List of African-American Medal of Honor recipients

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. Recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Because of the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.[1]

Of the 3,464 Medals of Honor awarded as of June 2009, 88 have been awarded to 87 different African American recipients.[2] Robert Augustus Sweeney is one of nineteen men, and the only African American, to have been awarded two Medals of Honor.[3]

A 1993 study commissioned by the Army investigated racial discrimination in the awarding of medals.[4] At the time, no Medals of Honor had been awarded to black soldiers who served in World War II. After an exhaustive review of files, the study recommended that several black Distinguished Service Cross recipients be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal to seven African American World War II veterans; of these, only Vernon Baker was still alive.[4]

Civil War[edit]

Twenty-five African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the American Civil War, including seven sailors of the Union Navy, fifteen soldiers of the United States Colored Troops, and three soldiers of other Army units.[2] Fourteen African American men earned the Medal for actions in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, where a division of U.S. Colored Troops saw heavy action. Another four men, all sailors, earned their Medals at the Battle of Mobile Bay. William Harvey Carney was the first African American to perform an action for which a Medal of Honor was awarded, but Robert Blake was the first to actually receive the Medal (Blake's was issued in 1864, Carney did not receive his until 1900). It was common for Civil War Medals of Honor to be awarded decades after the conflict ended; in one case, Andrew Jackson Smith's Medal was not awarded until 2001, 137 years after the action in which he earned it. Smith's wait, caused by a missing battle report, is the longest delay of the award for any recipient, African American or otherwise.[5]

