May 24

24 May

1607Captain Christopher Newport and 105 followers founded the colony of Jamestown on the mouth of the James River in Virginia. They had left England with 144 members, 39 died on the way over. The colony was near the large Indian village of Werowocomoco, home of Pocahontas, the daughter Powhatan, an Algonquin chief. In 2003 archeologists believed that they had found the site of the village.
1624 – After years of unprofitable operation, Virginia’s charter was revoked and it became a royal colony.
1764 – Bostonian lawyer James Otis denounced “taxation without representation” and called for the colonies to unite in demonstrating their opposition to Britain’s new tax measures.
1818 – Gen. Andrew Jackson captured Pensacola, Florida.
1830 – The first passenger railroad in the United States began service between Baltimore and Elliott’s Mills, Md.
1830 – Navy officers, under furlough from the Navy until April 1832, were given commissions in the Revenue Service.
1844In a demonstration witnessed by members of Congress, American inventor Samuel F.B. Morse dispatches a telegraph message from the U.S. Capitol to Alfred Vail at a railroad station in Baltimore, Maryland. The message–“What Hath God Wrought?”–was telegraphed back to the Capitol a moment later by Vail. The question, taken from the Bible (Numbers 23:23), had been suggested to Morse by Annie Ellworth, the daughter of the commissioner of patents. Morse, an accomplished painter, learned of a French inventor’s idea of an electric telegraph in 1832 and then spent the next 12 years attempting to perfect a working telegraph instrument. During this period, he composed the Morse code, a set of signals that could represent language in telegraph messages, and convinced Congress to finance a Washington-to-Baltimore telegraph line. On May 24, 1844, he inaugurated the world’s first commercial telegraph line with a message that was fitting given the invention’s future effects on American life. Just a decade after the first line opened, more than 20,000 miles of telegraph cable crisscrossed the country. The rapid communication it enabled greatly aided American expansion, making railroad travel safer as it provided a boost to business conducted across the great distances of a growing United States.
1846 – General Zachary Taylor captured Monterey in the Mexican War.
1856 – The Potawatomi Massacre took place in Kansas. John Brown, American abolitionist and horse thief, presided over the hacking to death with machetes of five unarmed pro-slavery Border Ruffians in Potawatomi, Kansas.
1861 – General Benjamin Butler declared slaves to be the contraband of war.
1861Commander Rowan, commanding U.S.S. Pawnee, demanded surrender of Alexandria, Virginia; amphibious expedition departed Washington Navy Yard, after embarking secretly at night under Commander Dahlgren’s supervision, and occupied Alexandria. Admiral D. D. Porter later noted of this event: “The first landing of Northern troops upon the Virginia shores was under cover of these improvised gunboats [U.S.S. Thomas Freeborn, Anacostia, and Resolute at Alexandria . . . Alexandria was evacuated by the Confederates upon demand of a naval officer-Commander S. C. Rowan . . . and . . the American flag was hoisted on the Custom House and other prominent places by the officer in charge of a landing party of sailors-Lieutenant R. B. Lowry. This . . . gave indication of the feelings of the Navy, and how ready was the service to put down secession on the first opportunity offered.”
1861As Union troops enter the vital port city of Arlington across the Potomac River from Washington, DC, they moved to secure it against rebel resistance. Colonel Elmer Ellsworth noticed a Confederate flag flying from the roof of a tavern and was shot and killed while removing it. Ellsworth, 24, gained national fame in the years prior to the Civil War by commanding two distinctive uniformed volunteer units which put on drill performances for the paying public. His first company was the “U.S. Zouave Cadets of Chicago” and the second was the “11th New York Fire Zouaves” a regimental-sized organization composed entirely of NYC fireman. ‘Zouave’ units were based upon the French North African troops of the same designation and had world renown for their particularly elaborate form of drill and tactical evolutions. They sported distinctive dress uniforms usually composed of a red fez or white turban, short embroidered jacket, baggy red or white trousers and white gaiters. Despite the high costs of these uniforms the style quickly caught on with young men serving in militia companies both North and South just prior to the Civil War. Ellsworth was a talented showman promoting himself and his troop’s performances with posters, music song sheet covers, calendars and newspaper ads. While performing in Chicago he met Abraham Lincoln and they became fast friends. When not on the road he worked to help Lincoln win the presidency. Just before the start of the Civil War Ellsworth moved to New York City and linked up with the 11th Regiment and was soon elected its colonel. Immediately upon the outbreak of war he traveled with the regiment to Washington at the invitation of Lincoln. He stayed at the White House and often accompanied the president around town as an unofficial aide. Lincoln was devastated at his death. His body lay in state in the White House before a federal train to carried it back to Chicago for burial. Ellsworth was the first noteworthy person to die in the war. In the north his image appeared everywhere in memoriam and many men ‘joined the colors’ angered at his killing. In death he became a “poster boy” for the Union cause.
