Posted in Men of Valor

John H. Willis Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH Citation

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

PHARMACIST’S MATE FIRST CLASS

JOHN HARLAN WILLIS

NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Pharmacist’s Mate First Class John Harlan Willis, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Corpsman serving with the Third Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 28 February 1945. Constantly imperiled by artillery and mortar fire from strong and mutually supporting pillboxes and caves studding Hill 362 in the enemy’s cross-island defenses, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Willis resolutely administered first aid to the many Marines wounded during the furious close-in fighting until he himself was struck by shrapnel and was ordered back to the battle-aid station. Without waiting for official medical release, he quickly returned to his company and, during a savage hand-to-hand enemy counterattack, daringly advanced to the extreme frontlines under mortar and sniper fire to aid a Marine lying wounded in a shellhole. Completely unmindful of his own danger as the Japanese intensified their attack, Willis calmly continued to administer blood plasma to his patient, promptly returning the first hostile grenade which landed in the shell-hole while he was working and hurling back seven more in quick succession before the ninth one exploded in his hand and instantly killed him. By his great personal valor in saving others at the sacrifice of his own life, Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Willis inspired his companions, although terrifically outnumbered, to launch a fiercely determined attack and repulse the enemy force. His exceptional fortitude and courage in the performance of duty reflect the highest credit upon Willis and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Born: 10 June 1921, Columbia, Tenn…. Namesake of USS John Willis (DE-1027)… Interred at Rose Hill Cemetery in Columbia, Tenn.

Posted in Men of Valor

Rufus G. Herring 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

LIEUTENANT

RUFUS GEDDIE HERRING

NAVY

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 [then Lieutenant, Junior Grade] Rufus Geddie Herring, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of Landing Craft Infantry Gunboat FOUR HUNDRED FORTY-NINE (LCI (G) 449), operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group EIGHT, during the pre-invasion attack on Iwo Jima, Ryukyu Islands, on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal defense guns, Lieutenant Herring directed shattering barrages of 40-mm. and 20-mm. gunfire against hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy’s savage counter-fire which blasted the 449’s heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets of flame. Regaining consciousness despite profuse bleeding he was again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed the conning station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers and leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon recovering the second time, Lieutenant Herring resolutely climbed down to the pilothouse and, fighting against his rapidly waning strength, took over the helm, established communication with the engineroom, and carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer able to stand, he propped himself against empty shell cases and rallied his men to the aid of the wounded; he maintained position in the firing line with his 20-mm. guns in action in the face of sustained enemy fire, and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering fortitude, aggressive perseverance, and indomitable spirit against terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon Lieutenant Herring and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Born: 11 June 1921 in Roseboro, N.C…. Also participated in the invasions of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian and Guam… Retired as Lieutenant Commander in 1947… Departed: 31 Jan. 1996.

Posted in Men of Valor

Milton E. Ricketts Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH Citation

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

LIEUTENANT

MILTON ERNEST RICKETTS

NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Lieutenant Milton Ernest Ricketts (NSN: 0-75002), United States Navy, for extraordinary and distinguished gallantry above and beyond the call of duty as Officer-in-Charge of the Engineering Repair Party of the U.S.S. YORKTOWN in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Battle of the Coral Sea on 8 May 1942. During the severe bombarding of the YORKTOWN by enemy Japanese forces, an aerial bomb passed through and exploded directly beneath the compartment in which Lieutenant Ricketts’ battle station was located, killing, wounding or stunning all of his men and mortally wounding him. Despite his ebbing strength, Lieutenant Ricketts promptly opened the valve of a near-by fireplug, partially led out the fire hose and directed a heavy stream of water into the fire before dropping dead beside the hose. His courageous action, which undoubtedly prevented the rapid spread of fire to serious proportions, and his unflinching devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Born: August 5, 1913 in Baltimore, Md…. Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1935… Interred: buried at sea… The destroyer USS Ricketts (DE-254) is named in his honor

Posted in Men of Valor

William E. Hall 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

LIEUTENANT, JUNIOR GRADE

WILLIAM EDWARD HALL

NAVAL RESERVE

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For extreme courage and conspicuous heroism in combat above and beyond the call of duty as pilot of a scouting plane in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942. In a resolute and determined attack on 7 May, Lt. (j.g.) Hall dived his plane at an enemy Japanese aircraft carrier, contributing materially to the destruction of that vessel. On 8 May, facing heavy and fierce fighter opposition, he again displayed extraordinary skill as an airman and the aggressive spirit of a fighter in repeated and effectively executed counterattacks against a superior number of enemy planes in which 3 enemy aircraft were destroyed. Though seriously wounded in this engagement, Lt. (j.g.) Hall, maintaining the fearless and indomitable tactics pursued throughout these actions, succeeded in landing his plane safe.


Born: Oct. 31, 1913 Storrs, Utah… Joined the Navy in 1938… Left the service as a lieutenant commander in 1946… Departed: Nov. 15, 1996… Interred: Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery, Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Posted in Men of Valor

