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Military Health Medal of Honor Recipients

There is no higher accolade in the United States Armed Forces than the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is awarded to military personnel serving across the Services for incredible acts of valor and selflessness. Since the Civil War, many service members belonging to what we now call the Military Health System have been recognized for this distinction. These U.S. military medical personnel faced life-or-death decisions that few will ever have to make. While some of these heroes never returned home to tell their story, their legacy lives on in the hearts of the American people. Medal of Honor Day is celebrated every year on March 25th. The MHS celebrates these service members and their selfless, daring, and extraordinary acts of bravery.

Civil War Military Health Medal of Honor Recipients

Philippine Insurrection Medal of Honor Recipients

Word War I Medal of Honor Recipients

Word War II Medal of Honor Recipients

Korean Conflict Medal of Honor Recipients

Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipients

Other Medal of Honor Recipients

Do you know of a Medal of Honor recipient who serves/served the MHS? 

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Dr. Mary E. Walker

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Mary E. Walker is the only woman, to date, to have received the Medal of Honor. Because she was a woman, Walker was denied commission as a medical officer in the U.S. Army. Regardless, she volunteered and was eventually appointed assistant surgeon of the 52nd Ohio Infantry. Walker was suspected of being a spy for treating civilians across Confederate lines, which led to her capture and 4-month imprisonment. Upon her release, Walker spent the rest of the war serving as a surgeon at a women’s prison in Kentucky and a children’s asylum in Tennessee. In 1865, President Andrew Johnson awarded Walker the Medal of Honor for her meritorious service. But Walker had never been officially commissioned into the Army so, more than fifty years after it was awarded, the honor was taken away from her. Walker refused to return the medal and continued to wear it until her death in 1919. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter legally restored the Medal of Honor to Walker’s name.

Surgeon James Thompson

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British-born James Harry Thompson joined the Union Army in New York. Thompson served as a surgeon with the U.S. Volunteers. On March 14, 1862, at New Bern, North Carolina, Thompson voluntarily scouted the exact location of a Confederate position and executed orders under intense fire.

Assistant Surgeon Andrew Davidson

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Andrew Davidson was born July 1, 1817. Although Davidson’s official military records show his birthplace as Middlebury, Vermont, his civil documentation specifies Ireland as his place of birth. When he enlisted in the Union Army in January 1863, Davidson gave his birth location as Middlebury. This was not unusual at that time, as social prejudices against Irish immigrants were common. At Vicksburg, Mississippi, on May 3, 1863, Davidson was one of several men who volunteered to run supplies and ammunition to Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's army, which was trapped by Confederate fire. Davidson and his group risked their lives through intense fire to deliver the supplies.

Henry Capehart

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Henry Capehart, a native of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, left his medical practice in Bridgeport, Ohio, to enter military service. Capehart was commissioned as a surgeon and officer during the Civil War with the U.S. Army’s 1st West Virginia Cavalry in 1861 and attained the rank of colonel on Feb. 24, 1864. On May 22, 1864, Capehart’s regiment was sieged by Confederate forces. When one of his soldiers was swept away in the Greenbrier River, Capehart, on horseback, leaned to catch him, but both men were overcome by the river’s current. Capehart managed to drag the solder ashore, saving both of their lives.

Assistant Surgeon Jacob Raub

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Jacob Raub was born May 30, 1840. After earning his medical degree in 1864, Raub was appointed as assistant surgeon in the Union Army's 210th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. In 1865, at the Battle of Hatcher’s Run, Raub was positioned safe from enemy fire, but knew his regiment was without a surgeon and volunteered to tend to the wounded soldiers under heavy gunfire. While aiding the injured, Raub spotted the enemy repositioning for a surprise attack, warned his generals, and joined the fight until the engagement ended.

Lt. Col. William Blackwood

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Irish-born William Blackwood served in the Civil War as a surgeon of the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry during the Siege of Petersburg. As Union officers and soldiers were wounded on the battlefield, Blackwood put his life at risk to save them. He even jeopardized his own life to ensure that the body of the fallen Col. G. W. Gowen would not be destroyed in battle. Blackwood is also attributed with engineering the Petersburg Mine, an elaborate military tunnel the 48th Pennsylvania Infantry dug to reach and destroy Confederate trenches.

Maj. Gabriel Grant

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Gabriel Grant was a prominent physician from Newark, New Jersey. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Grant joined the 2nd Infantry Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers as a surgeon. During the Battle of Fair Oaks on June 1, 1862, and under heavy fire, he aided the wounded and removed fallen soldiers beyond the battle lines. Grant spent the remainder of the war in command of the United States Army Hospital at Madison, Indiana, before resigning his commission in 1865.

Assistant Surgeon Richard Curran

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Irish-born Richard Curran was pursuing an education at Harvard when the Civil War broke out. Curran joined the 33rd New York Infantry in May 1861 and became an assistant surgeon in August 1862. He found his company heading onto the battlefield at Antietam without any medical officers, aside from himself. With no orders, Curran followed the troops into fierce fighting. Curran survived his Civil War service and returned to New York, later becoming the mayor of Rochester.

Maj. Joseph Corson

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Joseph Corson answered President Lincoln’s first call for troops in the Civil War, attaining the rank of sergeant. He later joined the 6th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps, where he was commissioned as an assistant surgeon. Corson, who was present at the battles of Gettysburg and Manassas Gap, risked his life to care for more than 40 fellow service members stricken with cholera, and faced enemy fire to rescue a gravely injured soldier.

Assistant Surgeon George Ranney

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George Ranney, born in Batavia, New York, was enrolled in medical school at the University of Michigan when the Civil War began. He left school and enlisted as a private in the 2nd Michigan Cavalry. His basic medical studies garnered him the post of third hospital steward, and a promotion to second assistant surgeon. On May 14, 1864, at Resaca, Georgia, Ranney braved heavy fire from both sides to carry injured Pvt. Charles Baker, a Union soldier, to safety. Ranney was the first Michigan recipient of the Medal of Honor. After his military service, Ranney helped found the Michigan State Medical Society in 1866 and served as its secretary for 20 years.

Philippine Insurrection Military Health Medal of Honor Recipients

Maj. George W. Mathews

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Born in 1874, George Mathews enlisted in the U.S. Army as a physician, and quickly rose to the rank of captain and assistant surgeon with the 18th Volunteer Company of the 36th Infantry. Mathews saw action in the 1899 Philippine Insurrection – military retaliation against the United States for annexing the Philippines rather than acknowledging the islands’ independence – during the Battle of Sebao Island. While dressing the wounds of a fallen lieutenant, hostile Filipino forces advanced, and Mathews, unarmed, took the injured soldier’s weapon, and single-handedly thwarted the enemy attack. Shortly following the battle, Mathews resigned from his position with the 18th Volunteers to be commissioned as a major in the U.S. Army. Mathews was presented with the Medal of Honor in 1902 by President Theodore Roosevelt.

