Bravio and the Hero Bar are proud to recognize the following outstanding individuals for their selfless commitment to their country and their fellow soldiers. Please take time to read, review, and reflect upon their outstanding character and legacies, and the traits of courage, dedication and patriotism we can all strive to emulate.


First Lieutenant, United States Army

Medal of Honor Recipient, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart (2)
*September 29, 1924 – June 1, 1999*

Medal of Honor Citation (Korea): 1st Lt. Burke, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Intense enemy fire had pinned down leading elements of his company committed to secure commanding ground when 1st Lt. Burke left the command post to rally and urge the men to follow him toward 3 bunkers impeding the advance. Dashing to an exposed vantage point he threw several grenades at the bunkers, then, returning for an Ml rifle and adapter, he made a lone assault, wiping out the position and killing the crew. Closing on the center bunker he lobbed grenades through the opening and, with his pistol, killed 3 of its occupants attempting to surround him. Ordering his men forward he charged the third emplacement, catching several grenades in midair and hurling them back at the enemy. Inspired by his display of valor his men stormed forward, overran the hostile position, but were again pinned down by increased fire. Securing a light machine gun and 3 boxes of ammunition, 1st Lt. Burke dashed through the impact area to an open knoll, set up his gun and poured a crippling fire into the ranks of the enemy, killing approximately 75. Although wounded, he ordered more ammunition, reloading and destroying 2 mortar emplacements and a machine gun position with his accurate fire. Cradling the weapon in his arms he then led his men forward, killing some 25 more of the retreating enemy and securing the objective. 1st Lt. Burke's heroic action and daring exploits inspired his small force of 35 troops. His unflinching courage and outstanding leadership reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

Burke retired as a Colonel, serving with distinction from 1943 to 1978 in the Army, including service in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was born in Tichnor, Arkansas, enlisted in the Army in 1943, and held a number of command positions. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

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Major, United States Air Force

Medal of Honor Recipient, Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star (3), Purple Heart
*December 1, 1920 – February 10, 1952*

Medal of Honor Citation (Korea): Maj. Davis distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. While leading a flight of 4 F-86 Saberjets on a combat aerial patrol mission near the Manchurian border, Maj. Davis' element leader ran out of oxygen and was forced to retire from the flight with his wingman accompanying him. Maj. Davis and the remaining F-86's continued the mission and sighted a formation of approximately 12 enemy MIG-15 aircraft speeding southward toward an area where friendly fighter-bombers were conducting low level operations against the Communist lines of communications. With selfless disregard for the numerical superiority of the enemy, Maj. Davis positioned his 2 aircraft, then dove at the MIG formation. While speeding through the formation from the rear he singled out a MIG-15 and destroyed it with a concentrated burst of fire. Although he was now under continuous fire from the enemy fighters to his rear, Maj. Davis sustained his attack. He fired at another MIG-15 which, bursting into smoke and flames, went into a vertical dive. Rather than maintain his superior speed and evade the enemy fire being concentrated on him, he elected to reduce his speed and sought out still a third MIG-15. During this latest attack his aircraft sustained a direct hit, went out of control, then crashed into a mountain 30 miles south of the Yalu River. Maj. Davis' bold attack completely disrupted the enemy formation, permitting the friendly fighter-bombers to successfully complete their interdiction mission. Maj. Davis, by his indomitable fighting spirit, heroic aggressiveness, and superb courage in engaging the enemy against formidable odds exemplified valor at its highest.

Davis was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, serving from 1942 to 1952 in both the Army Air Corps and Air Force. He was born in Dublin, Texas, graduated from Harding College, and joined the Army, receiving his wings in February 1943. During World War II, he flew in P-47 Thunderbolts and shot down seven Japanese planes. While in Korea, he had logged 14 victories and was the fourth-ranked ace at the time of his final mission. Lt. Colonel Davis was one of only seven pilots in the United States military to achieve ace status in two wars.

