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List of Medal of Honor recipients

The Medal of Honor is the highest military award in the U.S. military.

The following is a complete list of Medal of Honor recipients; some conflicts have long enough lists to warrant their own pages as indicated.

The President of the United States, in the name of the United States Congress, has awarded more than 3,464 Medals of Honor to the nation's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coast guardsmen since the decoration's creation in 1861. The citations highlighting these acts resided in archives, some for more than 100 years and were only sporadically printed. In 1973, the U.S. Senate ordered the citations compiled and printed as Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863–1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973). This book was later updated and reprinted in 1979.

Nineteen men received a second award: 14 of these received two separate medals for two separate actions, and five received both the Navy and the Army Medals of Honor for the same action. Since the beginning of World War II, 854 Medals of Honor have been awarded, 528 posthumously. In total, 618 had their medals presented posthumously. See Medal of Honor#Double recipients.

Recipients are grouped by conflict, then alphabetically by last name within the group. The rank listed is the recipient's rank at the time of their Medal of Honor action.

Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government, similar to the British Victoria Cross or the French Legion of Honor. It is bestowed on a member of the United States armed forces who distinguishes himself "...conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States..." Because of its nature, the medal is commonly awarded posthumously.

American Civil War

Main articles: List of American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: A-F, List of American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients: G-L and List of Medal of Honor recipients for the American Civil War: M-Z

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a war between the United States of America (the "Union") and the Southern slave states of the newly formed Confederate States of America under Jefferson Davis. The Medal of Honor award was established during this conflict and nearly 1522 were awarded, of which 32 were awarded posthumously for acts of bravery and gallantry in combat. Almost half of all of the Medals of Honor that have ever been awarded in its history were presented during the 5 years of this war.

Indian Wars

The term Indian Wars is the name generally used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between the colonial or federal government and the American Indian population that resided in North America prior to the arrival of white settlers. During this conflict the Medal of Honor was presented to 426 soldiers, 13 posthumously for acts of bravery and gallantry in combat.

Korean Expedition

The United States expedition to Korea in 1871 also known as Sinmiyangyo (Western Disturbance of the Year Sinmi year) was the first American military action in Korea. It took place predominantly on and around the Korean island of Ganghwa. The reason for the presence of the American military expeditionary force in Korea was to support an American diplomatic delegation sent to establish trade and diplomatic relations with Korea and to ascertain the fate of the General Sherman merchant ship. The isolationist nature of the Joseon Dynasty government and the assertiveness of the Americans led to an armed conflict between the two parties. Eventually, the United States failed to secure their objectives.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
Navy Ordinary Seaman aboard the USS Benicia 9 to 10 Jun 1871 USS Benicia Stood on the gunwale on the Benicia's launch, lashed to the ridgerope and remained unflinchingly in this dangerous position and gave his soundings with coolness and accuracy under a heavy fire.
USMC E-04Corporal aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado Assisted in capturing the Korean standard from the citadel of the fort.
USMC E-01Private aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado For hand-to-hand combat and saving the life of Alexander McKenzie.
USMC E-01Private aboard the USS Carondelet USS Carondelet Returning to duty after being wounded several times.
Navy Quartermaster aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado For assuming command of Company D, after Lt. McKee was wounded, and handling the company until relieved.
Navy Chief Quartermaster aboard the USS Benicia 10 to 11 Jun 1871 USS Benicia Carrying out his duties with coolness, Grace set forth gallant and meritorious conduct throughout this action.
Navy Carpenter aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado Serving as color bearer of the battalion, Hayden planted his flag and protected it under heavy fire.
Navy Landsman Ganghwa Island 9 to 10 Jun 1871 USS Colorado Fighting the enemy inside the fort, Lukes received a severe cut over the head.
Navy Boatswain's Mate aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado Fighting at the side of Lt. McKee during this action, McKenzie was struck by a sword and received a severe cut in the head from the blow.
USMC E-01Private aboard the USS Benicia USS Benicia For taking a match-lock from the hands of the enemy while advancing to the parapet.
Navy Landsman Ganghwa Island 9 to 10 Jun 1871 USS Colorado Merton was severely wounded in the arm while trying to force his way into the fort.
USS Colorado Fighting courageously in hand-to-hand combat, Owens was badly wounded by the enemy during this action.
USMC E-01Private aboard the USS Alaska USS Alaska Braving the enemy fire, Purvis was the first to scale the walls of the fort and capture their flag.
Navy Quartermaster aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado Fighting courageously at the side of Lt. McKee during this action, Rogers was wounded by the enemy.
Navy Ordinary Seaman aboard the USS Colorado USS Colorado Fighting at the side of Lt. McKee, by whom he was especially commended, Troy was badly wounded by the enemy.

Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War (Spanish: Guerra Hispano-Estadounidense, desastre del 98, Guerra Hispano-Cubana-Norteamericana or Guerra de Cuba ) was a military conflict between Spain and the United States that began in April 1898. Hostilities halted in August of that year, and the Treaty of Paris was signed in December.

The war began after the American demand for Spain's peacefully resolving the Cuban fight for independence was rejected, though strong expansionist sentiment in the United States may have motivated the government to target Spain's remaining overseas territories: Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam and the Caroline Islands.

Riots in Havana by pro-Spanish "Voluntarios" gave the United States a reason to send in the warship USS Maine to indicate high national interest. Tension among the American people was raised because of the explosion of the USS Maine, and "yellow journalism" that accused Spain of extensive atrocities, agitating American public opinion. The war ended after decisive naval victories for the United States in the Philippines and Cuba.

Only 109 days after the outbreak of war, the Treaty of Paris, which ended the conflict, gave the United States ownership of the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Guam.

Samoan Civil War

The Samoan Civil War is a Western definition of political activity in the Samoa Islands of the South Pacific in the late 19th century. By this non-Samoan definition, the Samoan Civil Wars were a series of wars between Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States, ending in the partitioning of the island chain in 1899. The concluding event was the Second Samoan Civil War. The first Samoan Civil War lasted for eight years. The warring Samoan parties were supplied arms, training and sometimes even combat troops by Germany, Britain and The United States. The three powers were playing them off against each other as each country wanted Samoa as a refueling station for coal fired shipping. They also wanted Samoa due to the scarcity of unclaimed territory from 1870 onwards to gain more power in Europe.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
Navy Gunner's Mate First Class aboard the USS Philadelphia, Samoa U.S.S. Philadelphia For distinguishing himself by his conduct in the presence of the enemy.
USMC E-05Sergeant Samoa Unknown For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy.
USMC E-01Private Samoa Unknown For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy. Subsequently awarded the Navy Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal for actions during World War I.
USMC E-05Sergeant Samoa Unknown For distinguished conduct in the presence of the enemy.

Philippine-American War

The Philippine-American War was an armed military conflict between the United States of America and the First Philippine Republic, fought between 1899 to at least 1902, which arose from a Filipino political struggle against U.S. occupation of the Philippines.

While the conflict was officially declared over on July 4, 1902, American troops continued hostilities against remnants of the Philippine Army and other resistance groups until 1913, and some historians consider these unofficial extensions part of the war.

Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Movement or Boxer Rebellion, which occurred in China from November 1899 to September 7, 1901, was an uprising by members of the Chinese Society of Right and Harmonious Fists against foreign influence in areas such as trade, politics, religion and technology that occurred in China during the final years of the Manchu rule (Qing Dynasty).

The members of the Society of Right and Harmonious Fists were simply called boxers by the Westerners due to the martial arts and calisthenics they practiced. The uprising began as an anti-foreign, anti-imperialist peasant-based movement in northern China. They attacked foreigners who were building railroads and violating Feng shui, as well as Christians, who were held responsible for the foreign domination of China. In June 1900, the Boxers invaded Beijing and killed 230 non-Chinese. Tens of thousands of Chinese Christians, Catholic and Protestant alike, were killed mostly in Shandong and Shanxi Provinces as part of the uprising.

