Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 12 October

 
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WilliamPerkinsCombat Cameraman Marine Corporal William Perkins.  A journalist who knew whose side he was on. There are seven Medals awarded for actions on this day in history, and a "Special Legislation" Medal awarded on this day to a soldier of the Great War.              We open with the Civil War and a little clear and hold action at Jefferson, Virginia, in 1863.
DOUGHERTY, MICHAEL
Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Place and date: At Jefferson, Va., 12 October 1863. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Born: 10 May 1844, Ireland. Date of issue: 23 January 1897. Citation: At the head of a detachment of his company dashed across an open field, exposed to a deadly fire from the enemy, and succeeded in dislodging them from an unoccupied house, which he and his comrades defended for several hours against repeated attacks, thus preventing the enemy from flanking the position of the Union forces.
WWI, continuing the push to end the War to End All War.
*HERIOT, JAMES D.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company I, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: At Vaux-Andigny, France, 12 October 1918. Entered service at: Providence, S.C. Birth: Providence, S.C. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919. Citation: Cpl. Heriot, with 4 other soldiers, organized a combat group and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest which had been inflicting heavy casualties on his company. In the advance 2 of his men were killed, and because of the heavy fire from all sides the remaining 2 sought shelter. Unmindful of the hazard attached to his mission, Cpl. Heriot, with fixed bayonet, alone charged the machinegun, making his way through the fire for a distance of 30 yards and forcing the enemy to surrender. During this exploit he received several wounds in the arm, and later in the same day, while charging another nest, he was killed. WOODFILL, SAMUEL Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 60th Infantry, 5th Division. Place and date: At Cunel, France, 12 October 1918. Entered service at: Bryantsburg, Ind. Birth: Jefferson County, Ind. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: While he was leading his company against the enemy, his line came under heavy machinegun fire, which threatened to hold up the advance. Followed by 2 soldiers at 25 yards, this officer went out ahead of his first line toward a machinegun nest and worked his way around its flank, leaving the 2 soldiers in front. When he got within 10 yards of the gun it ceased firing, and 4 of the enemy appeared, 3 of whom were shot by 1st Lt. Woodfill. The fourth, an officer, rushed at 1st Lt. Woodfill, who attempted to club the officer with his rifle. After a hand-to-hand struggle, 1st Lt. Woodfill killed the officer with his pistol. His company thereupon continued to advance, until shortly afterwards another machinegun nest was encountered. Calling on his men to follow, 1st Lt. Woodfill rushed ahead of his line in the face of heavy fire from the nest, and when several of the enemy appeared above the nest he shot them, capturing 3 other members of the crew and silencing the gun. A few minutes later this officer for the third time demonstrated conspicuous daring by charging another machinegun position, killing 5 men in one machinegun pit with his rifle. He then drew his revolver and started to jump into the pit, when 2 other gunners only a few yards away turned their gun on him. Failing to kill them with his revolver, he grabbed a pick lying nearby and killed both of them. Inspired by the exceptional courage displayed by this officer, his men pressed on to their objective under severe shell and machinegun fire.
WWII.  Sometimes combat puts you in a place where all the choices are bad.  So you make the best of a bad situation. 
*PENDLETON, JACK J.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division. Place and date: Bardenberg, Germany, 12 October 1944. Entered service at: Yakima, Wash. Birth: Sentinel Butte, N. Dak. G.O. No.: 24, 6 April 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 12 October 1944. When Company I was advancing on the town of Bardenberg, Germany, they reached a point approximately two-thirds of the distance through the town when they were pinned down by fire from a nest of enemy machineguns. This enemy strong point was protected by a lone machinegun strategically placed at an intersection and firing down a street which offered little or no cover or concealment for the advancing troops. The elimination of this protecting machinegun was imperative in order that the stronger position it protected could be neutralized. After repeated and unsuccessful attempts had been made to knock out this position, S/Sgt. Pendleton volunteered to lead his squad in an attempt to neutralize this strongpoint. S/Sgt. Pendleton started his squad slowly forward, crawling about 10 yards in front of his men in the advance toward the enemy gun. After advancing approximately 130 yards under the withering fire, S/Sgt. Pendleton was seriously wounded in the leg by a burst from the gun he was assaulting. Disregarding his grievous wound, he ordered his men to remain where they were, and with a supply of handgrenades he slowly and painfully worked his way forward alone. With no hope of surviving the veritable hail of machinegun fire which he deliberately drew onto himself, he succeeded in advancing to within 10 yards of the enemy position when he was instantly killed by a burst from the enemy gun. By deliberately diverting the attention of the enemy machine gunners upon himself, a second squad was able to advance, undetected, and with the help of S/Sgt. Pendleton's squad, neutralized the lone machinegun, while another platoon of his company advanced up the intersecting street and knocked out the machinegun nest which the first gun had been covering. S/Sgt. Pendleton's sacrifice enabled the entire company to continue the advance and complete their mission at a critical phase of the action.
