(WXYZ) — National Medal of Honor Day is celebrated every year on March 25, in honor of the first time it was awarded on March 25, 1863.
The medal is the highest honor for military valor in action, and more than 3,500 people have been awarded the Medal of Honor. In Michigan, there have been 110 people.
The current criteria for the Medal of Honor was established in 1963 during the Vietnam War, and is for any military member who "distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty
- While engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
- While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
- While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party."
View out the list of Medal of Honor recipients from Michigan below, by conflict. All information sourced from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
Charles S. Kettles - U.S. Army - May 15, 1967 - Ypsilanti
"Major Charles S. Kettles distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while serving as Flight Commander, 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light}, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam. On 15 May 1967, Major Kettles, upon learning that an airborne infantry unit had suffered casualties during an intense firefight with the enemy, immediately volunteered to lead a flight of six UH-1D helicopters to carry reinforcements to the embattled force and to evacuate wounded personnel. Enemy small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire raked the landing zone, inflicting heavy damage to the helicopters; however, Major Kettles refused to depart until all helicopters were loaded to capacity. He then returned to the battlefield, with full knowledge of the intense enemy fire awaiting his arrival, to bring more reinforcements, landing in the midst of enemy mortar and automatic weapons fire that seriously wounded his gunner and severely damaged his aircraft. Later that day, the Infantry Battalion Commander requested immediate, emergency extraction of the remaining 40 troops, including four members of Major Kettles' unit who were stranded when their helicopter was destroyed by enemy fire. With only one flyable UH-1 helicopter remaining, Major Kettles volunteered to return to the deadly landing zone for a third time, leading a flight of six evacuation helicopters, five of which were from the 161st Aviation Company. Without his courageous actions and superior flying skills, the last group of soldiers and his crew would never have made it off the battlefield. Major Kettles' selfless acts of repeated valor and determination are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army."
Dwight H. Johnson - U.S. Army - Jan. 15, 1968 - Detroit
Johnson was a tank driver with Company B when the tank become immobilized. He climbed out, armed only with a pistol, and killed several enemy soldiers. He then went back to the tank, got a submachine gun and continued to fight. He used all his ammo and killed an enemy with the stock end of his gun. Weaponless, he climbed into the tank, saved a wounded crewmember and carried him to an armed personnel carrier. he then returned to the tank, armed again with a pistol, and engaged with more troops, before jumping on the .50 caliber machine gun until the situation was under control.
Gordon B. Yntema - U.S. Army - Jan. 16-18, 1968 - Detroit
"Sgt. Yntema, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while assigned to Detachment A-431, Company D. As part of a larger force of civilian irregulars from Camp Cai Cai, he accompanied two platoons to a blocking position east of the village of Thong Binh, where they became heavily engaged in a small-arms firefight with the Viet Cong. Assuming control of the force when the Vietnamese commander was seriously wounded, he advanced his troops to within 50 meters of the enemy bunkers. After a fierce 30-minute firefight, the enemy forced Sgt. Yntema to withdraw his men to a trench in order to afford them protection and still perform their assigned blocking mission. Under cover of machine-gun fire, approximately one company of Viet Cong maneuvered into a position which pinned down the friendly platoons from three sides. A dwindling ammunition supply, coupled with a Viet Cong mortar barrage which inflicted heavy losses on the exposed friendly troops, caused many of the irregulars to withdraw. Seriously wounded and ordered to withdraw himself, Sgt. Yntema refused to leave his fallen comrades. Under withering small-arms and machine-gun fire, he carried the wounded Vietnamese commander and a mortally wounded American Special Forces adviser to a small gully 50 meters away in order to shield them from the enemy fire. Sgt. Yntema then continued to repulse the attacking Viet Cong attempting to overrun his position until, out of ammunition and surrounded, he was offered the opportunity to surrender. Refusing, Sgt. Yntema stood his ground, using his rifle as a club to fight the approximately 15 Viet Cong attempting his capture. His resistance was so fierce that the Viet Cong were forced to shoot in order to overcome him. Sgt. Yntema's personal bravery in the face of insurmountable odds and supreme self-sacrifice were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself, the 1st Special Forces, and the U.S. Army."
Paul R. Lambers - U.S. Army - Aug. 20, 1968 - Holland, Mich.
Lambers maintained control of his platoon after the leader fell seriously wounded during a battle. and his "ammunition and to care for seriously wounded comrades and to move them to sheltered positions. S/Sgt. Lambers' superb leadership, professional skill, and magnificent courage saved the lives of his comrades, resulted in the virtual annihilation of a vastly superior enemy force, and were largely instrumental in thwarting an enemy offensive against Tay Ninh City."