Maj. Paul F. Straub

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German-born Paul Straub earned two medical degrees before his 1894 appointment as an assistant surgeon in the U.S. Army Medical Department. After three years of service during the Spanish-American War, Straub accepted an appointment as a major in the 36th Volunteer Infantry Regiment. The Philippine Insurrection was heating up. On Dec. 21, 1899, Straub and three comrades encountered insurgent fire. Straub ignored orders to take cover and not only fought back but aided an injured lieutenant. For his bravery, President Theodore Roosevelt presented Straub with the Medal of Honor in 1906.

Maj. George Shiels

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George Shiels was born in 1863, in San Francisco, California. He graduated from the Military College in Ossining, New York, and earned doctor of medicine and master of surgery degrees from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Shiels joined the U.S. Army as a surgeon in 1898 and deployed to the Philippines with the Volunteer Medical Corps. On March 25, 1899, Shiels saved the life of a comrade while under heavy fire at Tuliahan River in the Philippine Islands. Shiels was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Theodore Roosevelt.

World War I Military Health Medal of Honor Recipients

Middleton Elliott

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Middleton Elliott was born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. He attended medical school at Columbia College in Washington, D.C., now George Washington University, and began his naval service in 1896. While serving as a brigade surgeon on board the battleship U.S.S. Florida in 1914, Elliott and his shipmates were ordered to seize the customs house at Veracruz, Mexico. Elliott was charged with establishing and supervising the field hospital and dressing stations necessary for treating the sailors and Marines wounded in the engagement. Under enemy gunfire, Elliott treated casualties at the aid station on Pier Four. He was also praised for his outstanding care of the wounded by Medical Inspector Leckinski W. Spratling, who praised Elliott’s “untiring efforts and effective work.”

Pharmacist’s Mate First Class John Balch

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In 1917, John Balch enlisted for four years as a hospital apprentice second class at the U.S. Navy Recruiting Station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Later that year, Balch transferred to the 3rd Battalion, 6th Regiment of Marines, which was serving with the U.S. Army in France as part of the American Expeditionary Force. On July 19, 1918, his exhausted and battered regiment received orders to push an attack forward through a wheat field towards the Soissons-Chateau-Thierry highway. The battle was fierce, with heavy artillery and machine-gun fire causing an estimated 1,300 casualties. John Balch voluntarily left his aid station to help those who were wounded. Under heavy barrages of enemy fire, he saved the lives of many men.

Pfc. Jesse N. Funk

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Jesse Funk was born in New Hampton, Missouri, in 1888. Funk joined the U.S. Army in 1915. He served with the Company L, 354th Infantry, 89th Division, as a stretcher bearer and was stationed in France during World War I. On Oct. 31, 1918, during a battle near Bois-deBantheville, France, Funk accompanied Pfc. Charles Barger into the highly dangerous area known as “No Man’s Land” — the grounds between two opposing forces — and managed to treat and save the lives of two wounded officers stranded in an open field. Soldiers were seldom involved in a full-scale attack across No Man's Land, which was usually covered with barbed wire and exposed to fire. Funk fearlessly made two trips to pull the officers back to safety.

Lt. Joel Boone

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Alexander Lyle was assigned to the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marines, as part of the American Expeditionary Force in France. On April 23, 1917, during fighting in Verdun, the Marines came under heavy shelling. Under the attack, Lyle administered first aid to control the bleeding of a comrade, saving his life. Since the 5th Marine Regiment was serving as part of the American Expeditionary Force, Lyle’s heroism was also recognized by the U.S. Army with the award of the Silver Star. Lyle later received another Silver Star for service in the Soissons sector of France in July 1918.

Hospital Apprentice First Class David Hayden

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David Hayden, a native of Florence, Texas, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1917. Attached to the 6th Marines in Thiaucourt, France, a year later, Hayden was one of four corpsmen ordered to set up an aid station in the village of Xammes. Despite machine-gun fire and exploding shells, the men set out for their destination. When a young corporal was hit by enemy fire, Hayden saw him fall, grabbed his aid kit, and defied bullets and exploding grenades to reach him. Realizing that his comrade’s wounds were very serious, he dressed them on the field during heavy fire, then carried the man back to safety.

Lt. Cmdr. Alexander Lyle

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Alexander Lyle was assigned to the 5th Regiment, U.S. Marines, as part of the American Expeditionary Force in France. On April 23, 1917, during fighting in Verdun, the Marines came under heavy shelling. Under the attack, Lyle administered first aid to control the bleeding of a comrade, saving his life. Since the 5th Marine Regiment was serving as part of the American Expeditionary Force, Lyle’s heroism was also recognized by the U.S. Army with the award of the Silver Star. Lyle later received another Silver Star for service in the Soissons sector of France in July 1918.

Lt. j.g. Weedon Osborne

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A Chicago native, Weedon Osborne is one of only three dental officers to have received the Medal of Honor. In May 1918, Osborne was serving in the front line first aid party in Bouresches, France. As Marines advanced on the town during the Battle of Belleau Wood on June 6, 1918, Osborne immediately — and selflessly — began to rescue the wounded. In his attempt to carry Capt. Donald Duncan to safety, an artillery shell killed both men. Osborne was the first commissioned U.S. Naval officer killed on land in World War I, and the only Dental Corps officer to die in battle in that war. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions

Lt. Orlando Petty

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Ohio native Orlando Petty graduated from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1904 and joined the teaching staff there in 1906. Ten years later, in 1916, Petty was appointed assistant surgeon, Medical Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve and was sent to serve with the 5th Regiment of Marines, American Expeditionary Force during World War I. On June 11, 1918, Petty was stationed near the front lines in the town of Lucy le Bocage, France. German artillery blasted the town, knocking Petty to the ground, tearing his gas mask, and destroying his dressing station. Despite this, Petty continued treating the wounded and carried Capt. Lloyd Williams to safety when the station was demolished. For his bravery that day, Petty was decorated with the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, the French Croix de Guerre, and the Italian Croce di Guerra, in addition to the Medal of Honor.

Pfc. Frank J. Petrarca

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Frank Petrarca grew up in Cleveland. He graduated from high school in 1938 and joined his father in the carpentry business. One year later, Petrarca joined the 145th Infantry of the Ohio National Guard. While on active duty, he officially served with the Medical Detachment, 145th Infantry Regiment, 37th Infantry Division, and was stationed in the Solomon Islands. As a medic, Petrarca fearlessly faced hostile enemy fire to aid fallen comrades, and ultimately lost his life on the battlefield after attempting to rescue a wounded soldier.

Pfc. Lloyd C. Hawks

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At the age of 30, Lloyd C. Hawks enlisted in the Army, but was released for being considered too old and unfit to serve in combat. By 1942, with the U.S. deeply entrenched in World War II, Hawks was called back to duty as an Army medic. He served in Italy with the 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Division. On Jan. 30, 1944, near Carno, Italy, Hawks, under intense fire, administered aid to three men while suffering severe wounds in his hip and arm. Hawks was awarded the Medal of Honor by Franklin Roosevelt.

