1775 – The U.S. Army was founded when the Continental Congress first authorized the muster of troops under its sponsorship. Also the birth of the Infantry Branch. Ten companies of riflemen were authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3d, was constituted on June 3, 1784, as the First American Regiment.
1777 – During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress adopts a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the “Stars and Stripes,” was based on the “Grand Union” flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton for the Stars and Stripes, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars and a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend. With the entrance of new states into the United States after independence, new stripes and stars were added to represent new additions to the Union. In 1818, however, Congress enacted a law stipulating that the 13 original stripes be restored and that only stars be added to represent new states. On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the Stars and Stripes. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and in 1949 Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance.
1777 – John Paul Jones takes command of USS Ranger.
1801 – Former American Revolutionary War General Benedict Arnold died in London.
1805 – Robert Anderson (d.1871), Bvt. Major General (Union Army), defender of Ft. Sumpter, was born.
1846 – Anticipating the outbreak of war with Mexico, American settlers in California rebel against the Mexican government and proclaim the short-lived California Republic. The political situation in California was tense in 1846. Though nominally controlled by Mexico, California was home to only a relatively small number of Mexican settlers. Former citizens of the United States made up the largest segment of the California population, and their numbers were quickly growing. Mexican leaders worried that many American settlers were not truly interested in becoming Mexican subjects and would soon push for annexation of California to the United States. For their part, the Americans distrusted their Mexican leaders. When rumors of an impending war between the U.S. and Mexico reached California, many Americans feared the Mexicans might make a preemptive attack to forestall rebellion. In the spring of 1846, the American army officer and explorer John C. Fremont arrived at Sutter’s Fort (near modern-day Sacramento) with a small corps of soldiers. Whether or not Fremont had been specifically ordered to encourage an American rebellion is unclear. Ostensibly, Fremont and his men were in the area strictly for the purposes of making a scientific survey. The brash young officer, however, began to persuade a motley mix of American settlers and adventurers to form militias and prepare for a rebellion against Mexico. Emboldened by Fremont’s encouragement, on this day in 1846 a party of 33 Americans under the leadership of Ezekiel Merritt and William Ide invaded the largely defenseless Mexican outpost of Sonoma just north of San Francisco. Fremont and his soldiers did not participate, though he had given his tacit approval of the attack. Merritt and his men surrounded the home of the retired Mexican general, Mariano Vallejo, and informed him that he was a prisoner of war. Vallejo, who was actually a strong supporter of American annexation, was more puzzled than alarmed by the rebels. He invited Merritt and a few of the other men into his home to discuss the situation over brandy. After several hours passed, Ide went in and spoiled what had turned into pleasant chat by arresting Vallejo and his family. Having won a bloodless victory at Sonoma, Merritt and Ide then proceeded to declare California an independent republic. With a cotton sheet and some red paint, they constructed a makeshift flag with a crude drawing of a grizzly bear, a lone red star (a reference to the earlier Lone Star Republic of Texas), and the words “California Republic” at the bottom. From then on, the independence movement was known as the Bear Flag Revolt. After the rebels won a few minor skirmishes with Mexican forces, Fremont officially took command of the “Bear Flaggers” and occupied the unguarded presidio of San Francisco on July 1. Six days later, Fremont learned that American forces under Commodore John D. Sloat had taken Monterey without a fight and officially raised the American flag over California. Since the ultimate goal of the Bear Flaggers was to make California part of the U.S., they now saw little reason to preserve their “government.” Three weeks after it had been proclaimed, the California Republic quietly faded away. Ironically, the Bear Flag itself proved far more enduring than the republic it represented: it became the official state flag when California joined the union in 1850.
1847 – Commodore Matthew Perry launches amphibious river operations by Sailors and Marines on Tabasco River, Mexico.
1863 – President Lincoln authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to “cooperate by the revenue cutters under your direction with the Navy in arresting rebel depredations on American commerce and transportation and in capturing rebels engaged therein.” The directive was largely the result of Lieutenant Read’s continued raid on Union commerce near Northern shores.
