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First Medal of Honor Awarded - History

First Medal of Honor Awarded - History


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July 12, 1965

First Medal of Honor Awarded

In the field

US Marine Corps Lieutenant Frank Reasoner, of Kellog, Idaho becomes the first Marine having served in Vietnam to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. The medal is awarded posthumously, since Reasoner is killed in an ambush.


The President of the United States, in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting
the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to:

FIRST LIEUTENANT FRANK S. REASONER

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS

for service as set forth in the following

CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as CommandingOfficer, Company A, 3d Reconnaissance Battalion, 3d Marine Division in action against hostile Viet Cong forces near Danang, Vietnam on 12 July 1965. The reconnaissance patrol led by First Lieutenant Reasoner had deeply penetrated heavily controlled enemy territory when it came under extremely heavy fire from an estimated 50 to 100 Viet Cong insurgents. Accompanying the advance party and the point that consisted of five men, he immediately deployed his men for an assault after the Viet Cong had opened fire from numerous concealed positions. Boldly shouting encouragement, and virtually isolated from the main body, he organized a base of fire for an assault on the enemy positions. The slashing fury of the Viet Cong machine gun and automatic weapons fire made it impossible for the main body to move forward. Repeatedly exposing himself to the devastating attack he skillfully provided covering fire, killing at least two Viet Cong and effectively silencing an automatic weapons position in a valiant attempt to effect evacuation of a wounded man. As casualties began to mount his radio operator was wounded and First Lieutenant Reasoner immediately moved to his side and tended his wounds. When the radio operator was hit a second time while attempting to reach a covered position, First Lieutenant Reasoner courageously running to his aid through the grazing machine gun fire fell mortally wounded. His indomitable fighting spirit, valiant leadership and unflinching devotion to duty provided the inspiration that was to enable the patrol to complete its mission without further casualties. In the face of almost certain death, he gallantly gave his life in the service of his country. His actions upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


John William Finn

John William Finn (24 July 1909 – 27 May 2010) was a sailor in the United States Navy who, as a chief petty officer, received the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. As a chief aviation ordnanceman stationed at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, he earned the medal by manning a machine gun from an exposed position throughout the attack, despite being repeatedly wounded. He continued to serve in the Navy and in 1942 was commissioned an ensign. In 1947 he was reverted to chief petty officer, eventually rising to lieutenant before his 1956 retirement. In his later years he made many appearances at events celebrating veterans. At the time of his death, Finn was the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, the last living recipient from the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the last United States Navy recipient of World War II.


John Chapman & The First Medal of Honor Ever Recorded on Camera

The following is one of the most epic installments in our combat footage sector. The footage is captured by a CIA Reaper Feed providing overwatch of the Battle of Takur Ghar in Afghanistan during March of 2002. The Battle of Takur Ghar was a short but intense mountaintop engagement between United States special forces and al-Qaeda insurgents. During the battle, Airman John A. Chapman was awarded the Medal of Honor. Additionally, John Chapman was the first medal of honor recipients in history to have his Medal of Honor frontline actions caught on camera.

The battle formed part of Operation Anaconda which was the mission to push al-Qaeda fighters from the Shahi-Kot Valley and Arma Mountains of Afghanistan in the early stages of the war in Afghanistan. Although Takur Ghar was eventually captured by U.S. forces, they suffered seven fatalities with many others wounded. This made it one of the deadliest engagements of the entire operation.

John A. Chapman – The Medal of Honor Warfighter

John A. Chapman was born on July 14th, 1965, in Springfield, Massachusetts, and grew up in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. He was described by his friends as compassionate and considerate and always one to stand up for the underdog. In 1985, at the age of twenty, John Chapman signed up to join the United States Air Force where he went on to train as an Information Systems Operator before later going on to train into the field of Combat Control and Special Tactics.

On the 4th of March 2002 during the early stages of the war in Afghanistan, John Chapman served alongside United States Navy SEALs in Operation Anaconda. The month before the Battle of Takur Ghar, the good nature of Chapman appeared once again when he and his team were based in a local safe house somewhere in rural Afghanistan. The men were sharing the home, which only had one room with heating, with the Afghan family who owned it.

John A. Chapman with the child of the Afghan family whose home was being used as a safehouse.

As local allied Afghan fighters began moving the family into one of the cold rooms so that the Americans could stay in the heated room, Chapman stopped them and demanded that they be allowed to stay. Despite resistance from the Afghan fighters, John was adamant and wrapped his arms around the little girl who was the same age as his daughter at the time until they relented.

