The Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor was established during the American Civil War. It was the first decoration formally adopted by the United States government to be worn as a badge of honor and was authorized,

" ... to each person who while an officer or enlisted person ... shall have distinguished himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict with the enemy. The deed performed must have been of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual for gallantry and intrepidity above his or her comrades and must have involved the risk of life."

Although similar in appearance, the Army, Navy and Air Force each has its own distinct version. It is sometimes referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor because it is presented "in the name of the Congress of the United States."

Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard
Army
Air Force

Medal of Honor Recipients from Minnesota

Civil War

Barrick, Jesse T., Rice County, MN
Born: 18 January 1841, Columbiana County, Ohio
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company H, 3rd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: Near Duck River, Tennessee, 26 May-2 June 1863
Date of issue: 3 March 1917
Citation: While on a scout captured singlehanded 2 desperate Confederate guerrilla officers who were together and well armed at the time.

Burger, Joseph, Crystal Lake, MN
Born: Austria
Rank and organization Private, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennessee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Cilley, Clinton A., Sasioja, MN
Born: Rockingham County, NH
Rank and organization Captain, Company C, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date At Chickamauga, Georgia, 20 September 1863
Date of issue: 12 June 1895
Citation: Seized the colors of a retreating regiment and led it into the thick of the attack.

Clark, William A., Shelbyville, MN
Born: Pennsylvania
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennessee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Flannigan, James, Scott County, MN
Born: New York
Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennessee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Gere, Thomas P.
Born: Chemung County, NY
Rank and organization: 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant, 5th Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nashville, Tennessee, 16 December 1864 Date of issue: 24 February 1865
Citation: Capture of flag of 4th Mississippi (C.S.A.)

Hanna, Milton, Henderson, MN
Born: Lickland County, Ohio
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennesee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Holmes, Lovilo N., Mankato, MN
Born: Cattaraugus County, NY
Rank and organization: 1st Sergeant, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennesee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Merritt, John G., Winona, MN
Born: New York
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 1st Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Bull Run, Virginia, 21 July 1861
Date of issue: 1 April 1880
Citation: Gallantry in action; was wounded while capturing flag in advance of his regiment.

O'Brien, Henry D., St. Anthony Falls, MN
Born: Maine
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company E, 1st Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 3 July 1863
Date of issue: 9 April 1890
Citation: Taking up the colors where they had fallen, he rushed ahead of his regiment, close to the muzzles of the enemy's guns, and engaged in the desperate struggle in which the enemy was defeated, and though severely wounded, he held the colors until wounded a second time.

Pay, Byron E., Mankato, MN
Born: 21 October 1844, LeRoy Township, Jefferson County, NY
Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennesee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Pickle, Alonzo H., Dover, MN
Born: Canada
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company B, 1st Bn Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Deep Bottom, Virginia, 14 August 1864
Date of issue: 12 June 1895
Citation: At the risk of his life, voluntarily went to the assistance of a wounded officer lying close to the enemy's lines and, under fire, carried him to a place of safety.

Reed, Axel H., Glencoe, MN
Born: Maine
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company K, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Chickamauga, Georgia, 19 September 1863; At Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, 25 November 1863
Date of issue: 2 April 1898
Citation: While in arrest at Chickamauga, GA, left his place in the rear and voluntarily went to the line of battle, secured a rifle, and fought gallantly during the 2-day battle; was released from arrest in recognition of his bravery. At Missionary Ridge commanded his company and gallantly led it, being among the first to enter the enemy's works; was severely wounded, losing an arm, but declined a discharge and remained in active service to the end of the war.

Sherman, Marshall, St. Paul, MN
Born: Burlington, VA
Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 1st Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 3 July 1863
Date of issue: 1 December 1864
Citation: Capture of flag of 28th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).

Vale, John, Rochester, MN
Born: England
Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennesee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Wright, Samuel, Swan Lake, MN
Born: Indiana
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company H, 2nd Minnesota Infantry
Place and date: At Nolensville, Tennesee, 15 February 1863
Date of issue: 11 September 1897
Citation: Was one of a detachment of 16 men who heroically defended a wagon train against the attack of 125 cavalry, repulsed the attack and saved the train.

Spanish American War & Philippine Insurrection

Bell, Harry, Minneapolis, MN
Born: 21 September 1860, Milwaukee, WI
Rank and organization: Captain, 36th Infantry, US Volunteers
Place and date: Near Porac, Luzon, Philippine Islands, 17 October 1899
Date of issue: 8 March 1902
Citation: Led a successful charge against a superior force, capturing and dispersing the enemy and relieving other members of his regiment from a perilous position.