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Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient, Navy Cross, Silver Star (2), Distinguished Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (2), Bronze Star, Purple Heart
*January 13, 1915 – September 3, 2003*

Raymond Davis from Congressional Medal of Honor on Vimeo

Medal of Honor Citation(Korea): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, in action against enemy aggressor forces. Although keenly aware that the operation involved breaking through a surrounding enemy and advancing 8 miles along primitive icy trails in the bitter cold with every passage disputed by a savage and determined foe, Lt. Col. Davis boldly led his battalion into the attack in a daring attempt to relieve a beleaguered rifle company and to seize, hold, and defend a vital mountain pass controlling the only route available for 2 marine regiments in danger of being cut off by numerically superior hostile forces during their re-deployment to the port of Hungnam. When the battalion immediately encountered strong opposition from entrenched enemy forces commanding high ground in the path of the advance, he promptly spearheaded his unit in a fierce attack up the steep, ice-covered slopes in the face of withering fire and, personally leading the assault groups in a hand-to-hand encounter, drove the hostile troops from their positions, rested his men, and reconnoitered the area under enemy fire to determine the best route for continuing the mission. Always in the thick of the fighting Lt. Col. Davis led his battalion over 3 successive ridges in the deep snow in continuous attacks against the enemy and, constantly inspiring and encouraging his men throughout the night, brought his unit to a point within 1,500 yards of the surrounded rifle company by daybreak. Although knocked to the ground when a shell fragment struck his helmet and 2 bullets pierced his clothing, he arose and fought his way forward at the head of his men until he reached the isolated marines. On the following morning, he bravely led his battalion in securing the vital mountain pass from a strongly entrenched and numerically superior hostile force, carrying all his wounded with him, including 22 litter cases and numerous ambulatory patients. Despite repeated savage and heavy assaults by the enemy, he stubbornly held the vital terrain until the 2 regiments of the division had deployed through the pass and, on the morning of 4 December, led his battalion into Hagaru-ri intact. By his superb leadership, outstanding courage, and brilliant tactical ability, Lt. Col. Davis was directly instrumental in saving the beleaguered rifle company from complete annihilation and enabled the 2 marine regiments to escape possible destruction. His valiant devotion to duty and unyielding fighting spirit in the face of almost insurmountable odds enhance and sustain the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Davis retired as General, serving from 1938 until 1972, including action in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He was born in Fitzgerald, Georgia, and graduated from the Georgia School of Technology in 1938, and was also a member of the ROTC at Georgia Tech. Davis accepted an appointment as a Marine Second Lieutenant in June, 1938, serving with distinction throughout his career and becoming one of the most highly decorated soldiers in military history. For additional information,

Who’s Who in Marine Corps History: http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/HD/Whos_Who/Davis_RG.htm

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Airman Second Class, United States Air Force

Air Force Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (4), Airman's Medal, Purple Heart, Air Medal (14), Air Force Commendation Medal (3), Cheney Award
*June 5, 1947 – September 3, 1993*

Medal of Honor Citation (Vietnam): The President of the United States of America, authorized by Title 10, Section 8742, United States Code, awards the Air Force Cross to Airman Second Class Duane D. Hackney for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as a Pararescueman on an unarmed HH-3E Rescue Helicopter near Mu Gia Pass, North Vietnam, on 6 February 1967. On that date, Airman Hackney flew two sorties in a heavily defended hostile area. On the first sortie, despite the presence of armed forces known to be hostile, entrenched in the vicinity, Airman Hackney volunteered to be lowered into the jungle to search for the survivor. He searched until the controlling Search and Rescue agency ordered an evacuation of the rescue crew. On the second sortie, Airman Hackney located the downed pilot, who was hoisted into the helicopter. As the rescue crew departed the area, intense and accurate 37MM flak tore into the helicopter amidship, causing extensive damage and a raging fire aboard the craft. With complete disregard for his own safety, Airman Hackney fitted his parachute to the rescued man. In this moment of impending disaster, Airman Hackney chose to place his responsibility to the survivor above his own life. The courageous Pararescueman located another parachute for himself and had just slipped his arms through the harness when a second 37MM round struck the crippled aircraft, sending it out of control. The force of the explosion blew Airman Hackney through the open cargo door and, though stunned, he managed to deploy the unbuckled parachute and make a successful landing. He was later recovered by a companion helicopter. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Airman Hackney reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Hackney retired as Chief Master Sergeant, serving from 1965 to 1991, including action in Vietnam and Grenada. He was born in Flint, Michigan, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1965. He retired as the most decorated airman in USAF history, receiving 28 decorations for valor in combat and more than 70 awards and decorations total, and winner of the Cheney Award in 1967, given annually to a member of the Air Force for an act of valor, extreme fortitude, or self-sacrifice in a humanitarian interest performed in conjunction with an aircraft. He died tragically early of a heart attack, and his funeral procession was reported to be 5 miles long.

