Van T. Barfoot
T. Barfoot was a Technical Sergeant, during World War II.
Lieutenant General Alexander M. Patch, III, presented him the
Congressional Medal of Honor on September 28, 1944, in Epinal,
France. He was born in Edinburgh, Mississippi. Barfoot received
his Medal for going above and beyond the call of duty for the
well being of his country and his fellow Americans.
May 23, 1944, near Carano, Italy, with his platoon heavily
engaged in an assault against forces well entrenched on
commanding ground, Sgt. Barfoot moved off alone towards the
enemy left flank. He crawled to the proximity of one machine-gun
nest and made a direct hit upon it with a hand grenade, killing
two and wounding three Germans. Barfoot continued along the
German defense line to another machine- gun emplacement, and
with his Tommy gun, killed two and captured three soldiers.
Members of another machinegun crew abandoned their gun and
surrendered to Sgt. Barfoot. Leaving the prisoners for his
support squad to pick up, he proceeded to capture more enemy
positions in the immediate area, capturing more prisoners to
bring his total count to seventeen.
that day, after he had reorganized his men over the newly
acquired ground, the enemy released a powerful counterattack
directly at Barfoot’s platoon. Securing a bazooka, he took up
an exposed position directly in front of three advancing Mark IV
tanks. At seventy-five yards away, his first shot destroyed the
first tank’s track while the other two changed course and
headed towards the left flank. As the defeated crew came out of
the tank, Sgt. Barfoot killed three of them with his Tommy gun.
He then continued forward into enemy ground and destroyed an
abandoned German field piece with a demolition charge. When he
returned to his platoon, he helped two badly wounded men to
believe that Sgt. Barfoot is a true American hero because he
risked his life many times to learn about the enemy’s
movements in the area to protect his men and the American
position. He displayed extreme heroism and valor that earned him
the Medal of Honor and a place in his soldiers’ hearts.
Bulkeley was a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy.
He was born on August 19, 1911, in New York, New York. He was
the Commander of Motor ’ Torpedo Boat Squadron 3, spending
most of his time in the Philippine waters fighting in World War
the predawn hours in January, 1942 right after the bombing of
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, two of his Us Navy patrol
boats crept into Subic Bay off one of the Philippine Islands.
Inside the bay, Lt. Bulkeley’s small boats slid through the
night. Suddenly, the men aboard the boats spied the light of a
Japanese ship about five hundred yards ahead. It was an enemy
vessel! Lieutenant John Bulkeley, the boats’ skipper, ordered
them to ease their boats closer to the Japanese ship. Just when
they were about to strike, the Japanese flashed a light on them
and ordered them to identify themselves. Lieutenant John
Bulkeley answered them back with ”two torpedoes.” A huge
explosion sent fireballs rolling into the sky. The ship was
badly damaged. This was the first American blow to the Japanese
after their bombing of Pearl Harbor. The United States had not
been completely crippled by their attack. Our fighting, daring
spirit was quick to strike a return blow. Lt. Bulkeley had been
the man to do it.
feat encouraged Americans as they dug in on all levels to fight
a grim two-front war. This act of striking a Japanese ship in
its own backyard symbolized America’s determined spirit in
WWII. For his daring courage to take a group of small boats into
enemy waters in the dark days following Pearl Harbor, to strike
a blow for freedom, makes me greatly admire Lt. John Bulkeley.
He most deservingly should be a recipient of the Medal of Honor.
in 1900, Colonel Demas Craw earned his Medal of Honor in the US
Army Air Corps during World War II in November, 1942. As the
Allies began to invade Africa at this early point in the war,
Colonel Craw volunteered to accompany the leading wave of
assault boats to the shores of French Morocco, planning to pass
through the enemy lines to locate the French commander with
a view of suspending hostilities. His request to lead this
dangerous mission was at first refused as being too dangerous
but eventually, at his insistence that he was qualified to
undertake and accomplish this perilous mission, permission from
the high command was given. There was heavy fire at the main
landing point and being unable to disembark there, Colonel Craw
along with one other officer and a soldier, succeeded in landing
on the beach at Mehdia Plage under constant low-level strafing
from three enemy aircrafts. Riding in a truck toward the French
headquarters, the progress of the trio was hindered by fire from
our own naval guns. Nearing Port Lyautey, Colonel Craw was
instantly killed by a sustained burst of machine-gun fire at
point-blank range from a concealed position near the road.
admire Colonel Demas Craw because he volunteered for a very
dangerous mission, which he believed vital to the cause of the
war at that place and time. Even when others questioned the
success of the mission, he maintained that it could be done
knowing that it was very important that it be done. He gave his
life trying to carry out that mission. Concerns for his own life
were secondary to the accomplishment of his duty. I do not
believe that many people achieve that degree of excellence in
their lives. Colonel Craw was a true hero.
