Our Mission

The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center works to memorialize the history of our nation’s highest military award for valor, from the First Medals in 1863 to the present, and will educate future generations of Americans about the six character traits associated
with their gallantry.

"Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."
– Abraham Lincoln

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation to create the Navy Medal of Honor and, a year later, the Army Medal of Honor. On March 25, 1863, the first Medals of Honor were presented to six surviving members of Andrews' Raiders for their acts of valor near Chattanooga, Tenn. – the birthplace of the Medal of Honor.

The history of

The Medal of Honor

begins in Chattanooga

On March 25, our country observes National Medal of Honor Day, a solemn annual recognition of more than 3,500 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines whose service to our nation has been distinguished through extraordinary heroism and sacrifice. It was on this date in 1863 that the first Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award, was presented to Private Jacob Parrott for his part in the “The Great Locomotive Chase” that ended just outside of Chattanooga. Ultimately, 19 of the 24 members of Andrews’ Raiders were awarded the Medal of Honor for their incredible acts of valor on April 12, 1862. In that same year, the Chattanooga area would become hallowed ground where 33 additional Medals of Honor were awarded – from the blood-soaked fields of Chickamauga to Missionary Ridge to the stirring site of the Battle Above the Clouds on Lookout Mountain.

These acts of valor created an important heritage that has been entrusted to Chattanooga to preserve as the Birthplace of the Medal of Honor.

These and many other undeniable historic connections are why Chattanooga is the ideal location for the definitive National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. With your support, we are building a lasting tribute to our nation’s highest award for valor – a tribute that reverently underscores both the history of the Medal and the sacrifices of the approximately 3,500 honorees.

Our Medal of Honor Story is a National Story

The Campaign to Build a First-Class Immersive Experience on The Heritage

While the Medal of Honor Heritage starts in Chattanooga, it’s story is one that resonates nationwide. The National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is dedicated to connecting people with this important history. As an engaging storyteller, we have designed our 19,000-sq.-ft. facility to feature life-sized exhibits that tell the real-life stories of these ordinary people who demonstrated extraordinary heroics under the most difficult circumstances while educating future generations about the six character traits that embody their gallantry – Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice and Commitment.

We invite you to watch our design simulation video to see how each of our immersive exhibits will use innovative technologies to combine the sights and sounds of the Medal of Honor narratives with a vibrancy and immediacy of what happened on that day. As a result, we hope to create an emotional engagement and a more profound, memorable experience for our visitors.

Scheduled to open in Feb. 2020, the Heritage Center will serve as a lasting tribute to the recipients of the first Medals of Honor and all recipients since. To learn how you can get involved and support this endeavor, please send an email to or call (423) 405-3677.

They served us.

It’s our duty to serve them

Please join our effort to realize the vision of the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center and build at a vibrant site within the heart of its heritage.

Where education


The National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is dedicated to creating long-lasting cultural and societal change beginning with the leaders of tomorrow. Through an award-winning curriculum and dedicated staff and volunteers, the Heritage Center reinforces the common character traits that embody Medal of Honor recipients – Patriotism, Citizenship, Courage, Integrity, Sacrifice and Commitment.

As leading authorities on Medal of Honor and its important history, the Heritage Center works to educate and inspire thousands of people each year through our character education efforts in public schools, community recreational centers and other community organizations. The Heritage Centers strives to create an inspirational environment that empowers students to strive for these exemplary character attributes every day and change the course of history. While only some will significantly impact our nation’s future, all can find ways to improve our society by collectively promoting lasting change for our future.

To learn more about holding the Medal of Honor Character Development Program in your school or community group, please send an email to for additional information or call (423) 405-3677.

Medal of Honor Character Development Program: Educating the Next Generation


A Celebration of Valor

Thank you for being a part of the 2019 Celebration of Valor luncheon. Due to the tireless efforts of our planning committee and the incredible support from our community, our annual fundraiser was a great success and raised more than $250,000 towards our mission to memorialize the acts of valor demonstrated by the recipients of our highest military award – the Medal of Honor – and educate the next generation about the character traits associated with their gallantry, from the First Medals forward.

If you missed the luncheon, we invite you to watch our annual mission video to learn about our efforts to shape the lives of the next generation while preparing to open the doors for the new National Medal of Honor Heritage Center in February 2020.

