1492 – Christopher Columbus sited land, an island of the Bahamas which he named San Salvador, but which was called Guanahani by the local Taino people. [HFA gives the date as Oct. 11] Pinta’s lookout, Rodrigo de Triana, saw a white cliff in the moonlight on the morning of Oct 12. Italian explorer Christopher Columbus, or Cristobal Colon to his Spanish patrons, led a group of exhilarated sailors ashore on a sunny Caribbean island they christened San Salvador. Seeking to establish profitable Asian trade routes by sailing west, Columbus seriously underestimated the size of the Earth–never dreaming that two great continents blocked his path to the east. Columbus, returning to Spain after his first expedition, submitted a report of the wonders he had seen to Ferdinand and Isabella. The original report was not illustrated, but later editions, were imaginatively illustrated with woodcuts showing cowering Indians and an ocean-going ship with oars. Even after four voyages to America, Columbus believed until the end of his life in 1506 that he had discovered an isolated corner of Asia.
1748 – British and Spanish naval forces engage at the Battle of Havana during the War of Jenkins’ Ear.
1776 – British Brigade began guarding Throgs Necks Road in Bronx.
1792 – First celebration of Columbus Day in the USA held in New York City.
1861 – The Confederate ironclad Manassas attacked the northern ship Richmond on the Mississippi River. The Manassas was the Confederacy‘s first operational ironclad. Originally a New England tugboat called the Enoch Train, the ship was refit with iron sheathing and an iron prow for ramming. The underpowered ship was used in defense of New Orleans, finally being dispatched by the Union warship Mississippi.
1862 – J.E.B. Stuart completed his “2nd ride around McClellan.” Following the September 17, 1862, Battle of Sharpsburg in Maryland, Gen. Robert E. Lee’s battered Confederate Army of Northern Virginia slipped back across the Potomac River and set up camp in the valleys of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains while it tried to reorganize and revitalize. Gen. George B. McClellan’s much larger Union Army of the Potomac had not been so badly hurt in the recent battle and probably could have destroyed Lee’s ragged army with a vigorous pursuit. Instead, McClellan kept his men in camps on the north side of the Potomac, citing the need to reorganize and recondition the force before following Lee into Virginia. Wanting to buy his army as much time to recuperate as possible, Lee summoned cavalry chief Gen. Jeb Stuart to headquarters on October 6 and proposed a cavalry raid into Pennsylvania. Lee needed information on enemy dispositions and intentions and wanted Stuart to destroy a vital Union railroad bridge at Chambersburg, PA, and then return with horses and supplies confiscated from the Pennsylvania countryside. This was just the type of daring, independent mission that Stuart loved to undertake. On the afternoon of October 9, three 600-man Confederate cavalry brigades gathered at Darkesville, VA, and rode northward, arriving at McCoy’s Ford on the Potomac River after dark. At dawn the next morning the raiders easily pushed back the Union pickets at the ford and continued northward through the rolling hills of Maryland’s panhandle, reaching Pennsylvania by 10:00am. Stuart had given strict orders that the property of Marylanders was to be protected, but upon entering Pennsylvania, Rebel troopers spread out over the countryside and began seizing horses. The “Dutch” German immigrant farmers were flabbergasted to find Confederate troopers rounding up their horses and stealing their newly harvested fodder. Stuart ordered his men not to seize the horses of female travelers they came across.
1862 – There was a skirmish at Monocacy, Maryland.
1870 – Gen. Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Va., at 63. General Robert Edward Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, dies peacefully at his home in Lexington, Virginia. He was 63 years old. Lee was born to Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee and Ann Carter Lee at Stratford Hall, Virginia, in 1807. His father served in the American Revolution under George Washington. Lee attended West Point and graduated second in his class in 1829. He did not earn a single demerit during his four years at the academy. Lee sided with the Confederacy and spent the first year of the war as an advisor to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. He assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia when Joseph Johnston was wounded in battle in May 1862. Over the next three years, Lee earned a reputation as one of the greatest military leaders in history for his use of brilliant tactics and battlefield leadership. His invasions of the north, at Antietam and Gettysburg, however, ended in defeat. After Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox in 1865, he returned to Richmond and an uncertain future. With his military career over, he accepted the presidency of Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. Under his leadership, the struggling institution’s enrollment increased from a few dozen to more than 300 students. He contributed to faculty stability, revamped the curriculum, and improved the physical condition of the campus. He also became a symbol of the defeated South, a dignified and stoic figure who was lionized by North and South alike. He suffered a stroke on September 28, 1870, and lingered for two weeks before passing. The school changed its name to Washington and Lee College soon after he died.