Dewayne T. Williams - U.S. Marine Corps - Sept. 18, 1968 - St. Clair Shores
"Pfc. Williams was a member of a combat patrol sent out from the platoon with the mission of establishing positions in the company's area of operations from which it could intercept and destroy enemy sniper teams operating in the area. In the night as the patrol was preparing to move from its daylight position to a preselected night position, it was attacked from ambush by a squad of enemy using small arms and hand grenades. Although severely wounded in the back by the close intense fire, Pfc. Williams, recognizing the danger to the patrol, immediately began to crawl forward toward a good firing position. While he was moving under the continuing intense fire, he heard one of the members of the patrol sound the alert that an enemy grenade had landed in their position. Reacting instantly to the alert, he saw that the grenade had landed close to where he was lying and without hesitation, in a valiant act of heroism, rolled on top of the grenade as it exploded, absorbing the full and tremendous impact of the explosion with his body. Through his extraordinary initiative and inspiring valor in the face of certain death, he saved the other members of his patrol from serious injury and possible loss of life, and enabled them to successfully defeat the attackers and hold their position until assistance arrived. He gallantly gave his life for his country."
William M. Bryant - U.S. Army - March 24, 1969 - Detroit
Bryant's battalion came under heavy fire for 34 hours as he held the defense perimeter. He ran through the heavy fire to get scattered ammunition after a drop. He was later severely wounded while trying to break through the enemy circle, but he rallied his men and called for a helicopter support. Bryant was regrouping his force for a final attack when he was killed by an enemy rocket.
James S. McCloughan - U.S. Army - May 13-15, 1969 - Bangor, Mich.
"The company air assaulted into an area near Tam Ky and Nui Yon Hill. On May 13th, with complete disregard for his life, he ran 100 meters in an open field through heavy fire to rescue a comrade too injured to move and carried him to safety. That same day, 2d Platoon was ordered to search the area near Nui Yon Hill when the platoon was ambushed by a large North Vietnamese Army force and sustained heavy casualties. With complete disregard for his life and personal safety, Private First Class McCloughan led two Americans into the safety of a trench while being wounded by shrapnel from a rocket propelled grenade. He ignored a direct order to stay back and braved an enemy assault while moving into the “kill zone” on four more occasions to extract wounded comrades. He treated the injured, prepared the evacuation, and though bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds on his head and body, refused evacuation to safety in order to remain at the battle site with his fellow Soldiers who were heavily outnumbered by North Vietnamese Army forces."
James L. Bondsteel - U.S. Army - May 24, 1969 - Detroit
Bondsteel was a platoon sergeant with Company A near the village of Lang Sau when he was directed to assist a friendly unit. He and his platoon destroyed four enemy bunkers, ran 200 meters through enemy fire. He was wounded by an enemy grenade but refused medical attention and continued the assault. Alone, he destroyed 10 enemy bunkers.
Robert L. Poxon - U.S. Army - June 2, 1969 - Detroit
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Poxon, Armor, Troop B, distinguished himself while serving as a platoon leader on a reconnaissance mission. Landing by helicopter in a area suspected of being occupied by the enemy, the platoon came under intense fire from enemy soldiers in concealed positions and fortifications around the landing zone. A soldier fell, hit by the first burst of fire. 1st Lt. Poxon dashed to his aid, drawing the majority of the enemy fire as he crossed 20 meters of open ground. The fallen soldier was beyond help and 1st Lt. Poxon was seriously and painfully wounded. 1st Lt. Poxon, with indomitable courage, refused medical aid and evacuation and turned his attention to seizing the initiative from the enemy. With sure instinct he marked a central enemy bunker as the key to success. Quickly instructing his men to concentrate their fire on the bunker, and in spite of his wound, 1st Lt. Poxon crawled toward the bunker, readied a hand grenade, and charged. He was hit again but continued his assault. After succeeding in silencing the enemy guns in the bunker he was struck once again by enemy fire and fell, mortally wounded."
Peter C. Lemon - U.S. Army - April 1, 1970 - Tawas City, Mich.
"Sgt. Lemon (then Sp4c.), Company E, distinguished himself while serving as an assistant machine gunner during the defense of Fire Support Base Illingworth. When the base came under heavy enemy attack, Sgt. Lemon engaged a numerically superior enemy with machine-gun and rifle fire from his defensive position until both weapons malfunctioned. He then used hand grenades to fend off the intensified enemy attack launched in his direction. After eliminating all but one of the enemy soldiers in the immediate vicinity, he pursued and disposed of the remaining soldier in hand-to-hand combat. Despite fragment wounds from an exploding grenade, Sgt. Lemon regained his position, carried a more seriously wounded comrade to an aid station, and, as he returned, was wounded a second time by enemy fire."
John Essebagger Jr. - U.S. Army - April 25, 1951 - Holland, Mich.
Essebagger remained fighting to provide security while troops withdrew from the area. He was mortally wounded while fighting, and fired his weapon and hurled grenades, exacting a heavy toll in enemy dead and wounded.
Donald R. Moyer - U.S. Army - May 20, 1951 - Keego Harbor, Mich.