Indian Campaigns

Albee, George E., Owatonna, MN
Born: Lisbon, NH
Rank and organization: 1st Lieutenant, 41st US Infantry
Place and date: At Brazos River, Texas, 28 October 1869
Date of issue: 18 January 1894
Citation: Attacked with 2 men a force of 11 Indians, drove them from the hills, and reconnoitered the country beyond.

Burkard, Oscar, Hay Creek, MN
Born: 21 December 1877, Achern, Germany
Rank and organization: Private, Hospital Corps, US Army
Place and date: At Leech Lake, Minnesota, 5 October 1898
Date of issue: 21 August 1899
Citation: For distinguished bravery in action against hostile Indians. [Note: This is the last Medal of Honor won in an Indian campaign, was awarded for an action during a battle with Ojibwe Indians, on Leech Lake, northern Minnesota, 5 October 1898.]

Huggins, Eli L., Minneapolis, MN
Born: Illinois
Rank and organization: Captain, 2nd US Cavalry
Place and date: At O'Fallons Creek, Montana, 1 April 1880
Date of issue: 27 November 1894
Citation: Surprised the Indians in their strong position and fought them until dark with great boldness.

Morgan, George H., Minneapolis, MN
Born: Canada
Rank and organization: 2nd Lieutenant, 3rd US Cavalry
Place and date: At Big Dry Fork, Arizona, 17 July 1882
Date of issue: 15 July 1892
Citation: Gallantly held his ground at a critical moment and fired upon the advancing enemy until he was disabled by a shot.

Tracy, John, St. Paul, MN
Born: Ireland
Rank and organization: Private, Company G, 8th US Cavalry
Place and date: At Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona, 20 October 1869
Date of issue: 14 February 1870
Citation: Bravery in action.

Welch, Charles H., Ft. Snelling, MN
Born: New York, NY
Rank and organization: Sergeant, Company D, 7th US Cavalry
Place and date: At Little Big Horn, Montana, 25-26 June 1876
Date of issue: 5 October 1878
Citation: Voluntarily brought water to the wounded, under fire.

Wilson, William O., St. Paul, MN
Born: Hagerstown, MD
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company I, 9th US Cavalry
Place and date: Sioux Campaign, 1890
Date of issue: 17 September 1891
Citation: Bravery

Mexican Expedition

Catlin, Albertus Wright, Minnesota
Born: 1 December 1868, Gowanda, NY
Rank and organization: Major, US Marine Corps
Place and date: At Vera Cruz, Mexico, 22 April 1914
Date of issue: 4 December 1915
Citation: For distinguished conduct in battle, engagement of Vera Cruz, 22 April 1914. Eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion, Maj. Catlin exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22nd and in the final occupation of the city.

Dyer, Jesse Farley, St. Paul, MN
Born: 2 December 1877, St. Paul, MN
Rank and organization: Captain, US Marine Corps
Place and date: At Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21-22 April 1914
Date of issue: 4 December 1915
Citation: For distinguished conduct in battle, engagements of Vera Cruz, 21 and 22 April 1914; was in both days fighting at the head of his company, and was eminent and conspicuous in his conduct, leading his men with skill and courage.

World War I

Cukela, Louis, Minnepolis, MN
Born: 1 May 1888, Sebenes, Austria
Rank and organization: Sergeant, 66th Company, 5th Regiment, US Marine Corps
Place and date: Near Viller-Cottertes, France, 18 July 1918
Date of issue: 31 December 1919
Citations: [Note: Sergeant Cukela received both the Navy and Army Medal of Honor for his actions that day.]
Army Medal: When his company, advancing through a wood, met with strong resistance from an enemy strong point, Sergeant Cukela crawled out from the flank and made his way toward the German lines in the face of heavy fire, disregarding the warnings of his comrades. He succeeded in getting behind the enemy position and rushed a machinegun emplacement, killing or driving off the crew with his bayonet. With German handgrenades he then bombed out the remaining portion of the strong point, capturing 4 men and 2 damaged machineguns.
Navy Medal: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, during action in the Forest de Retz, near Viller-Cottertes, France, 18 July 1918. Sergeant Cukela advanced alone against an enemy strong point that was holding up his line. Disregarding the warnings of his comrades, he crawled out from the flank in the face of heavy fire and worked his way to the rear of the enemy position. Rushing a machinegun emplacement, he killed or drove off the crew with his bayonet, bombed out the remaining part of the strong point with German handgrenades and captured 2 machineguns and 4 men.