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied from the official Medal of Honor citation
ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Anderson, AaronAaron AndersonNavyE-01LandsmanUSS Wyandank (1847)Mattox Creek, VirginiaMarch 17, 1865"Participating with a boat crew in the clearing of Mattox Creek, L/man Anderson carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy."
Anderson, BruceBruce AndersonArmyE-01Private142nd New York Volunteer InfantrySecond Battle of Fort Fisher, North CarolinaJanuary 15, 1865"Voluntarily advanced with the head of the column and cut down the palisading."
Barnes, William H.William H. BarnesArmyE-01Private38th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Among the first to enter the enemy's works; although wounded."
Powhatan Beaty.jpgBeaty, PowhatanPowhatan BeatyArmyE-08First Sergeant5th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it."
Blake, RobertRobert BlakeNavy0Contraband[n 1]USS Marblehead (1861)off Legareville in the Stono River, Johns Island, South CarolinaDecember 25, 1863"[I]n an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Serving the rifle gun, Blake, an escaped slave, carried out his duties bravely throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy's abandonment of positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind."
Bronson, James H.James H. BronsonArmyE-08First Sergeant5th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it."
Brown, William H.William H. BrownNavyE-01LandsmanUSS Brooklyn (1858)Battle of Mobile Bay, AlabamaAugust 5, 1864"[R]emained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan."
Brown, WilsonWilson BrownNavyE-01LandsmanUSS HartfordBattle of Mobile Bay, AlabamaAugust 5, 1864"Knocked unconscious into the hold of the ship when an enemy shellburst fatally wounded a man on the ladder above him, Brown, upon regaining consciousness, promptly returned to the shell whip on the berth deck and zealously continued to perform his duties although 4 of the 6 men at this station had been either killed or wounded by the enemy's terrific fire."
William Harvey Carney.jpgCarney, William HarveyWilliam Harvey CarneyArmyE-05Sergeant54th Massachusetts Volunteer InfantryBattle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, South CarolinaJuly 18, 1863"[G]rasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded."
Dorsey, DecaturDecatur DorseyArmyE-04Corporal39th United States Colored Infantry RegimentBattle of the Crater, Petersburg, VirginiaJuly 30, 1864"Planted his colors on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men."
Sgt Major Christian Fleetwood - American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient.jpgFleetwood, ChristianChristian FleetwoodArmyE-09Sergeant Major4th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Seized the colors, after 2 color bearers had been shot down, and bore them nobly through the fight."
James Daniel Gardner.jpgGardner, James DanielJames Daniel GardnerArmyE-01Private36th United States Colored Infantry RegimentBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Rushed in advance of his brigade, shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet."
James H Harris.jpgHarris, James H.James H. HarrisArmyE-05Sergeant38th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Gallantry in the assault"
Thomas R Hawkins.jpgHawkins, Thomas R.Thomas R. HawkinsArmyE-01Private6th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Deep Bottom, VirginiaJuly 21, 1864"Rescue of regimental colors."
Hilton, Alfred B.Alfred B. Hilton*ArmyE-05Sergeant4th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"When the regimental color bearer fell, this soldier seized the color and carried it forward, together with the national standard, until disabled at the enemy's inner line."
Milton M Holland.jpgHolland, Milton M.Milton M. HollandArmyE-09Sergeant Major5th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Took command of Company C, after all the officers had been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it."
James, MilesMiles JamesArmyE-04Corporal36th United States Colored Infantry RegimentBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Having had his arm mutilated, making immediate amputation necessary, he loaded and discharged his piece with one hand and urged his men forward; this within 30 yards of the enemy's works."
Alexander Kelly.jpgKelly, AlexanderAlexander KellyArmyE-08First Sergeant6th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Gallantly seized the colors, which had fallen near the enemy's lines of abatis, raised them and rallied the men at a time of confusion and in a place of the greatest danger."
John Lawson.jpgLawson, John HenryJohn Henry LawsonNavyE-01LandsmanUSS HartfordBattle of Mobile Bay, AlabamaAugust 5, 1864Although "Wounded in the leg and thrown violently against the side of the ship when an enemy shell killed or wounded the 6-man crew as the shell whipped on the berth deck, Lawson, upon regaining his composure, promptly returned to his station and, although urged to go below for treatment, steadfastly continued his duties..."
Mifflin, JamesJames MifflinNavy0Engineer's CookUSS Brooklyn (1858)Battle of Mobile Bay, AlabamaAugust 5, 1864"[R]emained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan."
Pease, JoachimJoachim PeaseNavyE-01SeamanUSS Kearsarge (1861)off Cherbourg, FranceJune 19, 1864"Acting as loader on the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Pease exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by the divisional officer for gallantry under fire."
Robert A Pinn touchup.jpgPinn, RobertRobert PinnArmyE-08First Sergeant5th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Took command of his company after all the officers had been killed or wounded and gallantly led it in battle."
Ratcliff, EdwardEdward RatcliffArmyE-08First Sergeant38th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy's works."
Andrew Jackson Smith.jpgSmith, Andrew JacksonAndrew Jackson SmithArmyE-04Corporal55th Massachusetts Volunteer InfantryBattle of Honey Hill, South CarolinaNovember 30, 1864"Saving his regimental colors, after the color bearer was killed during al bloody charge called the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina"
Veale, CharlesCharles VealeArmyE-01Private4th U.S. Colored InfantryBattle of Chaffin's Farm, VirginiaSeptember 29, 1864"Seized the national colors after 2 color bearers had been shot down close to the enemy's works, and bore them through the remainder of the battle."

Indian Wars[edit]

Eighteen African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars of the western United States.[2] Fourteen were "Buffalo Soldiers", members of the Army's first peacetime black regiments. The four Buffalo Soldier regiments, the 9th Cavalry, 10th Cavalry, 24th Infantry, and 25th Infantry, fought in campaigns throughout the west. The remaining four Medal of Honor recipients were U.S. Army Indian Scouts recruited from among the Black Seminoles, a group of Seminole Indians of African descent.

