Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 8 October
October 8th, 2009 by John Donovan
WWII Medal recipient Captain Bobbie Brown. 18 Medals earned on this day in history - 15 of them on the same day during the closing days of WWI The Civil War, the battle of Perryville. Sergeant Durham seems like a guy to stay away from, and Private Surles a guy to keep close by!
Back to WWI, and a very rough day during the Meuse-Argonne offensive, with 15 Medals being earned, including the famous Sergeant York's. Captain Holderman is one of the few who exceeds the Auld Soldier for number of Purple Hearts - he was wounded 10 times in one week.DURHAM, JOHN S.Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company F, 1st Wisconsin Infantry. Place and date: At Perryville, Ky., 8 October 1862. Entered service at: Malone, St. Croix County, Wis. Born: 1843, New York, N.Y. Date of issue: 20 November 1896. Citation: Seized the flag of his regiment when the color sergeant was shot and advanced with the flag midway between the lines, amid a shower of shot, shell, and bullets, until stopped by his commanding officer. SURLES, WILLIAM H. Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 2d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Perryville, Ky., 8 October 1862. Entered service at: Steubenville, Ohio. Born: 24 February 1845, Steubenville, Ohio. Date of issue: 19 August 1891. Citation: In the hottest part of the fire he stepped in front of his colonel to shield him from the enemy's fire.
WWII and a tough company commander at Aachen. The Medal is no guarantee of fame and fortune, and many holders pay a stiff price in earning their awards. Bobbie Brown is one of two Medal holders who went on to become janitors at military academies. Brown took that job at West Point.ANDERSON, JOHANNES S.Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 132d Infantry, 33d Division. Place and date: At Consenvoye, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Birth: Finland. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: While his company was being held up by intense artillery and machinegun fire, 1st Sgt. Anderson, without aid, voluntarily left the company and worked his way to the rear of the nest that was offering the most stubborn resistance. His advance was made through an open area and under constant hostile fire, but the mission was successfully accomplished, and he not only silenced the gun and captured it, but also brought back with him 23 prisoners. *COSTIN, HENRY G. Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company H, 115th Infantry, 29th Division. Place and date: Near Bois-de-Consenvoye, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. Birth: Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. Citation: When the advance of his platoon had been held up by machinegun fire and a request was made for an automatic rifle team to charge the nest, Pvt. Costin was the first to volunteer. Advancing with his team, under terrific fire of enemy artillery, machineguns, and trench mortars, he continued after all his comrades had become casualties and he himself had been seriously wounded. He operated his rifle until he collapsed. His act resulted in the capture of about 100 prisoners and several machineguns. He succumbed from the effects of his wounds shortly after the accomplishment of his heroic deed. DOZIER, JAMES C . Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company G, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near Montbrehain, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Rock Hill, S.C. Born: 17 February 1885, Galivants Ferry, N.C. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: In command of 2 platoons, 1st. Lt. Dozier was painfully wounded in the shoulder early in the attack, but he continued to lead his men displaying the highest bravery and skill. When his command was held up by heavy machinegun fire, he disposed his men in the best cover available and with a soldier continued forward to attack a machinegun nest. Creeping up to the position in the face of intense fire, he killed the entire crew with handgrenades and his pistol and a little later captured a number of Germans who had taken refuge in a dugout nearby. FOSTER, GARY EVANS Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company F, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near Montbrehain, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Inman, S.C. Birth: Spartanburg, S.C. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: When his company was held up by violent machinegun fire from a sunken road, Sgt. Foster with an officer went forward to attack the hostile machinegun nests. The officer was wounded, but Sgt. Foster continued on alone in the face of the heavy fire and by effective use of handgrenades and his pistol killed several of the enemy and captured 18. GREGORY, EARL D. Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Headquarters Company, 116th Infantry, 29th Division. Place and date: At Bois-de-Consenvoye, north of Verdun, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Chase City, Va. Birth: Chase City, Va. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. Citation: With the remark "I will get them," Sgt. Gregory seized a rifle and a trench-mortar shell, which he used as a handgrenade, left his detachment of the trench-mortar platoon, and advancing ahead of the infantry, captured a machinegun and 3 of the enemy. Advancing still farther from the machinegun nest, he captured a 7.5-centimeter mountain howitzer and, entering a dugout in the immediate vicinity, single-handedly captured 19 of the enemy. *HALL, THOMAS LEE Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company G, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date. Near Montbrehain, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Fort Mill, S.C. Birth: Fort Mill, S.C., G.O. No.: 50, W.D., 1919. Citation: Having overcome 2 machinegun nests under his skillful leadership, Sgt. Hall's platoon was stopped 800 yards from its final objective by machinegun fire of particular intensity. Ordering his men to take cover in a sunken road, he advanced alone on the enemy machinegun post and killed 5 members of the crew with his bayonet and thereby made possible the further advance of the line. While attacking another machinegun nest later in the day this gallant soldier was mortally wounded. HOLDERMAN, NELSON M. Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, 307th Infantry, 77th Division. Place and date: Northeast of Binarville, in the forest of Argonne, France, 2-8 October 1918. Entered service at: Santa Ana, Calif. Birth: Trumbell, Nebr. G.O. No.: 11, W.D., 1921. Citation: Capt. Holderman commanded a company of a battalion which was cut off and surrounded by the enemy. He was wounded on 4, 5, and 7 October, but throughout the entire period, suffering great pain and subjected to fire of every character, he continued personally to lead and encourage the officers and men under his command with unflinching courage and with distinguished success. On 6 October, in a wounded condition, he rushed through enemy machinegun and shell fire and carried 2 wounded men to a place of safety. KARNES, JAMES E. Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 117th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near Estrees, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Knoxville, Tenn. Born: 1889, Arlington, Tenn. G.O. No.: 50, W.D., 1919. Citation: During an advance, his company was held up by a machinegun, which was enfilading the line. Accompanied by another soldier, he advanced against this position and succeeded in reducing the nest by killing 3 and capturing 7 of the enemy and their guns. McMURTRY, GEORGE G. Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, 308th Infantry, 77th Division. Place and date: At Charlevaux, in the forest of Argonne, France, 2-8 October 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 6 November 1876, Pittsburgh, Pa. G.O. No.: 118, W.D., 1918. Citation: Commanded a battalion which was cut off and surrounded by the enemy and although wounded in the knee by shrapnel on 4 October and suffering great pain, he continued throughout the entire period to encourage his officers and men with a resistless optimism that contributed largely toward preventing panic and disorder among the troops, who were without food, cut off from communication with our lines. On 4 October during a heavy barrage, he personally directed and supervised the moving of the wounded to shelter before himself seeking shelter. On 6 October he was again wounded in the shoulder by a German grenade, but continued personally to organize and direct the defense against the German attack on the position until the attack was defeated. He continued to direct and command his troops, refusing relief, and personally led his men out of the position after assistance arrived before permitting himself to be taken to the hospital on 8 October. During this period the successful defense of the position was due largely to his efforts. REGAN, PATRICK Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 115th Infantry, 29th Division. Pace and date: Bois-de-Consenvoye, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Birth: Middleboro, Mass. G.O. No.: 50, W.D., 1919. Citation: While leading his platoon against a strong enemy machinegun nest which had held up the advance of 2 companies, 2d Lt. Regan divided his men into 3 groups, sending 1 group to either flank, and he himself attacking with an automatic rifle team from the front. Two of the team were killed outright, while 2d Lt. Regan and the third man were seriously wounded, the latter unable to advance. Although severely wounded, 2d Lt. Regan dashed with empty pistol into the machinegun nest, capturing 30 Austrian gunners and 4 machineguns. This gallant deed permitted the companies to advance, avoiding a terrific enemy fire. Despite his wounds, he continued to lead his platoon forward until ordered to the rear by his commanding officer. SAMPLER, SAMUEL M. Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company H, 142d Infantry, 36th Division. Place and date: Near St. Etienne, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Altus, Okla. Birth: Decatur, Tex. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: His company having suffered severe casualties during an advance under machinegun fire, was finally stopped. Cpl. Sampler detected the position of the enemy machineguns on an elevation. Armed with German handgrenades, which he had picked up, he left the line and rushed forward in the face of heavy fire until he was near the hostile nest, where he grenaded the position. His third grenade landed among the enemy, killing 2, silencing the machineguns, and causing the surrender of 28 Germans, whom he sent to the rear as prisoners. As a result of his act the company was immediately enabled to resume the advance. SLACK, CLAYTON K. Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company D, 124th Machine Gun Battalion, 33d Division. Place and date: Near Consenvoye, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Madison, Wis. Born: 23 February 1896, Plover, Wis. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: Observing German soldiers under cover 50 yards away on the left flank, Pvt. Slack, upon his own initiative, rushed them with his rifle and, single-handed, captured 10 prisoners and 2 heavy-type machineguns, thus saving his company and neighboring organizations from heavy casualties. TURNER, HAROLD L. Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company F, 142d Infantry, 36th Division. Place and date: Near St. Etienne, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Seminole, Okla. Born: 5 May 1898, Aurora, Mo. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had started the attack Cpl. Turner assisted in organizing a platoon consisting of the battalion scouts, runners, and a detachment of Signal Corps. As second in command of this platoon he fearlessly led them forward through heavy enemy fire, continually encouraging the men. Later he encountered deadly machinegun fire which reduced the strength of his command to but 4 men, and these were obliged to take shelter. The enemy machinegun emplacement, 25 yards distant, kept up a continual fire from 4 machineguns. After the fire had shifted momentarily, Cpl. Turner rushed forward with fixed bayonet and charged the position alone capturing the strong point with a complement of 50 Germans and 1 machineguns. His remarkable display of courage and fearlessness was instrumental in destroying the strong point, the fire from which had blocked the advance of his company. WARD, CALVIN JOHN Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company D, 117th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: Near Estrees, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Morristown, Tenn. Born: October 1898, Green County, Tenn. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: During an advance, Pvt. Ward's company was held up by a machinegun, which was enfilading the line. Accompanied by a noncommissioned officer, he advanced against this post and succeeded in reducing the nest by killing 3 and capturing 7 of the enemy and their guns. YORK, ALVIN C. Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company G, 328th Infantry, 82d Division. Place and date: Near Chatel-Chehery, France, 8 October 1918. Entered service at: Pall Mall, Tenn. Born: 13 December 1887, Fentress County, Tenn. G.O. No.: 59, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and 3 other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading 7 men, he charged with great daring a machinegun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In this heroic feat the machinegun nest was taken, together with 4 officers and 128 men and several guns.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award. (John Donovan is a Legionnaire with the Department of Kansas with service in the U.S. Army. He blogs at his own website The Castle Argghhh!)BROWN, BOBBIE E.Rank and organization: Captain, U S. Army, Company C, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Crucifix Hill, Aachen, Germany, 8 October 1944. Entered service at: Atlanta, Ga. Born: 2 September 1903, Dublin, Ga. G.O. No.: 74, 1 September 1945. Citation: He commanded Company C, 18th Infantry Regiment, on 8 October 1944, when it, with the Ranger Platoon of the 1st Battalion, attacked Crucifix Hill, a key point in the enemy's defense of Aachen, Germany. As the leading rifle platoon assaulted the first of many pillboxes studding the rising ground, heavy fire from a flanking emplacement raked it. An intense artillery barrage fell on the American troops which had been pinned down in an exposed position. Seeing that the pillboxes must be neutralized to prevent the slaughter of his men, Capt. Brown obtained a pole charge and started forward alone toward the first pillbox, about 100 yards away. Hugging the ground while enemy bullets whipped around him, he crawled and then ran toward the aperture of the fortification, rammed his explosive inside and jumped back as the pillbox and its occupants were blown up. He rejoined the assault platoon, secured another pole charge, and led the way toward the next pillbox under continuous artillery mortar, automatic, and small-arms fire. He again ran forward and placed his charge in the enemy fortification, knocking it out. He then found that fire from a third pillbox was pinning down his company; so he returned to his men, secured another charge, and began to creep and crawl toward the hostile emplacement. With heroic bravery he disregarded opposing fire and worked ahead in the face of bullets streaming from the pillbox. Finally reaching his objective, he stood up and inserted his explosive, silencing the enemy. He was wounded by a mortar shell but refused medical attention and, despite heavy hostile fire, moved swiftly among his troops exhorting and instructing them in subduing powerful opposition. Later, realizing the need for information of enemy activity beyond the hill, Capt. Brown went out alone to reconnoiter. He observed possible routes of enemy approach and several times deliberately drew enemy fire to locate gun emplacements. Twice more, on this self-imposed mission, he was wounded; but he succeeded in securing information which led to the destruction of several enemy guns and enabled his company to throw back 2 powerful counterattacks with heavy losses. Only when Company C's position was completely secure did he permit treatment of his 3 wounds. By his indomitable courage, fearless leadership, and outstanding skill as a soldier, Capt. Brown contributed in great measure to the taking of Crucifix Hill, a vital link in the American line encircling Aachen.
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