Mallon, George H., Minneapolis, MN
Born: 15 June 1877, Ogden, KS
Rank and organization: Captain, 132nd Infantry, 33rd Division, US Army
Place and date: In the Bois-de-Forges, France, 26 September 1918
Date of issue: 31 December 1919
Citation: Becoming separated from the balance of his company because of a fog, Captain Mallon, with 9 soldiers, pushed forward and attacked 9 active hostile machineguns, capturing all of them without the loss of a man. Continuing on through the woods, he led his men in attacking a battery of four 155-millimeter howitzers, which were in action, rushing the position and capturing the battery and its crew. In this encounter Captain Mallon personally attacked 1 of the enemy with his fists. Later, when the party came upon 2 more machineguns, this officer sent men to the flanks while he rushed forward directly in the face of the fire and silenced the guns, being the first one of the party to reach the nest. The exceptional gallantry and determination displayed by Captain Mallon resulted in the capture of 100 prisoners, 11 machineguns, four 155-millimeter howitzers and 1 antiaircraft gun.

World War II

Bianchi, Willibald C., New Ulm, MN
Born: New Ulm, MN
Rank and organization: 1st Lieutenant, Philippine Scouts, 45th Infantry, US Army
Place and date: Near Bagac, Bataan Province, Philippine Islands, 3 February 1942
Date of issue: 5 March 1942
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy on 3 February 1942, near Bagac, Province of Bataan, Phillippine Islands. When the rifle platoon of another company was ordered to wipe out 2 strong enemy machinegun nests, 1st Lieutenant Bianchi voluntarily and of his own initiative, advanced with the platoon leading part of the men. When wounded early in the action by 2 bullets through the left hand, he did not stop for first aid but discarded his rifle and began firing a pistol. He located a machinegun nest and personally silenced it with grenades. When wounded the second time by 2 machinegun bullets through the chest muscles, 1st Lieutenant Bianchi climbed to the top of an American tank, manned its antiaircraft machinegun, and fired into strongly held enemy position until knocked completely off the tank by a third severe wound.

Colalillo, Mike, Duluth, MN
Born: Hibbing, MN
Rank and organization: Private First Class, Company C, 398th Infantry, 100th Infantry Division, US Army
Place and date: Near Untergriesheim, Germany, 7 April 1945
Date of issue: 18 December 1945
Citation: He was pinned down with other members of his company during an attack against strong enemy positions in the vicinity of Untergriesheim, Germany. Heavy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire made any move hazardous when he stood up, shouted to the company to follow, and ran forward in the wake of a supporting tank, firing his machine pistol. Inspired by his example, his comrades advanced in the face of savage enemy fire. When his weapon was struck by shrapnel and rendered useless, he climbed to the deck of a friendly tank, manned an exposed machinegun on the turret of the vehicle, and, while bullets rattled about him, fired at an enemy emplacement with such devastating accuracy that he killed or wounded at least 10 hostile soldiers and destroyed their machinegun. Maintaining his extremely dangerous post as the tank forged ahead, he blasted 3 more positions, destroyed another machinegun emplacement and silenced all resistance in his area, killing at least 3 and wounding an undetermined number of riflemen as they fled. His machinegun eventually jammed; so he secured a submachinegun from the tank crew to continue his attack on foot. When our armored forces exhausted their ammunition and the order to withdraw was given, he remained behind to help a seriously wounded comrade over several hundred yards of open terrain rocked by an intense enemy artillery and mortar barrage. By his intrepidity and inspiring courage Pfc. Colalillo gave tremendous impetus to his company's attack, killed or wounded 25 of the enemy in bitter fighting, and assisted a wounded soldier in reaching the American lines at great risk of his own life.