The government of Empress Dowager Cixi was not helpful, and diplomats, foreign civilians, soldiers and some Chinese Christians retreated to the legation quarter where they held out for fifty-five days until a multinational coalition rushed 20,000 troops to their rescue. The Chinese government was forced to indemnify the victims and make many additional concessions. Subsequent reforms implemented after the crisis of 1900 laid the foundation for the end of the Qing Dynasty and the establishment of the modern Chinese Republic.

United States occupation of Veracruz, 1914

The United States occupation of the Mexican port of Veracruz lasted for six months in response to the Tampico Affair of April 9, 1914. The incident came in the midst of poor diplomatic relations between Mexico and the United States, related to the ongoing Mexican Revolution.

Invasion and occupation of Haiti

The first United States Military occupation of Haiti began on July 28, 1915 and ended in mid-August, 1934. Later occupations of Haiti include those which began 1994 and 2004 (though under the UN banner, the U.S. was the prime mover of the actions).

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
USMC Major Fort Riviere, Haiti in a company composed of the fifth, thirteenth and twenty-third companies and the Marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. CONNECTICUT Second award - previously awarded a Medal of Honor for action in the Mexican Campaign.
USMC E-04Corporal near Grande Riviere, Republic of Haiti 31 Oct to 1 Nov 1919 USS Antares 7th Marines For the assassination of rebel leader Charlemagne Péralte and the routing of his followers.
USMC Gunnery Sergeant near Fort Liberte, Haiti 15th Company Second award - previously awarded a Medal of Honor for action in the Boxer Rebellion.
USMC O-01Second Lieutenant near Grande Riviere, Republic of Haiti 31 Oct to 1 Nov 1919 USS Antares 7th Marines For the assassination of rebel leader Charlemagne Péralte and the routing of his followers.
USMC Sergeant Fort Riviere, Haiti in a company composed of the fifth, thirteenth and twenty-third companies and the Marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. CONNECTICUT Approaching a breach in the wall which was the only entrance to the fort, Sergeant Iams unhesitatingly jumped through the breach despite constant fire from the Cacos and engaged the enemy in a desperate hand-to-hand combat until the bastion was captured and Caco resistance neutralized.
USMC Private Fort Riviere, Haiti in a company composed of the fifth, thirteenth and twenty-third companies and the Marine and sailor detachment from the U.S.S. CONNECTICUT Served under the name Samuel Gross.
USMC First Lieutenant near Fort Liberte, Haiti Fifteenth Company In command of one of the three squads which advanced in three different directions, led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding in the capture of Fort Dipitie.
USMC Captain near Fort Liberte, Haiti Fifteenth Company In command of the three squads which advanced in three different directions, led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding the capture of Fort Dipitie.

Occupation of the Dominican Republic

The United States occupied the Dominican Republic from 1916–1924.

In May 1917, Rear Admiral William Caperton forced Arias to leave Santo Domingo by threatening the city with naval bombardment. U.S. Marines invaded and landed took control of the country within two months, and in November the U.S. imposed a military government.

The Marines restored order throughout most of the republic (with the exception of the eastern region); the country's budget was balanced, its debt was diminished, and economic growth resumed; infrastructure projects produced new roads that linked all the country's regions for the first time in its history; a professional military organization, the Dominican Constabulary Guard, replaced the partisan forces that had waged a seemingly endless struggle for power.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
USMC E-04Corporal Guayacanas, Dominican Republic 13th Company, Artillery Battalion, 1st Brigade For action against a considerable force of rebels.
USMC First Lieutenant San Francisco de Macorís, Dominican Republic 1st Brigade For leading the capture of a fort.
USMC First Sergeant Guayacanas, Dominican Republic 1st Brigade For action against a considerable force of rebels.

