Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 9 October

 
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aafossMarine fighter pilot and Medal of Honor recipient Major Joe Foss. Less than average activity for the Medal on this day in history, with only 8 awards, 7 of them for WWI and beyond, when warfare had moved into being a year-round activity – more so than prior to the industrial revolution hitting its stride and the concomitant reduction in the impact of agricultural cycles on industrialized societies.             Only one 19th Century award of the Medal, during the Civil War, for a flag capture at Woodstock, Virginia in 1864.
HANFORD, EDWARD R.
Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 2d U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At Woodstock, Va., 9 October 1864. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Allegany County, N.Y. Date of issue: 14 October 1864. Citation: Capture of flag of 32d Battalion Virginia Cavalry (C.S.A.).
WWI sees us in the waning days of the high-intensity combat of the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Private Loman did his bit to make his division, the 33rd, the 2nd highest-scoring division for the Medal, with 9 awarded, and his regiment, the 132d, also the 2nd highest scoring regiment during the war, with 5 Medals awared.
*COLYER, WILBUR E.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Engineers, 1st Division. Place and date: Near Verdun, France, 9 October 1918. Entered service at: South Ozone, Long Island, N.Y. Birth: Brooklyn, N.Y. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Volunteering with 2 other soldiers to locate machinegun nests, Sgt. Colyer advanced on the hostile positions to a point where he was half surrounded by the nests, which were in ambush. He killed the gunner of one gun with a captured German grenade and then turned this gun on the other nests silencing all of them before he returned to his platoon. He was later killed in action. LOMAN, BERGER Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company H, 132d Infantry, 33d Division. Place and date: Near Consenvoye, France, 9 October 1918. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born. 24 August 1886, Bergen, Norway. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: When his company had reached a point within 100 yards of its objective, to which it was advancing under terrific machinegun fire, Pvt. Loman voluntarily and unaided made his way forward after all others had taken shelter from the direct fire of an enemy machinegun. He crawled to a flank position of the gun and, after killing or capturing the entire crew, turned the machinegun on the retreating enemy. SCHMIDT, OSCAR, JR. Rank and organization: Chief Gunner's Mate, U.S. Navy. Place and date: At sea, 9 October 1918. Entered service at: Pennsylvania. Born: 25 March 1896, Philadelphia, Pa. G.O. No.: 450, 1919. Citation: For gallant conduct and extraordinary heroism while attached to the U.S.S. Chestnut Hill, on the occasion of the explosion and subsequent fire on board the U.S. submarine chaser 219. Schmidt, seeing a man, whose legs were partly blown off, hanging on a line from the bow of the 219, jumped overboard, swam to the sub chaser and carried him from the bow to the stern where a member of the 219's crew helped him land the man on the afterdeck of the submarine. Schmidt then endeavored to pass through the flames amidships to get another man who was seriously burned. This he was unable to do, but when the injured man fell overboard and drifted to the stern of the chaser Schmidt helped him aboard .
WWII, with two awards, one in the Pacific, in the air over Guadalcanal, and the other in France. I’ve had the honor of meeting BG(r) Joe Foss, who after the war went on to become the Governor of South Dakota, Commissioner of the AFL, and President of the NRA.
FOSS, JOSEPH JACOB
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Place and date: Over Guadalcanal, 9 October to 19 November 1942, 15 and 23 January 1943. Entered service at: South Dakota. Born: 17 April 1 915, Sioux Falls, S. Dak. Citation: For outstanding heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as executive officer of Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, at Guadalcanal. Engaging in almost daily combat with the enemy from 9 October to 19 November 1942, Capt. Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others so severely that their destruction was extremely probable. In addition, during this period, he successfully led a large number of escort missions, skillfully covering reconnaissance, bombing, and photographic planes as well as surface craft. On 15 January 1943, he added 3 more enemy planes to his already brilliant successes for a record of aerial combat achievement unsurpassed in this war. Boldly searching out an approaching enemy force on 25 January, Capt. Foss led his 8 F-4F Marine planes and 4 Army P-38's into action and, undaunted by tremendously superior numbers, intercepted and struck with such force that 4 Japanese fighters were shot down and the bombers were turned back without releasing a single bomb. His remarkable flying skill, inspiring leadership, and indomitable fighting spirit were distinctive factors in the defense of strategic American positions on Guadalcanal. *KANDLE, VICTOR L. Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near La Forge, France, 9 October 1944. Entered service at: Redwood City, Calif. Birth: Roy, Wash. G.O. No.: 37, 11 May 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 9 October 1944, at about noon, near La Forge, France, 1st Lt. Kandle, while leading a reconnaissance patrol into enemy territory, engaged in a duel at pointblank range with a German field officer and killed him. Having already taken 5 enemy prisoners that morning, he led a skeleton platoon of 16 men, reinforced with a light machinegun squad, through fog and over precipitous mountain terrain to fall on the rear of a German quarry stronghold which had checked the advance of an infantry battalion for 2 days. Rushing forward, several yards ahead of his assault elements, 1st Lt. Kandle fought his way into the heart of the enemy strongpoint, and, by his boldness and audacity, forced the Germans to surrender. Harassed by machinegun fire from a position which he had bypassed in the dense fog, he moved to within 15 yards of the enemy, killed a German machinegunner with accurate rifle fire and led his men in the destruction of another machinegun crew and its rifle security elements. Finally, he led his small force against a fortified house held by 2 German officers and 30 enlisted men. After establishing a base of fire, he rushed forward alone through an open clearing in full view of the enemy, smashed through a barricaded door, and forced all 32 Germans to surrender. His intrepidity and bold leadership resulted in the capture or killing of 3 enemy officers and 54 enlisted men, the destruction of 3 enemy strongpoints, and the seizure of enemy positions which had halted a battalion attack.