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Boyne, ThomasThomas BoyneArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentMimbres Mountains and near Ojo Caliente, New MexicoMay 29, 1879 and September 27, 1879"Bravery in action"
Brown, BenjaminBenjamin BrownArmyE-05Sergeant24th Infantry RegimentArizonaMay 11, 1889"Although shot in the abdomen, in a fight between a paymaster's escort and robbers, did not leave the field until again wounded through both arms."
John Denny.jpgDenny, JohnJohn DennyArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentLas Animas Canyon, New MexicoSeptember 18, 1879"Removed a wounded comrade, under a heavy fire, to a place of safety."
Pompei Factor- medal of honor 1875.jpgFactor, PompeyPompey FactorArmyE-01PrivateIndian ScoutsPecos River, TexasApril 25, 1875"With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol."
Greaves, ClintonClinton GreavesArmyE-04Corporal9th Cavalry RegimentFlorida Mountains, Luna County, New MexicoJanuary 24, 1877"While part of a small detachment to persuade a band of renegade Apache Indians to surrender, his group was surrounded. Cpl. Greaves in the center of the savage hand-to-hand fighting, managed to shoot and bash a gap through the swarming Apaches, permitting his companions to break free."
Henry Johnson, MOH.jpgJohnson, HenryHenry JohnsonArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentMilk River, ColoradoOctober 2, 1879October 5, 1879"Voluntarily left fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close range made the rounds of the pits to instruct the guards, fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded."
George Jordan (MOH).jpgJordan, GeorgeGeorge JordanArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentFort Tularosa and Carrizo Canyon, New MexicoMay 14, 1880 and August 12, 1881For repulsing a larger force of Indians on 2 separate occasions
Isaiah Mays.jpgMays, IsaiahIsaiah MaysArmyE-04Corporal24th Infantry RegimentCedar Springs, ArizonaMay 11, 1889"Gallantry in the fight between Paymaster Wham's escort and robbers. Mays walked and crawled 2 miles to a ranch for help."
William McBryar, USV.jpgMcBryar, WilliamWilliam McBryarArmyE-05Sergeant10th Cavalry RegimentSalt River, north of Globe, ArizonaMarch 7, 1890"Distinguished himself for coolness, bravery and marksmanship while his troop was in pursuit of hostile Apache Indians."
Paine, AdamAdam PaineArmyE-01PrivateIndian ScoutsCanyon Blanco, Staked Plains, Texas (Red River War)September 26, 1874September 27, 1874"Rendered invaluable service to Col. R. S. Mackenzie, 4th U.S. Cavalry, during this engagement."
Payne, IsaacIsaac PayneArmy0TrumpeterIndian ScoutsPecos River, TexasApril 25, 1875"With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol."
Thomas Shaw (MOH).jpgShaw, ThomasThomas ShawArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentCarrizo Canyon, Cuchillo Negra Mountains, New MexicoAugust 12, 1881"Forced the enemy back after stubbornly holding his ground in an extremely exposed position and prevented the enemy's superior numbers from surrounding his command."
Stance, EmanuelEmanuel StanceArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentKickapoo Springs, TexasMay 20, 1870"Gallantry on scout after Indians"
Walley, AugustusAugustus WalleyArmyE-01Private9th Cavalry RegimentCuchillo Negro Mountains, New MexicoAugust 16, 1881"Bravery in action with hostile Apaches"
Ward, JohnJohn WardArmyE-05SergeantIndian Scouts, 24th Infantry RegimentPecos River, TexasApril 25, 1875"With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol"
Williams, MosesMoses WilliamsArmyE-08First Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentCuchillo Negro Mountains, New MexicoAugust 16, 1881"Rallied a detachment, skillfully conducted a running flght of 3 or 4 hours, and by his coolness, bravery, and unflinching devotion to duty in standing by his commanding officer in an exposed position under a heavy fire from a large party of Indians saved the lives of at least 3 of his comrades."
Wilson, William OthelloWilliam Othello WilsonArmyE-04Corporal9th Cavalry RegimentSioux CampaignDecember 30, 1890"Bravery"
Brent Woods with hat.jpgWoods, BrentBrent WoodsArmyE-05Sergeant9th Cavalry RegimentGavilan Canyon, New MexicoAugust 19, 1881"Saved the lives of his comrades and citizens of the detachment"

Spanish-American War[edit]

Six African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the Spanish-American War: five Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment and one United States Navy sailor.[2] Four of the five Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal for rescuing a trapped landing party during the Battle of Tayacoba.