1863 – Bushwackers led by Captain William Marchbanks attacked a Federal militia party in Nevada, Missouri.
1863Confederates fired on the commissary and quartermaster boat of the Marine Brigade under Brigadier General A. V. Ellet above Austin, Mississippi, on the evening of 23 May. Before dawn, this date, Ellet’s forces went ashore, engaged Confederate cavalry some 8 miles outside of Austin, and, after a 2-hour engagement, compelled the Southerners to withdraw. Finding evidence of smuggling and in reprisal for the firing of the previous evening, Ellet ordered the town burned. ”As the fire progressed,” Ellet reported, ”the discharge of firearms was rapid and frequent in the burning buildings, showing that fire is more penetrating in its search [for hidden weapons] than my men had been, two heavy explosions of powder also occurred during the conflagration.
1864 – Accurate gunfire from wooden steamer U.S.S. Dawn, Acting Lieutenant Simmons, compelled Confederate troops to break off an attack on the Union Army position at Wilson’s Wharf on the James River. Other ships quickly moved to support the troops.
1864Union General Ulysses S. Grant continues to pound away at Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the engagement along the North Anna River that had begun the day before. Since early May, Lee and Grant had been slugging it out along an arc from the Wilderness to Spotsylvania and to Hanover Junction, on the North Anna River. Grant was doing what other Union commanders had failed to do since 1861: ensuring that the Army of Northern Virginia was in constant action to prevent them from retooling. The cost in men, however, was frighteningly high. Grant had lost 33,000 troops in the fighting at the Wilderness and Spotsylvania. Worse, he could not gain the upper hand over Lee. As they raced along the arc, Lee had the advantage of moving along the interior lines, while Grant moved on the outside. As a result, Lee always had a shorter distance to the next point on the waltz around Richmond. At North Anna, Lee beat Grant to the river and quickly assumed a strong position on the high, steep banks. Grant had made two attacks the previous day but each failed. On May 24, the Yankees again probed Lee’s position but could not penetrate the Confederate defenses. On another part of the line, a Union brigade carried out an unauthorized assault by a general named James Ledlie, who was evidently drunk. Crossing near Ox Ford in the strongest part of the Confederate line, Ledlie’s men nearly broke through before retreating. Surprisingly, Ledlie never faced any punishment, despite the fact that 220 men were lost in the charge. The engagement at North Anna was small by the standards of this campaign. Grant was wise to refrain from an all-out assault on the Confederate position. Unfortunately, he was not as cautious just a week later at Cold Harbor, where Northern soldiers were butchered wholesale in a devastating attack on fortified Rebels.
1869John Wesley Powell departed Green River City, Wyoming, with 9 men on an expedition to explore the canyons of the Green and Colorado River. Over 3 years he led two expeditions to explore the Grand Canyon. Three members of the first expedition were killed, reportedly by Indians. His written account was suspected to be inflated if not fictitious.
1900 – Marines landed at Taku, China, to establish Legation Guard at Peking.
1916 – US pilot William Thaw shot down a German Fokker.
1917 – First U.S. convoy to cross North Atlantic during World War I leaves Hampton Roads, VA.
1918 – USS Olympia anchors at Kola Inlet, Murmansk, Russia, to protect refugees during Russian Revolution.
1939 – First and only use of VADM Allan McCann’s Rescue Chamber to rescue 33 men from sunken USS Squalus (SS-192).
1940 – Hitler ordered a halt to his forces converging on Dunkirk and the British, who were backed to the sea. This event and the next 4 days were described in the 1999 book: “Five Days in London, May 1940” by John Lukacs.