Korea, and two tough soldiers.
*COURSEN, SAMUEL S.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company C 5th Cavalry Regiment. Place and date: Near Kaesong, Korea, 12 October 1950. Entered service at: Madison, N.J. Born: 4 August 1926 Madison, N.J. G.O. No.: 57, 2 August 1951. Citation: 1st Lt. Coursen distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While Company C was attacking Hill 174 under heavy enemy small-arms fire, his platoon received enemy fire from close range. The platoon returned the fire and continued to advance. During this phase 1 his men moved into a well-camouflaged emplacement, which was thought to be unoccupied, and was wounded by the enemy who were hidden within the emplacement. Seeing the soldier in difficulty he rushed to the man's aid and, without regard for his personal safety, engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat in an effort to protect his wounded comrade until he himself was killed. When his body was recovered after the battle 7 enemy dead were found in the emplacement. As the result of 1st Lt. Coursen's violent struggle several of the enemies' heads had been crushed with his rifle. His aggressive and intrepid actions saved the life of the wounded man, eliminated the main position of the enemy roadblock, and greatly inspired the men in his command. 1st Lt. Coursen's extraordinary heroism and intrepidity reflect the highest credit on himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service. WEST, ERNEST E. Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Sataeri, Korea, 12 October 1952. Entered service at: Wurtland Ky. Born: 2 September 1931, Russell, Ky. G.O. No.: 7, 29 January i954. Citation: Pfc. West distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. He voluntarily accompanied a contingent to locate and destroy a reported enemy outpost. Nearing the objective, the patrol was ambushed and suffered numerous casualties. Observing his wounded leader lying in an exposed position, Pfc. West ordered the troops to withdraw, then braved intense fire to reach and assist him. While attempting evacuation, he was attacked by 3 hostile soldiers employing grenades and small-arms fire. Quickly shifting his body to shelter the officer, he killed the assailants with his rifle, then carried the helpless man to safety. He was critically wounded and lost an eye in this action. but courageously returned through withering fire and bursting shells to assist the wounded. While evacuating 2 comrades, he closed with and killed 3 more of the foe. Pfc. West's indomitable spirit, consummate valor, and intrepid actions inspired all who observed him, reflect the highest credit on himself, and uphold the honored traditions of the military service.
Vietnam.  A military journalist who understood who's side he was on.
*PERKINS, WILLIAM THOMAS, JR.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 12 October 1967. Entered service at: San Francisco, Calif. Born: 10 August 1947, Rochester, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a combat photographer attached to Company C. During Operation MEDINA, a major reconnaissance in force southwest of Quang Tri, Company C made heavy combat contact with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force estimated at from 2 to 3 companies. The focal point of the intense fighting was a helicopter landing zone which was also serving as the Command Post of Company C. In the course of a strong hostile attack, an enemy grenade landed in the immediate area occupied by Cpl. Perkins and 3 other marines. Realizing the inherent danger, he shouted the warning, "Incoming Grenade" to his fellow marines, and in a valiant act of heroism, hurled himself upon the grenade absorbing the impact of the explosion with his body, thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the cost of his life. Through his exceptional courage and inspiring valor in the face of certain death, Cpl. Perkins reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country .  
And to wrap this up, we have a Medal from the non-standard category today - the Medal specially authorized by Congress for Italy's Unknown Soldier from WWI.
ITALY
* * * By virtue of a joint resolution of Congress, approved 12 October 1921, the Medal of Honor, emblem of highest ideals and virtues, is bestowed in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unknown, unidentified Italian soldier to be buried in the National Monument to Victor Emanuel 11, in Rome. Whereas the Congress has authorized the bestowal of the Congressional Medal of Honor upon unknown, unidentified British and French soldiers buried in Westminster Abbey, London, England, and the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France, respectively, who fought beside our soldiers in the recent war, and Whereas, animated by the same spirit of friendship toward the soldiers of Italy who also fought as comrades of the American soldiers during the World War, we desire to add whatever we can to the imperishable glory won by their deeds and to participate in paying tribute to their unknown dead: Now, therefore. be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to bestow, with appropriate ceremonies, military and civil, the Congressional Medal of Honor upon the unknown, unidentified Italian soldier to be buried in the National Monument to Victor Emanuel 11, in Rome, Italy (A.G. 220.523) (War Department General Orders, No. 52, I Dec. 1922, Sec. II)
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award. (John Donovan is a Legionnaire with the Department of Kansas with service in the U.S. Army. He blogs at his own website The Castle Argghhh!)
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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.