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Established on July 12, 1862, the Medal of Honor is the highest award for gallantry given to U.S. military personnel.  From the Boxer Rebellion to Belleau Wood to Iwo Jima and Khe Sanh, 28 of Navy Medicine’s own—dentists, physicians and Hospital Corpsmen— have distinguished themselves beyond the call of duty to earn this award.  The following section offers a glimpse of these individuals whose sacrifice and dedication to duty continue to inspire us to this day.
Robert Henry Stanley

Boxer Rebellion (July 1900)

Robert Henry Stanley has the distinction of being the first hospital corpsmen, and Navy medical man, ever to receive the Medal of Honor.  He was born on May 2, 1881 in Brooklyn, N.Y.  At the time of action he was serving as a Hospital Apprentice, USN.  His citation reads, “In action with the relief expedition of the Allied forces in China during the battles of the June 13, and 20-22 1900.  Throughout this period and in the presence of the enemy, Stanley distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.”  The Medal of Honor was awarded to Stanley on the USS Brooklyn in 1901. 

Robert Stanley retired on February 1, 1939 as a Chief Pharmacist’s Mate.  He died on July 15, 1942 in Pensacola, Fl. and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 7, Grave 8348).

 
William S. Shacklette

USS Bennington Explosion (July 1905)

William S. Shacklette was born May 17, 1880, in Delaplane, Va.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Steward, USN  His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism while serving on the USS Bennington at the time of the explosion of a boiler on that vessel at San Diego, Calif., July 21, 1905.”  In performing the act of heroism Shacklette incurred third degree burns over a large part of his body and was discharged from the Navy as a result of his injuries.  During World War I, Shacklette returned to duty in the U.S. Army as a Chaplain.  After the war he left service and continued in his ministry which culminated with his nomination as the Chaplain of the U.S. Senate.

William Shacklette died on February 12, 1945.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 10, Lot 10688). Shacklette Hall at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth Va., was  named in his honor.           

 
Fred Henry McGuire

Moro Uprising, Basilan Island, The Philippines (September 1911)
 
Fred Henry McGuire was born on November 7, 1890 in Gordonville, Mo.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice, USN.  His citations states, “While attached to the USS Pampang, McGuire was one of a shore party moving to capture Mundang, on the island of Basilan, Philippine Islands, on the morning of  September 24, 1911.  Ordered to take station within 100 yards of a group of nipa huts close to the trail, McGuire advanced and stood guard as the leader and his scout party first searched the surrounding deep grasses, then moved into the open area before the huts.  Instantly enemy Moros opened point-blank fire on the exposed men and approximately 20 Moros charged the small group from inside the huts and from other concealed positions.  McGuire, responding to the calls from help, was one of the first on the scene.  After emptying his rifle into the attackers, he closed in with rifle, using it as a club to wage fierce battle until his comrades arrived on the field, when he rallied to the aid of his dying leader and other wounded.  Although himself wounded, McGuire ministered tirelessly and efficiently to those who had been struck down, thereby saving the lives of two who otherwise might have succumbed to enemy-inflicted wounds.”  McGuire’s award is dated December 13, 1911.

Fred McGuire retired from naval service in 1939 but was recalled to active duty to work at the BUMED Hospital Corps Division during World War II.  He retired yet again in October 1945 as a Chief Pharmacist’s Mate.  He died in 1955 and is buried at Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, Mo. (Section 29, Grave 332).



Middleton Stuart Elliott, Jr.

Vera Cruz, Mexican Campaign (April 1914)

Middleton Stuart Elliott, Jr. was born October 16, 1872 in Beaufort, S.C.  Surgeon Elliott received his award for the Mexican Campaign in 1914.  His citation reads, “For distinguished conduct in battle engagements of Vera Cruz, April 21 and 22, 1914.  Surgeon Elliott was eminent and conspicuous in the efficient establishment and operation of the base hospital, and in his cool judgment and courage in supervising first aid stations on the firing line and removing the wounded.”  The date of issue of the award was December 1915. He and Surgeon Langhorne are the first of four Navy physicians to receive the award.

Dr. Elliott entered the U.S. Navy in 1896 as an assistant surgeon.  He rose through the ranks and retired from active duty in 1936 as rear admiral.  He died on October 29, 1952 in Los Angeles, CA, and is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, CA (Section P Grave 2628).

In 2004, the elementary school at the Marine Corps Base Beaufort, S.C., was named in his honor.