1863 – A small Union garrison in the Shenandoah Valley town of Winchester, Virginia, is easily defeated by the Army of Northern Virginia on the path of the Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania. In early June, General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia began an invasion of the North. Lee’s men pulled out of defenses along the Rappahannock River and swung north and west into the Shenandoah Valley. Using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen, the Confederates worked their way northward with little opposition. General Joseph Hooker, commander of the Army of the Potomac, was unsure of the Confederates’ intentions. He tracked Lee’s army from a distance, staying safely away to protect Washington, D.C. During this time, Winchester was in Union hands. The city was literally at the crossroads of the war, so it changed hands continually. Robert Milroy, the commander of the Yankees in Winchester, was unaware that the vanguard of Lee’s army was heading his way. He had received some warnings from Washington, but an order to evacuate Winchester did not reach him because the Confederates had cut the telegraph lines. As late as June 11, Milroy bragged that he could hold the town against any Confederate force. His assertion was rendered ridiculous when Richard Ewell’s Rebel corps crashed down on his tiny garrison. Ewell’s force quickly surrounded the Yankee’s. After a sharp battle, Ewell captured about 4,000 Federals, while Milroy and 2,700 soldiers escaped to safety. Ewell lost just 270 men but captured 300 wagons, hundreds of horses, and 23 artillery pieces. Milroy was relieved of his command and later arrested, although a court of inquiry found that he was not culpable in the disaster.
1864 – At the Battle of Pine Mountain, Georgia, Confederate General Leonidas Polk was killed by a Union shell.
1864 – U.S.S. Kearsarge, Captain Winslow, arrived off Cherbourg, France. The ship log recorded: “Found the rebel privateer Alabama lying at anchor in the roads.” Kearsarge took up the blockade in international waters off the harbor entrance. Captain Semmes stated: “. . . My intention is to fight the Kearsarge as soon as I can make the necessary arrangements. I hope they will not detain me more than until tomorrow evening, or after the morrow morning at furthest. I beg she will not depart before I am ready to go out.” With the famous Confederate raider at bay, Kearsarge had no intention of departing-the stage was set for the famous duel.
1898 – Two companies of Marines defeated the Spanish near Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
1900 – US Congress passed a law granting citizenship to all persons who had been citizens of the Republic of Hawaii at the time of annexation.
1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first president heard on radio, as Baltimore station WEAR broadcast his speech dedicating the Francis Scott Key memorial at Fort McHenry.
1927 – President Porfirio Diaz of Nicaragua signed a treaty with the U.S. allowing American intervention in his country.
1932 – Representative Edward Eslick died on the floor of the House of Representatives while pleading for the passage of the bonus bill.
1940 – In German-occupied Poland the first inmates arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp. They were all Polish political prisoners. The Nazis opened their concentration camp at Auschwitz.
1941 – The CGC Duane rescued 46 survivors from the torpedoed SS Tresillian.
1941 – President Roosevelt freezes all German and Italian assets in the United States.
1942 – The first bazooka rocket gun, produced in Bridgeport, Ct., demolished a tank from its shoulder-held position.
1944 – The first raid by American B-29 Superfortress bombers is carried out. A total of 48 planes (of which 4 are lost) make an ineffective strike on the Yawata iron and steel works during the night from bases in China.
1944 – US naval forces conduct bombardments of Saipan and Tinian in preparation for landings on these islands. The two American naval groups, commanded by Admiral Ainsworth and Admiral Oldendorf, include 7 battleships and 11 cruisers as well as 8 escort carriers in support. The battleship USS California is hit by a Japanese shore battery. Extensive mine-sweeping operations are also conducted by American forces.
1944 – A third corps, the US 19th Corps, is becomes operational between the 5th and 7th Corps. Free French leader, General de Gaulle, visits the beachhead and takes steps to restoring French civilian government in captured territory.
1945 – Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was honored as a Companion of the Liberation by Gen. Charles de Gaulle.
1945 – On Okinawa, mopping up operations proceed on the Oroku peninsula. The troops of the US 3rd Amphibious Corps and the US 24th Corps continue to eliminate fortified caves held by Japanese forces on Kunishi Ridge and on Mount Yuza and Mount Yaegu. An American regiment of the US 96th Division reaches the summit of Mount Yaegu, while the US th Division extends its control of Hills 153 and 115.