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Edward L. Baker (MOH).jpgBaker, Jr., Edward L.Edward L. Baker, Jr.ArmyE-09Sergeant Major10th Cavalry RegimentSantiago, CubaJuly 1, 1898"Left cover and, under fire, rescued a wounded comrade from drowning."
Dennis Bell.jpgBell, DennisDennis BellArmyE-01Private10th Cavalry RegimentTayabacoa, CubaJune 30, 1898"Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated."
Lee, FitzFitz LeeArmyE-01Private10th Cavalry RegimentTayabacoa, CubaJune 30, 1898"Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts had been frustrated."
Robert Penn (MOH) framed.jpgPenn, RobertRobert PennNavyFireman First ClassUSS Iowa (BB-4)On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de CubaJuly 20, 1898"Performing his duty at the risk of serious scalding at the time of the blowing out of the manhole gasket on board the vessel, Penn hauled the fire while standing on a board thrown across a coal bucket 1 foot above the boiling water which was still blowing from the boiler."
Thompkins, William H.William H. ThompkinsArmyE-01Private10th Cavalry RegimentTayabacoa, CubaJune 30, 1898"Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated."
Wanton, George H.George H. WantonArmyE-01Private10th Cavalry RegimentTayabacoa, CubaJune 30, 1898"Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated."

World War I[edit]

Freddie Stowers was the only African American to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in World War I.[2] Stowers had led an assault on German trenches, continuing to lead and encourage his men even after being twice wounded. Stowers died of his wounds, and was shortly afterwards recommended for the Medal of Honor; however, this recommendation was never processed. In 1990, the Department of the Army conducted a review and the Stowers recommendation was uncovered. An investigation was launched, and based on results of the investigation the award of the Medal of Honor was approved. Stowers' Medal of Honor was presented on April 24, 1991—seventy-three years after he was killed-in-action.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Stowers, FreddieFreddie Stowers*ArmyE-04Corporal371st Infantry Regiment, 93d DivisionHill 188, Champagne Marne Sector, FranceSeptember 28, 1918Led his squad to destroy a group of enemy soldiers and was leading them to another trench when he was killed

World War II[edit]