World War I

World War I, also known as the First World War and the Great War, was a global military conflict which took place primarily in Europe from 1914 to 1918. Over 40 million casualties resulted, including approximately 20 million military and civilian deaths. Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilized from 1914 to 1918. The immediate cause of the war was the June 28, 1914 assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb citizen of Austria-Hungary and member of the Black Hand. The retaliation by Austria-Hungary against Serbia activated a series of alliances that set off a chain reaction of war declarations. Within a month, much of Europe was in a state of open warfare.

Occupation of Nicaragua

The United States occupied Nicaragua from 1909-1933 and intervened in the country several times before that. The American interventions in Nicaragua were designed to prevent the construction of a trans-isthmian canal by any nation but the USA. Nicaragua assumed a quasi-protectorate status under the 1916 Chamorro-Bryan Treaty. The occupation ended as Augusto César Sandino, a Nicaraguan revolutionary, led guerrilla armies against US troops. Furthermore, the onset of the Great Depression made it costly for the USA to maintain occupation.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
USMC O-02First Lieutenant Quilali, Nicaragua 6 to 8 Jan 1928 Observation Squadron 7-M For evacuating wounded Marines by plane while under fire.
USMC E-04Corporal near Constancia, near Coco River, northern Nicaragua a Guardia Nacional Patrol Served under the name "Truesdell" before officially changing name to "Truesdale". Lost his hand while attempting to save his patrol from an accidentally activated grenade.

World War II

World War II, or the Second World War, was a global military conflict, the joining of what had initially been two separate conflicts. The first began in Asia in 1937 as the Second Sino-Japanese War; the other began in Europe in 1939 with the German invasion of Poland.

This global conflict split the majority of the world's nations into two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis powers. It involved the mobilization of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history, and placed the participants in a state of "total war", erasing the distinction between civil and military resources. This resulted in the complete activation of a nation's economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities for the purposes of the war effort. Over 60 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. The financial cost of the war is estimated at about a trillion 1944 U.S. dollars worldwide, making it the most costly war in capital as well as lives.

The Allies were victorious, and, as a result, the United States and Soviet Union emerged as the world's two leading superpowers.

During this conflict 464 United States military personnel received the Medal of Honor, 266 of them posthumously. Additionally, the only Medal of Honor recipient in history for the United States Coast Guard received the Medal for his actions during this war.

Korean War

The Korean War was an escalation of border clashes between two rival Korean regimes, each of which was supported by external powers, with each trying to topple the other through political and guerilla tactics. In a very narrow sense, some may refer to it as a civil war, though many other factors were at play. After failing to strengthen their cause in the free elections held in South Korea during May 1950 and the refusal of South Korea to hold new elections per North Korean demands, the communist North Korean Army moved south on June 25, 1950 to attempt to reunite the Korean peninsula, which had been formally divided since 1948. The conflict was then expanded by the United States and the Soviet Union's involvement as part of the larger Cold War. The main hostilities were during the period from June 25, 1950 until the armistice (ceasefire agreement) was signed on July 27, 1953.

In South Korea, the war is often called "6·25", or the 6·25 War (Korean: 6·25 전쟁), from the date of the start of the conflict or, more formally, Hanguk Jeonjaeng (Korean: 한국전쟁; Hanja: 韓國戰爭, literally “Korean War”). In North Korea, while commonly known as the Korean War, it is formally called the Fatherland Liberation War (조국해방전쟁). In the United States, the conflict was officially termed a police action — the Korean Conflict — rather than a war, largely in order to avoid the necessity of a declaration of war by the U.S. Congress. The war is sometimes called "The Forgotten War" because it is a major conflict of the 20th century that gets far less attention than World War II, which preceded it, and the controversial Vietnam War, which succeeded it. In China, the conflict was known as the War to Resist America and Aid Korea ( ), but is today commonly called the “Korean War” (朝鮮 戰爭 Chaoxian Zhanzheng, 韓國戰爭 Hanguo Zhanzheng, or simply 韓戰 Hanzhan).

Vietnam War

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the American War, occurred from 1959 to April 30, 1975. The term "Vietnam Conflict" is often used to refer to events which took place between 1959 and April 30, 1975. The war was fought between the Communist-supported Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the United States supported Republic of Vietnam.

