Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 20 September

 
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Larry_PiercePosthumous Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sergeant Larry Pierce. There were 12 Medals awarded for actions on this day in history.   Eight during the Civil War, one during WWII, two for Korea, and one earned  in Vietnam.                   The Civil War opens with a Medal earned before there was a Medal (the Medal being authorized in July of 1863).  It was earned just down the road from where I live, in Lexington, Missouri in 1861 at the Batte of the Hay (well, actually, Hemp) Bales, followed by one at Shepherdstown Ford in 1862.  They are followed by 5 more Medals for Chickamauga in 1863, and ends up at Alabama Bayou, La, in 1864.
Lexington:
PALMER, GEORGE H. 
Rank and organization: Musician, 1st Illinois Cavalry. Place and date. At Lexington, Mo., 20 September 1861. Entered service at: Illinois. Birth: New York. Date of issue. 10 March 1896. Citation: Volunteered to fight in the trenches and also led a charge which resulted in the recapture of a Union hospital, together with Confederate sharpshooters then occupying the same. Shepherdstown Ford: BURKE, DANIEL W. Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company B, 2d U.S. Infantry. Place and date: At Shepherdstown Ford, Va., 20 September 1862. Entered service at: Connecticut. Birth: New Haven, Conn. Date of issue 21 April 1892. Citation: Voluntarily attempted to spike a gun in the face of the enemy. Chickamauga: CHAMBERLAIN, ORVILLE T. Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company G, 74th Indiana Infantry. Place and date: At Chickamauga, Ga., 20 September 1863. Entered service at: Elkhart, Ind. Birth: Kosciusko County, Ind. Date of issue: 1 I March 1896. Citation: While exposed to a galling fire, went in search of another regiment, found its location, procured ammunition from the men thereof, and returned with the ammunition to his own company. CILLEY, CLINTON A. Rank and organization: Captain, Company C, 2d Minnesota Infantry. Place and date: At Chickamauga, Ga., 20 September 1863. Entered service at: Sasioja, Minn. Birth: Rockingham County, N.H. Date of issue: 12 June 1895. Citation: Seized the colors of a retreating regiment and led it into the thick of the attack. PORTER, HORACE Rank and organization: Captain, Ordnance Department, U.S. Army. Place and date: At Chickamauga, Ga., 20 September 1863. Entered service at: Harrisburgh, Pa. Born: 15 April 1837, Huntington, Pa. Date of issue: 8 July 1902. Citation: While acting as a volunteer aide, at a critical moment when the lines were broken, rallied enough fugitives to hold the ground under heavy fire long enough to effect the escape of wagon trains and batteries. TAYLOR, ANTHONY Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, Company A, 15th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Place and date: At Chickamauga, Ga., 20 September 1863. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Born: 11 October 1837, Burlington, N.J. Date of issue: 4 December 1893. Citation: Held out to the last with a small force against the advance of superior numbers of the enemy. WHITNEY, WILLIAM G. Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 11th Michigan Infantry. Place and date: At Chickamauga, Ga., 20 September 1863. Entered service at: Quincy, Mich. Born. 13 December 1840, Allen, Mich. Date of issue: 21 October 1895. Citation: 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. Alabama Bayou: CADWELL, LUMAN L. Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 2d New York Veteran Cavalry. Place and date: At Alabama Bayou, La., 20 September 1864. Entered service at:------. Birth: Broome, N.Y. Date of issue: 17 August 1894. Citation: Swam the bayou under fire of the enemy and captured and brought off a boat by means of which the command crossed and routed the enemy.
WWII, Peleliu.  A tough Marine leading tough Marines.  Kind of a 'd-uh' statement, I know.
POPE, EVERETT PARKER
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Peleliu Island, Palau group, 19-20 September 1944. Entered service at: Massachusetts. Born: 16 July 1919, Milton, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer of Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu Island, Palau group, on 19-20 September 1944. Subjected to pointblank cannon fire which caused heavy casualties and badly disorganized his company while assaulting a steep coral hill, Capt. Pope rallied his men and gallantly led them to the summit in the face of machinegun, mortar, and sniper fire. Forced by widespread hostile attack to deploy the remnants of his company thinly in order to hold the ground won, and with his machineguns out of order and insufficient water and ammunition, he remained on the exposed hill with 12 men and 1 wounded officer determined to hold through the night. Attacked continuously with grenades, machineguns, and rifles from 3 sides, he and his valiant men fiercely beat back or destroyed the enemy, resorting to hand-to-hand combat as the supply of ammunition dwindled, and still maintaining his lines with his 8 remaining riflemen when daylight brought more deadly fire and he was ordered to withdraw. His valiant leadership against devastating odds while protecting the units below from heavy Japanese attack reflects the highest credit upon Capt. Pope and the U.S. Naval Service .  