A month later, John Chapman was attached to the operation that would see the first large-scale battle in the War in Afghanistan since the Battle of Tora Bora in December 2001. The mission objective was to infiltrate the peak of the mountain and to establish an observation post (OP) and to act as a fire team if necessary. The plan was to insert two fire teams to the highest peaks on both sides of the valley which would later facilitate the liquidation of a large group of al-Qaeda fighters at the bottom of the valley.

Because John died exactly in the same way he lived – doing anything in his power to help others in need.

– The Air Force Times

Onboard an MH-47E Chinook with the call-sign “Razor 3” the team ascended 11,000 feet towards the snow-covered peak of the Afghan mountain in the dead of night. As the men began to prepare for their insertion, the Chinook came under heavy fire from al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents firing assault rifles, heavy machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades. One of the Navy SEALs, PO1 Neil C. Roberts, fell out of the helicopter whilst under fire. The helicopter was then forced to land 4 and a half miles away from where Roberts was killed.

As soon as they were on the ground, John Chapman began relaying orders for another helicopter to pick them up. After they were rescued, Chapman and the team volunteered to rescue their missing team member from the enemy stronghold and this is where the video begins.

The trenches at the the Battle of Takur Ghar.

As the team land into a hornet’s nest of fanatical fighters in an attempt to rescue the body of Roberts, Chapman began a charge into fortified enemy bunkers where he was shot twice whilst engaging in hand to hand combat with largely foreign al-Qaeda fighters from Chechnya and Uzbekistan. In the face of overwhelming enemy firepower, the SEAL team are forced to retreat down the mountain leaving the body of Roberts and Chapman, whose status inside the bunker was then unclear, behind.

An AC-130 gunship began to light up the mountain to cover the retreating men, Chapman arose from the bunker. Despite being alone, severely wounded, and surrounded, Chapman began a one-man stand against the fanatical fighters around him. The relentless firefight was all caught on the CIA Reaper Drone and Chapman, now with over 10 bullet and shrapnel wounds, continued to engage in close-range and hand to hand combat with the enemy.

John A. Chapman in Kabul, Afghanistan.

When Chapman heard the the quick reaction force (QRF) coming back for him, he saw how much danger they were in as enemy fighters prepared to fire RPG rounds. Chapman then left the cover of the bunker to lay down the last of his ammunition into the enemy, allowing the struck Chinook to make a controlled landing and allow his comrades to empty the helicopter.

This final assault saw John Chapman struck through the heart by an enemy round and after 16 bullet and shrapnel wounds, finally resulted in his death. John’s actions saw him sacrificed himself to save as many of his teammates as he could. He had inflicted multiple enemy causalities allowing the QRF was able to secure the mountain top.

John A. Chapman about to complete a parachute jump in the 1990s.

Following his actions, John A. Chapman was posthumously awarded the Air Force Cross. However, in 2018 this was upgraded to the Medal of Honor following new technology allowing deeper analysis of the combat footage that showed Chapman regaining consciousness and continuing to fight Al-Qaeda insurgents who were attacking him from three directions.


The History of the Medal of Honor

On December 1, 1861, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation instituting the new Navy Medal of Honor (MOH), which was followed a year later by the Army Medal of Honor. This video gives a brief history of the MOH.

The American Civil War had begun on April 12, 1861, some eight months before the new medal for conspicuous bravery in battle, the Medal of Honor, was initiated. In the beginning, it was designed for the Navy. Today, there are three forms of the MOH: the Navy/Marine Corps/Coast Guard MOH, the Army MOH, and the Air Force MOH.

Photo: YouTube/WGRZ-TV

The MOH was awarded for the first time to Army private Jacob Parrott. He served with Company K, 33rd Ohio Voluntary Infantry, during the Civil War. In April of 1862, he and a couple of dozen others were given orders to go deep into enemy territory to destroy bridges and railroad tracks between Chattanooga, TN, and Atlanta, GA.

When they had arrived in the Atlanta area at night, they snuck aboard a train full of boxcars heading north. When it stopped at Big Shanty, GA, the engineers and crew got off for breakfast, uncoupled the engine, the fuel car, and three boxcars, and steamed out of the station.