1945 – On Luzon, American forces dislodge the Japanese blocking the Orioung Pass. Elements of the US 37th Division, formed into an armored column, advance as far as Echague. From Santiago, other units advance toward Cabanatuan and Cauayan.
1945 – The US Joint Chiefs of Staff issue a directive to General MacArthur, General Arnold and Admiral Nimitz to prepare plans for the immediate occupation of the Japanese islands in the event of a sudden capitulation. This order may have been given in light of recent progress on the production of an atomic bomb but this is not stated.
1951 – A single communist Polikarpov PO-2 biplane dropped bombs on Suwon Airfield and another PO-2 bombed a motor pool at Inchon. These attacks marked the beginning of enemy night harassing missions that soon became known as “Bedcheck Charley.”
1951 – The destroyer-minesweeper USS Thompson was hit by communist shore battery fire suffering three sailors killed and three wounded. Having sustained 13 hits, the Thompson barely managed to escape out of range of the North Korean guns.
1951 – U.S. Census Bureau dedicates UNIVAC, the world’s first commercially produced electronic digital computer. UNIVAC, which stood for Universal Automatic Computer, was developed by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, makers of ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer. These giant computers, which used thousands of vacuum tubes for computation, were the forerunners of today’s digital computers. The search for mechanical devices to aid computation began in ancient times. The abacus, developed in various forms by the Babylonians, Chinese, and Romans, was by definition the first digital computer because it calculated values by using digits. A mechanical digital calculating machine was built in France in 1642, but a 19th century Englishman, Charles Babbage, is credited with devising most of the principles on which modern computers are based. His “Analytical Engine,” begun in the 1830s and never completed for lack of funds, was based on a mechanical loom and would have been the first programmable computer. By the 1920s, companies such as the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) were supplying governments and businesses with complex punch-card tabulating systems, but these mechanical devises had only a fraction of the calculating power of the first electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). Completed by John Atanasoff of Iowa State in 1939, the ABC could by 1941 solve up to 29 simultaneous equations with 29 variables. Influenced by Atanasoff’s work, Presper Eckert and John Mauchly set about building the first general-purpose electronic digital computer in 1943. The sponsor was the U.S. Army Ordnance Department, which wanted a better way of calculating artillery firing tables, and the work was done at the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC, which stood for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator, was completed in 1946 at a cost of nearly $500,000. It took up 15,000 feet, employed 17,000 vacuum tubes, and was programmed by plugging and replugging some 6,000 switches. It was first used in a calculation for Los Alamos Laboratories in December 1945, and in February 1946 it was formally dedicated. Following the success of ENIAC, Eckert and Mauchly decided to go into private business and founded the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. They proved less able businessmen than they were engineers, and in 1950 their struggling company was acquired by Remington Rand, an office equipment company. On June 14, 1951, Remington Rand delivered its first computer, UNIVAC I, to the U.S. Census Bureau. It weighed 16,000 pounds, used 5,000 vacuum tubes, and could perform about 1,000 calculations per second. On November 4, 1952, the UNIVAC achieved national fame when it correctly predicted Dwight D. Eisenhower’s unexpected landslide victory in the presidential election after only a tiny percentage of the votes were in. UNIVAC and other first-generation computers were replaced by transistor computers of the late 1950s, which were smaller, used less power, and could perform nearly a thousand times more operations per second. These were, in turn, supplanted by the integrated-circuit machines of the mid-1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, the development of the microprocessor made possible small, powerful computers such as the personal computer, and more recently the laptop and hand-held computers.
1952 – The USS Nautilus, the first atomic submarine, was dedicated in Groton, Connecticut.