1941The German battleship Bismarck sank the British dreadnought HMS Hood in the North Atlantic. 1416 died with only three survivors. CGC Modoc sighted the German battleship SMS Bismarck while the cutter searched for survivors of a convoy southeast of Cape Farewell, Greenland. British Swordfish torpedo planes from the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Victorious circled Modoc as they flew towards the German battleship’s position. The Modoc’s crew then spotted the flashes caused by anti-aircraft fire from the Bismarck and then sighted British warships on the opposite horizon. The cutter then maneuvered to avoid contact with any of the warships and managed to steam out of the area unscathed.
1940 – Igor Sikorsky performs the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.
1941 – Authorization of construction or acquisition of 550,000 tons of auxiliary shipping for Navy.
1942U.S. General Stilwell arrives in Delhi after a 140 mile retreat through the Burma jungle. In a press interview he is quoted say: “I claim we got a hell of a beating. We got run out of Burma and it is as humiliating as hell. I think we ought to find out what caused it, go back and re-take it.”
1942When the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 115th Fighter Squadron lands at Alaska’s Annette Island, a US Customs officer refuses to let the pilots out of their planes until they pay duty on their arms and equipment. It takes a message from Secretary of State Cordell Hull granting the Canadians Distinguished Foreign Visitor status to end this idiocy.
1943 – On Attu American forces make some progress along the Clevesy Pass. There is heavy fighting over Fish Hook Ridge.
1944Attacks by the US 5th Army and the British 8th Army continue. The Canadian 1st Corps captures Pontecorvo and elements reach the Melfa River and establish a bridgehead. The US 2nd Corps takes Terracina against heavy opposition from the German 29th Panzergrenadier Division. At Anzio forces of US 6th Corps reach Route 7 near Latina, to the south of German-held Cisterna. Meanwhile, north of Rome, RAF Spitfires shoot down 8 German Fw190 fighter bombers.
1945 – On Kyushu, aircraft from US Task Force 58 raid several airfields used by the Kamikaze forces attacking American naval forces around Okinawa. Meanwhile about 520 US bombers strike Tokyo, dropping some 3646 tons of bombs.
1945 – On Okinawa, during the night, Japanese paratroopers on a suicide mission are landed on American held Yontan airfield and destroy a significant number of aircraft before being wiped out. Meanwhile, Japanese troops conduct vigorous counterattacks in the direction of Yonabaru and make a small penetration into the lines of the US 32nd Division.
1951 – Lines Kansas and Wyoming became increasingly important with the possibility of a cease-fire and the demilitarized zone that might be required.
1962 – American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbits the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
1962USS Gurke notices signals from 12 men from Truk who were caught in a storm, drifted at sea for 2 months before being stranded on a island for 1 month. USS Southerland investigated, notified Truk, and provided provisions and supplies to repair their outrigger canoe. The men would be picked up on 7 June by the motor launch Kaselehlia.
1964Senator Barry Goldwater, regarded as a serious contender for the Republican nomination for the presidency, gives an interview in which he proposes the use of low-yield atomic bombs to defoliate forests and the bombing of bridges, rods, and railroad lines bringing supplies form Communist China. During the storm of criticism that follows, Goldwater tries to back away from these drastic proposals stating that he was repeating suggestions made by military advisors. Johnson will capitalize on the controversy and paint Goldwater as an extremist.
1967 – In response to Secretary of Defense McNamara’s order for a new study of bombing alternatives on 20 May, the Joint Chiefs submit three memoranda renewing earlier recommendations for more then 200,000 new troops and for air attacks on Haiphong, mining of Haiphong Harbor, and raids on eight major railways leading to China.
1968 – Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) separatists bomb the U.S. consulate in Quebec City.
1980 – Iran rejected a call by the World Court in The Hague to release the American hostages.
1994Four men convicted of bombing New York’s World Trade Center were each sentenced to 240 years in prison. The attack was planned by a group of terrorists including Ramzi Yousef, Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammad Salameh, Nidal A. Ayyad, Abdul Rahman Yasin and Ahmed Ajaj. They received financing from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, Yousef’s uncle. The charges included conspiracy, explosive destruction of property, and interstate transportation of explosives. In November 1997, two more were convicted: Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the bombings, and Eyad Ismoil, who drove the truck carrying the bomb.