 
Cary DeVall Langhorne

Cary DeVall Langhorne was born May 14, 1873, Lynchburg, Va.   Surgeon Langhorne was a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute.  He was appointed assistant surgeon in the Navy on July 7, 1898.  Surgeon Langhorne earned his award in the Mexican Campaign.  His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism in the battle engagement of Vera Cruz,  April 22,  1914, Surgeon Langhorne carried a wounded man from the front of the Naval Academy while under heavy fire.”  His award was issued on December 4, 1914.  He and Surgeon Elliott are the first of four Navy physicians to receive the award. He resigned his commission on December 18, 1916, and entered the Naval Reserves. 

Dr. Langhorne died on April 25, 1948, at his farm in Upperville, Va.  and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 11, Grave 868).
 
William Zuiderveld

William Zuiderveld was born on January 24, 1888 in Grand Rapids, Mich.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN.  His  citation reads, “ On board the USS Florida, Zuiderveld showed extraordinary  heroism in the line of his profession during the seizure of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 21 April 1914.”  

William Zuiderveld retired as a Lieutenant in the Hospital Corps on  August 31, 1945.  He died on 5 February 1978 and is buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, San Diego, Calif. (Section A-I, Grave 9b).
 

His Medal of Honor and uniform are on permanent display at The Michigan’s Own Military and Space Museum in Frankenmuth, Mich. 
 
​John Henry Balch

World War I (U.S. Involvement:  April 1917 to November 1918)

John Henry Balch was born on January 2, 1896 in Edgerton, Kansas.  At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, with the 6th Regiment, United States Marines, in action at Vierzy, on July 19, 1918.  Balch unhesitatingly and fearlessly exposed himself to terrific machinegun and high-explosive fire to succor the wounded as they fell in the attack, leaving voluntarily and keeping up the work all day and late into the night unceasingly for 16 hours on a field torn by shell and machinegun fire.  Also in the action at Somme-Py on October 5, 1918, he exhibited exceptional bravery in establishing an advanced dressing station under heavy shellfire.”

Following the war John Balch left the Navy and opened a men’s clothing store in Chicago, Ill.  During World War II, he returned to service as a lieutenant in the Navy Supply Corps and retired a commander in 1957.  He died on October 15, 1980 and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery,  Riverside, Calif. (Section 2, Grave 1925).

In 2005,  NMC Quantico, Va, was renamed the John Balch Clinic in his honor.

 
​Joel Thompson Boone

Joel Thompson Boone was born on August  29, 1889 in St. Clair, Penn.  At the time of action he was a lieutenant in the Medical Corps, USN. His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity while serving with the Sixth Regiment of the United States Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy at and in the vicinity of Vierzy, France, July 18, 1918.  With absolute disregard for personal safety, ever conscious and mindful of the suffering fallen, Surgeon Boone, leaving the shelter of a ravine, went forward onto the open field where there was no protection and despite the extreme enemy fire of all calibers, through a heavy mist of gas, applied dressings and first aid to wounded Marines.  This occurred southeast of Vierzy, near the cemetery, and on the road south from that town.  When the dressings and supplies had been exhausted he went through a heavy barrage of large caliber shells, both high explosive and gas, to replenish these supplies, returning quickly with a sidecar load and administered them in saving the lives of the wounded.  A second trip under the same conditions  and for the same purpose, was made by Surgeon Boone later that day.”

Dr. Boone had a long and varied career starting with his appointment as lieutenant, junior grade, USNR in 1914.  He transferred to the regular Navy in 1915 where he advanced through the ranks retiring as a vice admiral in 1950.  In his long and varied career, Vice Adm. Boone served in the White House Medical Unit during the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover Administrations.  In fact, it was he, not President Hoover who invented “Hoover Ball” as a means for White House staffers to get exercise.  During World War II, Vice Admiral Boone served as a Senior Medical Officer at Naval Air Station San Diego, Calif. and commanding officer of Naval Hospital Seattle, Wash.  Vice Adm. Boone represented the Navy Medical Department at the surrender of Japan on board the battleship USS Missouri on  September 2, 1945.  

Vice Adm. Joel Boone died on April 2, 1974 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Section 11, Grave 137-2). 

The USS Boone (FFG-28) and the Joel T. Boone Naval Branch Medical Clinic in Little Creek, Va., were named in his honor.



David E. Hayden

David E. Hayden was born on October 2, 1897 in Florence, Texas.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action in Thiaucourt, September 15, 1918, with the 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment, United States Marines.  During the advance, when Corporal Creed was mortally wounded while crossing an open field swept by machinegun fire, Hayden unhesitatingly ran to his assistance and, finding him so severely wounded as to require immediate attention, disregarded his own personal safety to dress the wound under intense machinegun fire, and then carried the wounded man back to a place of safety.”

After the war, David Hayden left the Navy and became a U.S. Marshal.  He died on March 18, 1974 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 35, Lot 1864).

 
Alexander Gordon Lyle, Jr.