1954 – Over 12 million Americans “die” in a mock nuclear attack, as the United States goes through its first nationwide civil defense drill. Though American officials were satisfied with the results of the drill, the event stood as a stark reminder that the United States–and the world-was now living under a nuclear shadow. The June 1954 civil defense drill was organized and evaluated by the Civil Defense Administration, and included operations in 54 cities in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Alaska, and Hawaii. Canada also participated in the exercise. The basic premise of the drill was that the United States was under massive nuclear assault from both aircraft and submarines, and that most major urban areas had been targeted. At 10 a.m., alarms were sounded in selected cities, at which time all citizens were supposed to get off the streets, seek shelter, and prepare for the onslaught. Each citizen was supposed to know where the closest fallout shelter was located; these included the basements of government buildings and schools, underground subway tunnels, and private shelters. Even President Dwight D. Eisenhower took part in the show, heading to an underground bunker in Washington, D.C. The entire drill lasted only about 10 minutes, at which time an all-clear signal was broadcast and life returned to normal. Civil Defense Administration officials estimated that New York City would suffer the most in such an attack, losing over 2 million people. Other cities, including Washington, D.C., would also endure massive loss of life. In all, it was estimated that over 12 million Americans would die in an attack. Despite those rather mind-numbing figures, government officials pronounced themselves very pleased with the drill. Minor problems in communication occurred, and one woman in New York City managed to create a massive traffic jam by simply stopping her car in the middle of the road, leaping out, and running for cover. In most cities, however, the streets were deserted just moments after the alarms sounded and there were no signs of panic or criminal behavior. A more cautious assessment came from a retired military officer, who observed that the recent development of the hydrogen bomb by the Soviet Union had “outstripped the progress made in our civil defense strides to defend against it.”
1954 – President Eisenhower signed an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
1964 – General Westmoreland is in Malaysia to study the methods used by the British to defeat the Communist guerrillas there.
1964 – The US military allows its own pilots operating out of Thailand to hit targets of opportunity in Laos.
1967 – The space probe Mariner 5 was launched from Cape Kennedy on a flight that took it past Venus.
1968 – A Federal District Court jury in Boston convicts Dr. Benjamin Spock of conspiring to aid draft registrants in violating the Selective Service Law.
1969 – The U.S. announces that three combat units will be withdrawn from Vietnam. They were the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the U.S. Army 9th Infantry Division and Regimental Landing Team 9 of the 3rd Marine Division–a total of about 13,000 to 14,000 men. These troops were part of the first U.S. troop withdrawal, which had been announced on June 8 by President Richard Nixon at the Midway conference with South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu. Nixon had promised that 25,000 troops would be withdrawn by the end of the year, and more support troops were later sent home in addition to the aforementioned combat forces in order to meet that number.
1972 – US planes flying a record number of strikes over North Vietnam, 340, sever the main railway line between Hanoi and Haiphong.
1985 – TWA Flight 847 from Athens to Rome is hijacked by Shiite Hezbollah terrorists who immediately demand to know the identity of ”those with Jewish-sounding names.” Two of the Lebanese terrorists armed with grenades, axes, and a 9-mm. pistol then forced the plane to land at the Beirut Airport in Lebanon. Once on the ground, the hijackers called for passengers with Israeli passports, but there were none. Nor were there any diplomats on board. They then focused their attention on the several U.S. Navy construction divers aboard the plane. Soon after landing, the terrorists killed Navy diver Robert Stethem, and dumped his body on the runway. TWA employee Uli Dickerson was largely successful in protecting the few Jewish passengers aboard by refusing to identify them. Most of the passengers were released in the early hours of what turned out to be a 17-day ordeal, but five men were singled out and separated from the rest of the hostages. Of these five, only Richard Herzberg, an American, was Jewish. Luckily, he had told his wife early on in the attack to get rid of a ring bearing a Hebrew inscription. During the next two weeks, Herzberg maintained to his attackers that he was a Lutheran of German and Greek ancestry. Along with the others, he was taken to a roach-infested holding cell somewhere in Beirut, where other Lebanese prisoners were being held and tortured in the makeshift prison. Fortunately, however, the TWA hostages were treated fairly well-they were even given a birthday cake on one occasion. On June 30, after careful negotiations, the hostages were released unharmed. Since the terrorists were effectively outside the law’s reach in Lebanon, it appeared as though the terrorists would go free from punishment. Yet, Mohammed Ali Hamadi, who was wanted for his role in TWA Flight 847 attack, was arrested nearly two years later at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, with explosives. Within days of his arrest, two German citizens were kidnapped while in Lebanon in a successful attempt to discourage Germany from extraditing Hamadi to the United States for prosecution. Germany decided to try Hamadi instead, and he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison, the maximum penalty under German law. Although both German hostages had already been released by this time, three additional German citizens were kidnapped on the day of the verdict.