1871 – President Grant condemned the Ku Klux Klan.
1872 – Apache (Chiricahua) leader Cochise signed a peace treaty with General O.O. Howard in Arizona Territory.
1892 – The American Pledge of Allegiance was 1st recited in public schools to commemorate Columbus Day. Francis Bellamy, a Socialist and magazine editor of Rome, NY, wrote the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
1901 – President Theodore Roosevelt officially renames the “Executive Mansion” to the White House.
1914 – USS Jupiter (AC-3) is first Navy ship to complete transit of Panama Canal.
1917 – The 1st Marine Aviation Squadron and 1st Marine Aeronautic Company formed at Philadelphia.
1933 – The United States Army Disciplinary Barracks on Alcatraz Island, is acquired by the United States Department of Justice.
1942 – During World War II, President Roosevelt delivered one of his so-called “fireside chats” in which he recommended drafting 18- and 19-year-old men. 1942 – Japanese ships retreat after their defeat in the Battle of Cape Esperance with the Japanese commander, Aritomo Gotō dying from wounds suffered in the battle and two Japanese destroyers sunk by Allied air attack.
1942 – During World War II, Attorney General Francis Biddle announced that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens.
1943 – The U.S. Fifth Army began preparation for an assault crossing of the Volturno River in Italy. The enemy had no reason to suspect that a major battle was impending. Our customary night patrols worked their way down to the river, drawing an occasional burst of machinegun fire from the enemy bank or causing a nervous German outpost to shoot off a colored signal flare. This had been going on for days and signified nothing out of the ordinary to the enemy troops in their fox holes and gun emplacements. Back in our rear bivouac areas, it was a different story. Here was all the bustle and ordered confusion which accompany the movement of troops. Tank drivers warmed up their motors, engineers loaded rubber pontons onto trucks, artillerymen studied their fire plans, and long lines of infantrymen marched out to their forward assembly areas. The preparatory phase of the Volturno crossing was over; Fifth Army was ready to strike.
1944 – Aircraft from Carrier Task Force 38 attack Formosa.
1946 – Joseph W. Stilwell, US general in China, died. Gen. Joseph W. Stilwell, the man who commanded the U.S. and Chinese Nationalist resistance to Japanese incursions into China and Burma, dies today at age 63. Born March 19, 1883, in Palatka, Florida, and a graduate of the West Point Military Academy, Stilwell began distinguishing himself early in his career. In World War I, he served with the American Expeditionary Force in Europe, as well as in the Philippines. He was also a student of the Chinese language, which garnered him a position as military attache in Peking from 1935 to 1939. It was during the 1930s that Stilwell began to bond with the Chinese peasantry-and developed an infamous distrust, if not contempt, for Chinese political leadership. Known for his straight-talking manner and as a man who did not suffer fools gladly, he made no qualms about his dislike for Chinese Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek, who Stilwell considered corrupt and greedy (and whom he nicknamed “the Peanut”). Nevertheless, when World War II broke out, Stilwell reluctantly accepted Chiang’s offer to become commander of U.S. Army forces in China and Burma-as well as to become Chiang’s chief of staff. Stilwell also supervised the dispersion of American Land-Lease shipments to China, much-needed supplies for the war effort that Chiang wanted funneled through his office. Stilwell’s initial military operation, to keep open the Burma Road between India and China and to repel Japanese incursions into Burma, failed. The operation in Burma was so disastrous that Chinese forces under his command stopped taking orders. And as Allied supplies to China were being strangled (the Burma Road was the necessary shipping route), Stilwell and his forces were forced to retreat into India. “We got run out of Burma, and it is humiliating as hell,” the general later admitted. Further attempts by Stilwell to rally Chinese forces against the Japanese in both Burma and China were often thwarted by both Chiang, who was more concerned about the communist threat of Mao Tse-tung, and not allowing his ultimate authority to be usurped by the Americans, and the American Air Force, which, naturally, wanted to divert the war effort from the ground to the air. Stilwell did manage to lead Chinese divisions to retake Myitakyina, and its airfield, from Japanese control, rebuilding the Ledo Road, a military highway in India that led into Burma (the road was later renamed Stilwell Road). But conflicts with Chiang resulted in Stilwell’s removal in 1944. He then served as commander of the 10th Army on Okinawa, ultimately receiving the surrender of 100,000 Japanese troops in the Ryukyu Islands, in southern Japan. Stilwell finished off his career as commander of the 6th Army. The man who Gen. George C. Marshall declared “far-sighted” and “one of the exceptionally brilliant and cultured men in the Army…qualified for any command in peace or war,” died in San Francisco-with his nation at peace.