Pharmacist’s Mate First Class John Willis

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John Willis, a Columbia, Tennessee native, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1940. He became a pharmacist’s mate and served in several hospitals in the U.S. In 1944, he was assigned to the newly formed 5th Marine Division. On Feb. 28, 1945, during the Battle for Iwo Jima, Willis was wounded by shrapnel while aiding injured comrades. Willis was ordered back to the aid station but continued to aid the casualties. He defied heavy mortar and sniper fire to reach a wounded Marine and was administering blood plasma when a grenade landed in the crater. Willis picked it up and threw it out of the shell hole. He did the same to seven other grenades, continuing working on his patient. The last grenade never made it out of Willis’ hand, marking the moment that he made the ultimate sacrifice.

Pvt. Harold Garman

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Harold Garman joined the U.S. Army in Albion, Illinois, in 1942. By August 1944, he was a private serving as a medic in Company B, 5th Medical Battalion, 5th Infantry Division, in Montereau, France. It was there, on Aug. 25, 1944, that enemy machine gun fire battered a boatload of wounded soldiers in the middle of the Seine River. The men in the boat jumped into the water for cover - except for one, who was too badly wounded. Two other men were so badly wounded that they could only cling to the side of the boat. With heavy machine gun fire still raining down on the boat, Garman swam into the hail of bullets and towed the boat to safety, saving the lives of those three men.

Technician Fifth Grade Alfred Wilson

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Alfred Wilson, affectionately known as “Big Stoop” to his comrades, was assigned to the Medical Detachment, 328th Infantry, 26th Infantry Division. Although Wilson’s stature was intimidating, he was well-respected and often innocently teased about his easy-going nature. On Nov. 8, 1944, Wilson volunteered to be a medical aide for another company that had suffered multiple causalities in an assault at Bezange la Petite, France. As enemy forces infiltrated their aid station and surrounding camps, Wilson bravely tended to the wounded under heavy fire, and fought off the advancing opposition, all while suffering a life-threatening injury and refusing aid for himself.

Technician Fourth Grade Laverne Parrish

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Laverne Parrish was born and raised in Ronan, Montana. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1941. Serving with the Medical Detachment, 161st Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, Parrish spent several years overseas. While stationed in the Philippine Islands, the 26-year-old made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Fearlessly crossing open terrain under heavy fire, Parrish was able to treat nearly all the 37 casualties his company suffered before being mortally wounded by mortar fire.

Hospital Apprentice First Class Robert Bush

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Robert Bush left high school in 1944 to enlist in the U.S. Navy Reserve, serving as a hospital apprentice first class with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 5th Marine Division. On May 2, 1945, during the battle for Okinawa, Bush’s unit came under heavy fire. Spotting a seriously wounded patrol leader lying in a shell hole, Bush immediately administered blood plasma. As the Japanese counterattacked, he remained with the disabled officer, firing back with one hand while holding the plasma bottle in the other. Despite his own injuries, Bush continued to provide aid until his patient was evacuated. For his "conspicuous gallantry" on that day, Bush was presented with the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman. Bush was the youngest World War II Navy man to receive the Medal of Honor.

Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class George Wahlen

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George Wahlen enlisted as an apprentice seaman in the U.S. Naval Reserve in June 1943 and by November 1944, was serving in the Pacific as a pharmacist's mate second class. On Feb. 19, 1945, Wahlen’s division landed on Iwo Jima. Wounded during a fierce battle against Japanese forces, he stayed on the battlefield to aid wounded comrades under constant fire. On March 2, Wahlen was wounded again, but refused evacuation. Instead, he moved out with his company the following day to again fight the Japanese forces. Shot for a third time, Wahlen could no longer walk, but crawled 50 yards to administer aid to a wounded Marine. Only after he tended to his patient did Wahlen finally agree to be evacuated to a battalion aid station.

Pfc. Desmond T. Doss

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Desmond Doss made his mark in history not only as a recipient of the Medal of Honor, but as the first conscientious objector of the war to achieve the highest honor in the Armed Forces. Doss, a devout member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, refused to carry a weapon or kill when he was drafted into World War II. Still wanting to serve his country, he entered the U.S. Army as a medic in the 77th Infantry Division. Doss earned the Medal of Honor for his gallantry in May 1945, as he risked his life under heavy blasts to tend to 75 men wounded in battle while his comrades fell back and retreated to the base.

Cpl. Thomas Kelly

Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Thomas Kelly from Brooklyn, New York, attempted to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps and was turned away because he failed the vision test. Physically fit and eager to serve his country, Kelly entered the Army through the draft. Kelly originally trained as a medic, but at his request, he was positioned as an infantryman with medical training. Kelly joined the Medical Detachment, 48th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division, and earned the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in the line of duty on April 5, 1945, in the countryside of Germany. Kelly saved numerous lives in skirmishes stretching across Europe, including wounded German soldiers who would have otherwise had no access to medical treatment.

Pvt. William McGee

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William McGee, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, entered the U.S. Army in 1943. By 1945, he was serving with the Medical Detachment of the 304th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division, in Germany. On March 18, 1945, McGee’s unit went on a night mission to capture the town of Muheim, Germany. The enemy had strewn the area with anti-personnel mines, and two of McGee’s comrades were seriously injured by detonated mines. Disregarding his own safety, McGee entered the minefield, pulling one of the men to safety. He returned to rescue the other casualty, and in doing so stepped on a mine. Despite his grave injuries, he shouted orders to his comrades not to approach him in the dangerous mine-filled area, sacrificing his rescue — and ultimately his life — to save theirs.

Frederick C. Murphy

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Frederick C. Murphy was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1918. He was enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania in 1941 when the attack on Pearl Harbor changed his college plans. Murphy failed two physicals due to back issues, but wanted to serve his country, so he underwent corrective surgery. Eventually, Murphy became a medic in the Army’s 259th Infantry Regiment, 65th Infantry Division, landing in France in January 1945. On March 18, 1945, his unit was engaging in battle at the Siegfried Line in Saarlautern, Germany. Powerful mines ripped through the men, causing severe casualties. Murphy risked his life to tend to the wounded troops stranded on the minefield and gave his life attempting to save his comrades. For his valor, Pfc. Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The National Archives facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, is named the Frederick C. Murphy Federal Center in his honor.

Pharmacist’s Mate First Class Francis Pierce

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One week after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Francis Pierce enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He trained to become a hospital corpsman, joined Marine Corps combat infantry training, and was assigned to the 4th Marine Division. On March 15, 1945, during the Battle for Iwo Jima, Pierce’s party was caught in a heavy firefight. He covered survivors by exposing himself to the fire, allowing stretcher-bearers to move the wounded to a safer place. The following day, while leading a patrol to destroy a nest of snipers, his group encountered strong resistance. As Pierce aided a fallen Marine, an enemy round hit his shoulder and a grenade exploded, blowing shrapnel into his left leg and back. Refusing aid for himself, however, Pierce returned to treat the casualty.

Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class Jack Williams

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One month after graduating high school, Arkansas native Jack Williams enlisted in the U. S. Naval Reserve on June 12, 1943, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Williams was assigned to the 5th Marine Division in the Iwo Jima Campaign in the Pacific. On March 3, 1945, while his division prepared to attack the enemy, it met heavy resistance and there were many casualties. Williams spotted a wounded Marine lying beyond the front lines, and under intense fire, he used his body to shield his comrade. Williams rendered first aid until enemy rounds hit him in the stomach and groin. Disregarding his pain and urgent need for medical aid, he continued to search for other casualties and managed to make his way back to the aid station, until he was struck down by a Japanese sniper’s bullet. He later died of severe internal injuries.

Technician Fifth Grade James Okubo

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James Okubo dropped out of college in 1942 when Executive Order 9066 forced Japanese Americans into internment camps. A year later, the U.S. government reversed its policy on Japanese Americans serving in the military, and Okubo joined the U.S. Army, serving with the 100th Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team as a medic. Okubo's unit was sent to the Vosges Mountains to help rescue the "Lost Battalion," a group of about 200 soldiers who had been cut off from their division in a forest near Biffontaine, France. There, Okubo risked his life to treat more than two dozen wounded men caught in heavy enemy fire. He was recommended for the Medal of Honor for his actions but was awarded the Silver Star under the mistaken belief that medics were not eligible for higher awards. Okubo survived the war and became a dentist. He died in a car accident in 1967. In 2000, Okubo was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton. In 2001, the Okubo Barracks at Brooke Army Medical Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was built in his honor. A year later, the Okubo Medical and Dental Complex was opened at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. The hospital's Okubo Soldier-Centered Medical Home is also named for him.

Capt. Ben Salomon

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Ben Salomon received his doctorate from the University of Southern California Dental College in 1937 and began practicing dentistry. In the fall of 1940, Salomon was drafted into the U.S. Army as an infantry private. He was placed as the regimental dental officer of the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division. Salomon, the only dentist to receive the Medal of Honor to date, received the distinction for his sacrifice in battling Japanese forces at Saipan. His first recommendation for the Medal of Honor was denied because at the time, medical officers were not authorized to take up arms against the enemy. On May 1, 2002, Salomon was posthumously awarded with the honor in a White House Rose Garden ceremony.

Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class William Halyburton

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A native of Canton, North Carolina, William Halyburton entered seminary studies at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, but those plans were halted when he was drafted for service in World War II. Halyburton entered the Navy Reserve. After reaching the rank of pharmacist’s mate, 2nd class, he was sent overseas as a medic in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division. On May 10, 1945, and under intense fire, Halyburton’s unit moved out to attack a strategically important ravine in Okinawa, Japan. Haylburton exposed himself to intense mortar, machine gun, and sniper fire to help the wounded. Halyburton shielded a badly wounded patient with his body, placing himself in the line of fire, suffering mortal wounds. Halyburton made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting others – on his first day in combat.

Hospital Apprentice First Class Fred Lester

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17-year-old Fred Lester enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as apprentice seaman in Chicago, Illinois, on Nov. 1, 1943. He then enrolled as a student at the Naval Hospital Corps School, San Diego, California, and went on to serve with 1st Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, as a hospital corpsman during the Okinawa Campaign. On June 8, 1945, during a fierce battle for a Japanese-occupied hill, Lester left his concealed position to aid a wounded Marine lying beyond the front lines. Despite being hit, he dragged his comrade to safety. He was struck again and was too weak to administer first aid to himself. He directed two other Marines in the proper treatment of the wounded man and of two other casualties, refusing medical aid for himself. Not long after, he succumbed to his injuries while saving others.

Hospital Corpsman Richard DeWert

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Richard DeWert enlisted in the U.S. Navy in December 1948 at the age of 17. He joined the Hospital Corps and served at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. At the outset of the Korean Conflict, DeWert volunteered to join the 1st Medical Battalion of the 1st Marine Division and deployed to Korea. On April 5, 1951, a small unit was on its way to contact adjacent friendly units northeast of Kunchon, Korea, when the enemy opened fire. DeWert rushed forward to aid injured men. He was shot in the leg, yet he managed to drag a wounded Marine to safety. He returned several times through the fire-swept area to help more casualties and was shot again. Upon hearing another cry for aid, he rushed to help, and it was then that he made the ultimate sacrifice. On May 27, 1952, Navy Secretary Dan Kimball presented DeWert’s mother with the Medal of Honor on her son’s behalf.

Pfc. Richard Wilson

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On his 17th birthday, Richard Wilson left high school to join the U.S. Army, serving as a medic with Company I, 187th Airborne Infantry Regiment. In 1950, Wilson’s regiment left for Korea. Wilson and his fellow paratroopers jumped behind enemy lines in one of the largest air drops in American military history. The next day, in a battle near Opari, Korea, Wilson fearlessly cared for the wounded and moved them to safety. A wounded soldier, originally thought to have been dead, began to move on the battlefield. Without hesitation, Wilson braved the enemy fire to tend to the severely injured man, sacrificing his own life trying to save him.

Pfc. Bryant Womack

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North Carolina native Bryant Womack was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1950 and assigned to Korea with the medical company of the 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On March 12, 1952, while on combat patrol near Sokso-ri, Korea, Womack was the only medic for his regiment, which was overwhelmed by enemy fire. Womack fearlessly tended to the wounded and lost his arm in a mortar attack. He refused treatment and continued to direct other troops how to care for and move the wounded to safety. Soon after, he fatally succumbed to blood loss. Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was named in his honor in 1958.

Hospitalman Third Class John Kilmer

On Aug. 16, 1947 – the day after his 17th birthday – John Kilmer dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Navy. Three years later, on Aug. 12, 1952, Kilmer took part in the attack on “Bunker Hill” in Korea. When Kilmer heard Marines calling out for medical help, he went to work quickly, repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire to reach wounded Marines. He carried many to safety before spotting a seriously wounded Marine lying in an open field. When Kilmer started crawling towards him, a sergeant tried to stop him, shouting that he could not go out there because he would certainly die. Kilmer didn’t stop. Wounded by mortar fragments, Kilmer kept crawling until he reached the wounded man. As the enemy attack intensified, Kilmer shielded his patient, saving the man’s life while giving his own.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Edward Benfold

Edward “Ted” Benfold was 18 when he joined the U.S. Navy on June 27, 1949. His training began at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. In 1950 he graduated from Naval Hospital Philadelphia as a neuropsychiatry technician. Benfold put his training into practice in Korea on the night of Sept. 4, 1952, when the enemy attacked every Marine position on “Bunker Hill.” In search of casualties, he found two wounded Marines lying in a large crater. Before he could administer aid, two enemy soldiers approached the shell hole and tossed two grenades into it. Benfold rushed to the crater, picked up both grenades, and pushed a grenade into the chest of each enemy soldier. The grenades exploded, killing the two men and Benfold, but the lives of his two patients were saved.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class William Charette

William Charette, from Ludington, Michigan, joined the U.S. Navy in 1951. As a hospital corpsman, he joined Company F, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, and was sent to Korea in January 1953. On March 27, 1953, while Charette’s unit was guarding strategic outposts near Panmunjom, South Korea, it fell under attack. Through heavy mortar and small-arms fire, Charette moved from Marine to Marine, rendering aid. When a grenade landed near a Marine he was helping, Charette threw himself on the wounded man. The blast knocked Charette unconscious, but somehow, he came to, and continued to rescue and treat injured comrades. For his valor on that day, Charette was originally recommended for the Navy Cross, but that was upgraded to the Medal of Honor. Charette remained in the Navy, retiring as a master chief hospital corpsman in 1977.