Courtney, Henry Alexius, Jr., Duluth, MN
Born: 6 January 1916, Duluth, MN
Rank and organization: Major, 2nd Bn., 22nd Marines, 6th Marine Division, US Marine Corps
Place and date: On Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 14-15 May 1945
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Executive Officer of the 2d Battalion, 22d Marines, 6th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 14 and 15 May 1945. Ordered to hold for the night in static defense behind Sugar Loaf Hill after leading the forward elements of his command in a prolonged fire fight, Maj. Courtney weighed the effect of a hostile night counterattack against the tactical value of an immediate marine assault, resolved to initiate the assault, and promptly obtained permission to advance and seize the forward slope of the hill. Quickly explaining the situation to his small remaining force, he declared his personal intention of moving forward and then proceeded on his way, boldly blasting nearby cave positions and neutralizing enemy guns as he went. Inspired by his courage, every man followed without hesitation, and together the intrepid marines braved a terrific concentration of Japanese gunfire to skirt the hill on the right and reach the reverse slope. Temporarily halting, Maj. Courtney sent guides to the rear for more ammunition and possible replacements. Subsequently reinforced by 26 men and an LVT load of grenades, he determined to storm the crest of the hill and crush any planned counterattack before it could gain sufficient momentum to effect a breakthrough. Leading his men by example rather than by command, he pushed ahead with unrelenting aggressiveness, hurling grenades into cave openings on the slope with devastating effect. Upon reaching the crest and observing large numbers of Japanese forming for action less than 100 yards away, he instantly attacked, waged a furious battle and succeeded in killing many of the enemy and in forcing the remainder to take cover in the caves. Determined to hold, he ordered his men to dig in and, coolly disregarding the continuous hail of flying enemy shrapnel to rally his weary troops, tirelessly aided casualties and assigned his men to more advantageous positions. Although instantly killed by a hostile mortar burst while moving among his men, Maj. Courtney, by his astute military acumen, indomitable leadership and decisive action in the face of overwhelming odds, had contributed essentially to the success of the Okinawa campaign. His great personal valor throughout sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Fleming, Richard E., St. Paul, MN
Born: 2 November 1917, St. Paul, MN
Rank and organization: Captain, Marine Scout-Bombing Squadron 241, US Marine Corps Reserves
Place and date: At Midway Island, 4-5 June 1942
Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as Flight Officer, Marine Scout Bombing Squadron 241, during action against enemy Japanese forces in the battle of Midway on 4 and 5 June 1942. When his Squadron Commander was shot down during the initial attack upon an enemy aircraft carrier, Capt. Fleming led the remainder of the division with such fearless determination that he dived his own plane to the perilously low altitude of 400 feet before releasing his bomb. Although his craft was riddled by 179 hits in the blistering hail of fire that burst upon him from Japanese fighter guns and antiaircraft batteries, he pulled out with only 2 minor wounds inflicted upon himself. On the night of 4 June, when the squadron commander lost his way and became separated from the others, Capt. Fleming brought his own plane in for a safe landing at its base despite hazardous weather conditions and total darkness. The following day, after less than 4 hours' sleep, he led the second division of his squadron in a coordinated glide-bombing and dive-bombing assault upon a Japanese battleship. Undeterred by a fateful approach glide, during which his ship was struck and set afire, he grimly pressed home his attack to an altitude of 500 feet, released his bomb to score a near miss on the stern of his target, then crashed to the sea in flames. His dauntless perseverance and unyielding devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Hauge, Louis James, Jr., Ada, MN
Born: 12 December 1924, Ada, MN
Rank and organization: Corporal, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, US Marine Corps
Place and date: On Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Islands, 14 May 1945
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a machinegun squad serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain on 14 May 1945. Alert and aggressive during a determined assault against a strongly fortified Japanese hill position, Cpl. Hauge boldly took the initiative when his company's left flank was pinned down under a heavy machinegun and mortar barrage with resultant severe casualties and, quickly locating the 2 machineguns which were delivering the uninterrupted stream of enfilade fire, ordered his squad to maintain a covering barrage as he rushed across an exposed area toward the furiously blazing enemy weapons. Although painfully wounded as he charged the first machinegun, he launched a vigorous single-handed grenade attack, destroyed the entire hostile gun position and moved relentlessly forward toward the other emplacement despite his wounds and the increasingly heavy Japanese fire. Undaunted by the savage opposition, he again hurled his deadly grenades with unerring aim and succeeded in demolishing the second enemy gun before he fell under the slashing fury of Japanese sniper fire. By his ready grasp of the critical situation and his heroic 1-man assault tactics, Cpl. Hauge had eliminated 2 strategically placed enemy weapons, thereby releasing the besieged troops from an overwhelming volume of hostile fire and enabling his company to advance. His indomitable fighting spirit and decisive valor in the face of almost certain death reflect the highest credit upon Cpl. Hauge and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Hawks, Lloyd C., Park Rapids, MN
Born: 13 January 1911, Becker, MN
Rank and organization: Private First Class, Medical Detachment, 30th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division, US Army
Place and date: Near Carano, Italy, 30 January 1944
Date of issue: 15 January 1945
Citation: For gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 30 January 1944, at 3 p.m., near Carano, Italy, Pfc. Hawks braved an enemy counterattack in order to rescue 2 wounded men who, unable to move, were lying in an exposed position within 30 yards of the enemy. Two riflemen, attempting the rescue, had been forced to return to their fighting holes by extremely severe enemy machinegun fire, after crawling only 10 yards toward the casualties. An aid man, whom the enemy could plainly identify as such, had been critically wounded in a similar attempt. Pfc. Hawks, nevertheless, crawled 50 yards through a veritable hail of machinegun bullets and flying mortar fragments to a small ditch, administered first aid to his fellow aid man who had sought cover therein, and continued toward the 2 wounded men 50 yards distant. An enemy machinegun bullet penetrated his helmet, knocking it from his head, momentarily stunning him. Thirteen bullets passed through his helmet as it lay on the ground within 6 inches of his body. Pfc. Hawks, crawled to the casualties, administered first aid to the more seriously wounded man and dragged him to a covered position 25 yards distant. Despite continuous automatic fire from positions only 30 yards away and shells which exploded within 25 yards, Pfc. Hawks returned to the second man and administered first aid to him. As he raised himself to obtain bandages from his medical kit his right hip was shattered by a burst of machinegun fire and a second burst splintered his left forearm. Displaying dogged determination and extreme self-control, Pfc. Hawks, despite severe pain and his dangling left arm, completed the task of bandaging the remaining casualty and with superhuman effort dragged him to the same depression to which he had brought the first man. Finding insufficient cover for 3 men at this point, Pfc. Hawks crawled 75 yards in an effort to regain his company, reaching the ditch in which his fellow aid man was lying.