Alexander Gordon Lyle, Jr. was born on November 12, 1889, Gloucester, Mass.  At the time of action he was a lieutenant commander in the Dental Corps, USN.  His citation reads, “ For extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty while serving with the Fifth Regiment, United States Marines.  Under heavy shellfire, on April 23, 1918, on the French Front, Lieutenant Commander Lyle rushed to the assistance of Corp. Thomas Regan, who seriously wounded, and administered such effective surgical aid while bombardment was still continuing, as to save the life of Corporal Regan.” Dr. Lyle and his fellow dentist Osborne are the only two Navy dental officers to receive this honor.

Alexander Lyle was a graduate of the Baltimore College of Dentistry in 1912.  Between the wars he served in a variety of posts including a stint with the Fourth Regiment, U.S. Marines in China.  In March 1943 he was promoted to Dental Surgeon with the rank of rear admiral—the first Navy dental officer to attain the status of flag. Vice Admiral Lyle died on July 15, 1955 in Portsmouth, R.I.  He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 2, Lot 1114-1).

His (Tiffany Cross) Medal of Honor can be seen on display at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.
 
​Weedon E. Osborne

Weedon E. Osborne was born on  November 13, 1892 in Chicago, Ill.  At the time of action he was a lieutenant (junior grade) in the Dental Corps, USN.  His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism while attached to the Fifth Regiment, United States Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy and under fire during the advance of Bouresches, France, on 6 June 1918.  In the hottest of the fighting when the Marines made their famous advance on Bouresches at the southern edge of Belleau Wood, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Osborne threw himself zealously into the work of rescuing the wounded.  Extremely courageous in the performance of this perilous task, he was killed while carrying a wounded officer to a place of safety.” Dr. Osborne and his fellow dentist Lyle are the only two Navy dental officers to receive this honor.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Osborne was a graduate of Northwestern Dental School in 1915.   He is buried in Belleau-Aisne Cemetery, France (Lot A, Section 3, Grave 39). 

The USS Osborne (DD-295) was named in his honor.
 
Orlando Henderson Petty

Orlando Henderson Petty was born on  February 20, 1874 in Cadiz, Ohio.  At the time of action he was a lieutenant in the Medical Corps, USNR.  His citation reads, “For extraordinary heroism while serving with the Fifth Regiment, United States Marines, in France during the attack in the Boise de Belleau, 11 June 1918.  While under heavy fire of high explosive and gas shells in the town of Lucy, where his dressing station was located, Lieutenant Petty attended to and evacuated the wounded under most trying conditions.  Having been knocked to the ground by an exploding gas shell which tore his mask, Lieutenant Petty discarded the mask and courageously continued his work.  His dressing station  being hit and demolished, he personally helped carry Captain Williams, wounded, through the shellfire to a place of  safety.”     

After leaving naval service, Dr. Petty, a graduate of Thomas Jefferson Medical School, returned to Philadelphia  and became a Professor of Metabolic Diseases at the University of Pennsylvania.  In 1924, he wrote the seminal text Diabetes, Its Treatment by Insulin and Diet (1924). 

Dr. Orlando Petty died in Philadelphia on  June 2, 1932 and is buried in St. Timothy’s Churchyard, Roxborough, Penn. 

 
Robert Eugene Bush

World War II (U.S. Involvement:  December 1941 to September  1945)

Robert Eugene Bush was born on  October 4, 1926  in Tacoma, WA.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN.   His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Medical Corpsman with a rifle company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 5th Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Jima, Ryukyu Islands, May 2, 1945.  Fearlessly braving the fury of artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire from strongly entrenched hostile positions, Bush constantly and unhesitatingly moved from one casualty to another to attend the wounded falling under the enemy’s murderous barrages.  As the attack passed over a ridge top, Bush was advancing to administer blood plasma to a marine officer lying wounded on the skyline when the Japanese launched a savage counterattack.  In this perilously exposed position, he resolutely maintained the flow of life giving plasma.  With the bottle held high in one hand, Bush drew his pistol with the other and fired into the enemy’s ranks until his ammunition was expended.  Quickly seizing a discarded carbine, he trained his fire on the Japanese charging pointblank over the hill, accounting for six of the enemy despite his own serious wounds and the loss of one eye suffered during his desperate battle in defense of the helpless man.  With the hostile forces finally routed, he calmly disregarded his own critical condition to complete his mission, valiantly refusing medical treatment for himself until his officer patient had been evacuated, and collapsing only after attempting to walk to the battle aid station.  His daring sacrifice in service of others reflect great credit upon Bush and enhance the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

After the war, Robert Bush returned to school and became a successful businessman and President of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. 
The Naval Hospital at 29 Palms, Calif., and the Health Care Clinic in Camp Courtney, Okinawa, Japan were named in his honor. In the town of South Bend, Wash., there is  a statue which depicts Robert Bush’s heroics on Okinawa.