Sgt. David Bleak

Born in Idaho Falls, Idaho, David Bleak dropped out of high school to work ranching and railroad jobs. In 1950, Bleak joined the U.S. Army. Selected for medical duty, Bleak was shipped to Korea and served with Medical Company, 223rd Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. Standing over 6 feet tall and weighing 250 pounds, Bleak’s sheer strength and fearless courage saved the lives of his fellow soldiers on June 14, 1952, near Minari-gol, Korea. Bleak had volunteered for a mission to find an enemy prisoner for interrogation. The unit came under a barrage of fire. Bleak tended to the wounded, when, from a nearby trench, came more rounds of enemy fire. Bleak ran into the trench and killed two enemy fighters with his giant, bare hands. He then jumped on a comrade to block the impact of a grenade that had rolled into the trench, saving that fellow soldier. In October 1953, Bleak received the Medal of Honor from President Dwight D. Eisenhower at a White House Ceremony.

Hospitalman Francis Hammond

Francis Hammond was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy as a seaman recruit in 1951. After completing recruit training, Hammond eventually transferred to Field Medical Service School, Camp Pendleton, California. In February 1953, Hammond departed for Korea, attached to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. On the night of March 26, 1953, near Sanae-dong, Korea, Hammond’s unit fought a large and hostile force for control of an outpost. For four hours, defying mortar fire, Hammond helped as many wounded as possible, even though he suffered a leg injury in the early fighting, for which he refused medical treatment. He saved the lives of many wounded Marines, ushering them to safety, until mortally wounded by enemy shell fragments.

Maj. Patrick Brady

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Patrick Brady was the first U.S. Army DUSTOFF pilot to be honored with the Medal of Honor. DUSTOFF was a unit of helicopter ambulances used in wartime casualty evacuation. Brady, from Seattle, Washington, served with the Medical Service Corps, 54th Medical Detachment, 67th Medical Group, 44th Medical Brigade, in Vietnam. On Jan. 6, 1968, during his second tour of duty, Brady responded to a medevac request near Chu Lai, and repeatedly faced enemy fire to evacuate wounded. After four flights and three battle-battered helicopters, Brady evacuated 51 seriously injured soldiers.

Spc. 6 Lawrence Joel

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A native of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Lawrence Joel was a veteran of the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Joel began his military career in the U.S. Merchant Marine, serving for a year before enlisting in the U.S. Army at the age of 18. Trained as a medic, Joel served several deployments during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, he served as a medical aidman for the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On Nov. 8, 1965, while in an enemy stronghold northwest of Saigon, Joel sustained multiple wounds from intense fire. Despite his injuries, Joel persevered for more than 12 hours to bring his comrades to safety. For his selfless valor on that day, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him the Medal of Honor on March 9, 1967, distinguishing Joel as the first African American since the Spanish-American War of 1898 to earn the medal, as well as the first medic to receive the award during the Vietnam War

Spc. 5 Charles Hagemeister

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Charles Hagemeister was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1946. Hagemeister was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1966 while on a break from the University of Nebraska. By 1967, Hagemeister was in Vietnam, serving as a medic with the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On March 20, 1967, while in Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, Hagemeister’s platoon suffered a heavy enemy attack as the result of an ambush. Without hesitation, Hagemeister risked his life to treat and move his fallen comrades to safety, also seizing a wounded soldier’s weapon and eliminating the enemy threats in the area. With only 72 hours left in his service contract, Hagemeister was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Lyndon Johnson in a White House ceremony on May 14, 1968.

Spc. 4 Donald W. Evans Jr.

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Donald W. Evans Jr. joined the U.S. Army in 1965. Less than two years later, Evans was in Vietnam serving as a medic with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 12 Infantry, 4th Infantry Division in South Vietnam. On Jan. 27, 1967, near the hamlet of Tri Tram, Evans’ platoon had not yet engaged in battle when gunfire broke out nearby. Without regard for his own safety, Evans charged forward to provide medical aid to injured soldiers. Taking grenade fragment hits, Evans made three trips to treat and carry wounded men to safety. Soon after, Evans made the ultimate sacrifice while running out to aid another soldier. The Medal of Honor was presented to Evans’ family at a special ceremony at the Pentagon on June 4, 1968. Evans Army Community Hospital at Fort Carson, Colorado, is named in Evans’s honor.

Spc. 5 Clarence Sasser

MoH Clarence Sasser 270x147

At 20 years old, Clarence Sasser sacrificed his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, left the University of Houston, and joined the U.S. Army. Sasser was trained as a medical aidman and one year later was sent to Vietnam, serving with Company A, 3d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment. During a reconnaissance operation on Jan. 10, 1968, his company took heavy fire from enemy positions. More than 30 of his fellow soldiers were injured. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sasser slogged through the barrage of bullets to treat his comrades. Wounded in his shoulder and legs, Sasser treated the wounded until they could be safely evacuated. Sasser earned numerous other awards for his bravery including the National Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign medal, a Combat Medical Badge, and the Purple Heart.

Cpl. Thomas Bennett

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Even though he was against the war due to his religious beliefs, Thomas Bennett, of Morgantown, West Virginia, was a devout patriot when it came to serving and protecting his country. Bennett opted to enlist as a conscientious objector who was willing to serve. He trained as a medic and, by January 1969, arrived in South Vietnam as part of 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. In February 1969, during an intense gunfight in the mountainous terrain of the Chu Pa Region, Pleiku Province, Bennett risked his own life to pull at least five wounded men to safety. Over the next few days, Bennett repeatedly put himself in harm's way to tend to the wounded but lost his life attempting to reach a wounded soldier. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon on April 7, 1970.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Wayne Caron

MoH Wayne Caron 270x147

A native of Middleboro, Massachusetts, Wayne Caron enlisted in the U.S. Navy on Nov. 2, 1966, and completed recruit training at the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois. By July 1968, Caron was serving as a hospital corpsman with 2nd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines in the Republic of Vietnam. On July 28, 1968, Caron accompanied his unit on a sweep through an open rice paddy, while taking fierce enemy fire. As Caron moved to the aid of his wounded comrades, he was hit by enemy fire. Despite his injury, he was able to save the life of a downed Marine suffering from a severe chest wound. Caron then ran toward a second wounded Marine and was again hit by enemy fire. Unable to walk, Caron crawled to a third injured Marine and managed to treat him. While administering that aid, Caron was hit again, making the ultimate sacrifice to save others.