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Lieutenant, United States Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient
*June 11, 1921 – January 31, 1996*

Medal of Honor Citation (WWII): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of LCI (G) 449 operating as a unit of LCI (G) Group 8, during the preinvasion attack on Iwo Jima on 17 February 1945. Boldly closing the strongly fortified shores under the devastating fire of Japanese coastal defense guns, Lt. (then Lt. (j.g.)) Herring directed shattering barrages of 40mm. and 20mm. gunfire against hostile beaches until struck down by the enemy's savage counterfire which blasted the 449's heavy guns and whipped her decks into sheets of flame. Regaining consciousness despite profuse bleeding he was again critically wounded when a Japanese mortar crashed the conning station, instantly killing or fatally wounding most of the officers and leaving the ship wallowing without navigational control. Upon recovering the second time, Lt. Herring resolutely climbed down to the pilothouse and, fighting against his rapidly waning strength, took over the helm, established communication with the engineroom, and carried on valiantly until relief could be obtained. When no longer able to stand, he propped himself against empty shell cases and rallied his men to the aid of the wounded; he maintained position in the firing line with his 20mm. guns in action in the face of sustained enemy fire, and conned his crippled ship to safety. His unwavering fortitude, aggressive perseverance, and indomitable spirit against terrific odds reflect the highest credit upon Lt. Herring and uphold the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Herring retired as Lieutenant Commander, serving from 1942 to 1947 in the Navy. He was born in Roseboro, North Carolina, and graduated from Davidson College. Herring enlisted in the Navy in the spring of 1942, subsequently attending the Naval Reserve Midshipman School, earning his commission as an officer. He was assigned command of the infantry landing craft USS LCI(L)-449 and remained her commanding officer during the next year and a half, participating in the invasions of Kwajalein, Saipan, Tinian and Guam. Herring's ship was later refitted and re-designated a gunboat landing craft (LCI(G)-449), participating in the landing at Iwo Jima. After his Navy retirement, he returned to his hometown of Roseboro and pursued a successful business career.

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Gunnery Sergeant, United States Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient, Silver Star, Purple Heart (3)
*July 27, 1929 – November 12, 1993*

Medal of Honor Citation (Vietnam): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty. G/Sgt. Howard and his 18-man platoon were occupying an observation post deep within enemy-controlled territory. Shortly after midnight a Viet Cong force of estimated battalion size approached the marines' position and launched a vicious attack with small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. Reacting swiftly and fearlessly in the face of the overwhelming odds, G/Sgt. Howard skillfully organized his small but determined force into a tight perimeter defense and calmly moved from position to position to direct his men's fire. Throughout the night, during assault after assault, his courageous example and firm leadership inspired and motivated his men to withstand the unrelenting fury of the hostile fire in the seemingly hopeless situation. He constantly shouted encouragement to his men and exhibited imagination and resourcefulness in directing their return fire. When fragments of an exploding enemy grenade wounded him severely and prevented him from moving his legs, he distributed his ammunition to the remaining members of his platoon and proceeded to maintain radio communications and direct air strikes on the enemy with uncanny accuracy. At dawn, despite the fact that 5 men were killed and all but 1 wounded, his beleaguered platoon was still in command of its position. When evacuation helicopters approached his position, G/Sgt. Howard warned them away and called for additional air strikes and directed devastating small-arms fire and air strikes against enemy automatic weapons positions in order to make the landing zone as secure as possible. Through his extraordinary courage and resolute fighting spirit, G/Sgt. Howard was largely responsible for preventing the loss of his entire platoon. His valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit served to inspire the men of his platoon to heroic endeavor in the face of overwhelming odds, and reflect the highest credit upon G/Sgt. Howard, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service.

Howard retired as First Sergeant in 1977 after serving 27 years, including action in Korea and Vietnam. He was born in Burlington, Iowa, attended the University of Iowa for one year, and enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1950. Howard served with distinction in Korea and Vietnam, earning numerous medals. After his retirement, he became a counselor for the Veterans Administration in San Diego, California. In recognition of his meritorious service, a guided missile destroyer, the USS Howard, commissioned in 2001, was named in his honor. For additional information,

Who’s Who in Marine Corps History: http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/HD/Whos_Who/Howard_JE.htm

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Private, United States Army

Medal of Honor Recipient
*Born February 19, 1921*

George Sakato from Congressional Medal of Honor on Vimeo.