1950 – The battleship USS Missouri bombarded Chongjin.
1950 – The USS Pirate and USS Pledge were both destroyed by mines. The Pirate sank in four minutes with six killed and 43 wounded. The Pledge suffered seven killed in action and 36 wounded.
1950 – FEAF Combat Cargo Command began an airlift of ROK military supplies to Wonsan, which ROK forces had captured two days earlier. It also began transporting 600 tons of bridge sections to Kimpo airfield.
1953 – US and Greece signed a peace treaty that included US bases.
1957 – RADM Dufek arrives at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica to command Operation Deep Freeze III during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58.
1960 – Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev disrupted a U.N. General Assembly session by pounding his desk with a shoe during a dispute.
1964 – The Soviet Union launched a Voskhod space capsule with a three-man crew on the first manned mission involving more than one crew member.
1965 – End of Project Sealab II where teams of naval divers and scientists spent 15 days in Sealab moored 205 feet below surface near La Jolla, California.
1965 – First group of men commissioned into Navy Nurse Corps report for one month indoctrination to Naval Service; LTJG Jerry McClelland, ENS Charles Franklin, ENS Israel Miller, ENS Richard Gierman and ENS George Silver.
1966 – Operation “Teton,” RVN.
1967 – At a news conference, Secretary of State Dean Rusk makes controversial comments in which he says that congressional proposals for peace initiatives–a bombing halt or limitation, United Nations action, or a new Geneva conference–were futile because of Hanoi’s opposition. Without the pressure of the bombing, he asked, “Where would be the incentive for peace?” He added that the Vietnam War was a test of Asia’s ability to withstand the threat of “a billion Chinese…armed with nuclear weapons.” Critics claimed that he had invoked the familiar “yellow peril” of Chinese power.
1970 – President Richard Nixon announced the pullout of 40,000 more American troops in Vietnam by Christmas.
1972 – Forty six sailors are injured in a race riot involving more than 100 sailors on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk enroute to her station in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam. The incident broke out when a black sailor was summoned for questioning regarding an altercation that took place during the crew’s liberty in Subic Bay (in the Philippines). The sailor refused to make a statement and he and his friends started a brawl that resulted in sixty sailors being injured during the fighting. Eventually 26 men, all black, were charged with assault and rioting and were ordered to appear before a court-martial in San Diego. Four days later, a group of about 12 black sailors aboard the USS Hassayampa, a fleet oiler docked at Subic Bay, told ship’s officers that they would not sail with the ship when the ship put to sea. The group demanded the return of money that allegedly had been stolen from the wallet of one of the group. The ship’s leadership failed to act quickly enough to defuse the situation and later that day, a group of seven white sailors were set upon by the group and beaten. It took the arrival of a Marine detachment to restore order. Six black sailors were charged with assault and rioting. These incidents indicated the depth of the racial problems in the Navy. All of the services had experienced similar problems earlier, but the Navy had lagged behind the others in addressing the issues that contributed to the racial tensions that erupted on the Kitty Hawk and the Hassayampa. Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations, instituted new race relations programs and made significant changes to Naval Regulations to address many of the very real issues raised by the black sailors regarding racial injustice in the Navy.
1976 – Gerald Ford makes Washington “general with rank and precedence over all other generals.” Image: President Ford and Mrs. Thomas Turner Cooke, Regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.
1983 – Granada’s Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, a hardline Marxist, leads a coup that ousts Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Bishop and most of his cabinet will be executed a week later. The U.S. is concerned by increasingly close ties between Granada and Cuba as well as the construction of a 10,000-foot runway that could be used by Soviet and Cuban military and cargo aircraft.