Plans are already underway for the 2020 Celebration of Valor. Please check back for additional information on how you can get involved in and support this special tribute to our military heroes and all veterans who, through their service, paid for the freedoms we all enjoy today. If you have an immediate request, please send an email to or call (423) 405-3677.

Benton Sporting Clays

September 5, 2019.
5244 Upper River Rd, Charleston, TN 37310

Sponsorships Available

Four-person Team: $2,000

Morning Flight: 9:00 a.m.
Lunch: Noon
Afternoon Flight: 1:00 p.m.

Included with your entry:

  • Prizes for Top Shooters
  • Ammo & Earplugs
  • Great Goodie Bag

For more information on the clay tournament, please contact Jules Parker at

National Medal of Honor

The Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center pays tribute to the nearly 3,500 recipients of our nation’s highest military award, including 32 from right here in Tennessee.

Joseph B. Adkinson

U.S. Army- Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1918 Organization: Company C, 119th Infantry, 30th Division Conflict: World War One Born: Egypt, TN

Joseph B. Adkinson's Medal of Honor Citation

When murderous machine-gun fire at a range of 50 yards had made it impossible for his platoon to advance and had caused the platoon to take cover, Sgt. Adkinson alone, with the greatest intrepidity, rushed across the 50 yards of open ground directly into the face of the hostile machine gun, kicked the gun from the parapet into the enemy trench, and at the point of the bayonet captured the three men manning the gun. The gallantry and quick decision of this soldier enabled the platoon to resume its advance.

Robert Earl Bonney

U.S. Navy- Chief Watertender (highest rank: Chief Machinist Warrant Officer)

Year of Honor: 1910 Organization:U.S.S. Hopkins Conflict: Interim Born: Maryville, Tennessee

Robert Earl Bonney Medal of Honor Citation

While serving on board the U.S.S. Hopkins, Bonney displayed extraordinary heroism in the line of his profession on the occasion of the accident to one of the boilers of that vessel, 14 February 1910.

Charles Cantrell

U.S. Army- Private

Year of Honor: 1898 Organization: Company F, 10th U.S. Infantry Conflict: War with Spain Born: Smithville, TN

Charles Cantrell's Medal of Honor Citation

Gallantly assisted in the rescue of the wounded from in front of the lines and under heavy fire from the enemy.

Josephus Samuel Cecil

U.S. Army- First Lieutenant (highest rank: Colonel)

Year of Honor: 1906 Organization: 19th U.S. Infantry Conflict: Philippine Insurrection Born: New River, TN

Joseph Samuel Cecil's Medal of Honor Citation

While at the head of the column about to assault the first cotta under a superior fire at short-range, personally carried to a sheltered position a wounded man and the body of one who was killed beside him.

Harrison Collins

U.S. Army- Corporal (highest rank: Sergeant)

Year of Honor: 1864 Organization: Company A, 1st Tennessee Cavalry Conflict: Civil War Born: Hawkins County, Tennessee

Harrison Collins' Medal of Honor Citation

Awarded for capture of flag of Chalmer's Division (C.S.A.). Collins saw the Confederate standard bearer, under the direction of a major, trying to rally his troops. Collins led a charge to kill the major, capture the flag and route the enemy.

Raymond Cooley

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1945 Organization: Company B, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division Conflict: World War Two Born: Dunlap, TN

Raymond Cooley's Medal of Honor Citation

He was a platoon guide in an assault on a camouflaged entrenchment defended by machine guns, rifles, and mortars. When his men were pinned down by two enemy machine guns, he voluntarily advanced under heavy fire to within 20 yards of one of the guns and attacked it with a hand grenade. The enemy, however, threw the grenade back at him before it could explode. Arming a second grenade, he held it for several seconds of the safe period and then hurled it into the enemy position, where it exploded instantaneously, destroying the gun and crew. He then moved toward the remaining gun, throwing grenades into enemy foxholes as he advanced. Inspired by his actions, one squad of his platoon joined him. After he had armed another grenade and was preparing to throw it into the second machine-gun position, six enemy soldiers rushed at him. Knowing he could not dispose of the armed grenade without injuring his comrades, because of the intermingling in close combat of the men of his platoon and the enemy in the melee which ensued, he deliberately covered the grenade with his body and was severely wounded as it exploded. By his heroic actions, SSgt. Cooley not only silenced a machine gun and so inspired his fellow soldiers that they pressed the attack and destroyed the remaining enemy emplacements, but also, in complete disregard of his own safety, accepted certain injury and possible loss of life to avoid wounding his comrades.