1991 – The space shuttle “Columbia” returned from a medical research mission.
1999 – About 15,000 NATO peacekeepers spread out across Kosovo, including a convoy of about 1200 US Marines.
2000 – In Florida George Trofimoff (73) was arrested for spying for the Soviet KGB from 1969-1995. He had served as chief of an Army unit responsible for interviewing Warsaw pact defectors.
2000 – US federal marine specialists reported that the US Navy induced underwater noise caused the death of at least a dozen whales in the Bahamas in March. Hemorrhages were found around the animals’ ears.
2000 – Pres. Kim Jong Il of North Korea and Pres. Kim Dae Jung of South Korea pledged concrete steps toward unifying their divided peninsula and signed an agreement to allow visits for some families separated for the last five decades.
2001 – Pres. Bush ordered a stop to the Navy bombing exercises on Puerto Rico’s Vieques Island. Cleanup was estimated to cost hundreds of millions and take decades. Bombing practice was set to stop by May, 2003.
2001 – Macedonia asked for Nato troops the help disarm ethnic Albanian rebels. Nato Sec. Gen. Lord Robertson ruled out military intervention.
2002 – The US became officially free from a 1972 treaty that banned major missile defenses. In Alaska work was set to begin on missile interceptors.
2002 – In Afghanistan Pres. Hamid Karzai outlined a list of national priorities that included building a national army and police force, improving schools and health care and creating jobs.
2002 – In Pakistan suicide bomber blew up a truck at the US consulate in Karachi killed 14 people and injured many more. No Americans were believed killed. The Bush administration planned to evaluate how many U.S. personnel should be kept in Pakistan. The Lashkar-e-Omar coalition, formed in January, was blamed.
2004 – The US military released hundreds of prisoners from Abu Ghraib prison.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
DURHAM, JAMES R.
Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, Company E, 12th West Virginia Infantry. Place and date: At Winchester, Va., 14 June 1863. Entered service at: Clarksburg, W. Va. Born: 7 February 1833, Richmond, W. Va. Date of issue: 6 March 1890. Citation: Led his command over the stone wall, where he was wounded.
Rank and organization: Private, Company H, 28th Connecticut Infantry. Place and date: At Port Hudson, La., 14 June 1863. Entered service at: Greenwich, Conn. Birth: ——. Date of issue: 1 April 1898. Citation: Made 2 trips across an open space, in the face of the enemy’s concentrated fire, and secured water for the sick and wounded.
LOVERING, GEORGE M.
Rank and organization: First Sergeant, Company I, 4th Massachusetts Infantry. Place and date: At Port Hudson, La., 14 June 1863. Entered service at: East Randolph, Mass. Born: 10 January 1832, Springfield, N.H. Date of issue: 19 November 1891. Citation: During a momentary confusion in the ranks caused by other troops rushing upon the regiment, this soldier, with coolness and determination, rendered efficient aid in preventing a panic among the troops.
PATTERSON, JOHN T.
Rank and organization: Principal Musician, 122d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Winchester, Va., 14 June 1863. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Morgan County, Ohio. Date of issue: 13 May 1899 Citation: With one companion, voluntarily went in front of the Union line, under a heavy fire from the enemy, and carried back a helpless wounded comrade, thus saving him from death or capture.
Rank and organization: Private, Company C, 122d Ohio Infantry. Place and date: At Winchester, Va., 14 June 1863. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Morgan County, Ohio. Date of issue: 5 April 1898. Citation: With 1 companion, voluntarily went in front of the Union line, under a heavy fire from the enemy, and carried back a helpless, wounded comrade, thus saving him from death or capture.
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 17 March 1873, Limerick, Ireland. Accredited to: New York. G.O. No.: 92, 8 December 1910. Citation: For heroism and gallantry in action at Cuzco, Cuba, 14 June 1898.
QUICK, JOHN HENRY
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 20 June 1870, Charleston, W. Va. Accredited to: Pennsylvania. G.O. No.: 504 13 December 1898. Other Navy award: Navy Cross. Citation: In action during the battle of Cuzco, Cuba, 14 June 1898. Distinguishing himself during this action, Quick signaled the U.S.S. Dolphin on 3 different occasions while exposed to a heavy fire from the enemy.
