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Medal Of Honor Recipients

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The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces 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. Because of the nature of its criteria, the medal is often awarded posthumously.

Henry Breault TM2(SS), USS O-5 (SS-66), 28 October 1923 Henry_Breault_1

Henry Breault was born in Putnam, Connecticut, on October 14, 1900. He enlisted in the British Royal Navy at sixteen years of age and, after serving under the White Ensign for four years, joined the U.S. Navy.

On October 28, 1923 Torpedoman Second Class Breault was a member of the crew of USS O-5 when that submarine was sunk in a collision in the Panama Canal. Though he could have escaped, Breault chose to assist a shipmate, and remained inside the sunken submarine until both were rescued more than a day later. For his “heroism and devotion to duty” on this occasion, Henry Breault was awarded the Medal of Honor. He received his Medal of Honor from President Calvin Coolidge, in ceremonies at the White House, Washington, D.C., on March 8, 1924. Following twenty years of U.S. Navy service, Henry Breault became ill with a heart condition.

He died at the Naval Hospital at Newport, Rhode Island, on December 4, 1941. He was buried in Saint Mary Cemetery in Putnam, Connecticut.

“For heroism and devotion to duty while serving on board the U.S. Submarine O-5 at the time of the sinking of that vessel. On the morning of 28 October 1923, the O-5 collided with the steamship Abangarez and sank in less than a minute. When the collision occurred, Breault was in the torpedo room. Upon reaching the hatch, he saw that the boat was rapidly sinking. Instead of jumping overboard to save his own life, he returned to the torpedo room to the rescue of a shipmate who he knew was trapped in the boat, closing the torpedo room hatch on himself. Breault and Brown remained trapped in this compartment until rescued by the salvage party 31 hours later.”

 

Howard Walter Gilmore, CDR, USS Growler (SS-215), 7 February 1943 Howard_Walter_Gilmore_1

Howard Gilmore was born in Selma, Alabama, September 29, 1902 and enlisted in the Navy November 15, 1920. In 1922 he was appointed to the United States Naval Academy and after commissioning in 1926 reported to the battleship Mississippi (BB-41). Gilmore underwent submarine training in 1930 and in the years that followed served in various submarines and at stations ashore.

Gilmore served as the executive officer of Shark (SS-174), and in a near-fatal incident, narrowly survived an assault by a group of thugs in Panama, who cut his throat during an excursion ashore. In 1941, he assumed his first command, Shark (SS-174), only to be transferred the day following the attack on Pearl Harbor to take command of the still-unfinished Growler (SS-215). Gilmore commanded his submarine skillfully during three Pacific war patrols. On his first, Growler attacked three enemy destroyers off Kiska, sinking one and severely damaging the other two, while narrowly avoiding two torpedoes fired in return, for which Gilmore received the Navy Cross. On his second patrol, Growler sank four merchant ships totaling 15,000 tons in the East China Sea near Taiwan. Gilmore received a gold star in lieu of a second Navy Cross.

“For distinguished gallantry and valor above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Growler during her Fourth War Patrol in the Southwest Pacific from 10 January to 7 February 1943. Boldly striking at the enemy in spite of continuous hostile air and antisubmarine patrols, Comdr. Gilmore sank one Japanese freighter and damaged another by torpedo fire, successfully evading severe depth charges following each attack. In the darkness of night on 7 February, an enemy gunboat closed range and prepared to ram the Growler. Comdr. Gilmore daringly maneuvered to avoid the crash and rammed the attacker instead, ripping into her port side at 11 knots and bursting wide her plates. In the terrific fire of the sinking gunboat’s heavy machineguns, Comdr. Gilmore calmly gave the order to clear the bridge, and refusing safety for himself, remained on deck while his men preceded him below. Struck down by the fusillade of bullets and having done his utmost against the enemy, in his final living moments, Comdr. Gilmore gave his last order to the officer of the deck, “Take her down.” The Growler dived; seriously damaged but under control, she was brought safely to port by her well-trained crew inspired by the courageous fighting spirit of their dead captain.”