Charles H. Coolidge

U.S. Army- Technical Sergeant (highest rank: Sergeant First Class)

Year of Honor: 1944 Organization: 2d Platoon, Company M, 3d Battalion, 141st Infantry, 36th Infantry Division Conflict: World War Two Born: Signal Mountain, Hamilton County, Tennessee

Charles H. Coolidge's Medal of Honor Citation

Leading a section of heavy machine guns supported by one platoon of Company K, he took a position near Hill 623, east of Belmont-sur-Buttant, France, 24 October 1944, with the mission of covering the right flank of the 3d Battalion and supporting its action. TSgt. Coolidge went forward with a sergeant of Company K to reconnoiter positions for coordinating the fires of the light and heavy machine guns. They ran into an enemy force in the woods estimated to be an infantry company. TSgt. Coolidge, attempting to bluff the Germans by a show of assurnace and boldness, called upon them to surrender, whereupon the enemy opened fire. With his carbine, TSgt. Coolidge wounded two of them. There being no officer present with the force, TSgt. Coolidge at once assumed command. Many of the men were replacements recently arrived; this was their first experience under fire. TSgt. Coolidge, unmindful of the enemy fire delivered at close range, walked along the position, calming and encouraging his men and directing their fire. The attack was thrown back. Through 24 and 26 October the enemy launched repeated attacks against the position of this combat group but each was repulsed due to TSgt. Coolidge's able leadership. On 27 October, German infantry, supported by two tanks, made a determined attack on the position. The area was swept by enemy small-arms, machine-gun, and tank fire. TSgt. Coolidge armed himself with a bazooka and advanced within 25 yards of the tanks. His bazooka failed to function and he threw it aside. Securing all the hand grenades he could carry, he crawled forward and inflicted heavy casualties on the advancing enemy. Finally it became apparent that the enemy, in greatly superior force, supported by tanks, would overrun the position. TSgt. Coolidge, displaying great coolness and courage, directed and conducted an orderly withdrawal, being himself the last to leave the position. As a result of TSgt. Coolidge's heroic and superior leadership, the mission of his combat group was accomplished throughout four days of continuous fighting against numerically superior enemy troops in rain and cold and amid dense woods.

Ray Eugene Duke

U.S. Army- Sergeant First Class (highest rank: Master Sergeant)

Year of Honor: 1951 Organization: Company C, 21st Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division Conflict: Korean War Born: Whitwell, TN

Ray Eugene Duke's Medal of Honor Citation

Sfc. Duke, a member of Company C, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Upon learning that several of his men were isolated and heavily engaged in an area yielded by his platoon when ordered to withdraw, he led a small force in a daring assault which recovered the position and the beleaguered men. Another enemy attack in strength resulted in numerous casualties but Sfc. Duke, although wounded by mortar fragments, calmly moved along his platoon line to coordinate fields of fire and urge his men to hold firm in the bitter encounter. Wounded a second time, he received first aid and returned to his position. When the enemy again attacked shortly after dawn, despite his wounds, Sfc. Duke repeatedly braved withering fire to ensure maximum defense of each position. Threatened with annihilation and with mounting casualties, the platoon was again ordered to withdraw when Sfc. Duke was wounded a third time in both legs and was unable to walk. Realizing that he was impeding the progress of two comrades who were carrying him from the hill, he urged them to leave him and seek safety. He was last seen pouring devastating fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants. The consummate courage, superb leadership, and heroic actions of Sfc. Duke, displayed during intensive action against overwhelming odds, reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

James Alton Gardner

U.S. Army- First Lieutenant

Year of Honor: 1966 Organization: Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 327th Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division Conflict: Vietnam War Born: Dyersburg, TN