"Sfc. Moyer's platoon was committed to attack and secure commanding terrain stubbornly defended by a numerically superior hostile force emplaced in well-fortified positions. Advancing up the rocky hill, the leading elements came under intense automatic-weapons, small-arms, and grenade fire, wounding the platoon leader and platoon sergeant. Sfc. Moyer, realizing the success of the mission was imperiled, rushed to the head of the faltering column, assumed command, and urged the men forward. Inspired by Sfc. Moyer's unflinching courage, the troops responded magnificently, but as they reached the final approaches to the rugged crest of the hill, enemy fire increased in volume and intensity and the fanatical foe showered the platoon with grenades. Undaunted, the valiant group forged ahead, and as they neared the top of the hill, the enemy hurled a grenade into their midst. Sfc. Moyer, fully aware of the odds against him, unhesitatingly threw himself on the grenade, absorbing the full blast of the explosion with his body. Although mortally wounded in this fearless display of valor, Sfc. Moyer's intrepid act saved several of his comrades from death or serious injury"
Duane E. Dewey - U.S. Marine Corps - April 16, 1952 - Muskegon, Mich.
He was a machine-gunner and while injured, he pulled a corpsman to the ground and shouted a warning when a grenade landed nearby. He smothered it with his body and absorbed the full explosion. He did survive.
Robert E. Simanek - U.S. Marine Corps - Aug. 17, 1952 - Farmington Hills
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. While accompanying a patrol en route to occupy a combat outpost forward of friendly lines, Pfc. Simanek exhibited a high degree of courage and a resolute spirit of self-sacrifice in protecting the lives of his fellow marines. With his unit ambushed by an intense concentration of enemy mortar and small-arms fire, and suffering heavy casualties, he was forced to seek cover with the remaining members of the patrol in a nearby trench line. Determined to save his comrades when a hostile grenade was hurled into their midst, he unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile absorbing the shattering violence of the exploding charge in his body and shielding his fellow marines from serious injury or death. Gravely wounded as a result of his heroic action, Pfc. Simanek, by his daring initiative and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, served to inspire all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service."
Sherrod E. Skinner Jr. - U.S. Marine Corps - Oct. 26, 1952 - East Lansing
"When his observation post in an extremely critical and vital sector of the main line of resistance was subjected to a sudden and fanatical attack by hostile forces, supported by a devastating barrage of artillery and mortar fire which completely severed communication lines connecting the outpost with friendly firing batteries, 2d Lt. Skinner, in a determined effort to hold his position, immediately organized and directed the surviving personnel in the defense of the outpost, continuing to call down fire on the enemy by means of radio alone until his equipment became damaged beyond repair. Undaunted by the intense hostile barrage and the rapidly-closing attackers, he twice left the protection of his bunker in order to direct accurate machine-gun fire and to replenish the depleted supply of ammunition and grenades. Although painfully wounded on each occasion, he steadfastly refused medical aid until the rest of the men received treatment. As the ground attack reached its climax, he gallantly directed the final defense until the meager supply of ammunition was exhausted and the position overrun. During the three hours that the outpost was occupied by the enemy, several grenades were thrown into the bunker which served as protection for 2d Lt. Skinner and his remaining comrades. Realizing that there was no chance for other than passive resistance, he directed his men to feign death even though the hostile troops entered the bunker and searched their persons. Later, when an enemy grenade was thrown between him and two other survivors, he immediately threw himself on the deadly missile in an effort to protect the others, absorbing the full force of the explosion and sacrificing his life for his comrades."
William R. Charette - U.S. Navy - March 27, 1953 - Ludington, Mich.
Charette repeatedly "moved about through a murderous barrage of hostile small-arms and mortar fire to render assistance to his wounded comrades." He threw himself on a man when a grenade landed nearby and sustained painful facial wounds. He was responsible for saving many lives.
World War I
Harold A. Furlong - U.S. Army - Nov. 1, 1918 - Detroit
Immediately after the opening of the attack in the Bois-de-Bantheville in France, Furlong moved out in advance of the line and crossed a side open space, taking up a position behind the enemy line. He killed a number of enemies and put four machine-gun nests out of action, driving 20 German prisoners into the U.S. lines.
World War II
George H. Cannon - U.S. Marine Corps - Dec. 7, 1941 - Michigan
Cannon was on Sand Island in the Midway Islands at his command post when he was wounded by enemy fire. He refused to be evacuated until his men who were wounded were evacuated. He was forcibly removed, but as a result of the disregard of his own condition, he died from blood loss.
Francis C. Flaherty - U.S. Naval Reserve - Dec. 7, 1941 - Michigan
While at Pearl Harbor, Flaherty saw the USS Oklahoma was going to capsize. Despite the order to abandon ship, he remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the crew could see to escape, sacrificing his own life.
Demas Thurlow "Nick" Craw - U.S. Army Air Corps - Nov. 8, 1942 - Michigan
Craw volunteered to accompany a leading wave of assault boats to the shore in French Morocco. They landed on the beach despite encountering heavy fire, but was killed by a burst of machine-gun fire.
Maynard H. Smith Sr. - U.S. Army Air Corps - May 1, 1943 - Caro, Mich.