 

John P. Cromwell, CAPT, USS Sculpin (SS-191), 19 November 1943 John_P._Cromwell_1

From Henry,IL. John Cromwell graduated from the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Class of 1924. Chose to stay with the boat when she was sunk.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of a Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the U.S.S. Sculpin, during the Ninth War Patrol of that vessel in enemy-controlled waters off Truk Island, November 19, 1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to the launching of our first large-scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire Task Group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled Fleet movements and specific attack plans. Constantly vigilant and precise in carrying out his secret orders, he moved his underseas flotilla inexorably forward despite savage opposition and established a line of submarines to southeastward of the main Japanese stronghold at Truk.

Cool and undaunted as the submarine, rocked and battered by Japanese depth-charges, sustained terrific battle damage and sank to an excessive depth, he authorized the Sculpin to surface and engage the enemy in a gun-fight, thereby providing an opportunity for the crew to abandon ship. Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of revealing plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death. Preserving the security of his mission at the cost of his own life, he had served his country as he had served the Navy, with deep integrity and an uncompromising devotion to duty. His great moral courage in the face of certain death adds new luster to the traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

 

Samuel David Dealey, CDR, USS Harder (SS-257), 26 May 1944 Samuel_David_Dealey_1

Dealey had duty on the battleship USS Nevada (BB-36) before training as a submarine sailor. In command of S-20 at the outbreak of World War II, he assumed command of USS Harder (SS-257) upon her commissioning on 2 December 1942.  Commander Dealey guided his submarine deep into enemy waters, wreaking destruction on Japanese shipping.

On Harder’s fifth war patrol, Commander Dealey pressed home a series of bold and daring attacks, both surfaced and submerged, which sank three enemy destroyers and damaged two others. For his exceptional gallantry in these actions, Commander Dealey was awarded the Medal of Honor.

He was lost with his submarine during its sixth war patrol, when Harder was sunk 24 August 1944 by a depth charge attack off Luzon, Philippines.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. Harder (SS-257) during her Fifth War Patrol in Japanese-controlled waters. Floodlighted by a bright moon and disclosed to an enemy destroyer escort which bore down with intent to attack, Commander Dealey quickly dived to periscope depth and waited for the pursuer to close range, then opened fire, sending the target and all aboard down in flames with his third torpedo. Plunging deep to avoid fierce depth charges, he again surfaced and, within nine minutes after sighting another destroyer, had sent the enemy down tail first with a hit directly amidships. Evading detection, he penetrated the confined waters off Tawi Tawi with the Japanese Fleet base six miles away and scored death blows on two patrolling destroyers in quick succession. With his ship heeled over by concussion from the first exploding target and the second vessel nose-diving in a blinding detonation, he cleared the area at high speed. Sighted by a large hostile fleet force on the following day, he swung his bow toward the lead destroyer for another “down-the-throat” shot, fired three bow tubes and promptly crash-dived to be terrifically rocked seconds later by the exploding ship as the Harder passed beneath. This remarkable record of five vital Japanese destroyers sunk in five short-range torpedo attacks attests the valiant fighting spirit of Commander Dealey and his indomitable command.”

 

Lawson P. Ramage, VADM, USS Parche (SS-384), 31 July 1944 Lawson_P._Ramage_1

Ramage was born in Monroe Bridge, Massachusetts, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1931. He entered the Submarine School in 1935, and would spend most of his career serving in submarines. Ramage served as the second commanding officer of USS Trout (SS-202) and the first of USS Parche (SS-384).

He was stationed at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack, and received the Silver Star and the Navy Cross while serving during World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor after a daring dawn assault on a heavily-escorted Japanese convoy on July 31, 1944, while commanding Parche, during which he sunk two ships and damaged several others. The award was personally presented by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 10, 1945. After the war, he continued to serve in submarines until his retirement in 1969. As a Captain in 1953–1954, he was commanding officer of the amphibious cargo ship Rankin (AKA-103).