James Alton Gardner's Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Gardner's platoon was advancing to relieve a company of the 1st Battalion that had been pinned down for several hours by a numerically superior enemy force in the village of My Canh, Vietnam. The enemy occupied a series of strongly fortified bunker positions which were mutually supporting and expertly concealed. Approaches to the position were well-covered by an integrated pattern of fire including automatic weapons, machine guns, and mortars. Air strikes and artillery placed on the fortifications had little effect. 1st Lt. Gardner's platoon was to relieve the friendly company by encircling and destroying the enemy force. Even as it moved to begin the attack, the platoon was under heavy enemy fire. During the attack, the enemy fire intensified. Leading the assault and disregarding his own safety, 1st Lt. Gardner charged through a withering hail of fire across an open rice paddy. On reaching the first bunker he destroyed it with a grenade and without hesitation dashed to the second bunker and eliminated it by tossing a grenade inside. Then, crawling swiftly along the dike of a rice paddy, he reached the third bunker. Before he could arm a grenade, the enemy gunner leaped forth, firing at him. 1st Lt. Gardner instantly returned the fire and killed the enemy gunner at a distance of six feet. Following the seizure of the main enemy position, he reorganized the platoon to continue the attack. Advancing to the new assault position, the platoon was pinned down by an enemy machine gun emplaced in a fortified bunker. 1st Lt. Gardner immediately collected several grenades and charged the enemy position, firing his rifle as he advanced to neutralize the defenders. He dropped a grenade into the bunker and vaulted beyond. As the bunker blew up, he came under fire again. Rolling into a ditch to gain cover, he moved toward the new source of fire. Nearing the position, he leaped from the ditch and advanced with a grenade in one hand and firing his rifle with the other. He was gravely wounded just before he reached the bunker, but with a last valiant effort he staggered forward and destroyed the bunker, and its defenders, with a grenade. Although he fell dead on the rim of the bunker, his extraordinary actions so inspired the men of his platoon that they resumed the attack and completely routed the enemy. 1st Lt. Gardner's conspicuous gallantry were in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army.

George Lewis Gillespie Jr

U.S. Army- First Lieutenant (highest rank: Major General)

Year of Honor: 1864 Organization: Corps of Engineers Conflict: Civil War Born: Kingston, TN

George Lewis Gillespie Jr's Medal of Honor Citation

Exposed himself to great danger by voluntarily making his way through the enemy's lines to communicate with Gen. Sheridan. While rendering this service he was captured, but escaped; again came in contact with the enemy, was again ordered to surrender, but escaped by dashing away under fire.

Alan James Greer

U.S. Army- Second Lieutenant (highest rank: Lieutenant Colonel)

Year of Honor: 1901 Organization: 4th U.S. Infantry Conflict: Philippine Insurrection Born: Memphis, TN

Alan James Greer's Medal of Honor Citation

Charged alone an insurgent outpost with his pistol, killing one, wounding two, and capturing three insurgents with their rifles and equipment.

Bolden Reush Harrison

U.S. Navy- Seaman highest rank: Coxswain

Year of Honor: 1898 Organization: U.S.S. Pampang Conflict: Action Against Outlaws - Philippines Born: Savannah, TN

Bolden Reush Harrison's Medal of Honor Citation

While attached to the U.S.S. Pampang, Harrison was one of a shore party moving in to capture Mundang, on the island of Basilan, P.I., 24 September 1911. Harrison instantly responded to the calls for help when the advance scout party investigating a group of nipa huts close to the trail was suddenly taken under point-blank fire and rushed by approximately 20 enemy Moros attacking from inside the huts and from other concealed positions. Armed with a double-barreled shotgun, he concentrated his blasting fire on the outlaws, destroying three of the Moros and assisting in the rout of the remainder. By his aggressive charging of the enemy under heavy fire and in the face of great odds, Harrison contributed materially to the success of the engagement.

Paul B. Huff

U.S. Army-" to "Corporal (highest rank: Command Sergeant Major)

Year of Honor: 1944 Organization: 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, 101st Airborne Division Conflict: World War Two Born: Cleveland, Tennessee

Paul B. Huff's Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, in action on 8 February 1944, near Carano, Italy. Cpl. Huff volunteered to lead a six-man patrol with the mission of determining the location and strength of an enemy unit which was delivering fire on the exposed right flank of his company. The terrain over which he had to travel consisted of exposed, rolling ground, affording the enemy excellent visibility. As the patrol advanced, its members were subjected to small-arms and machine-gun fire and a concentration of mortar fire, shells bursting within 5 to 10 yards of them and bullets striking the ground at their feet. Moving ahead of his patrol, Cpl. Huff drew fire from three enemy machine guns and a 20-mm weapon. Realizing the danger confronting his patrol, he advanced alone under deadly fire through a minefield and arrived at a point within 75 yards of the nearest machine-gun position. Under direct fire from the rear machine gun, he crawled the remaining 75 yards to the closest emplacement, killed the crew with his submachine gun, and destroyed the gun. During this act he fired from a kneeling position which drew fire from other positions, enabling him to estimate correctly the strength and location of the enemy. Still under concentrated fire, he returned to his patrol and led his men to safety. As a result of the information he gained, a patrol in strength sent out that afternoon, one group under the leadership of Cpl. Huff, succeeded in routing an enemy company of 125 men, killing 27 Germans, and capturing 21 others, with a loss of only three patrol members. Cpl. Huff's intrepid leadership and daring combat skill reflect the finest traditions of the American infantryman.