1984 – IRA bombed the hotel where Margaret Thatcher was staying in Brighton. Thatcher escaped but five people were killed. Patrick McGee was sentenced to 8 life sentences for his role in the bombing. McGee was freed in 1999 as part of the Northern Ireland peace accord.
1986 – The superpower meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United States.
1993 – Hundreds of militant right-wingers in Haiti cheered as an American warship retreated in a major setback for a U.N. mission to restore democracy.
1993 – US soldiers wound two Somalis near K-4 traffic circle. GIs are fired on by small arms and RPG’s.
1994 – Panama granted political asylum to ousted Haitian military leader Raoul Cedras.
1994 – NASA loses radio contact with the Magellan spacecraft as the probe descends into the thick atmosphere of Venus (the spacecraft presumably burned up in the atmosphere).
1995 – After a 2-day delay, the US-brokered cease-fire in Bosnia-Herzegovina went into effect a minute after midnight. Fighting continued over contested towns in northwest Bosnia.
1997 – In the Republic of Congo Angolan troops backed the rebels in an offensive around southern cities. Rebels surrounded Brazzaville and Gen’l. Jean-Marie Tiaffou urged government troops to surrender. There were reports that Angola’s UNITA rebels were backing Pres. Lissouba.
1998 – Yugoslav Pres. Milosevic agreed to withdraw troops from Kosovo and allow international verification as NATO prepared to authorize air strikes if he does not comply.
2000 – Pres. Clinton lifted key economic sanctions against Serbia.
2000 – A US Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, refueling in Yemen suffered an enormous explosion in a terrorist attack. Initial reports had at least 6 sailors killed with 11 missing. The death toll was revised to 17. The 8,600-ton Cole was returned to the US aboard the Norwegian ship Blue Marlin. In 2001 a video tape by “Al-Sahab Productions” circulated among Muslim militants with footage of the bombed vessel. The Cole returned to active duty in 2003 following $250 million in repairs. Those killed: Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Kenneth Clodfelter, Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Francis, Information Systems Technician Seaman
Timothy Lee Gauna, Signalman Seaman Cherone Louis Gunn, Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, Engineman 2nd Class Marc Ian Nieto, Electronics Warfare Technician 2nd Class Ronald Owens, Seaman Lakiba Nicole Palmer, Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon Parlett, Fireman Patrick Howard Roy, Electronics Warfare Technician 1st Class Kevin Shawn Rux, Mess
Management Specialist 3rd Class Ronchester Santiago, Operations Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr., Ensign Andrew Triplett, Seaman Craig Bryan Wibberley.
2000 – In Chechnya a car bomb exploded outside a Grozny police stations and at least 10 people were killed.
2000 – In Ecuador suspected Columbian FARC guerrillas kidnapped 5 Americans and 5 other foreign oil workers, hijacked a helicopter, and crossed back to Columbia. It was later suspected that the kidnappers were Ecuadoran criminals rather than Colombian guerrillas. One American was later killed and 2 Frenchmen escaped.
2000 – The Palestinian Authority released hundreds of prisoners including senior Islamic militants.
2001 – Taliban leaders withdrew over $6 million from the Kabul Da Afghanistan Bank.
2001 – In Colombia AUC paramilitary shot and killed 5 men and 2 women in the town of Piamonte. The army reported that it had discovered14 bodies in a single grave in the town of Albania.
2001 – In Spain a bombing caused wide damage in Madrid. Basque separatists were suspected.
2001 – The US indicated it would aid Uzbekistan if it were attacked. Uzbekistan was the first among Central Asian nations to allow the US to use its airspace and deploy troops on its territory for the anti-terrorism war in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. The United States set up a military base in southern Uzbekistan, deploying hundreds of troops there.
2002 – In Indonesia a car bomb ripped through the Sari Club at the Kuta Beach resort packed with foreign tourists on the island of Bali, sparking a blaze that killed 202 people and injured 300 others. It was the worst terrorist act in Indonesia’s history. Authorities said a second bomb exploded near the island’s U.S. consular office. An estimated 100 victims were from Australia.
2002 – Kuwait’s interior minister said that 15 Kuwaitis in police custody had confessed to a deadly attack on U.S. Marines, but that no firm link has been established between them and al-Qaida.