Kraus, Richard Edward, Minnesota
Born: 24 November 1925, Chicago, IL
Rank and organization: Private First Class, 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, US Marine Corps Reserve
Place and date: On Peleliu, Palau Islands, 5 October 1944
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 8th Amphibious Tractor Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Peleliu, Palau Islands, on 5 October 1944. Unhesitatingly volunteering for the extremely hazardous mission of evacuating a wounded comrade from the front lines, Pfc. Kraus and 3 companions courageously made their way forward and successfully penetrated the lines for some distance before the enemy opened with an intense, devastating barrage of hand grenades which forced the stretcher party to take cover and subsequently abandon the mission. While returning to the rear, they observed 2 men approaching who appeared to be marines and immediately demanded the password. When, instead of answering, 1 of the 2 Japanese threw a hand grenade into the midst of the group, Pfc. Kraus heroically flung himself upon the grenade and, covering it with his body, absorbed the full impact of the explosion and was instantly killed. By his prompt action and great personal valor in the face of almost certain death, he saved the lives of his 3 companions, and his loyal spirit of self-sacrifice reflects the highest credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.

LaBelle, James Dennis, Columbia Heights, MN
Born: 22 November 1925, Columbia Heights, MN
Rank and organization: Private First Class, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, US Marine Corps Reserve
Place and date: On Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 8 March 1945
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces during the seizure of Iwo Jima in the Volcano Islands, 8 March 1945. Filling a gap in the front lines during a critical phase of the battle, Pfc. LaBelle had dug into a foxhole with 2 other marines and, grimly aware of the enemy's persistent attempts to blast a way through our lines with hand grenades, applied himself with steady concentration to maintaining a sharply vigilant watch during the hazardous night hours. Suddenly a hostile grenade landed beyond reach in his foxhole. Quickly estimating the situation, he determined to save the others if possible, shouted a warning, and instantly dived on the deadly missile, absorbing the exploding charge in his own body and thereby protecting his comrades from serious injury. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had unhesitatingly relinquished his own chance of survival that his fellow marines might carry on the relentless fight against a fanatic enemy His dauntless courage, cool decision and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death reflect the highest credit upon Pfc. LaBelle and upon the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Rudolph, Donald E., Minneapolis, MN
Born: South Haven, MN
Rank and organization: 2nd Lieutenant, Company E, 20th Infantry, 6th Infantry Division, US Army
Place and date: At Munoz, Luzon Province, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1945
Date of issue: 10 September 1945
Citation: 2d Lt. Rudolph (then T/Sgt.) was acting as platoon leader at Munoz, Luzon, Philippine Islands. While administering first aid on the battlefield, he observed enemy fire issuing from a nearby culvert. Crawling to the culvert with rifle and grenades, he killed 3 of the enemy concealed there. He then worked his way across open terrain toward a line of enemy pillboxes which had immobilized his company. Nearing the first pillbox, he hurled a grenade through its embrasure and charged the position. With his bare hands he tore away the wood and tin covering, then dropped a grenade through the opening, killing the enemy gunners and destroying their machinegun. Ordering several riflemen to cover his further advance, 2d Lt. Rudolph seized a pick mattock and made his way to the second pillbox. Piercing its top with the mattock, he dropped a grenade through the hole, fired several rounds from his rifle into it and smothered any surviving enemy by sealing the hole and the embrasure with earth. In quick succession he attacked and neutralized 6 more pillboxes. Later, when his platoon was attacked by an enemy tank, he advanced under covering fire, climbed to the top of the tank and dropped a white phosphorus grenade through the turret, destroying the crew. Through his outstanding heroism, superb courage, and leadership, and complete disregard for his own safety, 2d Lt. Rudolph cleared a path for an advance which culminated in one of the most decisive victories of the Philippine campaign.