Don Jenkins

U.S. Army- Private First Class (highest rank: Staff Sergeant)

Year of Honor: 1969 Organization: Company A, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division Conflict: Vietnam War Born: Quality, Kentucky

Don Jenkins' Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. S/Sgt. Jenkins (then Pfc.), Company A, distinguished himself while serving as a machine gunner on a reconnaissance mission. When his company came under heavy crossfire from an enemy complex, S/Sgt. Jenkins unhesitatingly maneuvered forward to a perilously exposed position and began placing suppressive fire on the enemy. When his own machine gun jammed, he immediately obtained a rifle and continued to fire into the enemy bunkers until his machine gun was made operative by his assistant. He exposed himself to extremely heavy fire when he repeatedly both ran and crawled across open terrain to obtain resupplies of ammunition until he had exhausted all that was available for his machine gun. Displaying tremendous presence of mind, he then armed himself with two antitank weapons and, by himself, maneuvered through the hostile fusillade to within 20 meters of an enemy bunker to destroy that position. After moving back to the friendly defensive perimeter long enough to secure yet another weapon, a grenade launcher, S/Sgt. Jenkins moved forward to a position providing no protection and resumed placing accurate fire on the enemy until his ammunition was again exhausted. During this time he was seriously wounded by shrapnel. Undaunted and displaying great courage, he moved forward 100 meters to aid a friendly element that was pinned down only a few meters from the enemy. This he did with complete disregard for his own wound and despite having been advised that several previous rescue attempts had failed at the cost of the life of one and wounding of others. Ignoring the continuing intense fire and his painful wounds, and hindered by darkness, he made three trips to the beleaguered unit, each time pulling a wounded comrade back to safety. S/Sgt. Jenkins' extraordinary valor, dedication, and indomitable spirit inspired his fellow soldiers to repulse the determined enemy attack and ultimately to defeat the larger force. S/Sgt. Jenkins' risk of his life reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

George Jordan

U.S. Army- Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1880 Organization: Company K, 9th U.S. Cavalry Conflict: Indian Campaigns Born: Williamson County, TN

George Jordan's Medal of Honor Citation

While commanding a detachment of 25 men at Fort Tularosa, N. Mex., repulsed a force of more than 100 Indians. At Carrizo Canyon, N. Mex., while commanding the right of a detachment of 19 men, 12 August 1881, he stubbornly held his ground in an extremely exposed position and gallantly forced back a much superior number of the enemy, preventing them from surrounding the command.

James Ernest "Buck" Karnes

U.S. Army- Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1918 Organization: Company D, 117th Infantry, 30th Division Conflict: World War One Born: Arlington, TN

James Ernest "Buck" Karnes's Medal of Honor Citation

During the advance, his company was held up by a machine gun, which was enfilading the line. Accompanied by another soldier, he advanced against this position and succeeded in reducing the nest by killing three and capturing seven of the enemy and their guns.

Elbert Luther Kinser

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve- Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1945 Organization: Company I, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division Conflict: World War Two Born: Greeneville, TN

Elbert Luther Kinser's Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while acting as leader of a rifle platoon, serving with Company I, 3d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division, in action against Japanese forces on Okinawa Shima in the Ryukyu Chain, 4 May 1945. Taken under sudden, close attack by hostile troops entrenched on the reverse slope while moving up a strategic ridge along which his platoon was holding newly won positions, Sgt. Kinser engaged the enemy in a fierce hand-grenade battle. Quick to act when a Japanese grenade landed in the immediate vicinity, Sgt. Kinser unhesitatingly threw himself on the deadly missile, absorbing the full charge of the shattering explosion in his own body and thereby protecting his men from serious injury and possible death. Stouthearted and indomitable, he had yielded his own chance of survival that his comrades might live to carry on the relentless battle against the fanatic enemy. His courage, cool decision, and valiant spirit of self-sacrifice in the face of certain death sustained and enhanced the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