2002 – Seven Filipino soldiers died and 25 others were wounded in a fierce clash with Muslim rebels deep in the jungle of southern Sulu island.
2003 – In Colombia government forces battled rebels and right-wing paramilitaries in several locations in heavy fighting that killed 27 gunmen and two soldiers.
2003 – In Baghdad a suicide attacker, stopped from reaching a hotel full of Americans, detonated his car bomb on a commercial avenue, killing six bystanders and wounding dozens.
2003 – In the Philippines Fathur Rohman Al-Ghozi, terrorist bombmaker for Jemaah Islamiyah, was killed in a shootout with police in Pigcauayan.
2003 – In northern Spain 2 bombs exploded in a parking lot, destroying 11 freight trucks. No one was injured in the blast blamed on the armed Basque separatist group ETA.
2004 – A videotape surfaced on the Internet showing what was said to be the confession and beheading of an Arab Shiite Muslim, presumably Iraqi, who was accused of serving the U.S. Army by “assassinating Sunni leaders.”
2010 – The trial of Ahmed Ghailani, the first Guantanamo Bay prisoner to face a criminal trial in the United States, begins in New York City. He was indicted in the United States as a participant in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. He was on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list from its inception in October 2001. In 2004, he was captured and detained by Pakistani forces in a joint operation with the United States, and was held until June 9, 2009, in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp; one of 14 Guantanamo detainees who had previously been held at secret locations abroad. Ghailani was transported from Guantanamo Bay to New York City to await trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in June 2009. On November 17, 2010, a jury found him guilty of one count of conspiracy, but acquitted him of 284 other charges including all murder counts. On Tuesday, January 25, 2011, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, the presiding judge in the case, sentenced Ahmed Ghailani, 36, to life in prison for the bombing, stating that any sufferings Ghailani experienced at the hands of the CIA or other agencies while in custody at Guantanamo Bay pales in comparison to the monumental tragedy of the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and left thousands injured or otherwise impacted by the crimes. The attacks were one of the deadliest non-wartime incidents of international terrorism to affect the United States; they were on a scale not surpassed until the September 11 attacks three years later.
2011 – Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian man also known as the “underwear bomber”, pleads guilty to attempting to blow up an airliner on Christmas Day 2009 in a trial in the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan. Abdulmutallab was convicted in a US federal court of eight criminal counts, including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted murder of 289 people. On 16 February 2012 he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
2014 – A Texas health care worker contracts Ebola. The health care worker is the first person to contract the disease in the United States of America, the first infection in the US to occur by secondary contact, and the second in the world sickened from exposure outside of the African continent. The health care worker, who was in full protective gear while providing hospital care for an Ebola patient who later died, tested positive for the virus and is in stable condition, health officials said Sunday. Meanwhile, a top federal health official said the health care worker’s Ebola diagnosis shows there was a clear breach of safety protocol and all those who treated Thomas Eric Duncan must considered to be potentially exposed.
Congressional Medal of Honor Citations for Actions Taken This Day
Rank and organization: Private, Company B, 13th Pennsylvania Cavalry. Place and date: At Jefferson, Va., 12 October 1863. Entered service at: Philadelphia, Pa. Born: 10 May 1844, Ireland. Date of issue: 23 January 1897. Citation: At the head of a detachment of his company dashed across an open field, exposed to a deadly fire from the enemy, and succeeded in dislodging them from an unoccupied house, which he and his comrades defended for several hours against repeated attacks, thus preventing the enemy from flanking the position of the Union forces.