Sorenson, Richard K., Anoka, MN
Born: 28 August 1924, Anoka, MN
Rank and organization: Private, 4th Marine Division, US Marine Corps Reserve
Place and date: On Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, 1-2 February 1944
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assault battalion attached to the 4th Marine Division during the battle of Namur Island, Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1-2 February 1944. Putting up a brave defense against a particularly violent counterattack by the enemy during invasion operations, Pvt. Sorenson and 5 other marines occupying a shellhole were endangered by a Japanese grenade thrown into their midst. Unhesitatingly, and with complete disregard for his own safety, Pvt. Sorenson hurled himself upon the deadly weapon, heroically taking the full impact of the explosion. As a result of his gallant action, he was severely wounded, but the lives of his comrades were saved. His great personal valor and exceptional spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Korea

Page, John U. D., St. Paul
Born: 8 February 1904 Malahi Island, Luzon, Philippine Islands
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, X Corps Artillery, attached to 52nd Transportation Truck Battalion, U.S. Army
Place and date: Near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, 29 November - 10 December 1950
Date of issue: 25 April 1957
Citation: Lt. Col. Page, a member of X Corps Artillery, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty in a series of exploits. On 29 November, Lt. Col. Page left X Corps Headquarters at Hamhung with the mission of establishing traffic control on the main supply route to 1st Marine Division positions and those of some Army elements on the Chosin Reservoir plateau. Having completed his mission Lt. Col. Page was free to return to the safety of Hamhung but chose to remain on the plateau to aid an isolated signal station, thus being cut off with elements of the marine division. After rescuing his jeep driver by breaking up an ambush near a destroyed bridge Lt. Col. Page reached the lines of a surrounded marine garrison at Koto-ri. He then voluntarily developed and trained a reserve force of assorted army troops trapped with the marines. By exemplary leadership and tireless devotion he made an effective tactical unit available. In order that casualties might be evacuated, an airstrip was improvised on frozen ground partly outside of the Koto-ri defense perimeter which was continually under enemy attack. During 2 such attacks, Lt. Col. Page exposed himself on the airstrip to direct fire on the enemy, and twice mounted the rear deck of a tank, manning the machine gun on the turret to drive the enemy back into a no man's land. On 3 December while being flown low over enemy lines in a light observation plane, Lt. Col. Page dropped handgrenades on Chinese positions and sprayed foxholes with automatic fire from his carbine. After 10 days of constant fighting the marine and army units in the vicinity of the Chosin Reservoir had succeeded in gathering at the edge of the plateau and Lt. Col. Page was flown to Hamhung to arrange for artillery support of the beleaguered troops attempting to break out. Again Lt. Col. Page refused an opportunity to remain in safety and returned to give every assistance to his comrades. As the column slowly moved south Lt. Col. Page joined the rear guard. When it neared the entrance to a narrow pass it came under frequent attacks on both flanks. Mounting an abandoned tank Lt. Col. Page manned the machine gun, braved heavy return fire, and covered the passing vehicles until the danger diminished. Later when another attack threatened his section of the convoy, then in the middle of the pass, Lt. Col. Page took a machine gun to the hillside and delivered effective counterfire, remaining exposed while men and vehicles passed through the ambuscade. On the night of 10 December the convoy reached the bottom of the pass but was halted by a strong enemy force at the front and on both flanks. Deadly small-arms fire poured into the column. Realizing the danger to the column as it lay motionless, Lt. Col. Page fought his way to the head of the column and plunged forward into the heart of the hostile position. His intrepid action so surprised the enemy that their ranks became disordered and suffered heavy casualties. Heedless of his safety, as he had been throughout the preceding 10 days, Lt. Col. Page remained forward, fiercely engaging the enemy single-handed until mortally wounded. By his valiant and aggressive spirit Lt. Col. Page enabled friendly forces to stand off the enemy. His outstanding courage, unswerving devotion to duty, and supreme self-sacrifice reflect great credit upon Lt. Col. Page and are in the highest tradition of the military service.