"The aircraft of which Sgt. Smith was a gunner was subjected to intense enemy antiaircraft fire and determined fighter airplane attacks while returning from a mission over enemy-occupied continental Europe on 1 May 1943. The airplane was hit several times by antiaircraft fire and cannon shells of the fighter airplanes, two of the crew were seriously wounded, the aircraft's oxygen system shot out, and several vital control cables severed when intense fires were ignited simultaneously in the radio compartment and waist sections. The situation became so acute that three of the crew bailed out into the comparative safety of the sea. Sgt. Smith, then on his first combat mission, elected to fight the fire by himself, administered first aid to the wounded tail gunner, manned the waist guns, and fought the intense flames alternately. The escaping oxygen fanned the fire to such intense heat that the ammunition in the radio compartment began to explode, the radio, gun mount, and camera were melted, and the compartment completely gutted. Sgt. Smith threw the exploding ammunition overboard, fought the fire until all the firefighting aids were exhausted, manned the workable guns until the enemy fighter were driven away, further administered first aid to his wounded comrade, and then by wrapping himself in protecting cloth, completely extinguished the fire by hand."
Jesse R. Drowley - U.S. Army - Jan. 30, 1944 - Detroit
Drowley was a squad leader in the Solomon Islands when he rescued men, then ran through fire to get to an open tank. He climbed to the turret and rode the deck of the tank, directing it to an empty pillbox. He was wounded by small-arms fire, losing his left eye, but remained alongside the tank until the pillbox had been demolished.
Raymond Zussman - U.S. Army - Sept. 12, 1944 - Detroit
"On 12 September 1944, 2d Lt. Zussman was in command of two tanks operating with an infantry company in the attack on enemy forces occupying the town of Noroy-le-bourg, France. At 7:00 P.M., his command tank bogged down. Throughout the ensuing action, armed only with a carbine, he reconnoitered alone on foot far in advance of his remaining tank and the infantry. Returning only from time to time to designate targets, he directed the action of the tank and turned over to the infantry the numerous German soldiers he had caused to surrender. He located a road block and directed his tanks to destroy it. Fully exposed to fire from enemy positions only 50 yards distant, he stood by his tank directing its fire. Three Germans were killed and eight surrendered. Again he walked before his tank, leading it against an enemy-held group of houses, machine-gun and small-arms fire kicking up dust at his feet. The tank fire broke the resistance and 20 enemy surrendered. Going forward again alone he passed an enemy-occupied house from which Germans fired on him and threw grenades in his path. After a brief firefight, he signaled his tank to come up and fire on the house. Eleven German soldiers were killed and 15 surrendered. Going on alone, he disappeared around a street corner. The fire of his carbine could be heard and in a few minutes he reappeared driving 30 prisoners before him. Under 2d Lt. Zussman's heroic and inspiring leadership, 18 enemy soldiers were killed and 92 captured."
Thomas W. Wigle - U.S. Army - Sept. 14, 1944 - Detroit
"The 3d Platoon, in attempting to seize a strongly fortified hill position protected by three parallel high terraced stone walls, was twice thrown back by the withering crossfire. Second Lt. Wigle, acting company executive, observing that the platoon was without an officer, volunteered to command it on the next attack. Leading his men up the bare, rocky slopes through intense and concentrated fire, he succeeded in reaching the first of the stone walls. Having himself boosted to the top and perching there in full view of the enemy, he drew and returned their fire while his men helped each other up and over. Following the same method, he successfully negotiated the second. Upon reaching the top of the third wall, he faced three houses which were the key point of the enemy defense. Ordering his men to cover him, he made a dash through a hail of machine-pistol fire to reach the nearest house. Firing his carbine as he entered, he drove the enemy before him out of the back door and into the second house. Following closely on the heels of the foe, he drove them from this house to the third where they took refuge in the cellar. When his men rejoined him, they found him mortally wounded on the cellar stairs which he had started to descend to force the surrender of the enemy. His heroic action resulted in the capture of 36 German soldiers and the seizure of the strongpoint."
Oscar G. Johnson Jr. - U.S. Army - Sept. 16-18, 1944 - Foster City, Mich.
"He practically singlehandedly protected the left flank of his company's position in the offensive to break the Germans's Gothic line." During the attack, dozens of soldiers surrendered to him and they found 20 dead Germans in front of his position while also helping rescue members of his company.
Charles L. Thomas - U.S. Army - Dec. 14, 1944 - Detroit
Thomas was one of the first Black men to be awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II and it only came decades later after a review. He was awarded it posthumously. "Then Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 14 December 1944. One platoon of Company C, 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, was designated as the lead element in a task force formed to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France. Lieutenant Thomas, the Commanding Officer of Company C, realized, with the obscurity of information regarding the enemy and a complete lack of reconnaissance, the mission would be an extremely dangerous one. Fully cognizant of the danger, Lieutenant Thomas volunteered to command the selected platoon of his company and ride in the column's leading vehicle - a highly maneuverable, but equally vulnerable, M-20 scout car. Lieutenant Thomas knew that if there was a concentration of enemy armor in the village, as was believed, he would absorb the initial shock of the first enemy resistance. The task force left Preuschdorf, France, at 1023 hours, and proceeded to advance in column toward Climbach. Lieutenant Thomas in his scout car stayed well in front of the column. At 1400 hours, upon reaching the high ground southeast of the village, Lieutenant Thomas experienced initial contact with the enemy. As his scout car advanced to an exposed position on the heights, he received intense direct fire from enemy artillery, self-propelled guns, and small arms at a range of seven hundred yards. The first burst of hostile fire disabled the scout car and severely wounded Lieutenant Thomas. He immediately signaled the column to halt. Before leaving the wrecked vehicle, Lieutenant Thomas and the crew found themselves subjected to a veritable hail of enemy fire. Lieutenant Thomas received multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. In spite of the intense pain caused by his wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of his first two antitank guns."