Bush died on November 8, 2005. He is buried in Fern Hills Cemetery, Menlo, Wash.

 
William David Halyburton, Jr.

William David Halyburton, Jr. was born on August 2, 1924 in Canton, N.C.   At the time of action, Halyburton was a Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with a Marine Rifle Company in the Second Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, May 19, 1945.  Undaunted by the deadly accuracy of Japanese counterfire as his unit pushed the attack through a strategically important draw, Halyburton unhesitatingly dashed across the draw and up the hill into an open, fireswept field where the company advance squad was suddenly pinned down under a terrific concentration of mortar, machinegun and sniper fire with resultant severe casualties.  Moving steadily forward despite the enemy's merciless barrage, he reached the wounded Marine who lay farthest away and was rendering first aid when his patient was struck for a second time by a Japanese bullet.  Instantly placing himself in the direct line of fire, he shielded the fallen fighter with his own body and staunchly continued his ministrations although constantly menaced by the slashing fury of shrapnel and bullets falling on all sides.   Alert, determined and completely unselfish in his concern for the helpless Marine, he persevered in his efforts until he himself sustained mortal wounds and collapsed, heroically sacrificing himself that his comrade might live.  By his outstanding valor and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of tremendous odds, Halyburton sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the United States naval service.  He gallantly gave his life in service of his country.”

William Halyburton is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, H.I. (Section O, Grave 274).

The Halyburton Naval Hospital Cherry Point, N.C.  and the ship USS William Halyburton (FFG-40) were  named in his honor.

 
Fred Faulkner Lester

Fred Faulkner Lester was born on 29 April 1926 in Downer’s Grove, Ill.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Apprentice First Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman with an Assault Rifle Platoon, attached to the First Marine  Battalion, 22nd Marines, Sixth Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, June 8, 1945.  Quick to spot a wounded Marine lying in an open field beyond the front lines following the relentless assault against a strategic Japanese hill position, Lester unhesitatingly crawled toward the casualty under a concentrated barrage from hostile machine guns, rifles, and grenades.  Torn by enemy rifle bullets as he inched forward, he stoically disregarded the mounting fury of Japanese fire and his own pain to pull the wounded man toward a covered position.  Struck by enemy fire a second time before he reached cover, he exerted a tremendous effort and succeeded in pulling his comrade to safety where, too seriously wounded himself to administer aid, he instructed two of his squad in proper medical treatment of the rescued Marine.  Realizing that his own wounds were fatal, he staunchly refused medical attention for himself and, gathering his fast-waning strength with calm determination, coolly and expertly directed his men in the treatment of two other wounded Marines, succumbing shortly thereafter.  Completely selfless in his concern for the welfare of his fighting comrades, Lester, by his indomitable spirit, outstanding valor, and competent direction of others, had saved the life of one who otherwise must have perished and had contributed to the safety of countless others.  Lester’s fortitude in the face of certain death sustains and enhances the highest traditions of the United States naval service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Lester is buried in Clarendon Hills Cemetery, Darien, Ill. 

The USS Fred Lester (DE-1022) was named in his honor.

 
Frances Junior Pierce

Frances Junior Pierce was born on December 7, 1924 in Earlville, Iowa.  At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while attached to the 2d Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division, during the Iwo Jima campaign, March 15 and 16, 1945.  Almost continuously under fire while carrying out the most dangerous volunteer assignments, Pierce gained valuable knowledge of the terrain and disposition of troops.  Caught in heavy enemy rifle and machinegun fire which wounded a corpsman and two of the eight stretcher bearers to a forward station on March 15th, Pierce quickly took charge of the party, carried the newly wounded men to a sheltered position, and rendered first aid.  After directing the evacuation of three of the casualties, he stood in the open to draw the enemy’s fire and, with his weapon blasting, enabled the litter bearers to reach cover. Turning his attention to the other two casualties, he was attempting to stop the profuse bleeding of one man when a Japanese [soldier] fired from a cave less than 20 yards away and wounded his patient again.  Risking his own life to save his patient, Pierce deliberately exposed himself to draw the attacker from the cave and destroyed him with the last of his ammunition.  Then lifting the wounded man to his back, he advanced unarmed through the deadly rifle fire across 200 feet of open terrain.  Despite exhaustion and in the face of warnings against such a suicidal mission, he again traversed the same fireswept path to rescue the remaining Marine.  On the following morning, he led a combat patrol to the sniper nest and, while aiding a stricken Marine, was seriously wounded.  Refusing aid for himself, he directed treatment for the casualty, at the same time maintaining protective fire for his comrades.  Completely fearless, completely devoted to the care of his patients, Pierce inspired the entire battalion.  His valor in the face of extreme peril sustains and enhances the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

After his time in the U.S. Navy, Frances Pierce served as  a police chief  in Grand Rapids, Iowa.  He died on 21 December 1986 in Grand Rapids and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Grand Rapids, Iowa.