No African American was awarded a Medal of Honor either during World War II or immediately afterwards with respect to their actions during that conflict. This changed in 1992 when a study conducted by Shaw University and commissioned by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the United States Army asserted that systematic racial discrimination had been present in the criteria for awarding medals during the war. After an exhaustive review of files the study recommended that several of the Distinguished Service Crosses awarded to African Americans be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, more than fifty years after the end of the war, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal to seven African American World War II veterans. Vernon Baker was the only living recipient—the other six men had been killed in action or died in the intervening years.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Baker Vernon USArmy.jpgBaker, VernonVernon BakerArmyO-01Second Lieutenant370th Infantry Regiment, 92d Infantry Division (Colored)near Viareggio, ItalyApril 5, 1945 and April 6, 1945For extraordinary heroism in action on 5 and 6 April 1945, near Viareggio, Italy. Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel and equipment during his company's attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked an enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy's fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker's fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces
Carter E USArmy.jpgCarter, Jr., Edward A.Edward A. Carter, Jr.*ArmyE-06Staff Sergeant12th Armored Divisionnear Speyer, GermanyMarch 23, 1945"For extraordinary heroism on March 23, 1945, near Speyer, Germany. When the tank he was riding received heavy bazooka and small arms fire, Sgt. Carter voluntarily attempted to lead a three-man group across an open field. Two of his men were killed and the third seriously wounded. Continuing on alone, he was wounded five times and finally was forced to take cover. As eight enemy riflemen attempted to capture him, Sgt. Carter killed six of them and captured the remaining two. He then crossed the field, using as a shield his two prisoners from whom he obtained valuable information concerning the disposition of enemy troops."
JohnRFox.jpgFox, John R.John R. Fox*ArmyO-02First Lieutenant366th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division (Colored)the vicinity of Sommocolonia, ItalyDecember 26, 1944"[V]oluntarily remained on the second floor of a house to direct defensive artillery fire" so his unit could escape. "when a counterattack retook the position from the Germans, Lieutenant Fox's body was found with the bodies of approximately 100 German soldiers."
James, Jr., Willy F.Willy F. James, Jr.*ArmyE-02Private First Class413th Infantry Regiment, 104th Infantry Divisionnear Lippoldsberg, GermanyApril 7, 1945"[L]ed a squad in the assault, accurately designating targets as he advanced, until he was killed by enemy machine gun fire while going to the aid of his fatally wounded platoon leader."
SSgtRubenRivers cropped.jpgRivers, RubenRuben Rivers*ArmyE-06Staff Sergeant761st Tank Battalion (Colored), 26th Infantry Division (United States)Guebling, FranceNovember 15, 1944November 19, 1944For extraordinary heroism in action during the 15–19 November 1944, toward Guebling, France. Though severely wounded in the leg, Sergeant Rivers refused medical treatment and evacuation, took command of another tank, and advanced with his company in Guebling the next day. Repeatedly refusing evacuation, Sergeant Rivers continued to direct his tank's fire at enemy positions through the morning of 19 November 1944. At dawn, Company A's tanks began to advance towards Bougaktroff, but were stopped by enemy fire. Sergeant Rivers, joined by another tank, opened fire on the enemy tanks, covering company A as they withdrew. While doing so, Sergeant River's tank was hit, killing him and wounding the crew. Staff Sergeant Rivers' fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his unit and exemplify the highest traditions of military service.
1stLtCharlesLThomas.jpgThomas, Charles L.Charles L. Thomas*ArmyO-02First Lieutenant614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 103rd Infantry Divisionnear Climbach, FranceDecember 14, 1944"For extraordinary heroism in action on December 14, 1944, near Climbach, France. While riding in the lead vehicle of a task force organized to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France, then First Lieutenant Thomas's armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery, self-propelled gun, and small arms fire. Although wounded by the initial burst of hostile fire, Lieutenant Thomas signalled the remainder of the column to halt and, despite the severity of his wounds, assisted the crew of the wrecked car in dismounting. Upon leaving the scant protection which the vehicle afforded, Lieutenant Thomas was again subjected to a hail of enemy fire which inflicted multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. Despite the intense pain caused by these wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of two antitank guns which in a few moments were promptly and effectively returning the enemy fire. Realizing that he could no longer remain in command of the platoon, he signalled to the platoon commander to join him. Lieutenant Thomas then thoroughly oriented him on enemy gun dispositions and the general situation. Only after he was certain that his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he permit himself to be evacuated. First Lieutenant Thomas' outstanding heroism were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces."
George WATSON.jpgWatson , George George Watson *ArmyE-01Private2nd Battalion, 29th Quartermaster Regiment, Quartermaster CorpsPorloch Harbor, New GuineaMarch 8, 1943When his ship was hit by enemy bombers he sacrificed himself to save several other crewmembers who could not swim and drowned when the suction of the ship sinking pulled him under

Korean War[edit]

Two African Americans received the Medal of Honor for action in the Korean War, both were soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment.[2] Despite a 1948 Executive Order commanding the integration of the military, segregated units persisted until 1954; the 24th Infantry was one of the last remaining all-black regiments, and these two men were the last African Americans to receive the Medal of Honor for actions while serving in a segregated unit.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Cornelius Charlton.jpgCharlton, Cornelius H.Cornelius H. Charlton*ArmyE-05Sergeant24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry DivisionNear Chipo-ri, KoreaJune 2, 1951Using grenades and machine-gun fire he led his men to fight back a group of enemy soldiers until he was killed
William H. Thompson (MOH).jpgThompson, William HenryWilliam Henry Thompson*ArmyE-02Private First Class24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry DivisionNear Haman, KoreaAugust 6, 1950Sacrificed his life to allow the rest of his unit to escape a group of enemy soldiers

Vietnam War[edit]

Twenty African Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in the Vietnam War, including James Anderson, Jr., the first African American Marine to receive the Medal.[2]