Dirk J. Vlug - U.S. Army - Dec. 15, 1944 - Grand Rapids
"He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty when an American roadblock on the Ormoc Road was attacked by a group of enemy tanks. He left his covered position and, with a rocket launcher and six rounds of ammunition, advanced alone under intense machine-gun and 37-mm fire. Loading singlehandedly, he destroyed the first tank, killing its occupants with a single round. As the crew of the second tank started to dismount and attack him, he killed one of the foe with his pistol, forcing the survivors to return to their vehicle, which he then destroyed with a second round. Three more hostile tanks moved up the road, so he flanked the first and eliminated it, and then, despite a hail of enemy fire, pressed forward again to destroy another. With his last round of ammunition he struck the remaining vehicle, causing it to crash down a steep embankment. Through his sustained heroism in the face of superior forces, Pfc. Vlug alone destroyed five enemy tanks and greatly facilitated successful accomplishment of his battalion's mission."
Owen F. Hammerberg - U.S. Navy - Feb. 17, 1945 - Michigan
Hammerberg was a diver in rescue operations at Pearl Harbor when he attempted to rescue two fellow divers trapped in a cave-in of steel wreckage. He freed the first man and went back for the second diver. Another cave-in happened and pinned him where he died 18 hours after going down.
Walter C. Wetzel - U.S. Army - April 3, 1945 - Roseville
"Pfc. Wetzel, an acting squad leader with the Antitank Company of the 13th Infantry, was guarding his platoon's command post in a house at Birken, Germany, during the early morning hours of 3 April 1945, when he detected strong enemy forces moving in to attack. He ran into the house, alerted the occupants, and immediately began defending the post against heavy automatic-weapon fire coming from the hostile troops. Under cover of darkness the Germans forced their way close to the building where they hurled grenades, two of which landed in the room where Pfc. Wetzel and the others had taken up firing positions. Shouting a warning to his fellow soldiers, Pfc. Wetzel threw himself on the grenades and, as they exploded, absorbed their entire blast, suffering wounds from which he died. The supreme gallantry of Pfc. Wetzel saved his comrades from death or serious injury and made it possible for them to continue the defense of the command post and break the power of a dangerous local counterthrust by the enemy."
William H. Thomas - U.S. Army - April 22, 1945 - Ypsilanti
"He was a member of the leading squad of Company B, which was attacking along a narrow, wooded ridge. The enemy, strongly entrenched in camouflaged emplacements on the hill beyond, directed heavy fire and hurled explosive charges on the attacking riflemen. Pfc. Thomas, an automatic rifleman, was struck by one of these charges, which blew off both his legs below the knees. He refused medical aid and evacuation, and continued to fire at the enemy until his weapon was put out of action by an enemy bullet. Still refusing aid, he threw his last two grenades. He destroyed three of the enemy after suffering the wounds from which he died later that day. The effective fire of Pfc. Thomas prevented the repulse of his platoon and assured the capture of the hostile position. His magnificent courage and heroic devotion to duty provided a lasting inspiration for his comrades."
John C. Sjogren - U.S. Army - May 23, 1945 - Rockford
"He led an attack against a high precipitous ridge defended by a company of enemy riflemen, who were entrenched in spider holes and supported by well-sealed pillboxes housing automatic weapons with interlocking bands of fire. The terrain was such that only one squad could advance at a time; and from a knoll atop a ridge a pillbox covered the only approach with automatic fire. Against this enemy stronghold, S/Sgt. Sjogren led the first squad to open the assault. Deploying his men, he moved forward and was hurling grenades when he saw that his next in command, at the opposite flank, was gravely wounded. Without hesitation he crossed 20 yards of exposed terrain in the face of enemy fire and exploding dynamite charges, moved the man to cover, and administered first aid. He then worked his way forward and, advancing directly into the enemy fire, killed eight Japanese in spider holes guarding the approach to the pillbox. Crawling to within a few feet of the pillbox while his men concentrated their bullets on the fire port, he began dropping grenades through the narrow firing slit. The enemy immediately threw two or three of these unexploded grenades out, and fragments from one wounded him in the hand and back. However, by hurling grenades through the embrasure faster than the enemy could return them, he succeeded in destroying the occupants. Despite his wounds, he directed his squad to follow him in a systematic attack on the remaining positions, which he eliminated in like manner, taking tremendous risks, overcoming bitter resistance, and never hesitating in his relentless advance. To silence one of the pillboxes, he wrenched a light machine gun out through the embrasure as it was firing before blowing up the occupants with hand grenades. During this action, S/Sgt. Sjogren, by his heroic bravery, aggressiveness, and skill as a soldier, singlehandedly killed 43 enemy soldiers and destroyed nine pillboxes, thereby paving the way for his company's successful advance."