 
George Edward Wahlen

George Edward Wahlen was born on August 8, 1924 in Ogden, Utah.  At the time of action he was a Pharmacist’s Mate Second Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 2d Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima in the Volcano group on March 3, 1945.  Painfully wounded in the bitter action on February 26th, Wahlen remained on the battlefield, advancing well forward of the frontlines to aid a wounded marine and carrying him back to safety despite a terrific concentration of fire.  Tireless in his ministrations, he consistently disregarded all danger to attend his fighting comrades as they fell under the devastating rain of shrapnel and bullets, and rendered prompt assistance to various elements of his combat group as required.   When an adjacent platoon suffered heavy casualties, he defied the continuous pounding of heavy mortars and deadly fire of enemy rifles to care for the wounded, working rapidly in an area swept by constant fire and treating 14 casualties before returning to his own platoon.  Wounded again on  March 2nd, he gallantly refused evacuation, moving out with his company the following day in a furious assault across 600 yards of open terrain and repeatedly rendering medical aid while exposed to the blasting fury of powerful Japanese guns. Stouthearted and indomitable, he persevered in his determined efforts as his unit waged fierce battle and, unable to walk after sustaining a third agonizing wound, resolutely crawled 50 yards to administer first aid to still another fallen fighter. By his dauntless fortitude and valor, Wahlen served as a constant inspiration and contributed vitally to the high morale of his company during critical phases of this strategically important engagement.    His heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of overwhelming enemy fire upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

George Wahlen’s heroics are captured in Gary Toyn’s book The Quiet Hero:  The Untold Medal of Honor Story of George E. Wahlen at the Battle for Iwo Jima (2005).

Wahlen died on June 5, 2009. He is buried at Lindquist’s Memorial Gardens of the Wasatch, South Ogden, Utah (Plot: Section Good Sheppard Family Estate, Lot 115, Space 1)

 
Jack Williams

Jack Williams was born on October 18, 1924 in Harrison, Ark.  At the time of action he was a Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the Third Battalion, 28th Marines, Fifth Marine Division, during occupation of Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, March 3, 1945.  Gallantly going forward on the front lines under intense enemy small-arms fire to assist a Marine wounded in a fierce grenade battle, Williams dragged the man to a shallow depression and was knelling, using his own body as a screen from the sustained fire as he administered first aid, when struck in the abdomen and groin three times by hostile rifle fire.  Momentarily stunned, he quickly recovered and completed his ministration before applying battle dressings to his own multiple wounds.  Unmindful of his own urgent need for medical attention, he remained in the perilous fireswept area to care for another Marine casualty.  Heroically completing his task despite pain and profuse bleeding, he then endeavored to make his way to the rear in search of adequate aid for himself when struck down by a Japanese sniper bullet which caused his collapse.  Succumbing later as a result of his self-sacrificing service to others, Williams, by his courageous determination, unwavering fortitude and valiant performance of duty, served  as an inspiring example of heroism, in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States naval service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Williams is buried in Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, Mo. 

The USS Jack Williams (FFG-24) was named in his honor.

 
John Harlan Willis

John Harlan Willis was born on June 10, 1921 in Columbia, Tenn.  At the time of action, he was a Pharmacist’s Mate First Class, USN.    His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Platoon Corpsman serving with the Third Battalion, 27th Marines, fifth Marine Division, during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, February 28, 1945.  Constantly imperiled by artillery and mortar fire from strong and mutually supporting pillboxes and caves studding Hill 362 in the enemy’s cross-island  defenses, Willis resolutely administered first aid to the many Marines wounded during the furious close-in fighting until he himself was struck by shrapnel and was ordered back to the battle aid station.  Without waiting for official medical release, he quickly returned to his company and, during a savage hand-to-hand enemy counterattack, daringly advanced to the extreme front lines under mortar and sniper fire to aid a Marine lying wounded in a shell hole.  Completely unmindful of his own danger as the Japanese intensified their attack, promptly returning the first hostile grenade which landed in the shell hole while he was working and hurling back seven more in quick succession before the ninth one exploded in his hand and instantly killed him.  By his great personal valor in saving others at the sacrifice of his own life, he inspired his companions, although terrifically outnumbered, to launch a fiercely determined attack and repulse the enemy force.  His exceptional fortitude and courage in performance of duty reflect the highest credit upon Willis and the United States naval service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Willis is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Columbia, Tenn.