*STOCKHAM, FRED W. (Army Medal)
Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 96th Company, 2d Battalion, 6th Regiment. Place and date: In Bois-de-Belleau, France, 13-14 June 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Detroit, Mich. G.O. NO.:–. Citation: During an intense enemy bombardment with high explosive and gas shells which wounded or killed many members of the company, G/Sgt. Stockham, upon noticing that the gas mask of a wounded comrade was shot away, without hesitation, removed his own gas mask and insisted upon giving it to the wounded man, well knowing that the effects of the gas would be fatal to himself. He continued with undaunted courage and valor to direct and assist in the evacuation of the wounded, until he himself collapsed from the effects of gas, dying as a result thereof a few days later. His courageous conduct undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades and his conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to all who served with him.
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain), 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, World War II. Place and date: Renouf, France, 14 June to 3 September 1944. Entered service at: Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 2 July 1941. Date and place of birth: 25 August 1919, Buffalo, New York. Lieutenant Colonel (then Captain) Matt Urban, l 12-22-2414, United States Army, who distinguished himself by a series of bold, heroic actions, exemplified by singularly outstanding combat leadership, personal bravery, and tenacious devotion to duty, during the period 14 June to 3 September 1944 while assigned to the 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. On 14 June, Captain Urban’s company, attacking at Renouf, France, encountered heavy enemy small arms and tank fire. The enemy tanks were unmercifully raking his unit’s positions and inflicting heavy casualties. Captain Urban, realizing that his company was in imminent danger of being decimated, armed himself with a bazooka. He worked his way with an ammo carrier through hedgerows, under a continuing barrage of fire, to a point near the tanks. He brazenly exposed himself to the enemy fire and, firing the bazooka, destroyed both tanks. Responding to Captain Urban’s action, his company moved forward and routed the enemy. Later that same day, still in the attack near Orglandes, Captain Urban was wounded in the leg by direct fire from a 37mm tank-gun. He refused evacuation and continued to lead his company until they moved into defensive positions for the night. At 0500 hours the next day, still in the attack near Orglandes, Captain Urban, though badly wounded, directed his company in another attack. One hour later he was again wounded. Suffering from two wounds, one serious, he was evacuated to England. In mid-July, while recovering from his wounds, he learned of his unit’s severe losses in the hedgerows of Normandy. Realizing his unit’s need for battle-tested leaders, he voluntarily left the hospital and hitchhiked his way back to his unit hear St. Lo, France. Arriving at the 2d Battalion Command Post at 1130 hours, 25 July, he found that his unit had jumped-off at 1100 hours in the first attack of Operation Cobra.” Still limping from his leg wound, Captain Urban made his way forward to retake command of his company. He found his company held up by strong enemy opposition. Two supporting tanks had been destroyed and another, intact but with no tank commander or gunner, was not moving. He located a lieutenant in charge of the support tanks and directed a plan of attack to eliminate the enemy strong-point. The lieutenant and a sergeant were immediately killed by the heavy enemy fire when they tried to mount the tank. Captain Urban, though physically hampered by his leg wound and knowing quick action had to be taken, dashed through the scathing fire and mounted the tank. With enemy bullets ricocheting from the tank, Captain Urban ordered the tank forward and, completely exposed to the enemy fire, manned the machine gun and placed devastating fire on the enemy. His action, in the face of enemy fire, galvanized the battalion into action and they attacked and destroyed the enemy position. On 2 August, Captain Urban was wounded in the chest by shell fragments and, disregarding the recommendation of the Battalion Surgeon, again refused evacuation. On 6 August, Captain Urban became the commander of the 2d Battalion. On 15 August, he was again wounded but remained with his unit. On 3 September, the 2d Battalion was given the mission of establishing a crossing-point on the Meuse River near Heer, Belgium. The enemy planned to stop the advance of the allied Army by concentrating heavy forces at the Meuse. The 2d Battalion, attacking toward the crossing-point, encountered fierce enemy artillery, small arms and mortar fire which stopped the attack. Captain Urban quickly moved from his command post to the lead position of the battalion. Reorganizing the attacking elements, he personally led a charge toward the enemy’s strong-point. As the charge moved across the open terrain, Captain Urban was seriously wounded in the neck. Although unable to talk above a whisper from the paralyzing neck wound, and in danger of losing his life, he refused to be evacuated until the enemy was routed and his battalion had secured the crossing-point on the Meuse River. Captain Urban’s personal leadership, limitless bravery, and repeated extraordinary exposure to enemy fire served as an inspiration to his entire battalion. His valorous and intrepid actions reflect the utmost credit on him and uphold the noble traditions of the United States.
