Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 17 October

 
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2dLT_Harold_Durham_OCSLieutenant Harold Durham, Medal of Honor recipient (posthumous) for actions during the Vietnam War. The 19th century continues being under-represented as we head into colder weather because it was at this time the armies of the Civil War and the Army of the Plains and Plains Indians moved into winter quarters.  There are still fights, raids, and skirmishes, but for the most part the combatants at this point just fought General Winter, a tough opponent in his own right.  There are three Medals, 2 posthumous,  awarded on this day - one each for the Philippine Insurrection, WWII, and Vietnam.         Philippine Insurrection.
BELL, HARRY
Rank and organization: Captain, 36th Infantry, U.S. Volunteers. Place and date: Near Porac, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 17 October 1899. Entered service at: Minneapolis, Minn. Born: 21 September 1860, Milwaukee, Wis. Date of issue: 8 March 1902. Citation: Led a successful charge against a superior force, capturing and dispersing the enemy and relieving other members of his regiment from a perilous position.
WWII and a very hard Private with a machine gun.
*VAN NOY, JUNIOR
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Headquarters Company, Shore Battalion, Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment. Place and date: Near Finschafen, New Guinea, 17 October 1943. Entered service at: Preston, Idaho. Birth: Grace, Idaho. G.O. No.: 17, 26 February 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Finschafen, New Guinea, on 17 October 1943. When wounded late in September, Pvt. Van Noy declined evacuation and continued on duty. On 17 October 1943 he was gunner in charge of a machinegun post only 5 yards from the water's edge when the alarm was given that 3 enemy barges loaded with troops were approaching the beach in the early morning darkness. One landing barge was sunk by Allied fire, but the other 2 beached 10 yards from Pvt. Van Noy's emplacement. Despite his exposed position, he poured a withering hail of fire into the debarking enemy troops. His loader was wounded by a grenade and evacuated. Pvt. Van Noy, also grievously wounded, remained at his post, ignoring calls of nearby soldiers urging him to withdraw, and continued to fire with deadly accuracy. He expended every round and was found, covered with wounds dead beside his gun. In this action Pvt. Van Noy killed at least half of the 39 enemy taking part in the landing. His heroic tenacity at the price of his life not only saved the lives of many of his comrades, but enabled them to annihilate the attacking detachment.  
Vietnam.  My father commanded this battalion while in Vietnam.  Lieutenant Durham earned his Medal during the first year of the battalion's tenure in Vietnam, before the Auld Soldier assumed command from his wounded predecessor, LTC (later LTG) Sennewald.  The 1st Infantry Division considers Lieutenant Durham one of their Medals, although the battalion was in fact a Corps artillery asset belonging to II Field Force, it pretty much spent it's entire time in Vietnam in direct support of the 1st Infantry.  IIRC, such was the Division's respect for the 6/15th Field Artillery that in the on Custer Hill (I think it's called Kapaun Chapel now, after a Korean War Medal of Honor holder), the 15th Artillery is the only non-divisional unit honored with a stained glass window.
*DURHAM, HAROLD BASCOM, JR.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Battery C, 6th Battalion, 15th Artillery, 1st Infantry Division . Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 17 October 1967. Entered service at: Atlanta, Ga. Born: 12 October 1942, Rocky Mount, N.C. Citation: 2d Lt. Durham, Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the cost of his life above and beyond the call of duty while assigned to Battery C. 2d Lt. Durham was serving as a forward observer with Company D, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry during a battalion reconnaissance-in-force mission. At approximately 1015 hours contact was made with an enemy force concealed in well-camouflaged positions and fortified bunkers. 2d Lt. Durham immediately moved into an exposed position to adjust the supporting artillery fire onto the insurgents. During a brief lull in the battle he administered emergency first aid to the wounded in spite of heavy enemy sniper fire directed toward him. Moments later, as enemy units assaulted friendly positions, he learned that Company A, bearing the brunt of the attack, had lost its forward observer. While he was moving to replace the wounded observer, the enemy detonated a Claymore mine, severely wounding him in the head and impairing his vision. In spite of the intense pain, he continued to direct the supporting artillery fire and to employ his individual weapon in support of the hard pressed infantrymen. As the enemy pressed their attack, 2d Lt. Durham called for supporting fire to be placed almost directly on his position. Twice the insurgents were driven back, leaving many dead and wounded behind. 2d Lt. Durham was then taken to a secondary defensive position. Even in his extremely weakened condition, he continued to call artillery fire onto the enemy. He refused to seek cover and instead positioned himself in a small clearing which offered a better vantage point from which to adjust the fire. Suddenly, he was severely wounded a second time by enemy machine gun fire. As he lay on the ground near death, he saw two Viet Cong approaching, shooting the defenseless wounded men. With his last effort, 2d Lt. Durham shouted a warning to a nearby soldier who immediately killed the insurgents. 2d Lt. Durham died moments later, still grasping the radio handset. 2d Lt. Durham's gallant actions in close combat with an enemy force are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.  
*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.