Korea.   Some more tough-as-nails Marines.
COMMISKEY, HENRY A., SR.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant (then 2d Lt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Near Yongdungp'o, Korea, 20 September 1950. Entered service at: Hattiesburg, Miss. Birth: 10 January 1927, Hattiesburg, Miss. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a platoon leader in Company C, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Directed to attack hostile forces well dug in on Hill 85, 1st Lt. Commiskey, spearheaded the assault, charging up the steep slopes on the run. Coolly disregarding the heavy enemy machine gun and small arms fire, he plunged on well forward of the rest of his platoon and was the first man to reach the crest of the objective. Armed only with a pistol, he jumped into a hostile machine gun emplacement occupied by 5 enemy troops and quickly disposed of 4 of the soldiers with his automatic pistol. Grappling with the fifth, 1st Lt. Commiskey knocked him to the ground and held him until he could obtain a weapon from another member of his platoon and killed the last of the enemy guncrew. Continuing his bold assault, he moved to the next emplacement, killed 2 more of the enemy and then led his platoon toward the rear nose of the hill to rout the remainder of the hostile troops and destroy them as they fled from their positions. His valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit served to inspire the men of his company to heroic endeavor in seizing the objective and reflect the highest credit upon 1st Lt. Commiskey and the U.S. Naval Service. *MONEGAN, WALTER C., JR. Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Near Sosa-ri, Korea, 17 and 20 September 1950. Entered service at: Seattle, Wash. Born: 25 December 1930, Melrose, Mass. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rocket gunner attached to Company F, and in action against enemy aggressor forces. Dug in on a hill overlooking the main Seoul highway when 6 enemy tanks threatened to break through the battalion position during a predawn attack on 17 September, Pfc. Monegan promptly moved forward with his bazooka, under heavy hostile automatic weapons fire and engaged the lead tank at a range of less than 50 yards. After scoring a direct hit and killing the sole surviving tankman with his carbine as he came through the escape hatch, he boldly fired 2 more rounds of ammunition at the oncoming tanks, disorganizing the attack and enabling our tank crews to continue blasting with their 90-mm guns. With his own and an adjacent company's position threatened by annihilation when an overwhelming enemy tank-infantry force bypassed the area and proceeded toward the battalion command post during the early morning of September 20, he seized his rocket launcher and, in total darkness, charged down the slope of the hill where the tanks had broken through. Quick to act when an illuminating shell lit the area, he scored a direct hit on one of the tanks as hostile rifle and automatic-weapons fire raked the area at close range. Again exposing himself, he fired another round to destroy a second tank and, as the rear tank turned to retreat, stood upright to fire and was fatally struck down by hostile machine gun fire when another illuminating shell silhouetted him against the sky. Pfc. Monegan's daring initiative, gallant fighting spirit and courageous devotion to duty were contributing factors in the success of his company in repelling the enemy, and his self-sacrificing efforts throughout sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country .
Vietnam, and a "Greater Love" Medal for an Airborne trooper.
*PIERCE, LARRY S.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. Place and date: Near Ben Cat, Republic of Vietnam, 20 September 1965. Entered service at: Fresno, Calif. Born: 6 July 1941, Wewoka, Okla. G.O. No.: 7, 24 February 1966. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Pierce was serving as squad leader in a reconnaissance platoon when his patrol was ambushed by hostile forces. Through his inspiring leadership and personal courage, the squad succeeded in eliminating an enemy machinegun and routing the opposing force. While pursuing the fleeing enemy, the squad came upon a dirt road and, as the main body of his men entered the road, Sgt. Pierce discovered an antipersonnel mine emplaced in the road bed. Realizing that the mine could destroy the majority of his squad, Sgt. Pierce saved the lives of his men at the sacrifice of his life by throwing himself directly onto the mine as it exploded. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his safety, and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, he averted loss of life and injury to the members of his squad. Sgt. Pierce's extraordinary heroism, at the cost of his life, are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.  
*Asterisk indicates a posthumous award. (John Donovan is a Legionnaire with the Department of Kansas with service in the U.S. Army. He blogs at his own website The Castle Argghhh!)
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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.