1997 – The space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth, bringing with it NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger, who had spent four months aboard the Russian Mir space station.
1999 – Iraqi oil officials state that, despite a lack of spare parts, Iraq is capable of boosting output from its northern oil fields to 1.2 million barrels per day during the proposed sixth phase of the “oil-for-food”deal with the United Nations, from around 0.8 million barrels per day in the fifth phase.
2002 – Presidents Bush and Putin signed the Treaty of Moscow, an agreement to reduce nuclear stockpiles by two-thirds over the next 10 years.
2002 – In Afghanistan coalition forces captured 50 people from a compound that was said to be a refuge for senior Taliban and al Qaeda leaders.
2003 – Coalition forces captured two more wanted Iraqis: Sayf al-Din al-Mashadani, No. 46 on the list and Sad Abd al-Majid al-Faysal, No. 55.
2003 – The U.S.-led coalition ordered Iraqis to give up their weapons by mid-June.
2004 – Pres. Bush offered a 5 step plan in Iraq: 1) hand over authority to a sovereign Iraqi government; 2) Help establish security; 3) Continue rebuilding the infrastructure; 4) Encourage more int’l. support; 5) Move toward a national election.
2004 – In Liberia an American citizen working with a U.S. military assessment team was killed in his hotel room in the capital Monrovia.

Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day

Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 11th New York Infantry. Place and date: Alexandria, Va., 24 May 1861. Entered service at: Troy, N.Y. Birth: New York. Date of issue: 26 January 1877. Citation: Killed the murderer of Colonel Ellsworth at the Marshall House Alexandria, Va. First Civil War deed to merit Medal of Honor.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, Company B, 34th U.S. Colored Troops. Place and date: At Ashepoo River, S.C., 24 May 1864. Entered service at: New York. Born: 4 October 1842, West Kill, N.Y. Date of issue: 21 January 1897. Citation: Voluntarily commanded a boat crew, which went to the rescue of a large number of Union soldiers on board the stranded steamer Boston, and with great gallantry succeeded in conveying them to shore, being exposed during the entire time to heavy fire from a Confederate battery.

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. Place and date: At Ashepoo River, S.C., 24 May 1864. Entered service at: Fall River, Mass. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 21 January 1897. Citation: Volunteered as a member of a boatcrew which went to the rescue of a large number of Union soldiers on board the stranded steamer Boston, and with great gallantry assisted in conveying them to shore, being exposed during the entire time to a heavy fire from a Confederate battery.

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. Place and date: At Ashepoo River, S.C., 24 May 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: New Bedford, Mass. Date of issue: 21 January 1897. Citation: Volunteered as a member of a boatcrew which went to the rescue of a large number of Union soldiers on board the stranded steamer Boston, and with great gallantry assisted in conveying them to shore, being exposed during the entire time to a heavy fire from a Confederate battery.

Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. Place and date: At Ashepoo River, S.C., 24 May 1864. Entered service at: ——. Birth: Dartmouth, Mass. Date of issue: 21 January 1897. Citation: Volunteered as a member of a boat crew which went to the rescue of a large number of Union soldiers on board the stranded steamer Boston and with great gallantry assisted in conveying them to shore, being exposed during the entire time to a heavy fire from a Confederate battery.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, 170th New York Infantry. Place and date: At North Anna River, Va., 24 May 1864. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 15 January 1897. Citation: This officer, commanding the regiment, kept it on the field exposed to the fire of the enemy for 3 hours without being able to fire one shot in return because of the ammunition being exhausted.