The USS Willis (DE-1027) was named in his honor.

 
Edward C. Benfold

Korean War (June 1950-July 1953)

Edward C. Benfold was born on January 15, 1931 in New York, N.Y.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class.  His citation reads, “For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a hospital corpsman attached to a company in the 1st Marine Division during operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on September 5, 1952.  When his company was subjected to heavy artillery and mortar barrages, followed by a determined assault during the hours of darkness by an enemy force estimated at battalion strength, Benfold resolutely moved from position to position in the face of intense fire, treating the wounded and lending words of encouragement.  Leaving the protection of his sheltered position to treat the wounded when the platoon area in which he was working was attacked from both the front and the rear, he moved forward to an exposed ridge line where he observed two Marines in a large crater.  As he approached the two men to determine their condition, an enemy soldier threw two grenades into the crater while two other enemy charged the position.  Picking up a grenade in each hand,  Benfold leaped out of the crater and hurled himself against the onrushing hostile soldiers, pushing the grenades against their chests and killing both of the attackers.  Mortally wounded while carrying out the heroic act, Benfold, by his great personal valor and resolute spirit of  self-sacrifice in the face of almost certain death, was directly responsible for saving the lives of his two comrades.  His exceptional courage reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the United States naval service.  He gallantly gave his life for others.”

He is buried in Beverly National Cemetery, Beverly, N.J. (Distinguished Service Section, Grave 12).

The Benfold Naval Branch Health Clinic, in Millington, Tenn. and the USS Benfold (DDG-65) were named in his honor. 

 
William R. Charette

William R. Charette was born on March 29, 1932 in Ludington, Mich.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class upon.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Medical Corpsman, serving with a Marine rifle company, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea during the early morning hours of March 27, 1953.  Participating in a fierce encounter with a cleverly concealed and well-entrenched enemy force occupying positions on a vital and bitterly contested outpost far in advance of the main line of resistance, Charette repeatedly and unhesitatingly moved about through a murderous barrage of hostile small-arms and mortar fire to render assistance to his wounded comrades.  When an enemy grenade landed within a few feet of a marine he was attending, he immediately threw himself upon the stricken man and absorbed the entire concussion of the deadly missile with his own body.   Although sustaining painful facial wounds, and undergoing shock from the intensity of the blast which ripped the helmet and medical aid kit from his person, Charette resourcefully improvised emergency bandages by tearing off part of his clothing, and gallantly  continued to administer medical aid to the wounded in his own unit and to those in adjacent platoon areas as well.  Observing a seriously wounded comrade whose armored vest had been torned from his body by the blast of an exploding shell, he selflessly removed his own battle vest and placed it upon the helpless man although fully  aware of  the added jeopardy to himself.  Moving to the side of another casualty who was suffering excruciating pain from a serious leg wound, Charette stood upright in the trench line and exposed himself to a deadly hail of enemy fire in order to lend more effective aid to the victim and to alleviate his anguish while being removed to a position of safety.  By his indomitable courage and inspiring efforts in behalf of his wounded comrades, Charette was directly responsible for saving many lives.  His personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the United States naval service.”

The Charette Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Va. was named in his honor.

Charette died on March 18, 2012. He is buried in Florida National Cemetery, Sumter, Fl.

 
Richard David DeWert

Richard David DeWert was born on November 17, 1931 in Taunton, Mass.  At the time of action he was a Hospitalman.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Medical Corpsman, attached to a Marine infantry company, 1st Marine Division, in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on April 5, 1951.   When a fire team from the point platoon of his company was pinned down by a deadly barrage of hostile automatic weapons fire and suffered many casualties, DeWert rushed to the assistance of one of the more seriously wounded and, despite a painful leg wound sustained while dragging the stricken Marine to safety, steadfastly refused medical treatment for himself and immediately dashed back through the fire-swept area to carry a second wounded man out of the line of fire. Undaunted by the mounting hail of devastating enemy fire, he bravely moved forward a third time and received another serious wound in the shoulder after discovering that a wounded Marine had already died. Still persistent in his refusal to submit to first aid, he resolutely answered the call of a fourth stricken comrade and while rendering medical assistance, was himself mortally wounded by a burst of enemy fire.  By his courageous initiative, great personal valor, and heroic spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of over-whelming odds, Hospitalman DeWert reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

DeWert is buried in Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne, Mass.


The DeWert Naval Ambulatory Care Center in Newport, R.I.,  and the USS DeWert (FFG-45) were named in his honor.