Photo: YouTube/WGRZ-TV

These raiders began destroying bridges as they went, but it wasn’t long before the Confederates put together another train and were in pursuit. The raiders uncoupled more of the stolen cars to slow their pursuers, but to little effect. They ran out of fuel near the Georgia-Tennessee border, and they then tried to get away on foot.

They were eventually all captured, including Parrott. He was returned to the Union Army in a prisoner-of-war exchange in March of 1863, and, for his part in the raid, he became the first to be awarded the Medal of Honor that same month. Five of his fellow raiders received the same distinction soon thereafter.

Photo: YouTube/WGRZ-TV

The Civil War saw more Medals of Honor awarded than in any other of our wars since. Since its inception, there have been some 3,522 Medal of Honor recipients. Nineteen of those have been awarded the MOH twice. Theodore Roosevelt is the only U.S. President to be awarded the Medal of Honor, and that was awarded after his death.

Medal of Honor recipients enjoy some extra privileges as well. For example, each living recipient receives a specific pension and Special Retirement Pay. The pension at this time is nearly $1,400/month. They are also given uniform allowances, on-base parking spots, priority space for travel, invitations to Presidential Inaugurals, and military burial honors.

Photo: YouTube/WGRZ-TV

It is illegal to reproduce or mint copies of the MOH. Fraudulently claiming to be a recipient can be punished by jail time.

As you will hear in this new video from a station in New York state, one-third of the MOHs given out during the Iraq War were awarded to people from that part of New York.

There is much more to this history, and there are video accounts and interviews with most of the living recipients of the Medal of Honor available on the internet if you are interested in hearing some of their incredible stories. But this video is a good place to start.

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Youngest and Oldest Recipients

The youngest person ever to receive the Medal of Honor was probably William "Willie" Johnston, who earned the Medal during the Civil War just prior to his 12th birthday and received his award 6 weeks after his 13th.

The oldest Medal of Honor recipient is General Douglas MacArthur, who was 62 years old when he received the Medal.

World War II hero Jack Lucas became the youngest man in this century to receive the award when he threw his body over two grenades at Iwo Jima just 5 days after his 17th birthday. At the time of his heroism, he had already been in the Marine Corps for three years.


This Day In History: The First Medal of Honor Of The Vietnam War Is Awarded (1964)

The first Medal of Honor of the Vietnam War was awarded to a U.S. serviceman for action on this day in 1964. The highest American military award was given to Captain Roger Donlon of, New York, for his heroism under fire in the early part of the year.

Captain Donlon was leading a special forces unit into a mountain outpost near the border with Laos. The area was known to be a hotbed of communist activity. The orders for Donlon and his men was that they hold the outpost. They were joined by a band of local tribesmen from the Nung, hill-tribe and a unit of South Vietnamese troops. Not long after they had taken up position the outpost was attacked in the early hours. The attack took place on July the 6 th . The attack was carried out by a large group of Viet Cong. The Americans were heavily outnumbered and their position seemed hopeless. Donlon was shot in the stomach during the first phase of the attack by the Viet Cong. He did not seek medical attention but bound up his wounds with a hand-kerchief. He refused any medical attention. Donlon kept on fighting and he manned a mortar and a machine-gun. He also threw many grenades at the enemy. The battle raged for some six hours and ended with the Americans still in control of the outpost. the Viet Cong disappeared and they left their dead behind. The outpost was reached by some reinforcements the next morning. They were amazed at what they found. They found some 154 Viet Cong dead. Only two Americans were killed and ten wounded. The South Vietnamese and the Nung mercenaries lost some 40 men and about 60 wounded. Only after the outpost was safe would Donlon allow himself to be treated by a medic. He was later evacuated out of the outpost and hospitalized. He spent over a month in a hospital and made a full recovery. He later rejoined his unit and returned to active service. He successfully completed a six-month tour of duty and participated in many more battles and firefights. In a ceremony at the White House, Donlon he received the Medal of Honor from the hands of President Lyndon Johnson.

A search and destroy operation in Vietnam

He received his nation&rsquos highest award, for &ldquoconspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism, and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty.&rdquo

Donlon was very humble and he spoke with real warmth of his fellow soldiers. He claimed that they deserved the medal as much as he did.


This is how you got promoted in the Aztec military

Posted On March 26, 2021 03:45:00

The Aztecs had the largest pre-colonial empire in the Americas and ruled with an iron fist. Mexico derives its name from the Mexica people, a migratory bloodline that settled in Lake Texcoco and founded the city of Tenochtitlan. These spiritual people engineered aqueducts, constructed artificial islands, and created the Nahuatl language and temples to their Gods to feed a growing empire.