Rank and organization: Private, Company A, 4th Massachusetts Cavalry. P/ace and date: At Ashepoo River, S.C., 24 May 1864. Entered service at: Spencer, Mass. Birth: Ireland. Date of issue: 21 January 1897. Citation: Volunteered as a member of a boat crew which went to the rescue of a large number of Union soldiers on board the stranded steamer Boston, and with great gallantry assisted in conveying them to shore, being exposed during the entire time to a heavy fire from a Confederate battery.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, 24 May 1944. Entered service at: St. Clairsville, Ohio. Birth: St. Clairsville, Ohio. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945. Citation: Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, he charged 200 yards over flat, coverless terrain to destroy an enemy machinegun nest during the second day of the offensive which broke through the German cordon of steel around the Anzio beachhead. Fully 30 yards in advance of his squad, he ran into withering enemy machinegun, machine-pistol and rifle fire. Three times he was struck by bullets and knocked to the ground, but each time he struggled to his feet to continue his relentless advance. With one shoulder deeply gashed and his right arm shattered, he continued to rush directly into the enemy fire concentration with his submachinegun wedged under his uninjured arm until within 15 yards of the enemy strong point, where he opened fire at deadly close range, killing 2 Germans and forcing the remaining 10 to surrender. He reorganized his men and, refusing to seek medical attention so badly needed, chose to lead the way toward another strong point 100 yards distant. Utterly disregarding the hail of bullets concentrated upon him, he had stormed ahead nearly three-fourths of the space between strong points when he was instantly killed by hostile enemy fire. Inspired by his example, his squad went on to overwhelm the enemy troops. By his supreme sacrifice, superb fighting courage, and heroic devotion to the attack, Sgt. Antolak was directly responsible for eliminating 20 Germans, capturing an enemy machinegun, and clearing the path for his company to advance.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company F, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, 24 May 1944. Entered service at: Fort Meade, Fla. Birth: Fort Meade, Fla. G.O. No.: 87, 14 November 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Pvt. Mills, undergoing his baptism of fire, preceded his platoon down a draw to reach a position from which an attack could be launched against a heavily fortified strongpoint. After advancing about 300 yards, Pvt. Mills was fired on by a machinegun only S yards distant. He killed the gunner with 1 shot and forced the surrender of the assistant gunner. Continuing his advance, he saw a German soldier in a camouflaged position behind a large bush pulling the pin of a potato-masher grenade. Covering the German with his rifle, Pvt. Mills forced him to drop the grenade and captured him. When another enemy soldier attempted to throw a hand grenade into the draw, Pvt. Mills killed him with 1 shot. Brought under fire by a machinegun, 2 machine pistols, and 3 rifles at a range of only 50 feet, he charged headlong into the furious chain of automatic fire shooting his M 1 from the hip. The enemy was completely demoralized by Pvt. Mills’ daring charge, and when he reached a point within 10 feet of their position, all 6 surrendered. As he neared the end of the draw, Pvt. Mills was brought under fire by a machinegunner 20 yards distant. Despite the fact that he had absolutely no cover, Pvt. Mills killed the gunner with 1 shot. Two enemy soldiers near the machinegunner fired wildly at Pvt. Mills and then fled. Pvt. Mills fired twice, killing 1 of the enemy. Continuing on to the position, he captured a fourth soldier. When it became apparent that an assault on the strongpoint would in all probability cause heavy casualties on the platoon, Pvt. Mills volunteered to cover the advance down a shallow ditch to a point within 50 yards of the objective. Standing on the bank in full view of the enemy less than 100 yards away, he shouted and fired his rifle directly into the position. His ruse worked exactly as planned. The enemy centered his fire on Pvt. Mills. Tracers passed within inches of his body, rifle and machine pistol bullets ricocheted off the rocks at his feet. Yet he stood there firing until his rifle was empty. Intent on covering the movement of his platoon, Pvt. Mills jumped into the draw, reloaded his weapon, climbed out again, and continued to lay down a base of fire. Repeating this action 4 times, he enabled his platoon to reach the designated spot undiscovered, from which position it assaulted and overwhelmed the enemy, capturing 22 Germans and taking the objective without casualties.