*HERIOT, JAMES D.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company I, 118th Infantry, 30th Division. Place and date: At Vaux-Andigny, France, 12 October 1918. Entered service at: Providence, S.C. Birth: Providence, S.C. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919. Citation: Cpl. Heriot, with 4 other soldiers, organized a combat group and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest which had been inflicting heavy casualties on his company. In the advance 2 of his men were killed, and because of the heavy fire from all sides the remaining 2 sought shelter. Unmindful of the hazard attached to his mission, Cpl. Heriot, with fixed bayonet, alone charged the machinegun, making his way through the fire for a distance of 30 yards and forcing the enemy to surrender. During this exploit he received several wounds in the arm, and later in the same day, while charging another nest, he was killed.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 60th Infantry, 5th Division. Place and date: At Cunel, France, 12 October 1918. Entered service at: Bryantsburg, Ind. Birth: Jefferson County, Ind. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: While he was leading his company against the enemy, his line came under heavy machinegun fire, which threatened to hold up the advance. Followed by 2 soldiers at 25 yards, this officer went out ahead of his first line toward a machinegun nest and worked his way around its flank, leaving the 2 soldiers in front. When he got within 10 yards of the gun it ceased firing, and 4 of the enemy appeared, 3 of whom were shot by 1st Lt. Woodfill. The fourth, an officer, rushed at 1st Lt. Woodfill, who attempted to club the officer with his rifle. After a hand-to-hand struggle, 1st Lt. Woodfill killed the officer with his pistol. His company thereupon continued to advance, until shortly afterwards another machinegun nest was encountered. Calling on his men to follow, 1st Lt. Woodfill rushed ahead of his line in the face of heavy fire from the nest, and when several of the enemy appeared above the nest he shot them, capturing 3 other members of the crew and silencing the gun. A few minutes later this officer for the third time demonstrated conspicuous daring by charging another machinegun position, killing 5 men in one machinegun pit with his rifle. He then drew his revolver and started to jump into the pit, when 2 other gunners only a few yards away turned their gun on him. Failing to kill them with his revolver, he grabbed a pick lying nearby and killed both of them. Inspired by the exceptional courage displayed by this officer, his men pressed on to their objective under severe shell and machinegun fire.
*PENDLETON, JACK J.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 120th Infantry, 30th Infantry Division. Place and date: Bardenberg, Germany, 12 October 1944. Entered service at: Yakima, Wash. Birth: Sentinel Butte, N. Dak. G.O. No.: 24, 6 April 1945. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 12 October 1944. When Company I was advancing on the town of Bardenberg, Germany, they reached a point approximately two-thirds of the distance through the town when they were pinned down by fire from a nest of enemy machineguns. This enemy strong point was protected by a lone machinegun strategically placed at an intersection and firing down a street which offered little or no cover or concealment for the advancing troops. The elimination of this protecting machinegun was imperative in order that the stronger position it protected could be neutralized. After repeated and unsuccessful attempts had been made to knock out this position, S/Sgt. Pendleton volunteered to lead his squad in an attempt to neutralize this strongpoint. S/Sgt. Pendleton started his squad slowly forward, crawling about 10 yards in front of his men in the advance toward the enemy gun. After advancing approximately 130 yards under the withering fire, S/Sgt. Pendleton was seriously wounded in the leg by a burst from the gun he was assaulting. Disregarding his grievous wound, he ordered his men to remain where they were, and with a supply of handgrenades he slowly and painfully worked his way forward alone. With no hope of surviving the veritable hail of machinegun fire which he deliberately drew onto himself, he succeeded in advancing to within 10 yards of the enemy position when he was instantly killed by a burst from the enemy gun. By deliberately diverting the attention of the enemy machine gunners upon himself, a second squad was able to advance, undetected, and with the help of S/Sgt. Pendleton’s squad, neutralized the lone machinegun, while another platoon of his company advanced up the intersecting street and knocked out the machinegun nest which the first gun had been covering. S/Sgt. Pendleton’s sacrifice enabled the entire company to continue the advance and complete their mission at a critical phase of the action.
Rank and organization: Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy. Born: 10 August 1889, Indianapolis, Ind. Appointed from: Indiana. Citation: For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during action against enemy Japanese forces off Savo Island on the night of 11-12 October and again on the night of 12-13 November 1942. In the earlier action, intercepting a Japanese Task Force intent upon storming our island positions and landing reinforcements at Guadalcanal, Rear Adm. Scott, with courageous skill and superb coordination of the units under his command, destroyed 8 hostile vessels and put the others to flight. Again challenged, a month later, by the return of a stubborn and persistent foe, he led his force into a desperate battle against tremendous odds, directing close-range operations against the invading enemy until he himself was killed in the furious bombardment by their superior firepower. On each of these occasions his dauntless initiative, inspiring leadership and judicious foresight in a crisis of grave responsibility contributed decisively to the rout of a powerful invasion fleet and to the consequent frustration of a formidable Japanese offensive. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.
*COURSEN, SAMUEL S.