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
James Anderson, Jr.jpgAnderson, Jr., JamesJames Anderson, Jr.*Marine CorpsE-02Private First Class3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine DivisionCam Lo, VietnamFebruary 28, 1967Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Anderson, WebsterWebster AndersonArmyE-06Staff Sergeant320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)Tam Kỳ, VietnamOctober 15, 1967Anderson's artillery unit was attacked by North Vietnamese forces near Tam Kỳ in the Republic of Vietnam. Anderson directed the defense of the unit's position and continued to lead after twice being severely wounded.
Ashley, Jr., EugeneEugene Ashley, Jr.*ArmyE-07Sergeant First Class5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special ForcesBattle of Lang Vei, VietnamFebruary 6, 1968February 7, 1968Led 5 assaults against the enemy, continuously exposing himself to enemy grenades, machine gun and automatic weapons fire until he was killed by enemy mortar fire after being carried off the battlefield
Austin OP USMC.jpgAustin, Oscar P.Oscar P. Austin*Marine CorpsE-02Private First Class7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced)Da Nang, VietnamFebruary 23, 1969Sacrificed his life to save a wounded Marine
Bryant, William MaudWilliam Maud Bryant*ArmyE-07Sergeant First Class5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special ForcesLong Khanh Province, VietnamMarch 24, 1969Killed by an enemy rocket after leading his men on repeated attacks upon enemy bunkers
Davis HM USMC.jpgDavis, Rodney M.Rodney M. Davis*Marine CorpsE-05Sergeant5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine DivisionQuang Nam Province, VietnamSeptember 6, 1967Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Jenkins, Jr., Robert H.Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.*Marine CorpsE-02Private First Class3rd Marine Division (Reinforced)Fire Support Base Argonne, DMZ, VietnamMarch 5, 1969Sacrificed his life to shield a wounded Marine from an exploding grenade
Lawrence Joel 3.jpgJoel, LawrenceLawrence JoelArmyE-04Specialist Six503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne BrigadeVietnamNovember 8, 1965After a long battle with enemy soldiers and despite his own wounds he continued to treat wounded until he was ordered to evacuate
Johnson, Dwight H.Dwight H. JohnsonArmyE-04Specialist Five69th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry DivisionDak To, Kon Tum Province, VietnamJanuary 15, 1968Risked his life to repeatedly attack a group of enemy soldiers until all of the enemy had been repulsed or killed
Johnson RH.jpgJohnson, Ralph H.Ralph H. Johnson*Marine CorpsE-02Private First Class1st Marine Division (Reinforced)Hill 146, Quan Duc Valley, VietnamMarch 5, 1968Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Langhorn, Garfield M.Garfield M. Langhorn*ArmyE-02Private First Class17th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation BrigadePlei Djereng, Pleiku Province, VietnamJanuary 15, 1969Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Leonard, MatthewMatthew Leonard*ArmyE-07Sergeant First Class16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry DivisionSuoi Da, VietnamFebruary 28, 1967Although severely wounded he continued to fight the enemy until succumbing to his wounds
Long, Donald RussellDonald Russell Long*ArmyE-05Sergeant4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry DivisionVietnamJune 30, 1966Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Morris, MelvinMelvin MorrisUnited States ArmyStaff SergeantThird Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike ForceChi Lang, VietnamSeptember 17, 1969Shot three times will retrieving a wounded comrade
Milton Lee Olive.jpgOlive, III, Milton L.Milton L. Olive, III*ArmyE-02Private First Class503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne BrigadePhu Cuong, VietnamOctober 22, 1965Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Captain Riley Leroy Pitts.jpgPitts, Riley L.Riley L. Pitts*ArmyO-03Captain27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry DivisionAp Dong, VietnamOctober 31, 1967Led his men against numerous attacks against the enemy until they had been defeated
Charles C. Rogers (MOH).jpgRogers, Charles CalvinCharles Calvin RogersArmyO-05Lieutenant Colonel5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Infantry DivisionFishook region (near the Cambodian border), VietnamNovember 1, 1968"Although too severely wounded to physically lead the defenders, Lt. Col. Rogers continued to give encouragement and direction to his men in the defeating and repelling of the enemy attack"
Sargent, Ruppert L.Ruppert L. Sargent*ArmyO-02First Lieutenant9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry DivisionHau Nghia Province, VietnamMarch 15, 1967Sacrificed his life by smothering two enemy grenades with his body
Clarence Eugene Sasser.jpgSasser, ClarenceClarence SasserArmyE-02Private First Class60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry DivisionDing Tuong Province, VietnamJanuary 10, 1968Although wounded himself he proceeded to administer first aid to the wounded for more than five hours until they were evacuated
Sims, Clifford ChesterClifford Chester Sims*ArmyE-06Staff Sergeant501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne DivisionHuế, VietnamFebruary 21, 1968Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
John E. Warren (MOH)2.jpgWarren, Jr., John E.John E. Warren, Jr.*ArmyO-02First Lieutenant22d Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry DivisionTay Ninh Province, VietnamJanuary 14, 1969Treated the wounded and administered last rites to the dead and dying until he was killed by the enemy