Over 1.4 million military personnel were killed in the war (only 6% were members of the United States armed forces), while estimates of civilian fatalities range from 2 to 5.1 million. On April 30, 1975, the capital of South Vietnam, Saigon fell to the communist forces of North Vietnam, effectively ending the Vietnam War.

USS Liberty incident

The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy research ship, the USS Liberty (AGTR-5), by Israeli forces. Investigations conducted by both the U.S. and Israel concluded that the attack was a tragic mistake—an incident of friendly fire. However, this version of events is disputed by Liberty's surviving crewmen.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
Navy Commander eastern Mediterranean Sea USS Liberty (AGTR-5) Continued to lead his ship despite being severely wounded

Battle of Mogadishu (1993)

The Battle of Mogadishu (1993) (also referred to as the "Battle of the Black Sea") or for Somalis Ma-alinti Rangers (“The Day of the Rangers”) was a battle that was part of Operation Gothic Serpent that was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, by forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II against Somali militia fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the later Second Battle of Mogadishu.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
* Army E-08Master Sergeant Mogadishu, Somalia Delta Force For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive.
* Army E-07Sergeant First Class Mogadishu, Somalia Delta Force For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive.

War in Afghanistan

The War in Afghanistan (2001–present), which began on October 7, 2001, was launched by the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO Allies in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was the beginning of the Bush Administration's War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
* Navy O-03Lieutenant Kunar Province, Afghanistan SEALs SDV Team 1 Led a reconnaissance patrol in a fight against superior numbers, exposed himself to hostile fire in order to call for help.

Iraq War

The Iraq War, also known as the Second Gulf War, Operation Iraqi Freedom (US), Operation TELIC (UK) or the occupation of Iraq, is an ongoing conflict which began on March 20, 2003 with the United States-led invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition composed of U.S. and U.K. troops supported by smaller contingents from Australia, Poland, and other nations.

Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
* Army E-07Sergeant First Class near Baghdad, Iraq B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion Held the enemy at bay allowing for the wounded to be carried out
* USMC E-04Corporal Iraq, near Syrian border 3rd Battalion 7th Marines Fought hand-to-hand with the enemy and hurled himself on a grenade to protect fellow Marines
* Navy Master At Arms Second Class Ramadi, Iraq SEAL Team Three, Delta Platoon Saved the lives of his fellow SEALs at his sniper position by diving on a grenade
* Army Specialist Iraq C Company, 1-26th Infantry Saved the lives of four soldiers by diving on a grenade while inside HMMWV

Sgt. Rafael Peralta, USMC has been recommended for the Medal of Honor and is currently awaiting presidential approval.

Peacetime

Prior to World War II, the Medal of Honor could be awarded for actions not involving direct combat with the enemy; 193 men earned the medal in this way. Most of the peacetime medals were awarded to members of the United States Navy for rescuing or attempting to rescue someone from drowning.

Foreign

While current regulations, beginning in 1918, explicitly state that recipients must be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of performing a valorous act that warrants the award, exceptions have been made. Apart from these rare exceptions, Medals of Honor can only be awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces - although being a U.S. citizen is not a prerequisite. Sixty-one Canadians who were serving in the United States armed forces have been awarded the Medal of Honor, with a majority awarded for actions in the American Civil War. Since 1900, only four have been awarded to Canadians. In the Vietnam War, Peter C. Lemon was the only Canadian recipient of the Medal of Honor.

The Medal of Honor has also been presented to several unknown soldiers British Unknown Warrior in the United Kingdom by General Pershing on October 17, 1921; later the U.S. Unknown Soldier was reciprocally awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry, on November 11, 1921. The Medal of Honor was also presented to The Romanian Unknown Soldier, The Unknown Soldier of France, entombed under the Arc de Triomphe, The Unknown Soldier of Belgium and The Unknown Soldier of Italy, entombed in the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II.

Notes

References

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