Posted in Men of Valor

Forrest L. “Woody” Vosler 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

TECHNICAL SERGEANT

FORREST LEE “WOODY” VOSLER

ARMY AIR FORCES

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 Technical Sergeant Forrest Lee “Woody” Vosler, United States Army Air Forces, for conspicuous gallantry in action against the enemy above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio operator-air gunner on a heavy bombardment aircraft of the 358th Bombardment Squadron, 303d Bombardment Group (H), Eighth Air Force in a mission over Bremen, Germany, on 20 December 1943. After bombing the target, the aircraft in which Technical Sergeant Vosler was serving was severely damaged by anti-aircraft fire, forced out of formation, and immediately subjected to repeated vicious attacks by enemy fighters. Early in the engagement a 20-mm cannon shell exploded in the radio compartment, painfully wounding Technical Sergeant Vosler in the legs and thighs. At about the same time a direct hit on the tail of the ship seriously wounded the tail gunner and rendered the tail guns inoperative. Realizing the great need for firepower in protecting the vulnerable tail of the ship, Technical Sergeant Vosler, with grim determination, kept up a steady stream of deadly fire. Shortly thereafter another 20-mm enemy shell exploded, wounding Technical Sergeant Vosler in the chest and about the face. Pieces of metal lodged in both eyes, impairing his vision to such an extent that he could only distinguish blurred shapes. Displaying remarkable tenacity and courage, he kept firing his guns and declined to take first-aid treatment. The radio equipment had been rendered inoperative during the battle, and when the pilot announced that he would have to ditch, although unable to see and working entirely by touch, Technical Sergeant Vosler finally got the set operating and sent out distress signals despite several lapses into unconsciousness. When the ship ditched, Technical Sergeant Vosler managed to get out on the wing by himself and hold the wounded tail gunner from slipping off until the other crewmembers could help them into the dinghy. Technical Sergeant Vosler’s actions on this occasion were an inspiration to all serving with him. The extraordinary courage, coolness, and skill he displayed in the face of great odds, when handicapped by injuries that would have incapacitated the average crewmember, were outstanding.


Born: July 29, 1923 in Lyndonville, N.Y…. Earned his Medal of Honor on the B-17 “Jersey Bounce Jr”… Is the second enlisted airman to receive the Medal of Honor… Departed: Feb. 17, 1992… Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

Posted in Men of Valor

Van T. Barfoot 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

SECOND LIEUTENANT

VAN THOMAS BARFOOT

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 Second Lieutenant (Infantry), [then Technical Sergeant] Van Thomas Barfoot, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 23 May 1944, while serving with Company L, 3d Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division near Carano, Italy. With his platoon heavily engaged during an assault against forces well entrenched on commanding ground, Second Lieutenant Barfoot moved off alone upon the enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of one machinegun nest and made a direct hit on it with a hand grenade, killing two and wounding three Germans. He continued along the German defense line to another machinegun emplacement, and with his Tommy gun killed two and captured three soldiers. Members of another enemy machinegun crew then abandoned their position and gave themselves up to Sergeant Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his support squad to pick up, he proceeded to mop up positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners and bringing his total count to 17. Later that day, after he had reorganized his men and consolidated the newly captured ground, the enemy launched a fierce armored counterattack directly at his platoon positions. Securing a bazooka, Sergeant Barfoot took up an exposed position directly in front of three advancing Mark VI tanks. From a distance of 75 yards his first shot destroyed the track of the leading tank, effectively disabling it, while the other two changed direction toward the flank. As the crew of the disabled tank dismounted, Sergeant Barfoot killed three of them with his Tommy gun. He continued onward into enemy terrain and destroyed a recently abandoned German fieldpiece with a demolition charge placed in the breech. While returning to his platoon position, Sergeant Barfoot, though greatly fatigued by his Herculean efforts, assisted two of his seriously wounded men 1,700 yards to a position of safety. Sergeant Barfoot’s extraordinary heroism, demonstration of magnificent valor, and aggressive determination in the face of pointblank fire are a perpetual inspiration to his fellow soldiers.