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company C 5th Cavalry Regiment. Place and date: Near Kaesong, Korea, 12 October 1950. Entered service at: Madison, N.J. Born: 4 August 1926 Madison, N.J. G.O. No.: 57, 2 August 1951. Citation: 1st Lt. Coursen distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While Company C was attacking Hill 174 under heavy enemy small-arms fire, his platoon received enemy fire from close range. The platoon returned the fire and continued to advance. During this phase 1 his men moved into a well-camouflaged emplacement, which was thought to be unoccupied, and was wounded by the enemy who were hidden within the emplacement. Seeing the soldier in difficulty he rushed to the man’s aid and, without regard for his personal safety, engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat in an effort to protect his wounded comrade until he himself was killed. When his body was recovered after the battle 7 enemy dead were found in the emplacement. As the result of 1st Lt. Coursen’s violent struggle several of the enemies’ heads had been crushed with his rifle. His aggressive and intrepid actions saved the life of the wounded man, eliminated the main position of the enemy roadblock, and greatly inspired the men in his command. 1st Lt. Coursen’s extraordinary heroism and intrepidity reflect the highest credit on himself and are in keeping with the honored traditions of the military service.
WEST, ERNEST E.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Sataeri, Korea, 12 October 1952. Entered service at: Wurtland Ky. Born: 2 September 1931, Russell, Ky. G.O. No.: 7, 29 January i954. Citation: Pfc. West distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. He voluntarily accompanied a contingent to locate and destroy a reported enemy outpost. Nearing the objective, the patrol was ambushed and suffered numerous casualties. Observing his wounded leader lying in an exposed position, Pfc. West ordered the troops to withdraw, then braved intense fire to reach and assist him. While attempting evacuation, he was attacked by 3 hostile soldiers employing grenades and small-arms fire. Quickly shifting his body to shelter the officer, he killed the assailants with his rifle, then carried the helpless man to safety. He was critically wounded and lost an eye in this action. but courageously returned through withering fire and bursting shells to assist the wounded. While evacuating 2 comrades, he closed with and killed 3 more of the foe. Pfc. West’s indomitable spirit, consummate valor, and intrepid actions inspired all who observed him, reflect the highest credit on himself, and uphold the honored traditions of the military service.
*PERKINS, WILLIAM THOMAS, JR.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Quang Tri Province, Republic of Vietnam, 12 October 1967. Entered service at: San Francisco, Calif. Born: 10 August 1947, Rochester, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a combat photographer attached to Company C. During Operation MEDINA, a major reconnaissance in force southwest of Quang Tri, Company C made heavy combat contact with a numerically superior North Vietnamese Army force estimated at from 2 to 3 companies. The focal point of the intense fighting was a helicopter landing zone which was also serving as the Command Post of Company C. In the course of a strong hostile attack, an enemy grenade landed in the immediate area occupied by Cpl. Perkins and 3 other marines. Realizing the inherent danger, he shouted the warning, “Incoming Grenade” to his fellow marines, and in a valiant act of heroism, hurled himself upon the grenade absorbing the impact of the explosion with his body, thereby saving the lives of his comrades at the cost of his life. Through his exceptional courage and inspiring valor in the face of certain death, Cpl. Perkins reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
* * * By virtue of a joint resolution of Congress, approved 12 October 1921, the Medal of Honor, emblem of highest ideals and virtues, is bestowed in the name of the Congress of the United States upon the unknown, unidentified Italian soldier to be buried in the National Monument to Victor Emanuel 11, in Rome.
Whereas the Congress has authorized the bestowal of the Congressional Medal of Honor upon unknown, unidentified British and French soldiers buried in Westminster Abbey, London, England, and the Arc de Triomphe, Paris, France, respectively, who fought beside our soldiers in the recent war, and
Whereas, animated by the same spirit of friendship toward the soldiers of Italy who also fought as comrades of the American soldiers during the World War, we desire to add whatever we can to the imperishable glory won by their deeds and to participate in paying tribute to their unknown dead: Now, therefore. be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he is hereby, authorized to bestow, with appropriate ceremonies, military and civil, the Congressional Medal of Honor upon the unknown, unidentified Italian soldier to be buried in the National Monument to Victor Emanuel 11, in Rome, Italy (A.G. 220.523) (War Department General Orders, No. 52, I Dec. 1922, Sec. II)