‘ Medal of Honor Recipients ’ Archive

Medal of Honor Day


Image from www.military.com

Since 1991, we have celebrated Medal of Honor Day On March 25.  On November 15, 1990 President George H.W. Bush signed Public Law 101-564 into place securing March 25th as the day in which we honor those who went above and beyond. When did the Medal of Honor originate?

1861– President Abraham Lincoln created the U.S. Navy Medal of Valor
1862– President Lincoln awarded the U.S. Army Medal of Honor
1863– The Medal of Honor was made a permanent military decoration to all members who served. Since its creation, more than 3,400 men and one woman have received the Medal of Honor.

March 25th was chosen as the official day to honor the 23 men who received the first official Medal of Honor on March 25, 1863. The first award was given to the men of the Great Locomotive Chase in April of 1862. During the chase, Union soldiers commandeered a train and did as much damage as possible to the railroad line that the Confederates relied upon.

The law signed by President Bush, reads in part “Whereas the Medal of Honor is the highest distinction that can be awarded by the president, in the name of Congress, to members of the armed forces who have distinguished themselves conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of their lives above and beyond the call of duty…Whereas public awareness of the importance of the Medal of Honor has declined in recent years; and Whereas the designation of National Medal of Honor Day will focus the efforts of national, State, and local organizations striving to foster public appreciation and recognition of Medal of Honor recipients.”

Some Interesting Facts
Since 1863, only one woman has ever won the award. A medical doctor named Mary Edwards Walker. Mary had volunteered with the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War. Having crossed enemy lines in order to treat civilians, Mary was captured by Confederate troops in the summer of 1864. She was later released and received the Medal of Honor from President Andrew Johnson on November 11, 1865.

Only one president has received the award, President Theodore Roosevelt. His son, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., earned one in World War II, making them the only father-son pair to win the prestigious award. President Roosevelt’s award was given posthumously by President Bill Clinton in 2001. The Medal was awarded to Roosevelt for his actions during the Spanish-American War with his regiment known as the Rough Riders.

The youngest recipient of the award in the 20th century was Jack Lucas, a marine who fought in Iwo Jima. He was only 17 when it was awarded.

The award is not named the Congressional Medal of Honor. Its official name is simply Medal of Honor. Many confuse the title in part because when being awarded the President says, “in the name of Congress.”

Submariners and the Medal of Honor
Since its creation, only a small number of Submariners have been awarded the prestigious medal. Their stories can be found on display in our permanent Medal of Honor Gallery here at the museum. The courageous men held within the gallery are:

Henry Breault- Torpedoman 2nd Class, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. 0-5
Howard Walter Gilmore- Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Growler
John Philip Cromwell- Captain, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Sculpin
Samuel David Dealey- Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Harder
Lawson Paterson Ramage- Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S Parche
Richard Hetherington O’Kane- Commander, U.S Navy, U.S.S. Tang
Eugene Bennett Fluckey- Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S Barb
George Levick Street III- Commander, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Tirante

George Herbert Walker Bush, 1924-2018

From Naval History and Heritage Command Website:

Upon hearing of the Pearl Harbor attack, while a student at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, George Bush decided he wanted to join the Navy to become an aviator. Six months later, after graduation, he enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday and began pre-flight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After completing the 10-month course, he was commissioned as an ensign in the US Naval Reserve on 9 June 1943, several days before his 19th birthday, making him one of the youngest naval aviators.


After finishing flight training, he was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51) as photographic officer in September 1943. As part of Air Group 51, his squadron was based on USS San Jacinto in the spring of 1944. San Jacinto was part of Task Force 58 that participated in operations against Marcus and Wake Islands in May, and then in the Marianas during June. On 19 June, the task force triumphed in one of the largest air battles of the war. During the return of his aircraft from the mission, Ensign Bush’s aircraft made a forced water landing. The destroyer, USS Clarence K. Bronson, rescued the crew, but the plane was lost. On 25 July, Ensign Bush and another pilot received credit for sinking a small cargo ship.

After Bush was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade on 1 August, San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. On 2 September 1944, Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chi Chi Jima. For this mission his crew included Radioman Second Class John Delaney, and Lieutenant Junior Grade William White, USNR, who substituted for Bush’s regular gunner. During their attack, four TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush’s aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his attack and released the bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft. However, the other man’s chute did not open and he fell to his death. It was never determined which man bailed out with Bush. Both Delaney and White were killed in action. While Bush anxiously waited four hours in his inflated raft, several fighters circled protectively overhead until he was rescued by the lifeguard submarine, USS Finback. During the month he remained on Finback, Bush participated in the rescue of other pilots.

Subsequently, Bush returned to San Jacinto in November 1944 and participated in operations in the Philippines. When San Jacinto returned to Guam, the squadron, which had suffered 50 percent casualties of its pilots, was replaced and sent to the United States. Throughout 1944, he had flown 58 combat missions for which he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation awarded San Jacinto.