Born: June 15, 1919 in Edinburg, Miss…. Barfoot fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam… Awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts… Retired as Colonel… Departed March 2, 2012

Posted in Men of Valor

Alejandro R. Ruiz 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

ALEJANDRO RENTERIA RUIZ
ARMY

for service as set forth in the following
CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty on 28 April 1945, while serving with Company A, 1st Battalion, 165th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division, in action at Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, when his unit was stopped by a skillfully camouflaged enemy pillbox. Private Ruiz’ squad, suddenly brought under a hail of machinegun fire and a vicious grenade attack, was pinned down. Jumping to his feet, Private First Class Ruiz seized an automatic rifle and lunged through the flying grenades and rifle and automatic fire for the top of the emplacement. When an enemy soldier charged him, his rifle jammed. Undaunted, Private First Class Ruiz whirled on his assailant and clubbed him down. Then he ran back through bullets and grenades, seized more ammunition and another automatic rifle, and again made for the pillbox. Enemy fire now was concentrated on him, but he charged on, miraculously reaching the position, and in plain view he climbed to the top. Leaping from one opening to another, he sent burst after burst into the pillbox, killing 12 of the enemy and completely destroying the position. Private First Class Ruiz’s heroic conduct, in the face of overwhelming odds, saved the lives of many comrades and eliminated an obstacle that long would have checked his unit’s advance.

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

Vernon Baker 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

VERNON J. BAKER

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 (Infantry) Vernon J. Baker, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action on 5 and 6 April 1945, while serving with Company C, 370th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division, in action near Viareggio, Italy. Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel and equipment during his company’s attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked and enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy’s fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker’s fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.


Born: 17 Dec 1919, Cheyenne, Wy…. Also awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star… Retired in 1965 as a First Sergeant.

Posted in Men of Valor

George Phillips 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

PRIVATE

GEORGE PHILLIPS

MARINE CORPS RESERVE

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 Private George Phillips, United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Twenty-Eighth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, on 14 March 1945. Standing the foxhole watch while other members of his squad rested after a night of bitter hand grenade fighting against infiltrating Japanese troops, Private Phillips was the only member of his unit alerted when an enemy hand grenade was tossed into their midst. Instantly shouting a warning, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his own body and protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, Private Phillips willingly yielded his own life that his fellow Marines might carry on the relentless battle against a fanatic enemy. His superb valor and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon himself and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Born:14 Jul. 1926 Rock Hill, Mo.

Posted in Men of Valor

Franklin E. Sigler 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

PRIVATE

FRANKLIN EARL SIGLER

MARINE CORPS RESERVE

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 Franklin Earl Sigler, United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Second Battalion, Twenty-Sixth Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands on 14 March 1945. Voluntarily taking command of his rifle squad when the leader became a casualty, Private Sigler fearlessly led a bold charge against an enemy gun installation which had held up the advance of his company for several days and, reaching the position in advance of the others, assailed the emplacement with hand grenades and personally annihilated the entire crew. As additional Japanese troops opened fire from concealed tunnels and caves above, he quickly scaled the rocks leading to the attacking guns, surprised the enemy with a furious one-man assault and, although severely wounded in the encounter, deliberately crawled back to his squad position where he steadfastly refused evacuation, persistently directing heavy machinegun and rocket barrages on the Japanese cave entrances. Undaunted by the merciless rain of hostile fire during the intensified action, he gallantly disregarded his own painful wounds to aid casualties, carrying three wounded squad members to safety behind the lines and returning to continue the battle with renewed determination until ordered to retire for medical treatment. Stouthearted and indomitable in the face of extreme peril, Private Sigler, by his alert initiative, unfaltering leadership, and daring tactics in a critical situation, effected the release of his besieged company from enemy fire and contributed essentially to its further advance against a savagely fighting enemy. His superb valor, resolute fortitude, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice throughout reflect the highest credit upon Private Sigler and the United States Naval Service.


Born: 6 Nov. 1924, Glen Ridge, N.J…. Also awarded Purple Heart… Discharged due to wounds suffered in Iwo Jima in June of 1946… Departed 20 Jan. 1995

