Lieutenant Thacker organized and directed the withdrawal of the remaining friendly forces. With complete disregard for his personal safety, he remained inside the perimeter alone to provide covering fire with his M-16 rifle until all other friendly forces had escaped from the besieged fire base. Then, in an act of supreme courage, he called for friendly artillery fire on his own position to allow his comrades more time to withdraw safely from the area and, at the same time, inflict even greater casualties on the enemy forces. Although wounded and unable to escape from the area himself, he successfully eluded the enemy forces for eight days until friendly forces regained control of the fire base. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by First Lieutenant Thacker were an inspiration to his comrades and are in the highest traditions of the military service.


Born: 25 Apr. 1945, Columbus, Oh.