Medal of Honor Citation (WWII): Private George T. Sakato distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 29 October 1944, on hill 617 in the vicinity of Biffontaine, France. After his platoon had virtually destroyed two enemy defense lines, during which he personally killed five enemy soldiers and captured four, his unit was pinned down by heavy enemy fire. Disregarding the enemy fire, Private Sakato made a one-man rush that encouraged his platoon to charge and destroy the enemy strongpoint. While his platoon was reorganizing, he proved to be the inspiration of his squad in halting a counter-attack on the left flank during which his squad leader was killed. Taking charge of the squad, he continued his relentless tactics, using an enemy rifle and P-38 pistol to stop an organized enemy attack. During this entire action, he killed 12 and wounded two, personally captured four and assisted his platoon in taking 34 prisoners. By continuously ignoring enemy fire, and by his gallant courage and fighting spirit, he turned impending defeat into victory and helped his platoon complete its mission. Private Sakato's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

Sakato was born in Colton, California, and graduated from Redlands High School. He joined the military in 1942 after his family voluntarily moved to Arizona to avoid being placed in an internment camp following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Sakato thought at the time he was joining the Air Force but found instead that he was in the Army infantry. “America was my country too and I’m an American. So that’s why I volunteered, to show my loyalty to the United States”. The Army had created a “Nisei” (second generation Japanese American) 100th Infantry Battalion, part of its segregated (mostly Japanese American) 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The Battalion is the most decorated unit in American military history, proving the resolve and patriotic pride of its members. Sakato’s unit was involved in a battle to save the 141st Regiment, later to be known as the “Lost Battalion”. This was the 442nd’s most famous operation, although it came at a great cost of lives. According to official U.S. Army records, the operation is regarded as one of the 10 most ferocious battles in US Army history.

After the war, Sakato returned to his homeland, moving to Colorado, where he resides today.

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Staff Sergeant, United States Army

Medal of Honor Recipient, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star (3), Purple Heart, Air Medal, Combat Infantry Badge
*Born September 28, 1944*

Kenneth Stumpf from Congressional Medal of Honor on Vimeo.

Medal of Honor Citation (Vietnam): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Stumpf distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader of the 3d Platoon, Company C, on a search and destroy mission. As S/Sgt. Stumpf's company approached a village, it encountered a North Vietnamese rifle company occupying a well fortified bunker complex. During the initial contact, 3 men from his squad fell wounded in front of a hostile machinegun emplacement. The enemy's heavy volume of fire prevented the unit from moving to the aid of the injured men, but S/Sgt. Stumpf left his secure position in a deep trench and ran through the barrage of incoming rounds to reach his wounded comrades. He picked up 1 of the men and carried him back to the safety of the trench. Twice more S/Sgt. Stumpf dashed forward while the enemy turned automatic weapons and machineguns upon him, yet he managed to rescue the remaining 2 wounded squad members. He then organized his squad and led an assault against several enemy bunkers from which continuously heavy fire was being received. He and his squad successfully eliminated 2 of the bunker positions, but one to the front of the advancing platoon remained a serious threat. Arming himself with extra handgrenades, S/Sgt. Stumpf ran over open ground, through a volley of fire directed at him by a determined enemy, toward the machinegun position. As he reached the bunker, he threw a handgrenade through the aperture. It was immediately returned by the occupants, forcing S/Sgt. Stumpf to take cover. Undaunted, he pulled the pins on 2 more grenades, held them for a few seconds after activation, then hurled them into the position, this time successfully destroying the emplacement. With the elimination of this key position, his unit was able to assault and overrun the enemy. S/Sgt. Stumpf's relentless spirit of aggressiveness, intrepidity, and ultimate concern for the lives of his men, are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.

For additional information on this battle, visit http://www.cacti35th.org/regiment/history/other/stumpfsrevenge.htm

Stumpf retired as Sergeant Major, serving with distinction from 1965 to 1994 in the Army. He was born in Neenah, Wisconsin. Stumpf currently resides in Wisconsin, having raised a successful family, and proudly serves in a number of advisory roles for various organizations.