In order for kings to cement their power, they relied on their warriors to produce a steady supply of human sacrifices to offer to the God of war. A commoner, born to humble beginnings, could climb up the ranks and into the nobility by showing bravery, leadership, and skill in combat. However, professional competence was not the only requirement for promotion.

“I’m tired of living in this POS hut, I can’t wait to deploy!” – some Aztec lance corporal

When a male was born in the Empire, he was born with a specific purpose: to become a warrior and serve the God of war until death. All were drafted into service everyone served the empire. They believed that if they did not provide Huitzilopochtli (the God of war) with “precious water” (human blood), the sun would not rise the following day. Their culture did not recognize the ideology of peace because, to them, war was an ongoing event, one necessary to the continuation of the planet.

Because of this belief, the empire marshaled a standing army to hunt down their enemies, collecting persons for daily sacrifices. On a male’s fourth birthday, he was given an arrow and a shield to start his journey into warriorhood.

“I’m tired of living in this POS hut, send me on the next deployment” – some jaded Aztec lance corporal

When a male reached adolescence, they were segregated into one of two military academies: Telpochalli, for the enlisted, and Calmecac, for officers. The latter was reserved for the nobility, but the enlisted could be promoted into the nobility and achieve an officer rank during their career.

While the students trained in these academies, it was mandatory to provide community service in the capital. As they advanced in their military studies, they squired under senior warriors and were responsible for carrying their superiors’ gear into combat until the age of 15. At this point, they were trained in the practical application of clubs, slings, blowguns, and bows and arrows.

Once the male completed his training, it was time for him to get his feet wet. At 18, he was allowed to witness his first battle and watch his seniors kick some ass. After two battles, the junior warriors were assembled into 5-6 man teams and tasked with taking a prisoner of war.

If the team returned with an enemy captive, they would begin their first promotion ritual: cut out the still-beating heart and offer it to the God, Huitzilopochtli. Then, they dismembered the body and consumed the flesh. The juniors were now officially full-fledged warriors and attained the rank of Tlamani. If they did not return with a prisoner, they were separated from the military and tasked with commoner jobs. One could return to the army a year later and try their luck again.

That boot had to cut someone’s heart out before he got to your unit.

The newly minted warriors were inserted into a company-sized element consisting of about 400 men from the same district or village. Promotions from this point forward were based on individual effort. Prisoners of war were sacrificed alive on an altar by a priest atop one of the numerous pyramids. Nearly all captured men were sacrificed and about one-quarter of the women shared the same fate. Those who were spared became slaves or concubines.

After one captured a second prisoner, they received another promotion to cuextecatl and donned a black uniform called a tlahuiztli. Upon the third, they were given command of a team and a papalotl banner to wear on their back that served as rank insignia. A fourth P.O.W. earned them the rank of cuauhocelotl and they were entered into a knighthood-like order of the Eagle or Jaguar.

This gave the warrior the right to drink an alcoholic drink called pulque, wear jewelry, have concubines, and dine as royalty at the palace during ceremonies. Their rank was displayed by tying their hair with a red band decorated with green and blue feathers.

As you can imagine, promotions were hard to come by.

Hold the line! Stay with me!

Eagle and Jaguar warriors were sent to two other advanced academies to further learn tactical operations, respective to the path they chose. Members of this rank also enforced the law as police officers and answered directly to the king.

The special forces and officer corps were called the Otomies and the Shorn Ones. Otomies inherited their namesake from the original settlers of the Valley of Mexico, and The Shorn Ones were the Emperor’s officer corps. They wore a tlahuiztli, a white or yellow uniform, unique to officers, and shaved their heads except for a single lock of hair on their left side.

Both organizations were only open to the nobility and received specialized training in strategy, logistics, and diplomacy. These warriors had to fight on the front lines to maintain their authority and right to command.

Let’s play rock, paper, chevrons. I win.

Success in one’s military career was the only avenue of upward mobility in the Aztecs’ strict hierarchical society. If you were not of noble birth, you could earn it and all the privileges that it entailed. The culture placed immense importance on training their fighters because if they failed to bring in daily sacrifices, the world would end with the reincarnation of a snake God named Quetzalcoatl.

He would appear as a white man with a dark beard coming across the ocean and bring about the destruction of their civilization.