Hospital Corpsman Second Class David Ray

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David Ray was born in McMinnville, Tennessee, in 1945. In 1966, Ray enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He became a hospital corpsman second class in 1968 and reported to 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division in Phu Loc, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam. On March 19, 1969, enemy forces attacked Ray’s unit with assault rifles, flamethrowers, and grenades. Ignoring the heavy fire, Ray rendered aid to as many wounded men as possible before he was seriously injured. Refusing medical aid, Ray continued assisting casualties until he was attacked by two enemy soldiers. He killed one and wounded the other. Ray continued to try to reach casualties while helping the Marines hold off the enemy until he ran out of ammunition. In a final act heroism, Ray lost his life while protecting a wounded Marine from the impact of an exploding grenade.

Hospital Corpsman Second Class Donald Ballard

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Donald Ballard was born in 1945. As a young man, Ballard was interested in medicine, so he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and became a hospital corpsman. In December 1967, Ballard was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, and sent to Vietnam. On May 16, 1968, an enemy unit ambushed Ballard’s camp, causing numerous casualties. Ballard spotted a Marine who needed help and moved across the fire-swept terrain to the wounded man without getting hurt himself. While moving his wounded comrade to safety, Ballard was attacked by grenades and gunfire. Ballard immediately returned fire, killing the enemy gunman. He warned the other Marines that a grenade had been thrown and was about to detonate and threw himself on it to save the lives of his fellow Marines. The grenade failed to detonate, and Ballard continued treating the wounded.

Col. Gordon Ray Roberts

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Ohio native Gordon Ray Roberts enlisted into the Army during Vietnam as an infantryman with Company B, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry, 101st Airborne Division. On July 11, 1969, as an Army sergeant, Roberts conducted a one-man assault on enemy bunkers, and fearlessly removed his wounded comrades out of the line of fire, despite being under heavy enemy fire at Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam. For his brave actions and dedication to duty, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon on March 2, 1971. Roberts returned to active duty as an officer and social worker in 1991, retiring as a colonel in 2012.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael Novosel

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Michael Novosel, from Etna, Pennsylvania, served in three wars: World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Resigning his commission as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Novosel joined the Army as a warrant officer and helicopter pilot. It was in Vietnam where his valor garnered him the Medal of Honor. On Oct. 2, 1969, Novosel was serving with the 82nd Medical Detachment, 45th Medical Company, 68th Medical Group. Novosel’s team responded to a mission to extract wounded Vietnamese soldiers who were pinned down near an enemy training area. They knew they would be facing fierce resistance. Novosel was forced to pull back from the location six times due to heavy fire, but managed to successfully perform 15 evacuations, risking his life to move the soldiers to a safer location. On April 10, 2023, Fort Rucker, Alabama, was officially renamed as Fort Novosel in his honor.

Sgt. Gary Beikirch

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In 1967, after completing two years of college, Gary Beikirch enlisted in the U.S. Army and completed training for the Special Forces. By 1969, he had finished medical training and began a tour of duty in Vietnam with Detachment B-24, Company B, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne). On April 1, 1970, the detachment’s camp was brutally attacked by enemy regiments. Beikirch immediately aided the wounded, even using his body as a shield over a stranded villager during a mortar explosion. Beikirch suffered serious injuries but survived the attack. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon in 1973 and earned the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.

Pfc. Kenneth Kays

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A native of Fairfield, Illinois, Kenneth Kays enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1969 as a conscientious objector to the war in Vietnam. Thus, he carried no weapon. By 1970, Kays was serving as a medical aidman with Company D, 1st Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. On May 7, 1970, when enemy forces assaulted Company D's night defensive position in the province of Thừa Thiên Huế, Kays began assisting his fallen and injured comrades. Despite losing the lower part of his own leg during the battle, he continued treating the wounded and pulling them to safety before accepting medical treatment. Kays was subsequently promoted to private first class and awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor. Kays passed away in 1991, and in 2007, residents of his hometown dedicated a monument in his memory in the city’s downtown district.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Louis Rocco

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Born in 1938 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Louis Rocco joined the U.S. Army in 1955. After completing basic training at Fort Ord, California, and basic medical school at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he began two tours in Vietnam, serving as a medic. On May 24, 1979, during his second tour, he volunteered to accompany a medevac team to evacuate eight wounded Vietnamese soldiers, but as the helicopter began to land, it took on heavy fire. After a crash landing, Rocco extracted the survivors from the wreckage and carried each man through exposed terrain to safety, despite a fractured wrist and hip. Rocco returned home, remained in the Army, and became a physician assistant, retiring as a chief warrant officer. Rocco went on to establish the Vietnam Veterans of New Mexico, as well as a veterans’ peer counseling center, homeless shelter, and nursing home.

Hospital Corpsman Third Class Robert Ingram

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Robert Ingram, from Clearwater, Florida, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November 1963, at age 18. After completing Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton, California, Ingram was assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, in 1965, and was sent to Vietnam. On March 28, 1966, Ingram’s unit was attacked by a numerically superior enemy force. Ingram immediately moved into the fire-swept field to reach the downed Marines. While treating a wounded Marine, Ingram was shot three times. Disregarding his own wounds, he treated marine casualties for several hours. While treating a fallen hospital corpsman, Ingram was shot again. Suffering agonizing physical damage, he safely crawled to friendly lines after saving many lives.

Lt. Col. Alfred Rascon

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Following graduation from high school in 1963, Alfred Rascon enlisted in the U.S. Army and was assigned as a medic with the Headquarters Company, Medical Platoon, 1st Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. Stationed in Okinawa in 1964, his unit was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam a year later. Rascon was assigned as a medic with a Reconnaissance Platoon of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, formed to help another battalion that had fallen under hostile enemy fire near Long Khanh Province. Despite many casualties, Rascon fearlessly braved intense fire to aid his wounded comrades, even covering bodies to absorb grenade blasts. He was severely wounded and was not expected to make it back home alive. However, in 1970 Rascon graduated from Officer Candidate School. He then returned to Vietnam for a second tour, this time as a military adviser. In 1976, Rascon was once again honorably discharged from active duty as a captain but continued serving in the United States Army Reserve until 1984, retiring as a lieutenant colonel. In 2000, Rascon was honored with the Medal of Honor by President Bill Clinton.

William Hart Pitsenbarger

MoH William Pitsenbarger 270x147

William Hart Pitsenbarger was born in Ohio in 1944. A pararescue medic with the 38th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, Pitsenbarger was off duty, yet volunteered to fly in an HH-43 helicopter when a call for help came from members of the 1st Infantry Division. He was able to treat the wounded, but never made it out of the jungle; he was killed by enemy fire. Thirty-four years after that fatal mission, his father, then in his 80s, accepted the Medal of Honor on his son's behalf at a ceremony at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. Pitsenbarger was also posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross, the first airman to be so honored with both decorations.