Vietnam

Olson, Kenneth L., Minneapolis, MN
Born: 26 May 1945, Willmar, MN
Rank and organization: Specialist 4th Class, Company A, 5th Battalion, 12th Infantry, 199th Infantry Brigade (Separate)(Light), US Army
Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 13 May 1968
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Olson distinguished himself at the cost of his life while serving as a team leader with Company A. Sp4c. Olson was participating in a mission to reinforce a reconnaissance platoon which was heavily engaged with a well-entrenched Viet Cong force. When his platoon moved into the area of contact and had overrun the first line of enemy bunkers, Sp4c. Olson and a fellow soldier moved forward of the platoon to investigate another suspected line of bunkers. As the 2 men advanced they were pinned down by intense automatic weapons fire from an enemy position 10 meters to their front. With complete disregard for his safety, Sp4c. Olson exposed himself and hurled a hand grenade into the Viet Cong position. Failing to silence the hostile fire, he again exposed himself to the intense fire in preparation to assault the enemy position. As he prepared to hurl the grenade, he was wounded, causing him to drop the activated device within his own position. Realizing that it would explode immediately, Sp4c. Olson threw himself upon the grenade and pulled it in to his body to take the full force of the explosion. By this unselfish action Sp4c. Olson sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his fellow comrades-in-arms. His extraordinary heroism inspired his fellow soldiers to renew their efforts and totally defeat the enemy force. Sp4c. Olson's profound courage and intrepidity were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Pruden, Robert J., Minneapolis, MN
Born: 9 September 1949, St. Paul, MN
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, Company G, 75th Infantry, Americal Division, US Army
Place and date: Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam,1 9 November 1969
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Pruden, Company G, distinguished himself while serving as a reconnaissance team leader during an ambush mission. The 6-man team was inserted by helicopter into enemy controlled territory to establish an ambush position and to obtain information concerning enemy movements. As the team moved into the preplanned area, S/Sgt. Pruden deployed his men into 2 groups on the opposite sides of a well used trail. As the groups were establishing their defensive positions, 1 member of the team was trapped in the open by the heavy fire from an enemy squad. Realizing that the ambush position had been compromised, S/Sgt. Pruden directed his team to open fire on the enemy force. Immediately, the team came under heavy fire from a second enemy element. S/Sgt. Pruden, with full knowledge of the extreme danger involved, left his concealed position and, firing as he ran, advanced toward the enemy to draw the hostile fire. He was seriously wounded twice but continued his attack until he fell for a third time, in front of the enemy positions. S/Sgt. Pruden's actions resulted in several enemy casualties and withdrawal of the remaining enemy force. Although grievously wounded, he directed his men into defensive positions and called for evacuation helicopters, which safely withdrew the members of the team. S/Sgt. Pruden's outstanding courage, selfless concern for the welfare of his men, and intrepidity in action at the cost of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Rabel, Laszlo, Minneapolis, MN
Born: 21 September 1939, Budapest, Hungary
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Patrol), 173rd Airborne Brigade, US Army
Place and date: Binh Dinh Province, Republic of Vietnam, 13 November 1968
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Rabel distinguished himself while serving as leader of Team Delta, 74th Infantry Detachment. At 1000 hours on this date, Team Delta was in a defensive perimeter conducting reconnaissance of enemy trail networks when a member of the team detected enemy movement to the front. As S/Sgt. Rabel and a comrade prepared to clear the area, he heard an incoming grenade as it landed in the midst of the team's perimeter. With complete disregard for his life, S/Sgt. Rabel threw himself on the grenade and, covering it with his body, received the complete impact of the immediate explosion. Through his indomitable courage, complete disregard for his safety and profound concern for his fellow soldiers, S/Sgt. Rabel averted the loss of life and injury to the other members of Team Delta. By his gallantry at the cost of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, S/Sgt. Rabel has reflected great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Thorsness, Leo K., Walnut Grove, MN
Born: 14 February 1932, Walnut Grove, MN
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel (then Major), 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, US Air Force
Place and date: Over North Vietnam, 19 April 1967
Date of issue: 15 October 1973
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. As pilot of an F-105 aircraft, Lt. Col. Thorsness was on a surface-to-air missile suppression mission over North Vietnam. Lt. Col. Thorsness and his wingman attacked and silenced a surface-to-air missile site with air-to-ground missiles, and then destroyed a second surface-to-air missile site with bombs. In the attack on the second missile site, Lt. Col. Thorsness' wingman was shot down by intensive antiaircraft fire, and the 2 crewmembers abandoned their aircraft. Lt. Col. Thorsness circled the descending parachutes to keep the crewmembers in sight and relay their position to the Search and Rescue Center. During this maneuver, a MIG-17 was sighted in the area. Lt. Col. Thorsness immediately initiated an attack and destroyed the MIG. Because his aircraft was low on fuel, he was forced to depart the area in search of a tanker. Upon being advised that 2 helicopters were orbiting over the downed crew's position and that there were hostile MIGs in the area posing a serious threat to the helicopters, Lt. Col. Thorsness, despite his low fuel condition, decided to return alone through a hostile environment of surface-to-air missile and antiaircraft defenses to the downed crew's position. As he approached the area, he spotted 4 MIG-17 aircraft and immediately initiated an attack on the MIGs, damaging 1 and driving the others away from the rescue scene. When it became apparent that an aircraft in the area was critically low on fuel and the crew would have to abandon the aircraft unless they could reach a tanker, Lt. Col. Thorsness, although critically short on fuel himself, helped to avert further possible loss of life and a friendly aircraft by recovering at a forward operating base, thus allowing the aircraft in emergency fuel condition to refuel safely. Lt. Col. Thorsness' extraordinary heroism, self-sacrifice, and personal bravery involving conspicuous risk of life were in the highest traditions of the military service, and have reflected great credit upon himself and the U.S. Air Force.