Posted in Men of Valor

Joseph R. Julian 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

PLATOON SERGEANT

JOSEPH RODOLPH JULIAN

MARINE CORPS RESERVE

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 Platoon Sergeant Joseph Rodolph Julian, United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Platoon Sergeant serving with the First Battalion, Twenty-Seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 9 March 1945. Determined to force a breakthrough when Japanese troops occupying trenches and fortified positions on the left front laid down a terrific machinegun and mortar barrage in a desperate effort to halt his company’s advance, Platoon Sergeant Julian quickly established his platoon’s guns in strategic supporting positions, and then, acting on his own initiative, fearlessly moved forward to execute a one man assault on the nearest pillbox. Advancing alone, he hurled deadly demolition and white phosphorus grenades into the emplacement, killing two of the enemy and driving the remaining five out into the adjoining trench system. Seizing a discarded rifle, he jumped into the trench and dispatched the five before they could make an escape. Intent on wiping out all resistance, he obtained more explosives and, accompanied by another Marine, again charged the hostile fortifications and knocked out two more cave positions. Immediately thereafter, he launched a bazooka attack unassisted, firing four rounds into the one remaining pillbox and completely destroying it before he fell, mortally wounded by a vicious burst of enemy fire. Stouthearted and indomitable, Platoon Sergeant Julian consistently disregarded all personal danger and, by his bold decision, daring tactics, and relentless fighting spirit during a critical phase of the battle, contributed materially to the continued advance of his company and to the success of his division’s operations in the sustained drive toward the conquest of this fiercely defended outpost of the Japanese Empire. His outstanding valor and unfaltering spirit of self-sacrifice throughout the bitter conflict sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.


Born: 3 Apr. 1918 in Sturbridge, Mass…. 1st Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division

Posted in Men of Valor

James D. LaBelle 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

PRIVATE FIRST CLASS

JAMES DENNIS LABELLE

MARINE CORPS RESERVE

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 Private First Class James Dennis LaBelle, United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the Twenty-Seventh Marines, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 8 March 1945. Filling a gap in the front lines during a critical phase of the battle, Private First Class LaBelle had dug into a foxhole with two other Marines and, grimly aware of the enemy’s persistent attempts to blast a way through our lines with hand grenades, applied himself with steady concentration to maintaining a sharply vigilant watch during the hazardous night hours. Suddenly a hostile grenade landed beyond reach in his foxhole. Quickly estimating the situation, he determined to save the others if possible, shouted a warning, and instantly dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and thereby protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had unhesitatingly relinquished his own chance of survival that his fellow Marines might carry on the relentless fight against a fanatic enemy. His dauntless courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Private First Class LaBelle and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.


Born: 22 Nov. 1925 in Columbia Heights, Minn…. 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division

Posted in Men of Valor

John H. Leims Medal of Honor citiation

Navy MOH Citation

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

SECOND LIEUTENANT

JOHN HAROLD LEIMS

MARINE CORPS RESERVE

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 Second Lieutenant John Harold Leims, United States Marine Corps (Reserve), for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Company B, First Battalion, Ninth Marines, THIRD Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 7 March 1945. Launching a surprise attack against the rock-imbedded fortification of a dominating Japanese hill position, Second Lieutenant Leims spurred his company forward with indomitable determination and, skillfully directing his assault platoons against the cave-emplaced enemy troops and heavily fortified pillboxes, succeeded in capturing the objective in later afternoon. When it became apparent that his assault platoons were cut off in this newly won position, approximately 400 yards forward of adjacent units and lacked all communication with the command post, he personally advanced and laid telephone lines across the isolating expanse of open fire-swept terrain. Ordered to withdraw his command after he had joined his forward platoons, he immediately complied, adroitly effecting the withdrawal of his troops without incident. Upon arriving at the rear, he was informed that several casualties had been left at the abandoned ridge position beyond the frontlines. Although suffering acutely from the strain and exhausting of battle, he instantly went forward despite darkness and the slashing fury of hostile machinegun fire, located and carried to safety one seriously wounded Marine and then, running the gauntlet of enemy fire for the third time that night, again made his tortuous way into the bullet-riddled deathtrap and rescued another of his wounded men. A dauntless leader, concerned at all time for the welfare of his men, Second Lieutenant Leims soundly maintained the coordinated strength of his battle-wearied company under extremely difficult conditions and, by his bold tactics, sustained aggressiveness, and heroic disregard for all personal danger, contributed essentially to the success of his division’s operations against this vital Japanese base. His valiant conduct in the face of fanatic opposition sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


Born: 8 June 1921, Chicago, Ill…. Selected for officer training following overseas duty in New Zealand and Guadalcanal… Retired from the Marine Corps Reserve as a Captain in 1962… Departed: 28 June 1985.