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Kenneth Ambrose Walsh

Lieutenant Colonel, United States Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient, Distinguished Flying Cross with 6 Gold Stars
*November 24, 1916 – July 30, 1998*

Medal of Honor Citation (WWII): For extraordinary heroism and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty as a pilot in Marine Fighting Squadron 124 in aerial combat against enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area. Determined to thwart the enemy's attempt to bomb Allied ground forces and shipping at Vella Lavella on 15 August 1943, 1st Lt. Walsh repeatedly dived his plane into an enemy formation outnumbering his own division 6 to 1 and, although his plane was hit numerous times, shot down 2 Japanese dive bombers and 1 fighter. After developing engine trouble on 30 August during a vital escort mission, 1st Lt. Walsh landed his mechanically disabled plane at Munda, quickly replaced it with another, and proceeded to rejoin his flight over Kahili. Separated from his escort group when he encountered approximately 50 Japanese Zeros, he unhesitatingly attacked, striking with relentless fury in his lone battle against a powerful force. He destroyed 4 hostile fighters before cannon shellfire forced him to make a dead-stick landing off Vella Lavella where he was later picked up. His valiant leadership and his daring skill as a flier served as a source of confidence and inspiration to his fellow pilots and reflect the highest credit upon the U.S. Naval Service.

Walsh retired as Lieutenant Colonel in 1962, having served with distinction in the Marine Corps since enlisting in 1933. He was involved in wartime action in both World War II and Korea. Walsh was born in Brooklyn, New York. He was one of the most successful aces of World War II in the South Pacific, scoring all 21 victories in the Corsair F4U fighter. In the six months surrounding his Medal of Honor battles, while successfully shooting down numerous Japanese aircraft, he also survived an amazing 3 water landings after his fighters sustained air combat damage. For additional information,

Who’s Who in Marine Corps History: http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/HD/Whos_Who/Walsh_KA.htm

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Captain, United States Air Force

Medal of Honor Recipient, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart
*July 26, 1933 – February 24, 1967*

Medal of Honor Citation (Vietnam): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. As a forward air controller Capt. Wilbanks was pilot of an unarmed, light aircraft flying visual reconnaissance ahead of a South Vietnam Army Ranger Battalion. His intensive search revealed a well-concealed and numerically superior hostile force poised to ambush the advancing rangers. The Viet Cong, realizing that Capt. Wilbanks' discovery had compromised their position and ability to launch a surprise attack, immediately fired on the small aircraft with all available firepower. The enemy then began advancing against the exposed forward elements of the ranger force which were pinned down by devastating fire. Capt. Wilbanks recognized that close support aircraft could not arrive in time to enable the rangers to withstand the advancing enemy onslaught. With full knowledge of the limitations of his unarmed, unarmored, light reconnaissance aircraft, and the great danger imposed by the enemy's vast firepower, he unhesitatingly assumed a covering, close support role. Flying through a hail of withering fire at treetop level, Capt. Wilbanks passed directly over the advancing enemy and inflicted many casualties by firing his rifle out of the side window of his aircraft. Despite increasingly intense antiaircraft fire, Capt. Wilbanks continued to completely disregard his own safety and made repeated low passes over the enemy to divert their fire away from the rangers. His daring tactics successfully interrupted the enemy advance, allowing the rangers to withdraw to safety from their perilous position. During his final courageous attack to protect the withdrawing forces, Capt. Wilbanks was mortally wounded and his bullet-riddled aircraft crashed between the opposing forces. Capt. Wilbanks' magnificent action saved numerous friendly personnel from certain injury or death. His unparalleled concern for his fellow man and his extraordinary heroism were in the highest traditions of the military service, and have reflected great credit upon himself and the U.S. Air Force.

Wilbanks served from 1950 to 1967 in the Air Force. He was born in Cornelia, Georgia, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1950. Wilbanks received his pilot wings and officer’s commission in 1955. While in Vietnam, he was a Forward Air Controller, flying the Cessna O-1E Bird Dog, with a top speed of about 105 mph. Wilbanks flew a total of 488 reconnaissance missions. He was inducted into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001, and a memorial monument in his honor was erected in Cornelia.