U.S. Civil War
Orlando B. Willcox - U.S. Army - July 21, 1861 - Detroit
"Led repeated charges until wounded and taken prisoner."
William H. Withington - U.S. Army - July 21, 1861 - Jackson
"Remained on the field under heavy fire to succor his superior officer."
Alexander A. Forman - U.S. Army - May 31, 1862 - Jonesville, Mich.
"Although wounded, he continued fighting until, fainting from loss of blood, he was carried off the field."
Samuel S. French - U.S. Army - May 31, 1862 - Gifford, Mich.
"Continued fighting, although wounded, until he fainted from loss of blood."
William R. Shafter - U.S. Army - May 31, 1862 - Galesburg, Mich.
"Lt. Shafter was engaged in bridge construction and not being needed there returned with his men to engage the enemy participating in a charge across an open field that resulted in casualties to 18 of the 22 men. At the close of the battle his horse was shot from under him and he was severely flesh wounded. He remained on the field that day and stayed to fight the next day only by concealing his wounds. In order not to be sent home with the wounded he kept his wounds concealed for another three days until other wounded had left the area."
George D. Sidman - U.S. Army - June 27, 1862 - Owosso, Mich.
"Distinguished bravery in battle. Rallied his comrades to charge vastly superior force until wounded in the hip. He was a 16-year old drummer."
Frederick A. Ballen - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian, Mich.
Was one of a group that volunteered and tried to run the enemy's batteries in Vicksburg, Miss. with a steamtug and two barges.
John Hack - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian, Mich.
Was one of a group that volunteered and tried to run the enemy's batteries in Vicksburg, Miss. with a steamtug and two barges.
Addison J. Hodges - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian, Mich.
Was one of a group that volunteered and tried to run the enemy's batteries in Vicksburg, Miss. with a steamtug and two barges.
Henry Lewis - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian, Mich.
Henry M. Nash - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian, Mich.
Henry C. Peters - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian
Peter Sype - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian
William H. Ward - U.S. Army - May 3, 1863 - Adrian
Bryon M. Cutcheon - U.S. Army - May 10, 1863 - Ypsilanti, Mich.
"Distinguished gallantry in leading his regiment in a charge on a house occupied by the enemy."
Charles M. Holton - U.S. Army - July 14, 1863 - Battle Creek, Mich.
"Capture of flag of 55th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.). In the midst of the battle with foot soldiers he dismounted to capture the flag."
Smith H. Hastings - U.S. Army - July 24, 1863 - Coldwater, Mich.
"While in command of a squadron in rear guard of a cavalry division, then retiring before the advance of a corps of infantry, was attacked by the enemy and, orders having been given to abandon the guns of a section of field artillery with the rear guard that were in imminent danger of capture, he disregarded the orders received and aided in repelling the attack and saving the guns."
William G. Whitney - U.S. Army - Sept. 20, 1863 - Quincy, Mich.
"As the enemy were about to charge, this officer went outside the temporary Union works among the dead and wounded enemy and at great exposure to himself cut off and removed their cartridge boxes, bringing the same within the Union lines, the ammunition being used with good effect in again repulsing the attack."
Cornelius M. Hadley - U.S. Army - Nov. 20, 1863 - Adrian, Mich.
"With one companion, voluntarily carried through the enemy's lines important dispatches from Gen. Grant to Gen. Burnside, then besieged within Knoxville, and brought back replies, his comrade's horse being killed and the man taken prisoner."
Joseph E. Brandle - U.S. Army - Nov. 16, 1863 - Colon, Mich.
"While color bearer of his regiment, having been twice wounded and had the sight of one eye destroyed, Brandle still held to the colors until ordered to the rear by his regimental commander."
Frederic W. Swift - U.S. Army - Nov. 16, 1863 - Detroit
"Gallantly seized the colors and rallied the regiment after three color bearers had been shot and the regiment, having become demoralized, was in imminent danger of capture."
John A. Falconer - U.S. Army - Nov. 20, 1863 - Manchester, Mich.
"Conducted the "burning party" of his regiment at the time a charge was made on the enemy's picket line, and burned the house which had sheltered the enemy's sharpshooters, thus insuring success to a hazardous enterprise."
Andrew J. Kelley - U.S. Army - Nov. 20, 1863 - Ypsilanti
"Having voluntarily accompanied a small party to destroy buildings within the enemy's lines whence sharpshooters had been firing, Kelley disregarded an order to retire, remained, and completed the firing of the buildings, thus insuring their total destruction; this at the imminent risk of his life from the fire of the advancing enemy."
Irwin Shepard - U.S. Army - Nov. 20, 1863 - Chelsea, Mich.
"Having voluntarily accompanied a small party to destroy buildings within the enemy's lines, whence sharpshooters had been firing, disregarded an order to retire, remained, and completed the firing of the buildings, thus insuring their total destruction; this at the imminent risk of his life from the fire of the advancing enemy."
Joseph B. Kemp - U.S. Army - May 6, 1864 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
"Capture of flag of 31st North Carolina (C.S.A.) in a personal encounter."