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, 23-24 May 1944. Entered service at: Scobey, Mont. Born: 9 October 1918, Clinton, Okla. G.O. No.: 83, 27 October 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 23 May 1944, at 12 noon, Pfc. (now T/Sgt.) Schauer left the cover of a ditch to engage 4 German snipers who opened fire on the patrol from its rear. Standing erect he walked deliberately 30 yards toward the enemy, stopped amid the fire from 4 rifles centered on him, and with 4 bursts from his BAR, each at a different range, killed all of the snipers. Catching sight of a fifth sniper waiting for the patrol behind a house chimney, Pfc. Schauer brought him down with another burst. Shortly after, when a heavy enemy artillery concentration and 2 machineguns temporarily halted the patrol, Pfc. Schauer again left cover to engage the enemy weapons single-handed. While shells exploded within 15 yards, showering dirt over him, and strings of grazing German tracer bullets whipped past him at chest level, Pfc. Schauer knelt, killed the 2 gunners of the machinegun only 60 yards from him with a single burst from his BAR, and crumpled 2 other enemy soldiers who ran to man the gun. Inserting a fresh magazine in his BAR, Pfc. Schauer shifted his body to fire at the other weapon 500 yards distant and emptied his weapon into the enemy crew, killing all 4 Germans. Next morning, when shells from a German Mark VI tank and a machinegun only 100 yards distant again forced the patrol to seek cover, Pfc. Schauer crawled toward the enemy machinegun. stood upright only 80 yards from the weapon as its bullets cut the surrounding ground, and 4 tank shells fired directly at him burst within 20 yards. Raising his BAR to his shoulder, Pfc. Schauer killed the 4 members of the German machinegun crew with 1 burst of fire.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 2d Battalion, 2d Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: An Loc Province, Republic of Vietnam, 24 May 1969. Entered service at: Detroit, Mich. Born: 18 July 1947, Jackson, Mich. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Bondsteel distinguished himself while serving as a platoon sergeant with Company A, near the village of Lang Sau. Company A was directed to assist a friendly unit which was endangered by intense fire from a North Vietnamese Battalion located in a heavily fortified base camp. S/Sgt. Bondsteel quickly organized the men of his platoon into effective combat teams and spearheaded the attack by destroying 4 enemy occupied bunkers. He then raced some 200 meters under heavy enemy fire to reach an adjoining platoon which had begun to falter. After rallying this unit and assisting their wounded, S/Sgt. Bondsteel returned to his own sector with critically needed munitions. Without pausing he moved to the forefront and destroyed 4 enemy occupied bunkers and a machine gun which had threatened his advancing platoon. Although painfully wounded by an enemy grenade, S/Sgt. Bondsteel refused medical attention and continued his assault by neutralizing 2 more enemy bunkers nearby. While searching one of these emplacements S/Sgt. Bondsteel narrowly escaped death when an enemy soldier detonated a grenade at close range. Shortly thereafter, he ran to the aid of a severely wounded officer and struck down an enemy soldier who was threatening the officer’s life. S/Sgt. Bondsteel then continued to rally his men and led them through the entrenched enemy until his company was relieved. His exemplary leadership and great personal courage throughout the 4-hour battle ensured the success of his own and nearby units, and resulted in the saving of numerous lives of his fellow soldiers. By individual acts of bravery he destroyed 10 enemy bunkers and accounted for a large toll of the enemy, including 2 key enemy commanders. His extraordinary heroism at the risk of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Rank and organization: Warrant Officer (then Sergeant First Class), U.S. Army, Advisory Team 162, U.S. Military Assistance Command. Place and date: Northeast of Katum, Republic of Vietnam, 24 May 1970. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Born: 19 November 1938, Albuquerque, N. Mex. Citation: WO Rocco distinguished himself when he volunteered to accompany a medical evacuation team on an urgent mission to evacuate 8 critically wounded Army of the Republic of Vietnam personnel. As the helicopter approached the landing zone, it became the target for intense enemy automatic weapons fire. Disregarding his own safety, WO Rocco identified and placed accurate suppressive fire on the enemy positions as the aircraft descended toward the landing zone. Sustaining major damage from the enemy fire, the aircraft was forced to crash land, causing WO Rocco to sustain a fractured wrist and hip and a severely bruised back. Ignoring his injuries, he extracted the survivors from the burning wreckage, sustaining burns to his own body. Despite intense enemy fire, WO Rocco carried each unconscious man across approximately 20 meters of exposed terrain to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam perimeter. On each trip, his severely burned hands and broken wrist caused excruciating pain, but the lives of the unconscious crash survivors were more important than his personal discomfort, and he continued his rescue efforts. Once inside the friendly position, WO Rocco helped administer first aid to his wounded comrades until his wounds and burns caused him to collapse and lose consciousness. His bravery under fire and intense devotion to duty were directly responsible for saving 3 of his fellow soldiers from certain death. His unparalleled bravery in the face of enemy fire, his complete disregard for his own pain and injuries, and his performance were far above and beyond the call of duty and were in keeping with the highest traditions of self-sacrifice and courage of the military service.

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