Because of his valuable combat experience, Bush was reassigned to Norfolk and put in a training wing for new torpedo pilots. Later, he was assigned as a naval aviator in a new torpedo squadron, VT-153. With the surrender of Japan, he was honorably discharged in September 1945 and then entered Yale University.
Former Lieutenant George Herbert Walker Bush,
US Naval Reserve Transcript of Naval Service

12 June 1924 Born in Milton, Massachusetts
13 June 1942 Enlisted in US Naval Reserve
5 August 1942 Reported for Active Duty
8 June 1943 Honorably Discharged
9 June 1943 Ensign, US Naval Reserve and continued on Active Duty
1 August 1944 Lieutenant (junior grade)
18 September 1945 Released from Active Duty under honorable conditions
16 November 1948 Lieutenant
24 October 1955 Resignation accepted under honorable conditions
US Naval Air Station, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Instrn) June 1943 – August 1943
Naval Air Operational Training Command Carrier Qualification Training Unit US Naval Air Station, Glenview, Ill. (Instrn) August 1943 – August 1943
Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet, US Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. (Instrn) August 1943 – September 1943
Carrier Aircraft Service 21 (Instrn) September 1943 – September 1943
Torpedo Squadron 51 (Naval Aviator) September 1943 – December 1943
Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet, US Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Va. December 1944 – February 1945
Torpedo Squadron 97 February 1945 – March 1945
Torpedo Squadron 153(Naval Aviator) March 1945 – September 1945
Headquarters, FIFTH Naval District September 1945 – September 1945

PERSONAL DECORATIONS Distinguished Flying Cross.
Air Medal with two gold stars in lieu of subsequent awards
Presidential Unit Citation awarded USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)

The Navy's tribute to former President George H.W. Bush on his passing, Nov. 30, 2018.

The Navy’s tribute to former President George H.W. Bush on his passing, Nov. 30, 2018. U.S. Navy graphic https://dod.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1702844/tributes-flow-in-as-nation-mourns-passing-of-george-hw-bush/

CDR Richard H. O’Kane, Medal of Honor Recipient

CDR Richard H. O’Kane

Richard Hetherington O’Kane was born in Dover, NH, on February 2, 1911, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Walter O’Kane. After attending Phillips Academy and the University of New Hampshire, O’Kane entered the U.S. Naval Academy, graduating in 1934. Following his graduation, O’Kane served aboard the USS Chester and USS Pruit, before reporting to sub school at Sub base NLON.

Upon completion of his training in 1938, he served aboard the USS Argonaut until reporting for duty in fitting out USS Wahoo at Mare Island, California. He served as Executive Officer of Wahoo from her commissioning in May 1942, after which he saw her through five war patrols, until July 1943 when he was detached, (just before she was announced overdue and presumed lost in November 1943.) O’Kane was awarded the Silver Star Medal with 2 gold stars, a Letter of Commendation with accompanying medal, and Presidential Unit Citation ribbon for his outstanding service on Wahoo.
Continue reading “CDR Richard H. O’Kane, Medal of Honor Recipient”

LCDR Howard W. Gilmore – Medal of Honor Recipient September

Howard Walter Gilmore was born in Selma, Alabama on September 29, 1902. Upon graduating from the US Naval academy in June 1926, Gilmore served aboard the battleship Mississippi and the destroyer Perry (DD-340). After qualifying for submarines, he served aboard the USS S-48 (SS 159) and the SHARK (SS-174).

Gilmore was appointed Captain in 1941, while his ship, the Growler (SS-215), was still under construction at Electric Boat in Groton, CT. Growler launched on 2 November 1941, (five weeks prior to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor) and breezed through her sea trials. Gilmore quickly received their orders – Growler was headed to Pearl Harbor.
Continue reading “LCDR Howard W. Gilmore – Medal of Honor Recipient September”

Eugene Bennett Fluckey was born in Washington, D.C. on October 5, 1913 to Isaac Newton and Louella Snowden Fluckey. A bright child, 10 year old Eugene heard a speech by President Calvin Coolidge, in which he told the Nation:

“Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not: The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient RADM Eugene B. Fluckey – July 2014”

Medal of Honor Recipient CDR Samuel Dealey – May 2014

Samuel Dealey was born on September 13, 1906, in Dallas Texas, to a prominent Texas family. Indeed, his uncle was the founder and publisher of the Dallas Morning News. After graduation, as expected, young Samuel was appointed to the United States Naval Academy. However, after posting poor grades, Dealey “bilged out” of the Academy. (According to tradition, midshipmen never walk out the “bilger’s gate” – a pedestrian gate in the Naval Academy’s outer stone wall. However, those who flunked out of the Academy exited through the bilge gate, leading to the term “bilge out.”) Amazingly, Dealey won reinstatement, eventually graduating from the Academy in 1930.
Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient CDR Samuel Dealey – May 2014”

Medal of Honor Recipient CAPT Cromwell – April 2014

CAPT John Philip Cromwell, CO USS SCULPIN

Captain John Philip Cromwell was born on September 11, 1901, in Henry, Illinois. He was appointed to the United States Naval Academy in 1920. Upon graduating in 1924, Cromwell served two years with the surface fleet, aboard the battleship USS Maryland (BB-46). In 1926 he attended Submarine School and was assigned to the USS-S-24 (SS-129). Cromwell subsequently served on a number of shore commands, including as Staff Commander SUBPAC, and SUBDIV 203 & 44. He was also assigned commands on a number of submarines including the USS S-20 (SS-125).
Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient CAPT Cromwell – April 2014”

Medal of Honor Recipient TM2 Breault – March 2014

TM2 Henry Breault, USN – (Torpedoman Second Class)

Henry Breault was born in Putnam, CT on October 14, 1900. At the age of sixteen, Henry enlisted in the British Royal Navy, and after serving for four years, joined the United States Navy. It is while serving in the U.S. Navy that young Henry would go above and beyond the call of duty earning him the distinctive Medal of Honor.
Continue reading “Medal of Honor Recipient TM2 Breault – March 2014”