Posted in Men of Valor

Thomas J. Hudner, Jr. 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

LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE

THOMAS JEROME HUDNER JR.

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 pilot in Fighter Squadron 32, while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by antiaircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lt. (J.G.) Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lt. (J.G.) Hudner’s exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Born: 31 Aug. 1934 in Fall River, Mass…. Graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1947… The pilot Hudner attempted to rescue was Ens. Jesse L. Brown, the Navy’s first black aviator… Retired as a captain in 1973

Posted in Men of Valor

William D. Halyburton Jr. Medal of Honor citation

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

PHARMACIST’S MATE SECOND CLASS

WILLIAM DAVID HALYBURTON JR.

UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE

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 Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class William David Halyburton, Jr., United States Naval Reserve, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman with a Marine Rifle Company in the SECOND Battalion, Fifth Marines, FIRST Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, on 10 May 1945. Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class Halyburton unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open fire-swept field where the company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties. Moving steadily forward despite the enemy’s merciless barrage, he reached the wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for the second time by a Japanese bullet. Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling on all sides. Alert, determined and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live. By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class Halyburton sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.


Born: August 2, 1924 in Canton, N.C…. Interred: National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii

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

David McCampbell 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

COMMANDER

DAVID S. McCAMPBELL

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 pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Commander David S. McCampbell (NSN: 0-72487), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander, Air Group FIFTEEN (AG-15), attached to the U.S.S. ESSEX (CV-9), during combat against enemy Japanese aerial forces in the first and second battles of the Philippine Sea. An inspiring leader, fighting boldly in the face of terrific odds, Commander McCampbell led his fighter planes against a force of 80 Japanese carrier-based aircraft bearing down on our fleet on 19 June 1944. Striking fiercely in valiant defense of our surface force, he personally destroyed seven hostile planes during this single engagement in which the outnumbering attack force was utterly routed and virtually annihilated. During a major fleet engagement with the enemy on 24 October, Commander McCampbell, assisted by but one plane, intercepted and daringly attacked a formation of 60 hostile land-based craft approaching our forces. Fighting desperately but with superb skill against such overwhelming airpower, he shot down nine Japanese planes and, completely disorganizing the enemy group, forced the remainder to abandon the attack before a single aircraft could reach the fleet. His great personal valor and indomitable spirit of aggression under extremely perilous combat conditions reflect the highest credit upon Commander McCampbell and the United States Naval Service.


Born: Jan. 16, 1910 in Bessemer, Ala…. Graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, Class of 1933… Is Navy’s top ace of World War II and also the war’s top surviving ace… His nine victories hold the single-sortie record… Earned the Navy Cross the day after his Medal of Honor actions… Also awarded the Silver Star… Retired from active duty as captain in 1964 after 31 years of service… Departed: June 30, 1996… Interred at Arlington National Cemetery… Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG-85) is named in his honor

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