John Kyle

U.S. Army- Corporal

Year of Honor: 1869 Organization:Company M, 5th U.S. Cavalry Conflict:Indian Campaigns Born: Cincinnati, Ohio

John Kyle's Medal of Honor Citation

On July 8, 1869, Kyle was traveling with Major Eugene Carr, seven companies of the 5th US Cavalry, and some Pawnee Scouts. The group left Fort McPherson for the Republican River, planning to clear the area of Indians. Carr's Pawnee scouts found the village and attacked without being detected. Cheyenne Chief Tall Bull, the leader of the fierce "Dog Soldiers," was killed. His citation reads: "This soldier and 2 others were attacked by 8 Indians, but beat them off and badly wounded 2 of them." The medal was issued on August 24 of that year. Kyle, who sometimes used the alias John Kelly, died July 18, 1870, in Hays, KS, after being shot in a fight with the sheriff, "Wild Bill" Hickok, who had also been a member of the 7th Cavalry.

Milo Lemert

U.S. Army First Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1918 Organization: Company G, 119th Infantry, 30th Division Conflict: World War One Born: Marshalltown, Iowa

Milo Lemert's Medal of Honor Citation

Seeing that the left flank of his company was held up, he located the enemy machine-gun emplacement, which had been causing heavy casualties. In the face of heavy fire he rushed it singlehandedly, killing the entire crew with grenades. Continuing along the enemy trench in advance of the company, he reached another emplacement, which he also charged, silencing the gun with grenades. A third machine-gun emplacement opened up on him from the left and with similar skill and bravery he destroyed this also. Later, in company with another sergeant, he attacked a fourth machine-gun nest, being killed as he reached the parapet of the emplacement. His courageous action in destroying in turn four enemy machine-gun nests prevented many casualties among his company and very materially aided in achieving the objective.

William Franklin Lyell

U.S. Army- Corporal

Year of Honor: 1951 Organization: Company F, 17th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division Conflict: Korean War Born: Hickman County, TN

William Franklin Lyell's Medal of Honor Citation

Cpl. Lyell, a member of company F, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and outstanding courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. When his platoon leader was killed, Cpl. Lyell assumed command and led his unit in an assault on strongly fortified enemy positions located on commanding terrain. When his platoon came under vicious, raking fire which halted the forward movement, Cpl. Lyell seized a 57-mm recoilless rifle and unhesitatingly moved ahead to a suitable firing position from which he delivered deadly accurate fire completely destroying an enemy bunker, killing its occuppants. He then returned to his platoon and was resuming the assault when the unit was again subjected to intense hostile fire from two other bunkers. Disregarding his personal safety, armed with grenades, he charged forward hurling grenades into one of the enemy emplacements, and although painfully wounded in this action he pressed on, destroying the bunker and killing six of the foe. He then continued his attack against a third enemy position, throwing grenades as he ran forward, annihilating four enemy soldiers. He then led his platoon to the north slope of the hill where positions were occupied from which effective fire was delivered against the enemy in support of friendly troops moving up. Fearlessly exposing himself to enemy fire, he continuously moved about, directing and encouraging his men until he was mortally wounded by enemy mortar fire. Cpl. Lyell's extraordinary heroism, indomitable courage, and aggressive leadership reflect great credit on himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

Charles L. McGaha

U.S. Army- Master Sergeant (highest rank: Major)

Year of Honor: 1945 Organization: Company G, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division Conflict: World War Two Born: Cosby, TN

Charles L. McGaha's Medal of Honor Citation

He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity. His platoon and one other from Company G were pinned down in a roadside ditch by heavy fire from five Japanese tanks supported by 10 machine guns and a platoon of riflemen. When one of his men fell wounded 40 yards away, he unhesitatingly crossed the road under a hail of bullets and moved the man 75 yards to safety. Although he had suffered a deep arm wound, he returned to his post. Finding the platoon leader seriously wounded, he assumed command and rallied his men. Once more he braved the enemy fire to go to the aid of a litter party removing another wounded soldier. A shell exploded in their midst, wounding him in the shoulder and killing two of the party. He picked up the remaining man, carried him to cover, and then moved out in front deliberately to draw the enemy fire while the American forces, thus protected, withdrew to safety. When the last man had gained the new position, he rejoined his command and there collapsed from loss of blood and exhaustion. M/Sgt. McGaha set an example of courage and leadership in keeping with the highest traditions of the service.