Moses A. Luce - U.S. Army - May 10, 1864 - Adrian, Mich.
"Voluntarily returned in the face of the advancing enemy to the assistance of a wounded and helpless comrade, and carried him, at imminent peril, to a place of safety."
Frederick Alber - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Manchester, Mich.
Alber rescued Lt. Charles H. Todd who was captured by Confederates in Spotsylvania, Virginia. He took both as prisoners.
Daniel R. McFall - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Ypsilanti
"Captured Col. Barker, commanding the Confederate brigade that charged the Union batteries; on the same day rescued Lt. George W. Harmon of his regiment from the enemy."
Charles S. Fall - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Hamburg, Mich.
"Was one of the first to mount the Confederate works, where he bayoneted two of the enemy and captured a Confederate flag, but threw it away to continue the pursuit of the enemy."
Alexander U. McHale - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Muskegon
"Captured a Confederate color in a charge, threw the flag over in front of the works, and continued in the charge upon the enemy.
Benjamin Morse - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Grand Rapids
"Capture of colors of 4th Georgia Battery (C.S.A.)."
Conrad Noll - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Ann Arbor
"Seized the colors, the color bearer having been shot down, and gallantly fought his way out with them, though the enemy were on the left flank and rear."
Charles A. Thompson - U.S. Army - May 12, 1864 - Kalamazoo
"After the regiment was surrounded and all resistance seemed useless, fought singlehanded for the colors and refused to give them up until he had appealed to his superior officers."
George E. Ranney - U.S. Army - May 14, 1864 - Grand Rapids
"At great personal risk, went to the aid of a wounded soldier, Pvt. Charles W. Baker, lying under heavy fire between the lines and with the aid of an orderly, carried him to a place of safety."
James I. Christiancy - U.S. Army - May 28, 1864 - Monroe, Mich.
"While acting as aide, voluntarily led a part of the line into the fight, and was twice wounded."
Edward Hill - U.S. Army - June 1, 1864 - Detroit
"Led the brigade skirmish line in a desperate charge on the enemy's masked batteries to the muzzles of the guns, where he was severely wounded."
Benjamin F. Young - U.S. Army - June 17, 1864 - Detroit
"Capture of flag of 35th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.)."
Frank D. Baldwin - U.S. Army - July 12, 1864 - Constantine, Mich.
Baldwin led a countercharge in Peach Tree Creek, Ga. and entered the enemy line on his own, bringing back two commissioned officers.
Charles F. Sancrainte - U.S. Army - July 22, 1864 - Monroe, Mich.
"Voluntarily scaled the enemy's breastworks and signaled to his commanding officer in charge; also in single combat captured the colors of the 5th Texas Regiment (C.S.A.)."
Robert F. Dodd - U.S. Army - July 30, 1864 - Detroit
"While acting as orderly, voluntarily assisted to carry off the wounded from the ground in front of the crater while exposed to a heavy fire."
Sidney Haight - U.S. Army - July 30, 1864 - Goodland, Mich.
"Instead of retreating, remained in the captured works, regardless of his personal safety and exposed to the firing, which he boldly and deliberately returned until the enemy was close upon him."
Charles M. Thatcher - U.S. Army - July 30, 1864 - Grand Haven, Mich.
"Instead of retreating or surrendering when the works were captured, regardless of his personal safety, continued to return the enemy's fire until he was captured."
Cornelius Cronin - U.S. Navy - Aug. 5, 1864 - Michigan
On board the U.S.S. Richmond, Cronin steered the sheep toward Fort Morgan and also participated in actions at Forts Jackson and St. Philip, attacks in Vicksburg and the surrender of New Orleans.
Patrick Irwin - U.S. Army - Sept. 1, 1864 - Ann Arbor
"In a charge by the 14th Michigan Infantry against the entrenched enemy, Irwin was the first man over the line of works of the enemy, and demanded and received the surrender of Confederate Gen. Daviel Govan and his command."
Gabriel Cole - U.S. Army - Sept. 19, 1864 - New Salem, Mich.
"Capture of flag, during which he was wounded in the leg."
Henry M. Fox - U.S. Army - Sept. 19, 1864 - Coldwater, Mich.
"Capture of flag."
Joseph S. Keen - U.S. Army - Oct. 1, 1864 - Detroit
"While an escaped prisoner of war within the enemy's lines, Keen witnessed an important movement of the enemy, and at great personal risk made his way through the enemy's lines and brought news of the movement to Sherman's army."
Alonzo Smith - U.S. Army - Oct. 27, 1864 - Jonesville, Mich.
"Capture of flag of 26th North Carolina Infantry (C.S.A.), while outside his lines far from his comrades."
Alonzo Woodruff - U.S. Army - Oct. 27, 1864 - Ionia, Mich.
"Went to the assistance of a wounded and overpowered comrade, and in a hand-to-hand encounter effected his rescue."
James H. Robinson - U.S. Army - Jan. 27, 1865 - Victor, Mich.
"Successfully defended himself, singlehandedly, against seven guerrillas, killing the leader (Capt. W.C. Stephenson) and driving off the remainder of the party."
James W. Toban - U.S. Army - Feb. 11, 1865 - Northfield, Mich.