 
Francis C. Hammond

Francis C. Hammond was born on November 9, 1931 in Alexandria, Va.  At the time of action he was a Hospitalman, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Hospital Corpsman serving with the 1st Marine Division in action against enemy aggressor forces on the night March 26 to 27, 1953. After reaching an intermediate objective during a counterattack against a heavily entrenched and numerically superior hostile force occupying ground on a bitterly contested outpost far in advanced of the main line of resistance. Hospitalman Hammond's platoon was subjected to murderous barrage of hostile mortar and artillery fire, followed by a vicious assault by onrushing enemy troops. Resolutely advancing through the veritable curtain of fire to aid his stricken comrades, he moved among the stalwart garrison of Marines and, although critically wounded himself, valiantly continued to administer aid to the other wounded throughout an exhausting four hour period. When the unit was ordered to withdraw, he skillfully directed the evacuation of casualties and remained in the fire-swept area to assist the corpsman of the relieving unit until he was struck by a round of enemy mortar and fell, mortally wounded. By his exceptional fortitude, inspiring initiative, self-sacrificing efforts, and loyal devotion to duty, Hospitalman Hammond undoubtedly saved the lives of many Marines, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.”

Francis Hammond is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 33, Lot 9011).

The Francis C. Hammond Middle School in Alexandria, Va.,  and the USS Hammond (DE-1067) were named in his honor.

 
John E. Kilmer

John E. Kilmer was born on August 15, 1930 in Highland Park, Ill.  At the time of action he was a Hospitalman, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action against enemy aggressor forces on 13 August 1952.  With his company engaged in defending a vitally important hill position well forward of the main line of resistance during an assault by large concentrations of hostile troops, Hospitalman Kilmer repeatedly braved intense enemy mortar, artillery, and sniper fire to move from one position to another, administering aid to the wounded and expediting their evacuation. Painfully wounded himself when struck by mortar fragments while moving to the aid of a casualty, he persisted in his efforts and inched his way to the side of a stricken Marine through a hail of enemy shells falling around him. Undaunted by the devastating hostile fire, he skillfully administered first aid to his comrade and, as another mounting barrage of enemy fire shattered the immediate area, unhesitatingly shielded the wounded man with his body. Mortally wounded by flying shrapnel while carrying out this heroic action, Hospitalman Kilmer, by his great personal valor and gallant spirit of self-sacrifice in saving the life of a comrade, served to inspire all who observed him. By his exceptional fortitude, determined efforts, and unyielding devotion to duty, Hospitalman Kilmer reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service. He gallantly gave his life for another.”

John Kilmer is buried in San Jose Burial Park, San Antonio, Texas (Lot 349, Block 9, Section 1, Grave 6).

 
Donald Ballard

Vietnam War (August 1964 to April 1975)

Donald Ballard was born on December 5, 1945 in Kansas City, Mo.  At the time of action, he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Corpsman with Company M, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division in connection with operations against enemy aggressor forces on  May 16, 1968. During the afternoon hours, Company M was moving to join the remainder of the 3rd Battalion in Quang Tri Province. After treating and evacuating two heat casualties, Petty Officer Ballard was returning from the evacuation landing zone when the Company was ambushed by a North Vietnamese Army unit employing automatic weapons and mortars, and sustained numerous casualties. Observing a wounded Marine, he unhesitatingly moved across the fire-swept terrain to the injured man and swiftly rendered medical assistance to his comrade. Petty Officer Ballard then directed four Marines to carry the casualty to a position of relative safety. As the four men prepared to move the wounded Marine, an enemy soldier suddenly left his concealed position and, after hurling a hand grenade which landed near the casualty, commenced firing upon the small group of men. Instantly shouting a warning to the Marines, Petty Officer Ballard fearlessly threw himself upon the lethal explosive device to protect his comrades from the deadly blast. When the grenade failed to detonate, he calmly arose from his dangerous position and resolutely continued his determined efforts in treating other Marine casualties. Petty Officer Ballard's heroic actions and selfless concern for the welfare of his companions served to inspire all who observed him and prevented possible injury or death to his fellow Marines. By his courage, daring initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Petty Officer Ballard reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

Donald Ballard left the U.S. Navy in 1970. He joined the U.S. Army National Guard and retired as a colonel. Ballard lives in Kansas City, Mo.