Peacetime[edit]

Before World War II, the Medal of Honor could be awarded for actions not involving direct combat with the enemy; eight African Americans earned the Medal in this way, all of them sailors.[2] Robert Augustus Sweeney received two peacetime Medals of Honor, one of only nineteen men, and the only African American, to be awarded the medal twice. Most of the non-combat medals, including both of Sweeney's, were awarded for rescuing or attempting to rescue someone from drowning.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
ImageNameServiceRankUnitPlace of actionDate of actionNotes
Daniel Atkins (MOH) poster.jpgAtkins, DanielDaniel AtkinsNavyShip's Cook First ClassUSS Cushing (TB-1)aboard ship at seaFebruary 11, 1898Attempted to save the life of an officer who fell overboard at sea
Davis, JohnJohn DavisNavyE-01Ordinary SeamanUSS Trenton (1876)Toulon, FranceFebruary 1881"Jumping overboard, Davis rescued Augustus Ohlensen, coxswain, from drowning"
Girandy, AlphonseAlphonse GirandyNavyE-01SeamanUSS Petrel (PG-2)aboard ship at seaMarch 31, 1901"[F]earlessly exposing his own life to danger for the saving of others"
Johnson, JohnJohn JohnsonNavyE-01SeamanUSS Kansas (1863)near Greytown, NicaraguaApril 12, 1872"[D]isplayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned and, by extraordinary heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life."
Johnson, WilliamWilliam JohnsonNavyCooperUSS Adams (1874)Navy Yard, Mare Island, CaliforniaNovember 14, 1879"[R]escued Daniel W. Kloppen, a workman, from drowning"
Joseph Noil poster.jpgNoil, Joseph B.Joseph B. NoilNavyE-01SeamanUSS Powhatan (1850)Norfolk, VirginiaDecember 26, 1872"[S]aved Boatswain J. C. Walton from drowning"
Smith, JohnJohn SmithNavyE-01SeamanUSS Shenandoah (1862)Rio de Janeiro, BrazilSeptember 19, 1880"[R]escuing from drowning James Grady, first class fireman"
Sweeney, Robert AugustusRobert Augustus SweeneyNavyE-01Ordinary SeamanFirst action:
USS Kearsarge (1861)
Second action:
USS Jamestown (1844)
First action:
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Second action:
Brooklyn Navy Yard
First action:
October 26, 1881
Second action:
December 20, 1883
First action:"[J]umped overboard and assisted in saving from drowning a shipmate who had fallen overboard into a strongly running tide"
Second action:"[R]escued from drowning A. A. George, who had fallen overboard from that vessel"

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "In international law, contraband is any goods carried by vessels of neutral nations during wartime that may be confiscated and thus prohibited from delivery to the enemy. Since slavery was still in active practice in the southern United States (the Confederate States of America) during the American Civil War when Blake was captured, he was considered someone's property and therefore considered to be contraband.”

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
General
Inline
  1. ^ "A Brief History — The Medal of Honor". Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Department of Defense. August 8, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h C. W. Hanna, African American recipients of the Medal of Honor, 3; Note: Hanna includes Clement Dees in his count, while this list does not, because Dees's medal was rescinded.
  3. ^ "List of Double MOH Recipients". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved August 28, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b "WWII African American MOH recipients". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved July 20, 2006. 
  5. ^ Owens, Ron (2004). Medal of Honor: Historical Facts and Figures. Turner Publishing Company. p. 23. ISBN 1-56311-995-1. Retrieved June 24, 2009. 

External links[edit]