Wayrynen, Dale Eugene, Minneapolis, MN
Born: 18 January 1947, Moose Lake, MN
Rank and organization: Specialist 4th Class, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, US Army
Place and date: Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam, 18 May 1967
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Wayrynen distinguished himself with Company B, during combat operations near Duc Pho. His platoon was assisting in the night evacuation of the wounded from an earlier enemy contact when the leadman of the unit met face to face with a Viet Cong soldier. The American's shouted warning also alerted the enemy who immediately swept the area with automatic weapons fire from a strongly built bunker close to the trail and threw handgrenades from another nearby fortified position. Almost immediately, the leadman was wounded and knocked from his feet. Sp4c. Wayrynen, the second man in the formation, leaped beyond his fallen comrade to kill another enemy soldier who appeared on the trail, and he dragged his injured companion back to where the point squad had taken cover. Suddenly, a live enemy grenade landed in the center of the tightly grouped men. Sp4c. Wayrynen, quickly assessing the danger to the entire squad as well as to his platoon leader who was nearby, shouted a warning, pushed one soldier out of the way, and threw himself on the grenade at the moment it exploded. He was mortally wounded. His deep and abiding concern for his fellow soldiers was significantly reflected in his supreme and courageous act that preserved the lives of his comrades. Sp4c. Wayrynen's heroic actions are in keeping with the highest traditions of the service, and they reflect great credit upon himself and the US Army.

Special & Peacetime

Lindberg, Charles Augustus, Jr., Little Falls, MN
Born: 4 February 1902, Detroit, MI
Rank and organization: Captain, US Army Air Corps Reserve
Place and date: From New York City to Paris, France, 20-21 May 1927
Date of issue: 14 December 1927
Citation: For displaying heroic courage and skill as a navigator, at the risk of his life, by his nonstop flight in his airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, from New York City to Paris, France, 20-21 May 1927, by which Capt. Lindbergh not only achieved the greatest individual triumph of any American citizen but demonstrated that travel across the ocean by aircraft was possible.

Nelson, Oscar Frederick, Minneapolis, MN
Born: 5 November 1881, Minneapolis, MN
Rank and organization: Machinist's Mate First Class, US Navy
Place and date: San Diego, CA, 21 July 1905
Date of issue: 5 January 1906
Citation: Serving on board the U.S.S. Bennington, for extraordinary heroism displayed at the time of the explosion of a boiler of that vessel at San Diego, Calif., 21 July 1905.

Rud, George William, Minneapolis, MN
Born: 7 October 1883
Rank and organization: Chief Machinist's Mate, US Navy
Place and date: Santo Domingo, Dominican Rupublic, 29 August 1916
Date of issue: 1 August 1932
Citation: For extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession while attached to the U.S.S. Memphis, at a time when that vessel was suffered total destruction from a hurricane while anchored off Santo Domingo City, 29 August 1916. C.M.M. Rud took his station in the engineroom and remained at his post amidst scalding steam and the rushing of thousands of tons of water into his department, receiving serious burns from which he immediately died.