Vernon McGarity

U.S. Army- Technical Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1944 Organization: 3d Squad, 3d Platoon, Company L, 3d Battalion, 393d Infantry, 99th Infantry Division Conflict: World War Two Born: Right, TN

Vernon McGarity's Medal of Honor Citation

He was painfully wounded in an artillery barrage that preceded the powerful counteroffensive launched by the Germans near Krinkelt, Belgium, on the morning of 16 December 1944. He made his way to an aid station, received treatment, and then refused to be evacuated, choosing to return to his hard-pressed men instead. The fury of the enemy's great Western Front offensive swirled about the position held by T/Sgt. McGarity's small force, but so tenaciously did these men fight on orders to stand firm at all costs that they could not be dislodged despite murderous enemy fire and the breakdown of their communications. During the day the heroic squad leader rescued one of his friends who had been wounded in a forward position, and throughout the night he exhorted his comrades to repulse the enemy's attempts of infiltration. When morning came and the Germans attacked with tanks and infantry, he braved heavy fire to run to an advantageous position where he immobilized the enemy's lead tank with a round from a rocket launcher. Fire from his squad drove the attacking infantrymen back, and three supporting tanks withdrew. He rescued, under heavy fire, another wounded American, and then directed devastating fire on a light cannon which had been brought up by the hostile troops to clear resistance from the area. When ammunition began to run low, T/Sgt. McGarity, remembering an old ammunition hole about 100 yards distant in the general direction of the enemy, braved a concentration of hostile fire to replenish his unit's supply. By circuitous route the enemy managed to emplace a machine gun to the rear and flank of the squad's position, cutting off the only escape route. Unhesitatingly, the gallant soldier took it upon himself to destroy this menace singlehandedly. He left cover, and while under steady fire from the enemy, killed or wounded all the hostile gunners with deadly accurate rifle fire, and prevented all attempts to re-man the gun. Only when his squad's last round had been fired was the enemy able to advance and capture the intrepid leader and his men. The extraordinary bravery and extreme devotion to duty of T/Sgt. McGarity supported a remarkable delaying action which provided the time necessary for assembling reserves and forming a line against which the German striking power was shattered.

David Robert Ray

U.S. Navy- Hospital Corpsman Second Class

Year of Honor: 1969 Organization: Battery D, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division Conflict: Vietnam War Born: McMinnville, Tennessee

David Robert Ray's Medal of Honor Citation

The Medal of Honor is presented to David Robert Ray, Hospital Corpsman Second Class, U.S. Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Hospital Corpsman Second Class with Battery D, Second Battalion, Twenty-Second Marines, Third Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, at Phu Loc 6, near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, on 19 March 1969. During the early morning hours, an estimated battalion-sized enemy force launched a determined assault against the battery's position, and succeeded in effecting a penetration of the barbed-wire perimeter. The initial burst of enemy fire caused numerous casualties among the marines who had immediately manned their howitzers during the rocket and mortar attack. Undaunted by the intense hostile fire, Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ray moved from parapet to parapet, rendering emergency medical treatment to the wounded. Although seriously wounded himself while administering first aid to a marine casualty, he refused medical aid and continued his lifesaving efforts. While he was bandaging and attempting to comfort another wounded marine, Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ray was forced to battle two enemy soldiers who attacked his position, personally killing one and wounding the other. Rapidly losing his strength as a result of his severe wounds, he nonetheless managed to move through the hail of enemy fire to other casualties. Once again, he was faced with the intense fire of oncoming enemy troops and, despite the grave personal danger and insurmountable odds, succeeded in treating the wounded and holding off the enemy until he ran out of ammunition, at which time he sustained fatal wounds. Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ray's final act of heroism was to protect the patient he was treating. He threw himself upon the wounded marine, thus saving the man's life when an enemy grenade exploded nearby. By his determined and persevering actions, courageous spirit, and selfless devotion to the welfare of his marine comrades, Hospital Corpsman Second Class Ray served to inspire the men of Battery D to heroic efforts in defeating the enemy. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Walter Keith Singleton

U.S. Marine Corps- Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1967 Organization: Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein) FMF Conflict: Vietnam War Born: Memphis, Tennessee