John J. Powers Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH Citation

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

LIEUTENANT

JOHN JAMES POWERS

UNITED STATES NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Lieutenant John James Powers (NSN: 0-74968), United States Navy, for distinguished and conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while Pilot of an airplane of Bombing Squadron FIVE (VB-5) attached to the U.S.S. YORKTOWN (CV-5). Lieutenant Powers participated, with his squadron, in five engagements with Japanese forces in the Coral Sea area and adjacent waters during the period 4 to 8 May 1942. Three attacks were made on enemy objectives at or near Tulagi on 4 May. In these attacks he scored a direct hit which instantly demolished a large enemy gunboat or destroyer and is credited with two close misses, one of which severely damaged a large aircraft tender, the other damaging a 20,000-ton transport. He fearlessly strafed a gunboat, firing all his ammunition into it amid intense anti-aircraft fire. This gunboat was then observed to be leaving a heavy oil slick in its wake and later was seen beached on a nearby island. On 7 May, an attack was launched against an enemy airplane carrier and other units of the enemy’s invasion force. He fearlessly led his attack section of three Douglas Dauntless dive bombers, to attack the carrier. On this occasion he dived in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, to an altitude well below the safety altitude, at the risk of his life and almost certain damage to his own plane, in order that he might positively obtain a hit in a vital part of the ship, which would insure her complete destruction. This bomb hit was noted by many pilots and observers to cause a tremendous explosion engulfing the ship in a mass of flame, smoke, and debris. The ship sank soon after. That evening, in his capacity as Squadron Gunnery Officer, Lieutenant Powers gave a lecture to the squadron on point-of-aim and diving technique. During this discourse he advocated low release point in order to insure greater accuracy; yet he stressed the danger not only from enemy fire and the resultant low pull-out, but from own bomb blast and bomb fragments. Thus his low-dive bombing attacks were deliberate and premeditated, since he well knew and realized the dangers of such tactics, but went far beyond the call of duty in order to further the cause which he knew to be right. The next morning, 8 May, as the pilots of the attack group left the ready room to man planes, his indomitable spirit and leadership were well expressed in his own words, “Remember the folks back home are counting on us. I am going to get a hit if one have to lay it on their flight deck.” He led his section of dive bombers down to the target from an altitude of 18,000 feet, through a wall of bursting anti-aircraft shells and into the face of enemy fighter planes. Again, completely disregarding the safety altitude and without fear or concern for his safety, Lieutenant Powers courageously pressed home his attack, almost to the very deck of an enemy carrier and did not release his bomb until he was sure of a direct hit. He was last seen attempting recovery from his dive at the extremely low altitude of 200 feet, and amid a terrific barrage of shell and bomb fragments, smoke, flame and debris from the stricken vessel.


Born: July 3, 1912 in New York City, N.Y…. Graduated U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1935… Served aboard USS AUGUSTA and USS UTAH prior to attending flight school… Interred: body never recovered

Posted in Men of Valor

John W. Finn 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

JOHN WILLIAM FINN

NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machinegun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Born: 24 July 1909, Los Angeles, Calif…. Served as Chief Petty Officer before receiving his commission… Only Pearl Harbor Medal of Honor recipient for combat actions… Retired as Lieutenant in 1956… Departed 27 May 2010

Posted in Men of Valor

Herbert C. Jones Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH Citation

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

ENSIGN

HERBERT CHARPOIT JONES

NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Ensign Herbert Charpoit Jones, United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. Ensign Jones organized and led a party, which was supplying ammunition to the anti-aircraft battery of the U.S.S. CALIFORNIA (BB-44) after the mechanical hoists were put out of action when he was fatally wounded by a bomb explosion. When two men attempted to take him from the area which was on fire, he refused to let them do so, saying in words to the effect, “Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off.”



Posted in Men of Valor

Jackson C. Pharris 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

LIEUTENANT

JACKSON CHARLES PHARRIS

NAVY

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 [then Gunner] Jackson Charles Pharris, United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the U.S.S. CALIFORNIA (BB-44) during the surprise enemy Japanese aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941. In charge of the ordnance repair party on the third deck when the first Japanese torpedo struck almost directly under his station, Lieutenant Pharris was stunned and severely injured by the concussion which hurled him to the overhead and back to the deck. Quickly recovering, he acted on his own initiative to set up a hand-supply ammunition train for the anti-aircraft guns. With water and oil rushing in where the port bulkhead had been torn up from the deck, with many of the remaining crewmembers overcome by oil fumes, and the ship without power and listing heavily to port as a result of a second torpedo hit, Lieutenant Pharris ordered the shipfitters to counterflood. Twice rendered unconscious by the nauseous fumes and handicapped by his painful injuries, he persisted in his desperate efforts to speed up the supply of ammunition and at the same time repeatedly risked his life to enter flooding compartments and drag to safety unconscious shipmates who were gradually being submerged in oil. By his inspiring leadership, his valiant efforts and his extreme loyalty to his ship and her crew, he saved many of his shipmates from death and was largely responsible for keeping the CALIFORNIA in action during the attack. His heroic conduct throughout this first eventful engagement of World War II reflects the highest credit upon Lieutenant Pharris and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.



Posted in Men of Valor

Donald K. Ross 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

WARRANT MACHINIST

DONALD KIRBY ROSS

NAVY

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 Warrant Machinist Donald Kirby Ross, United States Navy, for distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage and disregard of his own life during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. When his station in the forward dynamo room of the U.S.S. NEVADA (BB-36) became almost untenable due to smoke, steam, and heat, Warrant Machinist Ross forced his men to leave that station and performed all the duties himself until blinded and unconscious. Upon being rescued and resuscitated, he returned and secured the forward dynamo room and proceeded to the after dynamo room where he was later again rendered unconscious by exhaustion. Again recovering consciousness he returned to his station where he remained until directed to abandon it.



Posted in Men of Valor

Robert R. Scott Medal of Honor citation

Navy MOH Citation

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

MACHINIST’S MATE FIRST CLASS

ROBERT RAYMOND SCOTT

NAVY

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Machinist’s Mate First Class Robert Raymond Scott, United States Navy, for conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. The compartment, in the U.S.S. CALIFORNIA (BB-44), in which the air compressor, to which Machinist’s Mate First Class Scott was assigned as his battle station, was flooded as the result of a torpedo hit. The remainder of the personnel evacuated that compartment but Scott refused to leave, saying words to the effect “This is my station and I will stay and give them air as long as the guns are going.”