Korea has two awards of the Medal.
*BURRIS, TONY K.
Rank and organization: Sergeant First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2d Infantry Division. Place and date: vicinity of Mundung-ni, Korea 8 and 9 October 1951. Entered service at: Blanchard, Okla. Birth: Blanchard, Okla. G.O. No.: 84, 5 September 1952. Citation: Sfc. Burris, a member of Company L, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty. On 8 October, when his company encountered intense fire from an entrenched hostile force, Sfc. Burris charged forward alone, throwing grenades into the position and destroying approximately 15 of the enemy. On the following day, spearheading a renewed assault on enemy positions on the next ridge, he was wounded by machine gun fire but continued the assault, reaching the crest of the ridge ahead of his unit and sustaining a second wound. Calling for a 57mm. recoilless rifle team, he deliberately exposed himself to draw hostile fire and reveal the enemy position. The enemy machine gun emplacement was destroyed. The company then moved forward and prepared to assault other positions on the ridge line. Sfc. Burris, refusing evacuation and submitting only to emergency treatment, joined the unit in its renewed attack but fire from hostile emplacement halted the advance. Sfc. Burris rose to his feet, charged forward and destroyed the first emplacement with its heavy machine gun and crew of 6 men. Moving out to the next emplacement, and throwing his last grenade which destroyed this position, he fell mortally wounded by enemy fire. Inspired by his consummate gallantry, his comrades renewed a spirited assault which overran enemy positions and secured Hill 605, a strategic position in the battle for "Heartbreak Ridge," Sfc. Burris' indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding heroism, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest glory upon himself, the infantry and the U.S. Army. *YOUNG, ROBERT H. Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company E, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Place and date: North of Kaesong, Korea, 9 October 1950. Entered service at: Vallejo, Calif. Born: 4 March 1929, Oroville. Calif. G.O. No.: 65, 2 August 1951. Citation: Pfc. Young distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. His company, spearheading a battalion drive deep in enemy territory, suddenly came under a devastating barrage of enemy mortar and automatic weapons crossfire which inflicted heavy casualties among his comrades and wounded him in the face and shoulder. Refusing to be evacuated, Pfc. Young remained in position and continued to fire at the enemy until wounded a second time. As he awaited first aid near the company command post the enemy attempted an enveloping movement. Disregarding medical treatment he took an exposed position and firing with deadly accuracy killed 5 of the enemy. During this action he was again hit by hostile fire which knocked him to the ground and destroyed his helmet. Later when supporting tanks moved forward, Pfc. Young, his wounds still unattended, directed tank fire which destroyed 3 enemy gun positions and enabled the company to advance. Wounded again by an enemy mortar burst, and while aiding several of his injured comrades, he demanded that all others be evacuated first. Throughout the course of this action the leadership and combative instinct displayed by Pfc. Young exerted a profound influence on the conduct of the company. His aggressive example affected the whole course of the action and was responsible for its success. Pfc. Young's dauntless courage and intrepidity reflect the highest credit upon himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of 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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You know, as I read about our past and present veterans, I always consider how personal memories are of variouse aspects of those wars. WW11, Korea, Vietanm, and the mid-east wars, to present. Our men and women have done their jobs. I only wish we could remember that they are the most precious resources and I am tired of hearing our politicians assess that the dead have been worth it. Maybe they have, but some were no doubt the result of bad judgements on behalf of those politicians that have never experienced war.
Sorry, but I just feel that way. Everytime I see a closeup of some young soldier's head and torso, then they show no legs below, I just hope it was worth it.

Richard - even in "well run good wars" there will be military personnel who die because of bad decisions - whether their own, their immediate leaders, or the more senior leaders, up to and including the President.

Far more often than not, the Medal of Honor is earned by someone who is paying the price for bad decisions, whether in planning, procurement, supply, or strategy.

And, sometimes it's just bad luck.

Unfortunately, we don't know until *after* we've passed through the events whether or not they were worth it. Going in, we have to trust those making the decisions until we know better.

If they don't measure up, then they should go away. One of the biggest faults I find with President Bush's conduct of the war was that he and Rumsfeld were too reluctant to fire people.

There should have been more Lloyd Fredendalls in the early part of the war in Iraq.

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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.