Spc. 5 James C. McCloughan

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James C. McCloughan reported to basic training in September 1968 at Fort Knox, Kentucky. McCloughan’s background in athletics and sports medicine made him an immediate candidate for advanced training as a medical specialist at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. On his last day of medical training, he received deployment orders to Vietnam, assigned as a combat medic with Company C, 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. During the period of May 13-15, 1969, McCloughan endured 48 hours of close combat fighting against enemy forces. Wounded, and against orders, McCloughan risked his life to pull six comrades to safety.

Capt. Gary M. Rose

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Gary “Mike” Rose enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1967. After attending basic training at Fort Ord, California, he attended the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, graduating as a Special Forces medic, and was assigned to the 7th Special Forces Group. Rose received the Medal of Honor for his actions as a combat medic in Laos, Sept. 11-14, 1970.  As part of the Army's Special Forces, Rose repeatedly put himself in the line of enemy fire to load wounded soldiers into rescue helicopters. Rose retired from the U.S. Army in May 1987 with the rank of captain. His numerous other awards include the Distinguished Service Cross and the Bronze Star.

Spc. 4 Joseph Lapointe Jr.

MoH Joseph LaPointe 270x147

Known as “Guy” to his family, Joseph Lapointe Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Army as a conscientious objector in May 1968. He trained as a medic, and by November 1968 he was stationed with the 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division, leaving behind a pregnant wife and several college applications. On June 2, 1969, Lapointe valiantly risked his life to aid two fallen comrades wounded in an ambush. While treating the injured soldiers and shielding them with his body, an enemy grenade took the lives of all three men. In addition to posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor for his valor that day, Lapointe was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Army Commendation Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross for his dedication to service.

Spc. 4 Thomas McMahon

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Thomas McMahon, born on June 24, 1948, in Washington, D.C., entered the U.S. Army in Portland, Maine, and served with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry, 196th Infantry Brigade. McMahon was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Quang Tin Province, Vietnam, on March 19, 1969. After three of his comrades fell wounded, McMahon left his covered position to render first aid and carry them to safety. After successfully returning the first soldier, a mortar hit McMahon while he was returning the second man to safety. McMahon attempted to rescue the remaining casualty despite his own wounds but gave his life before he could reach the soldier.

Spc. 4 Edgar McWethy

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Edgar McWethy, a Colorado native, was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1964. By 1967, McWethy was serving as a combat medic in Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). On June 21, 1967, McWethy’s platoon moved to secure a U.S. Army UH-1 “Huey” helicopter crash site near Binh Dinh Province, where they were suddenly attacked from three sides by intense enemy fire. McWethy was shot four times, including once in the head. Despite his severe wounds, and refusing aid, he provided medical attention to other fallen comrades until he was mortally wounded. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his dedication to service.

Pfc. James Monroe

MoH James Monroe

A native of Aurora, Illinois, James Monroe finished college in 1966 and was drafted later that year for duty in Vietnam. By February 1967, Monroe, a medic with 1st Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), had sacrificed his life to save the lives of the men under hostile fire, and subsequently shielded an enemy grenade that had fallen within feet of their location. Monroe's family accepted his Medal of Honor at the Pentagon in October 1968. Monroe Middle School, in Wheaton, Illinois, is named in his honor, and currently has his medal on display.

Pfc. Daniel John Shea

MoH Daniel Shea 270x147

Daniel John Shea made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War. Shea, born and raised in East Norwalk, Connecticut, enlisted in the U.S. Army on April 24, 1968. The 3rd Battalion, 196th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division medical aidman was on patrol with his unit in the Quang Tri province, Vietnam. A large enemy force in ambush positions opened fire with mortars, grenades, and automatic weapons. Shea dashed from his defensive position into the intense firefight to assist the injured. He made four trips to treat and carry wounded soldiers to the safety of the platoon position. On his fifth run, while carrying a soldier to safety, Shea was mortally wounded by enemy fire.

Pfc. David F. Winder

MoH David Winder 240x147

David Winder was born in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. The son of a pastor, Winder followed his personal convictions when he joined the U.S. Army in Columbus, Ohio. Instead of fighting with a weapon during the Vietnam War, he chose to devote his military experience to medical service. He began his tour of duty in November of 1969, as a senior medical aidman with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 11th Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. On May 13, 1970, his unit was participating in a search-and-destroy exercise in the Republic of Vietnam when it was ambushed by a large North Vietnamese force. Winder responded immediately, unarmed. Wounded by enemy fire, he reached an injured soldier and rendered aid. Hit again by fire, he tried to reach another wounded comrade, but gave his life within feet of reaching the soldier. The Winder Troop Medical Clinic at Fort Monroe, Georgia is named in his honor.

Assistant Surgeon Bernard J.D. Irwin

MoH Bernard Irwin 270x147

Conflict: Indian Wars
Bernard J.D. Irwin is credited with performing the first surgery in the state of Arizona and for inventing the first tent hospital during the Civil War. During the Indian Wars, Irwin served as an assistant surgeon. On Feb. 13-14, 1861, Irwin, along with 14 other men, volunteered to rescue 2nd Lt. George Bascom and 60 other men of the 7th Infantry who were trapped in Chiricahua Apache territory. Irwin and his men embarked on a 100-mile trek on mules, because there were no horses for them to ride. After engaging in battles along the way, Irwin took prisoners, and recovered stolen horses and cattle. Although Irwin's bravery in this conflict was the earliest Medal of Honor action date, it would be 30 years before he would officially be honored with the distinguished medal.

Maj. Henry Tilton

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Conflict: Indian Wars
Henry Tilton was born in Barnegat, New Jersey, in 1836. Tilton graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a medical degree. At the onset of the Civil War, he enlisted in the U.S. Army as an assistant surgeon. After serving at federal hospitals across the south during the Civil War, Tilton was posted to the trans-Mississippi frontier where he accompanied several Indian campaigns, including the 1873 Yellowstone Expedition. Following Tilton’s frontier duty, he joined the 5th Infantry and 7th Cavalry. In a fierce battle with the Nez Perce at Bear Paw Mountain, Montana, Tilton saved the lives of many wounded soldiers who lay helplessly in the line of fire. Tilton was promoted to deputy surgeon general in 1893 and retired from the service a year later.

Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood

MoH Leonard Wood 270x147

Conflict: Indian Wars
An 1884 graduate of Harvard Medical School, Leonard Wood was contracted by the U.S. Army as an assistant surgeon. At the outset of his service, Wood participated in the last campaign to capture Geronimo, the Apache leader who had been organizing mass escapes of Apache from the reservations on which they were forced to live. Wood tirelessly marched in pursuit of Geronimo, outlasting his comrades, and making part of the journey alone. Geronimo was not captured, but Wood’s strategic pursuit and leadership wore Geronimo down to his surrender near the Mexico border, for which Wood was awarded the Medal of Honor. Wood later served as President McKinley’s personal physician, was promoted to general, and is largely credited with efforts to prepare the U.S. Army for the rigors of World War I. Today, Fort Leonard Wood and General Wood Community Hospital in Missouri are both named in his honor.