The First Medal of Honor Went to an Army Soldier Who Stole a Confederate Train

Jacob Parrott was a U.S. soldier who participated in the legendary Civil War mission popularly known as the Great Locomotive Race. His bravery as a member of the Union crew that stole a Confederate train led to recognition as the nation’s first Medal of Honor recipient.

Now, Parrott’s story is told in “Medal of Honor: Jacob Parrott,” the latest issue of the Association of the United States Army’s graphic novel series. You can view or download a free copy at www.ausa.org/parrott.

Prior to the Civil War, the democratic peoples of the United States resisted the very idea of military medals. Americans connected a chest covered in fruit salad with the kind of European traditions the new nation was designed to eliminate.

Give the credit to Lt. Col. Edward D. Townsend for first suggesting a medal of honor to his boss Commanding General of the U.S. Army Winfield Scott in 1861. Scott resisted, but the idea took hold. After Secretary of Navy Gideon Welles supported legislation for a Navy version, the Army got on board with the concept and Congress passed legislation that created the award.

The April 1862 mission, led by civilian spy James Andrews, was designed to cut off Confederate supply lines by destroying rail tracks and telegraph communications along a route between Marietta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Andrews’ raiders boarded a train in Marietta and hijacked it when passengers got off for breakfast at the first stop heading north.

If Confederate troops holding Chattanooga could not be resupplied from the South, Union generals believed they could take the city and speed up the South’s defeat, ending the war at least two years before the actual surrender at Appomattox.

Confederate soldiers chased the train. Andrews’ men had to switch trains over the course of the journey and their replacement train ran out of water and fuel before they could complete their mission. The men scattered and Andrews was executed by Confederates for leading the mission. Parrott was captured and flogged before imprisonment. He was later returned to the Union Army in a prisoner exchange.

The story has been told on film before. Disney made “The Great Locomotive Chase,” a 1956 movie starring Fess Parker as James Andrews. Parker was at the height of his Davy Crockett fame. Claude Jarman Jr., best known as Jody in “The Yearling,” played Jacob Parrott in his final movie role before ending his on-screen career to join the U.S. Navy.

The movie tries to appeal to all audiences. The Confederates are honorable men who have a mission and so are the Union spies. Parker even tries to shake hands with his Confederate nemesis William Fuller (played by Jeffrey Hunter) before he goes to the gallows. There are opponents but no one’s really the villain.

Jacob Parrott was one of six Army volunteers who received a medal of honor on March 25, 1863. Because he’d been physically abused in a Confederate prisoner of war camp, Parrott was the first man to receive his medal in recognition of his sacrifice. He was joined that day by Sgt. Elihu H. Mason, Cpl. William Pittinger, Cpl. William H. H. Reddick, Pvt. William Bensinger and Pvt. Robert Buffum.

AUSA will be publishing three more Medal of Honor graphic novels this year, featuring Mitchell Red Cloud Jr., a Native American soldier who sacrificed his life in Korea, Wild Bill Donovan, the WWI hero who later founded the OSS, and Roger Donlon, the first recipient from the Vietnam War and the first Special Forces recipient.


A Final Goodbye to His Parents

Mortally wounded, but not yet dead, Corporal Dunham was evacuated out for medical care. First to a hospital in Baghdad and then Germany, Dunham had suffered massive head injuries and needed emergency surgery to reduce the swelling on his brain.

Corporal Dunham would eventually make his way to the National Naval Medical Center in Maryland where he continued to remain in a coma and very critical condition. The Marine Corps gave Dunham’s parents tickets from their home Scio, New York to Maryland for them to be by his side.

Dunham never regained consciousness as shrapnel had traveled down the side of his brain and the damage was irreversible. In keeping with Corporal Dunham’s pre-war wishes, he was taken off life support and died with his parents by his side on April 22 nd , 2004 at the age of 22.

For his actions that day, Corporal Jason Dunham would become the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor since Vietnam.

USS Jason Dunham arriving in Norfolk.

In 2009, the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham was commissioned in his honor. Also, a crucible warrior station was named in honor of Dunham at both Parris Island and San Diego Marine Recruit Depots. And just as Corporal Dunham’s journey as a Marine began in 2000, the future generation of Marines will learn of Dunham’s actions and aspire to live up to the gallantry displayed on that fateful day in Iraq.

The young Marine, who was born on November 10th of all days, had his Marine Corps experience come full circle, and a nation is indebted to him for his sacrifice.


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