In 1935 he married Barbara Alice Pine, and the couple had four children together. Ramage died in his home at Bethesda, Maryland, in 1990, having succumbed to cancer.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of this life above and beyond the call of duty as Commanding Officer of the USS PARCHE in a predawn attack on a Japanese convoy, 31 July 1944. Boldly penetrating the screen of a heavily escorted convoy, Commander Ramage launched a perilous surface attack by delivering a crippling stern shot into a freighter and quickly following up with a series of bow and stern torpedoes to sink the leading tanker and damage the second one. Exposed by the light of bursting flares and bravely defiant of terrific shellfire passing close overhead, he struck again, sinking a transport by two forward reloads. In the mounting fury of fire from the damaged and sinking tanker, he calmly ordered his men below, remaining on the bridge to fight it out with an enemy now disorganized and confused. Swift to act as a fast transport closed in to ram, Commander Ramage daringly swung the stern of the speeding PARCHE as she crossed the bow of the onrushing ship, clearing by less than 50 feet but placing his submarine in a deadly cross-fire from escorts on all sides and with the transport dead ahead. Undaunted, he sent three smashing ‘down-the-throat’ bow shots to stop the target, then scored a killing it as a climax to 46 minutes of violent action with the PARCHE and her valiant fighting company retiring victorious and unscathed.”

 

Richard H. O’Kane, RADM, USS Tang (SS-306) 24 October 1944 Richard_H._O'Kane_1

O’Kane was born in Dover, New Hampshire, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in May 1934 and spent his first years of active duty on the cruiser USS Chester (CA-27) and destroyer USS Pruitt (DD-347). He received submarine instruction in 1938.

 “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Tang operating against 2 enemy Japanese convoys on 23 and 24 October 1944, during her fifth and last war patrol. Boldly maneuvering on the surface into the midst of a heavily escorted convoy, CDR. O’Kane stood in the fusillade of bullets and shells from all directions to launch smashing hits on 3 tankers, coolly swung his ship to fire at a freighter and, in a split-second decision, shot out of the path of an onrushing transport, missing it by inches. Boxed in by blazing tankers, a freighter, transport, and several destroyers, he blasted 2 of the targets with his remaining torpedoes and, with pyrotechnics bursting on all sides, cleared the area. Twenty-four hours later, he again made contact with a heavily escorted convoy steaming to support the Leyte campaign with reinforcements and supplies and with crated planes piled high on each unit. In defiance of the enemy’s relentless fire, he closed the concentration of ship and in quick succession sent 2 torpedoes each into the first and second transports and an adjacent tanker, finding his mark with each torpedo in a series of violent explosions at less than l,000-yard range. With ships bearing down from all sides, he charged the enemy at high speed, exploding the tanker in a burst of flame, smashing the transport dead in the water, and blasting the destroyer with a mighty roar which rocked the Tang from stem to stern. Expending his last 2 torpedoes into the remnants of a once powerful convoy before his own ship went down, CDR. O’Kane, aided by his gallant command, achieved an illustrious record of heroism in combat, enhancing the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”

 

Eugene B. Fluckey, RADM, USS Barb (SS-220), 19 December 1944 Eugene_B._Fluckey_1

Fluckey was born in Washington, D.C. on October 5, 1913. He attended Western High School in Washington and Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. He prepared for the Naval Academy at Columbian Preparatory School, Washington. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1931, he was graduated and commissioned Ensign in June 1935.

Fluckey’s initial assignments were aboard the battleship Nevada (BB-36) and in May 1936 was transferred to the destroyer McCormick (DD-223). In June 1938 he reported for instruction at the Submarine School, New London, Connecticut and upon completion, he served on S-42 and in December 1938, he was assigned to and completed five war patrols on Bonita (SS-165). Detached from Bonita in August 1942, he returned to Annapolis for graduate instruction in naval engineering.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Barb during her 11th war patrol along the east coast of China from 19 December 1944 to 15 February 1945.

After sinking a large enemy ammunition ship and damaging additional tonnage during a running 2-hour night battle on 8 January, Comdr. Fluckey, in an exceptional feat of brilliant deduction and bold tracking on 25 January, located a concentration of more than 30 enemy ships in the lower reaches of Nankuan Chiang (Mamkwan Harbor). Fully aware that a safe retirement would necessitate an hour’s run at full speed through the uncharted, mined, and rock-obstructed waters, he bravely ordered, “Battle station — torpedoes!” In a daring penetration of the heavy enemy screen, and riding in 5 fathoms [9 m] of water, he launched the Barb’s last forward torpedoes at 3,000 yard [2.7 km] range.