Hospital Steward William Bryan

MoH William Bryan 270x147

Conflict: Indian Wars
A native of Zanesville, Ohio, William Bryan joined the U.S. Army at St. Louis, Missouri. A hospital steward, 25-year-old Bryan fought on horse and on foot at Powder River, Wyoming, on March 17, 1876. Under heavy fire, Bryan saved the lives of many of his comrades, also having his horse killed under him. He continued to fight on foot, and without assistance carried two wounded comrades to places of safety, saving them from capture.

Pvt. Oscar Burkard

Conflict: Indian Wars
German-born Oscar Burkard enlisted in the U.S. Army at Hay Creek, Minnesota, in 1898. He was assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry at Fort Snelling, Minnesota, where he served as a private in the Hospital Corps. He participated in one of the first battles of the Indian Wars and was the last person during that campaign to be awarded the Medal of Honor. He earned the medal for his actions at the Battle of Sugar Point, the war’s final battle. Burkard rescued several soldiers while under heavy fire, and fearlessly continued to do so throughout the day against the Chippewa.

Hospital Apprentice Robert Stanley

MoH Robert Stanley 270x147

Conflict: Boxer Rebellion
A native of Brooklyn, New York, 16-year-old Robert Stanley enlisted in the U.S. Navy aboard the receiving ship U.S.S. Vermont, anchored off New York City, on March 28, 1898. By June 1900, Stanley was serving as a hospital apprentice aboard the U.S.S. Newark, in China to relieve the Allied forces during the Boxer Rebellion. He volunteered to carry messages between the American and British delegations, bravely defying heavy enemy fire. Stanley and 23 other men received the Medal of Honor for their distinguished conduct during the fierce battle at Peking.

Hospital Steward William Shacklette

MoH William Shacklette 270x147

Conflict: N/A
William Shacklette joined the U.S. Navy when he was 22 years old. He enlisted for four years as a hospital apprentice first class at the U.S. Naval Rendezvous at the Washington Navy Yard. He served on two ships before transferring to the gunboat U.S.S. Bennington. On the morning of July 21, 1905, two boilers exploded in the ship while en route to San Diego Bay. The burst boilers scorched the ship with steam and boiling water, killing 60 men and badly burning 40 others. Although suffering from burns himself, Shacklette adeptly applied his medical skills and saved many lives.

Col. James Robb Church

MoH James Church 270x147

Conflict: Spanish-American War
Chicago native James Robb Church graduated from Columbia Medical College in New York City in 1893. Church was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a first lieutenant and served as assistant surgeon with the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry — the famous "Rough Riders,” led by then-Col. Theodore Roosevelt. Church earned the Medal of Honor for his heroics during the battle of Las Guasimas, Cuba, where he risked his life to rescue the wounded from the battlefield. He was presented with the Medal of Honor at the White House in 1906 by the president — who just happened to be his former commander, Theodore Roosevelt.

Hospital Apprentice Fred McGuire

MoH Fred McGuire 270x147

Conflict: Action Against Outlaws, Philippines
Fred McGuire was born in Gordonville, Missouri, in 1890. McGuire joined the U.S. Navy in 1909 and became rated as a hospital apprentice. During operations against outlaws near Mundang, the- Philippines, McGuire was attached to the gunboat U.S.S. Pampanga, operating in support of U.S. Army troops engaged in putting down the rebels. On Sept. 24, 1911, during a surprise attack, McGuire returned fire. When his ammunition ran out, he used his rifle as a club to hold off the attackers. McGuire suffered his own injuries, but treated as many other men as possible, saving the lives of two Marines.

Hospital Apprentice First Class William Zuiderveld

MoH William Zuiderveld 270x147

Conflict: Occupation of Veracruz
Michigan native William Zuiderveld enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was promoted to Hospital Apprentice First Class. Zuiderveld served onboard the battleship U.S.S. Florida during the seizure of Veracruz, Mexico, on April 21, 1914. Five volunteers were advancing between the customs house and a warehouse when one of them was shot in the head. Zuiderveld heard the call for help. Unaided and under heavy fire, he helped the seriously wounded man, bandaging his head to stop the bleeding. Zuiderveld retired from enlisted service in 1938 but was recalled to active duty in October 1942 during World War II, serving as an officer with the specialist of chief pharmacist. At the end of the war, Zuiderveld again retired, with the rank of lieutenant.

Lt. Col. John Skinner

MoH John Skinner 270x147

Conflict: Indian Wars
John Skinner was a civilian contract surgeon from Baltimore, Maryland, who served in the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars. As an assistant surgeon, Skinner was one of four officers to accompany Gen. George Crook on investigations through the Navajo Apache territories and was the guardian of Apache leader Geronimo during Geronimo’s incarceration in Florida. He was given the Medal of Honor by President Woodrow Wilson, for bravery in the Modoc Indian War in southern Oregon, where he rescued a wounded soldier under heavy fire after two other soldiers had failed to save the man. Skinner’s award required a special act of Congress since he was not a member of the armed forces at the time, yet his valor was deemed sufficiently meritorious to receive the honor.

Surgeon Cary Langhorne

MoH Cary Langhorne 270x147

Conflict: Occupation of Veracruz
Cary Langhorne was born in 1873, in Lynchburg, Virginia. He attended the Virginia Military Institute and later the University of Virginia, graduating in 1896. Langhorne was commissioned in the U.S. Navy and was deployed to Mexico, attached to the battleship U.S.S. Vermont and the Second Seaman Regiment during the occupation of Veracruz, Mexico. On the morning of April 22, 1914, troops from the Second Seaman Regiment prepared to occupy the city of Veracruz. The sailors came under unexpected heavy fire. Langhorne and several enlisted men received orders to treat and remove the wounded while the American sailors regrouped. Langhorne personally carried a wounded man from the battlefield, for which he received the Medal of Honor.

Staff Sgt. Ronald J. Shurer II

MoH Ronald Shurer 270x147

Conflict: War in Afghanistan
The son of two Air Force airmen, Ronald J. Shurer II earned his bachelor's degree at Washington State University. While working toward a master's degree, the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, inspired him to join the Army. Shurer became a Green Beret and was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group as a medic. On April 6, 2008, Shurer's detachment was on a mission in the Shok Valley of Afghanistan. Insurgents opened fire, seriously injuring many of the soldiers already challenged by steep terrain. For the next few hours, Shurer treated wounded Americans and Afghan commandos. Due to Shurer's bravery, not one American died that day. Shurer received his Medal of Honor on Oct. 1, 2018, in a White House ceremony.

Last Updated: March 06, 2024
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