 
Wayne Maurice Caron

Wayne Maurice Caron was born on November 2, 1946 in Middleboro, Mass.  At the time of action, he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class, USN, with the Headquarters and Service Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as platoon corpsman with Company K, during combat operations against enemy forces. While on a sweep through an open rice field Petty Officer Caron's unit started receiving enemy small-arms fire. Upon seeing two Marine casualties fall, he immediately ran forward to render first aid, but found that they were dead. At this time, the platoon was taken under intense small-arms and automatic-weapons fire, sustaining additional casualties. As he moved to the aid of his wounded comrades, Petty Officer Caron was hit in the arm by enemy fire. Although knocked to the ground, he regained his feet and continued to the injured Marines. He rendered medical assistance to the first Marine he reached, who was grievously wounded, and undoubtedly was instrumental in saving the man's life.  Petty Officer Caron with unbelievable determination, Petty Officer Caron continued his attempt to reach the third Marine until he himself was killed then ran toward the second wounded Marine, but was again hit by enemy fire, this time in the leg. Nonetheless, he crawled the remaining distance and provided medical aid for this severely wounded man. Petty Officer Caron started to make his way to yet another injured comrade, when he was again struck by enemy small-arms fire. Courageously and  by an enemy rocket round.  His inspiring valor, steadfast determination, and selfless dedication to duty in the face of extreme danger, Petty Officer Caron  reflected the finest traditions of the  United States naval service.”

Wayne Caron is buried in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 51, Grave 2600). 

The Caron Clinic at the Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune and the USS Caron (DD-970) were named in his honor.

 
Robert Ingram​

Robert Ingram was born on January 20, 1945 in Clearwater, Fl.  At the time of the action, he was a Hospital Corpsman Third Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Corpsman with Company C, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, against elements of a North Vietnam aggressor (NVA) battalion in Quang Ngai Province, Republic of Vietnam on March 28, 1966. Petty Officer Ingram accompanied the point platoon as it aggressively engaged an outpost of an NVA battalion. As the battle moved off a ridge line, down a tree-covered slope, to a small rice paddy and a village beyond, a tree line suddenly exploded with an intense hail of automatic rifle fire from approximately 100 North Vietnamese regulars. In moments, the platoon was decimated. Oblivious to the danger, Petty Officer Ingram crawled across the battlefield to reach a downed Marine. As he administered aid, a bullet went through the palm of his hand. Calls for "corpsman" echoed across the ridge. Bleeding, he edged across the fire-swept landscape, collecting ammunition from the dead and administering aid to the wounded. Receiving two more wounds, with the third wound being a life-threatening one, he looked for a way off the face of the ridge, but again he heard the call for help and again he resolutely answered. He gathered magazines, resupplied and encouraged those capable of returning fire, and rendered aid to the more severely wounded until he finally reached the right flank of the platoon. While dressing the head wound of another corpsman, he sustained his fourth bullet wound. From 1600 hours until almost sunset, Petty Officer Ingram pushed, pulled, cajoled, and doctored his Marines. Enduring the pain from his many wounds and disregarding the probability of his own death, Petty Officer Ingram's gallant actions saved many lives. By his indomitable fighting spirit, daring initiative, and unfaltering dedication to duty, Petty Officer Ingram reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States naval service.”

Robert Ingram Naval Branch Health Clinic in Mayport, Fl, was named in his honor in 2004.

 
David Robert Ray

David Robert Ray was born on February 14, 1945 in McMinnville, Tenn.  At the time of action he was a Hospital Corpsman Second Class, USN.  His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Corpsman with Battery D, 2nd Battalion at Phu Loc 6, near An Hoa on March 19, 1969. During the early morning hours an estimated battalion sized enemy force launched a determined assault against the battery's position and succeeded in effecting a penetration of the barbed-wire perimeter. The initial burst of enemy fire caused numerous casualties among the Marines who had immediately manned their howitzers during the rocket and mortar attack. Undaunted by the intense hostile fire, Petty Officer Ray moved from parapet to parapet, rendering emergency medical treatment to the wounded. Although seriously wounded himself while administering first aid to a Marine casualty, he refused medical aid and continued his lifesaving efforts. While he was bandaging and attempting to comfort another wounded Marine, Petty Officer Ray was forced to battle two enemy soldiers who attacked his position, personally killing one and wounding the other. Rapidly losing his strength as a result of his severe wounds, he nonetheless managed to move through the hail of enemy fire to other casualties.  Once again, Petty Officer Ray was faced with the intense fire of oncoming enemy troops and, despite the grave personal danger and insurmountable odds, succeeded in treating the wounded and holding off the enemy until he ran out of ammunition, at which time he sustained fatal wounds. Petty Officer Ray's final act of heroism was to protect the patient he was treating. He threw himself upon the wounded Marine, thus saving the man's life when an enemy grenade exploded nearby. Through his determined and preserving actions, courageous spirit, and loyalty to the welfare of his Marine comrades, he served to inspire the men of Battery D to heroic efforts in defeating the enemy.  Petty Officer Ray's exemplary conduct, steadfast determination, and unwavering devotion to duty reflected great credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

David Ray is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, McMinnville, Tenn. 

The USS David Ray (DD-971) was named in his honor.