WISE, HOMER L.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant. U.S. Army, Company L, 142d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. Place and date: Magliano, Italy, 14 June 1944. Entered service al: Baton Rouge, La. Birth: Baton Rouge La. G.O. No.: 90, 8 December 1944. Citation: While his platoon was pinned down by enemy small-arms fire from both flanks, he left his position of comparative safety and assisted in carrying 1 of his men, who had been seriously wounded and who lay in an exposed position, to a point where he could receive medical attention. The advance of the platoon was resumed but was again stopped by enemy frontal fire. A German officer and 2 enlisted men, armed with automatic weapons, threatened the right flank. Fearlessly exposing himself, he moved to a position from which he killed all 3 with his submachinegun. Returning to his squad, he obtained an Ml rifle and several antitank grenades, then took up a position from which he delivered accurate fire on the enemy holding up the advance. As the battalion moved forward it was again stopped by enemy frontal and flanking fire. He procured an automatic rifle and, advancing ahead of his men, neutralized an enemy machinegun with his fire. When the flanking fire became more intense he ran to a nearby tank and exposing himself on the turret, restored a jammed machinegun to operating efficiency and used it so effectively that the enemy fire from an adjacent ridge was materially reduced thus permitting the battalion to occupy its objective.
BLEAK, DAVID B.
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Medical Company 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. Place and date: Vicinity of Minari-gol, Korea, 14 June 1952. Entered service at: Shelley, Idaho. Born: 27 February 1932, Idaho Falls, Idaho. G.O. No.: 83, 2 November 1953. Citation: Sgt. Bleak, a member of the medical company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. As a medical aidman, he volunteered to accompany a reconnaissance patrol committed to engage the enemy and capture a prisoner for interrogation. Forging up the rugged slope of the key terrain, the group was subjected to intense automatic weapons and small arms fire and suffered several casualties. After administering to the wounded, he continued to advance with the patrol. Nearing the military crest of the hill, while attempting to cross the fire-swept area to attend the wounded, he came under hostile fire from a small group of the enemy concealed in a trench. Entering the trench he closed with the enemy, killed 2 with bare hands and a third with his trench knife. Moving from the emplacement, he saw a concussion grenade fall in front of a companion and, quickly shifting his position, shielded the man from the impact of the blast. Later, while ministering to the wounded, he was struck by a hostile bullet but, despite the wound, he undertook to evacuate a wounded comrade. As he moved down the hill with his heavy burden, he was attacked by 2 enemy soldiers with fixed bayonets. Closing with the aggressors, he grabbed them and smacked their heads together, then carried his helpless comrade down the hill to safety. Sgt. Bleak’s dauntless courage and intrepid actions reflect utmost credit upon himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.
*SPEICHER, CLIFTON T.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company F, 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Minarigol, Korea, 14 June 1952. Entered service at: Gray, Pa. Born: 25 March 1931, Gray, Pa. G.O. No.: 65, 19 August 1953. Citation: Cpl. Speicher distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While participating in an assault to secure a key terrain feature, Cpl. Speicher’s squad was pinned down by withering small-arms mortar, and machine gun fire. Although already wounded he left the comparative safety of his position, and made a daring charge against the machine gun emplacement. Within 10 yards of the goal, he was again wounded by small-arms fire but continued on, entered the bunker, killed 2 hostile soldiers with his rifle, a third with his bayonet, and silenced the machine gun. Inspired by this incredible display of valor, the men quickly moved up and completed the mission. Dazed and shaken, he walked to the foot of the hill where he collapsed and died. Cpl. Speicher’s consummate sacrifice and unflinching devotion to duty reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.