"Voluntarily and at great personal risk returned, in the face of the advance of the enemy, and rescued from impending death or capture, Maj. William C. Stevens, 9th Michigan Cavalry, who had been thrown from his horse."
George W. Clute - U.S. Army - March 19, 1865 - Marathon, Mich.
"In a charge, captured the flag of the 40th North Carolina (C.S.A.), the flag being taken in a personal encounter with an officer who carried and defended it."
Henry E. Plant - U.S. Army - March 19, 1865 - Cockery, Mich.
"Rushed into the midst of the enemy and rescued the colors, the color bearer having fallen mortally wounded."
Thomas W. Custer - U.S. Army - April 2, 1865 - Monroe, Mich.
First award, capture of flag
Thomas W. Custer - U.S. Army - April 2, 1865 - Monroe, Mich.
Second award: Leaped his horse over the enemy's works and captured two stands of color.
Morgan D. Lane - U.S. Army - April 6, 1865 - Allegan, Mich.
"Capture of flag of gunboat Nansemond"
John W. Menter - U.S. Army - April 6, 1865 - Detroit
"Capture of flag."
Walter L. Mundell - U.S. Army - April 6, 1865 - Dallas, Mich.
"Capture of flag."
John R. Norton - U.S. Army - April 6, 1865 - Grand Rapids
"Capture of flag."
Elliot M. Norton - U.S. Army - April 6, 1865 - Cooper, Mich.
"Rushed ahead of his column and captured the flag of the 44th Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.)."
Edwin F. Savacool - U.S. Army - April 6, 1865 - Marshall, Mich.
"Capture of flag, during which he was wounded and died several days later in Washington, D.C."
Charles L. Barrell - U.S. Army - April 1865 - Leighton, Mich.
Awarded for hazardous service in marching through enemy territory in Camden, S.C. to bring relief to his command.
John Walker - U.S. Army - Sept. 23, 1869 - Detroit
"Gallantry in action with Indians."
Frederick Jarvis - U.S. Army - Oct. 20, 1869 - Hudson, Mich.
"Gallantry in action."
Thomas Powers - U.S. Army - Oct. 20, 1869 - Detroit
"Gallantry in action."
George H. Eldridge - U.S. Army - July 12, 1870 - Detroit
"Gallantry in action."
Frank D. Baldwin - U.S. Army - Nov. 8, 1874 - Constantine, Mich.
Baldwin was given his second award for leading two companies on an attack on Native Americans that could have warranted a delay for reinforcements. It happened in McClellans Creek, Texas.
William Leonard - U.S. Army - May 7, 1877 - Detroit
"Bravery in Action."
Henry Romeyn - U.S. Army - Sept. 30, 1877 - Michigan
"Led his command into close-range of the enemy, there maintained his position, and vigorously prosecuted the fight until he was severely wounded."
Henry Johnson - U.S. Army - Oct. 2, 1879 - Detroit
"Voluntarily left fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close-range made the rounds of the pits to instruct the guards; fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded."
Joshua B. Hartzog - U.S. Army - Dec. 29, 1890 - Detroit
"Went to the rescue of the commanding officer who had fallen severely wounded, picked him up, and carried him out of range of the hostile guns."
Marvin C. Hillock - U.S. Army - Dec. 29, 1980 - Detroit
Wilber W. Wilder - U.S. Army - April 23, 1882 - Detroit
"Assisted, under a heavy fire, in rescuing a wounded comrade."
Alfred Polond - U.S. Army - July 1, 1898 - Lapeer, Mich.
"Gallantly assisted in the rescue of the wounded from in front of the lines and while under heavy fire from the enemy."
James McConnell - U.S. Army - Dec. 4, 1899 - Detroit
"Fought for hours lying between two dead comrades, notwithstanding his hat was pierced, his clothing plowed through by bullets, and his face cut and bruised by flying gravel."
Charles Cawetzka - U.S. Army - Aug. 23, 1900 - Wayne, Mich.
Cawetzka was near Sariaya, Luzon in the Phillipines when "singlehanded he defended a disabled comrade against a greatly superior force of the enemy.
Joseph A. Glowin - U.S. Marine Corps - July 3, 1916 - Michigan
"During an engagement at Guayacanas on 3 July 1916, Cpl. Glowin participated in action against a considerable force of rebels on the line of march."
William Zuiderveld - U.S. Navy - April 21, 1914 - Michigan
"On board the U.S.S. Florida, Zuiderveld showed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914."
Albert J. Smith - Feb. 11, 1921 - U.S. Marine Corps - Michigan
"At about 7:30 A.M. on the morning of 11 February 1921, Pvt. Smith, while on duty as a sentry, rescued Plen M. Phelps, late machinist's mate second class, U.S. Navy, from a burning seaplane which had fallen near his post, gate No. 1, Marine Barracks, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla. Despite the explosion of the gravity gasoline tank, with total disregard of personal safety, he pushed himself to a position where he could reach Phelps, who was pinned beneath the burning wreckage, and rescued him from the burning plane, in the performance of which he sustained painful burns about the head, neck, and both hands."