Quickly bringing the ship’s stern tubes to bear, he turned loose 4 more torpedoes into the enemy, obtaining 8 direct hits on 6 of the main targets to explode a large ammunition ship and cause inestimable damage by the resultant flying shells and other pyrotechnics. Clearing the treacherous area at high speed, he brought the Barb through to safety and 4 days later sank a large Japanese freighter to complete a record of heroic combat achievement, reflecting the highest credit upon Comdr. Fluckey, his gallant officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service.”

George L. Street III, CAPT, USS Tirante (SS-420), 1 April 1945 George_L._Street,_III_1

George Levick Street, III (July 27, 1913 – February 26, 2000) was a submariner in the United States Navy. He received the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Street was born in Richmond, Virginia. He joined the Naval Reserve in 1931 and was selected for an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1933; he graduated in 1937.

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the U.S.S. Tirante during the first war patrol of that vessel against enemy Japanese surface forces in the harbor of Quelpart Island, off the coast of Korea, on 14 April 1945. With the crew at surface battle stations, CDR (then LCDR) Street approached the hostile anchorage from the south within 1,200 yards of the coast to complete a reconnoitering circuit of the island. Leaving the 10-fathom curve far behind he penetrated the mined and shoal-obstructed waters of the restricted harbor despite numerous patrolling vessels and in defiance of five shore-based radar stations and menacing aircraft. Prepared to fight it out on the surface if attacked, CDR Street went into action, sending two torpedoes with deadly accuracy into a large Japanese ammunition ship and exploding the target in a mountainous and blinding glare of white flames. With the Tirante instantly spotted by the enemy as she stood out plainly in the flare of light, he ordered the torpedo data computer set up while retiring and fired his last two torpedoes to disintegrate in quick succession the leading frigate and a similar flanking vessel. Clearing the gutted harbor at emergency full speed ahead, he slipped undetected along the shoreline, diving deep as a pursuing patrol dropped a pattern of depth charges at the point of submergence. His illustrious record of combat achievement during the first war patrol of the Tirante characterizes CDR Street as a daring and skilled leader and reflects the highest credit upon himself, his valiant command, and the U.S. Naval Service.”

 

William R. Charette HMCM(SS), USS Quillback (SS-424), 12 January 1954 William_R._Charette_1

Born on March 29, 1932, in Ludington, Michigan, Charette graduated from high school there in 1951. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on January 11, 1951, and underwent recruit training at Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois. He then attended the Hospital Corps School at Naval Training Center, Bainbridge, Maryland, becoming a Hospital Corpsman upon graduation. Duty at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina, and an April 16, 1952, promotion to hospital corpsman third class followed.

  “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces during the early morning hours. Participating in a fierce encounter with a cleverly concealed and well-entrenched enemy force occupying positions on a vital and bitterly contested outpost far in advance of the main line of resistance, HC3c. Charette repeatedly and unhesitatingly moved about through a murderous barrage of hostile small-arms and mortar fire to render assistance to his wounded comrades. When an enemy grenade landed within a few feet of a marine he was attending, he immediately threw himself upon the stricken man and absorbed the entire concussion of the deadly missile with his body. Although sustaining painful facial wounds, and undergoing shock from the intensity of the blast which ripped the helmet and medical aid kit from his person, HC3c. Charette resourcefully improvised emergency bandages by tearing off part of his clothing, and gallantly continued to administer medical aid to the wounded in his own unit and to those in adjacent platoon areas as well. Observing a seriously wounded comrade whose armored vest had been torn from his body by the blast from an exploding shell, he selflessly removed his own battle vest and placed it upon the helpless man although fully aware of the added jeopardy to himself. Moving to the side of another casualty who was suffering excruciating pain from a serious leg wound, HC3c. Charette stood upright in the trench line and exposed himself to a deadly hail of enemy fire in order to lend more effective aid to the victim and to alleviate his anguish while being removed to a position of safety. By his indomitable courage and inspiring efforts in behalf of his wounded comrades, HC3c. Charette was directly responsible for saving many lives. His great personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.”