Walter Keith Singleton's Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Singleton's company was conducting combat operations when the lead platoon received intense small-arms, automatic-weapons, rocket, and mortar fire from a well-entrenched enemy force. As the company fought its way forward, the extremely heavy enemy fire caused numerous friendly casualties. Sensing the need for early treatment of the wounded, Sgt. Singleton quickly moved from his relatively safe position in the rear of the foremost point of the advance and made numerous trips through the enemy killing zone to move the injured men out of the danger area. Noting that a large part of the enemy fire was coming from a hedgerow, he seized a machine gun and assaulted the key enemy location, delivering devastating fire as he advanced. He forced his way through the hedgerow directly into the enemy strong point. Although he was mortally wounded, his fearless attack killed eight of the enemy and drove the remainder from the hedgerow. Sgt. Singleton's bold actions completely disorganized the enemy defense and saved the lives of many of his comrades. His daring initiative, selfless devotion to duty and indomitable fighting spirit reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps, and his performance upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

John Harlan Willis

U.S. Navy- Pharmacist's Mate First Class

Year of Honor: 1945 Organization: World War Two Conflict: 3d Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division Born: Columbia, TN

John Harlan Willis's Medal of Honor Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as platoon corpsman serving with the 3d Battalion, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division, during operations against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, 28 February 1945. Constantly imperiled by artillery and mortar fire from strong and mutually supporting pillboxes and caves studding Hill 362 in the enemy cross-island defenses, Willis resolutely administered first aid to the many marines wounded during the furious close-in fighting until he himself was struck by shrapnel and was ordered back to the battle-aid station. Without waiting for official medical release, he quickly returned to his company and, during a savage hand-to-hand enemy counterattack, daringly advanced to the extreme front lines under mortar and sniper fire to aid a marine lying wounded in a shell hole. Completely unmindful of his own danger as the Japanese intensified their attack, Willis calmly continued to administer blood plasma to his patient, promptly returning the first hostile grenade which landed in the shell hole while he was working and hurling back seven more in quick succession before the ninth one exploded in his hand and instantly killed him. By his great personal valor in saving others at the sacrifice of his own life, he inspired his companions, although terrifically outnumbered, to launch a fiercely determined attack and repulse the enemy force. His exceptional fortitude and courage in the performance of duty reflect the highest credit upon Willis and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Edward R. Talley

U.S. Army- Sergeant

Year of Honor: 1918 Organization: Company L, 117th Infantry, 30th Division Conflict: World War One Born: Russellville, Maryland

Edward R. Talley's Medal of Honor Citation

Undeterred by seeing several comrades killed in attempting to put a hostile machine-gun nest out of action, Sgt. Talley attacked the position singlehandedly. Armed only with a rifle, he rushed the nest in the face of intense enemy fire, killed or wounded at least six of the crew, and silenced the gun. When the enemy attempted to bring forward another gun and ammunition he drove them back by effective fire from his rifle.

Calvin John Ward

U.S. Army- Private (highest rank: Private First Class)

Year of Honor: 1918 Organization: World War One Conflict: World War One Born: Greene County, TN

Calvin John Ward's Medal of Honor Citation

During an advance, Pvt. Ward's company was held up by a machine gun, which was enfilading the line. Accompanied by a noncommissioned officer, he advanced against this post and succeeded in reducing the nest by killing three and capturing seven of the enemy and their guns.

Seth Lathrop Weld

U.S. Army- Corporal (highest rank: Colonel)

Year of Honor: 1906 Organization: Company L, 8th U.S. Infantry Conflict: Philippine Insurrection Born: Sandy Hook, Maryland

Seth Lathrop Weld's Medal of Honor Citation

With his right arm cut open with a bolo, went to the assistance of a wounded constabulary officer and a fellow soldier who were surrounded by about 40 Pulajanes, and, using his disabled rifle as a club, beat back the assailants and rescued his party.

Alvin C. York

U.S. Army- Corporal (highest rank: Sergeant)

Year of Honor: 1918 Organization: Company G, 2d Battalion, 328th Infantry 82d Division Conflict: World War One Born: Fentress County, Tennessee

Sergeant Alvin C. York's Medal of Honor Citation

After his platoon had suffered heavy casualties and three other noncommissioned officers had become casualties, Cpl. York assumed command. Fearlessly leading seven men, he charged with great daring a machine-gun nest which was pouring deadly and incessant fire upon his platoon. In his heroic feat the machine-gun nest was taken, together with four officers and 128 men and several guns.

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