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Boatswain's Mate First Class, United States Navy

Medal of Honor Recipient, Navy Cross, Silver Star(2), Legion of Merit, Navy and Marine Corps Medal (2), Bronze Star (3), Purple Heart (3)
*June 13, 1930 – October 13, 1999*

Medal of Honor Citation (Vietnam): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. PO1c. Williams was serving as Boat Captain and Patrol Officer aboard River Patrol Boat (PBR) 105 accompanied by another patrol boat when the patrol was suddenly taken under fire by 2 enemy sampans. PO1c. Williams immediately ordered the fire returned, killing the crew of 1 enemy boat and causing the other sampan to take refuge in a nearby river inlet. Pursuing the fleeing sampan, the U.S. patrol encountered a heavy volume of small-arms fire from enemy forces, at close range, occupying well-concealed positions along the river bank. Maneuvering through this fire, the patrol confronted a numerically superior enemy force aboard 2 enemy junks and 8 sampans augmented by heavy automatic weapons fire from ashore. In the savage battle that ensued, PO1c. Williams, with utter disregard for his safety exposed himself to the withering hail of enemy fire to direct counter-fire and inspire the actions of his patrol. Recognizing the overwhelming strength of the enemy force, PO1c. Williams deployed his patrol to await the arrival of armed helicopters. In the course of his movement his discovered an even larger concentration of enemy boats. Not waiting for the arrival of the armed helicopters, he displayed great initiative and boldly led the patrol through the intense enemy fire and damaged or destroyed 50 enemy sampans and 7 junks. This phase of the action completed, and with the arrival of the armed helicopters, PO1c. Williams directed the attack on the remaining enemy force. Now virtually dark, and although PO1c. Williams was aware that his boats would become even better targets, he ordered the patrol boats' search lights turned on to better illuminate the area and moved the patrol perilously close to shore to press the attack. Despite a waning supply of ammunition the patrol successfully engaged the enemy ashore and completed the rout of the enemy force. Under the leadership of PO1c. Williams, who demonstrated unusual professional skill and indomitable courage throughout the 3 hour battle, the patrol accounted for the destruction or loss of 65 enemy boats and inflicted numerous casualties on the enemy personnel. His extraordinary heroism and exemplary fighting spirit in the face of grave risks inspired the efforts of his men to defeat a larger enemy force, and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

For more information, visit http://www.pbr105.com/river.html

Williams retired as Chief Boatswain’s Mate, serving with distinction from 1947 to 1967. He was the most highly decorated enlisted man in the history of the Navy. He was born in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and enlisted in the Navy in 1947 out of high school. Williams saw combat action in both Korea and Vietnam. After his retirement from the Navy, he spent most of his remaining years serving as a US Marshal. In his honor, the Navy commissioned a destroyer, the USS James E. Williams, in 2004.

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Corporal, United States Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient, Purple Heart
*Born October 2, 1923*

Williams, Hershel from Congressional Medal of Honor on Vimeo

Medal of Honor Citation (WWII): For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with the 21st Marines, 3d Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 23 February 1945. Quick to volunteer his services when our tanks were maneuvering vainly to open a lane for the infantry through the network of reinforced concrete pillboxes, buried mines, and black volcanic sands, Cpl. Williams daringly went forward alone to attempt the reduction of devastating machinegun fire from the unyielding positions. Covered only by 4 riflemen, he fought desperately for 4 hours under terrific enemy small-arms fire and repeatedly returned to his own lines to prepare demolition charges and obtain serviced flamethrowers, struggling back, frequently to the rear of hostile emplacements, to wipe out 1 position after another. On 1 occasion, he daringly mounted a pillbox to insert the nozzle of his flamethrower through the air vent, killing the occupants and silencing the gun; on another he grimly charged enemy riflemen who attempted to stop him with bayonets and destroyed them with a burst of flame from his weapon. His unyielding determination and extraordinary heroism in the face of ruthless enemy resistance were directly instrumental in neutralizing one of the most fanatically defended Japanese strong points encountered by his regiment and aided vitally in enabling his company to reach its objective. Cpl. Williams' aggressive fighting spirit and valiant devotion to duty throughout this fiercely contested action sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

When the battle of Iwo Jima ended, 262 of the 279 Marines in Williams' company had been seriously wounded or killed. Williams served for 17 years during 3 separate occasions in the Marine Corps between 1943 and 1969, and retired as Chief Warrant Officer-4. He was born in Fairmont, West Virginia. Upon his retirement from the Marines, Williams spent 35 years as a chaplain for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, helping mentor and support other soldiers. For additional information,

Who’s Who in Marine Corps History: http://www.tecom.usmc.mil/HD/Whos_Who/Williams_HW.htm

Also: http://www.pritzkermilitarylibrary.org/events/2008/01-24-hershel-williams.jsp

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Over the next few months, Bravio will develop additional stories of valor for the Hero Bar and this website. Please check back often.