Michael Joseph Daly served as a company commander in Nuremberg,
Germany. His day of heroism was on April 18, 1945, when he led
his company through the wreckage of Nuremberg. As guns were
being fired at his unit, Capt. Daly ordered the men to take
cover. Alone, he went on his mission. Dodging the bullets, he
spotted an enemy patrol armed with rocket launchers. He opened
fire on the Germans. Capt.
Daly was the target of the machine pistol, but calmly continued
to keep shooting. Captain Daly killed six enemy infantry- men.
When a machine gun opened fire on him, he killed the gunner.
From an unusual position Captain Michael Daly directed an
American machine gun emplacement. He engaged himself in four
singled-headed fire fights. Taking all risk himself and
protecting his men, he killed fifteen Germans, and wiped out an
entire enemy patrol. Captain Michael Daly’s action was an
inspiration to all the men. He received the medal on August
23,1945. President Harry S. Truman gave it to him.
consider this man a hero, because he was willing to give up his
life in order to save his men. He also put his life in the hands
of God when he went alone to kill the enemy soldiers. Some
people might think of him as a bad person for killing the
Germans, but not me, this is the nature of war. I am sure that
he did not think of being rewarded with the medal for his
action. I am sure that he did it out of his heart. So in my eyes
he is a true American Hero.
Eugene Erwin was a Staff Sergeant in World War II. He was a
member of the United States Air Corps, Twenty-ninth Bombardment
Group, Twentieth Air Force. Staff Sergeant Erwin was the
operator of a B-29 air- plane. He was leading a group formation
to attack Koriyama, Japan, and he had the additional duty of
dropping phosphoresce smoke bombs down a pipe out of the plane
the assembling group. As they encountered aircraft fire and
enemy fighter opposition, one of Staff Sergeant Erwin’s
signaling bombs proved to be faulty. The, bomb exploded and shot
back into the interior of the air- craft causing him temporary
blindness. Realizing that all would be lost if nothing was done,
Staff Sergeant Erwin, without regard for his own personal
safety, picked the bomb up with his bare hands and threw it out
of the pilot’s window. In fact he was completely engulfed in
flames and he fell to the floor. Since the temperature of the
glowing bomb was very high, his hands were badly burned.
Sergeant Erwin received his Medal of Honor the day after his
heroic actions because the doctors thought that he was not going
to live much longer. However, he did not die as he underwent
many extensive surgeries. After recovering, he devoted his life
to helping handicapped people. Staff Sergeant Henry Erwin is an
inspiration to me because when the bomb exploded and caused him
temporary blindness and third degree burns over most of his
body, he did not give up. He put his life on the line to save
his crew members.
David M. Gonzales
April 25, 1945, David Gonzales was a Private First Class
in the U.S. Army, Company A, 127th Infantry, 32nd Infantry
Division, serving in the Philippine Islands. When the enemy had
pinned his company down, his services were needed when a 550
pound bomb smashed into the company’s perimeter, burying five
men with its explosion. He then took an entrenching tool
and dug out the men while enemy sniper and machine-gun bullets struck all
about his body.
these tremendous actions of saving the men above and beyond the
call of duty, David Gonzales received the Medal of Honor.
Private Gonzales inspired me because I know that if that were me
out there, I would not have had the courage to do what this man
did. The danger around him must have been terrifying. He forgot
himself and thought only of the trapped men, when he stood up in
order to dig faster. Anyone with that amount of courage that
would risk their life for the life of someone else, should be
awarded something as great as the Medal of Honor.
Isadore Jachman, a Jewish Medal of Honor recipient, served in World War
II as a Staff Sergeant in Company B. On the morning of January
4, 1945, his company was surrounded by enemy snipers. Two
hostile tanks attacked the unit inflicting heavy casualties. Although
his comrades were falling all around him, Staff Sgt. Jachman
refused to surrender and strived onward through the bloody
battlefield. Seeing the desperate predicament of his comrades,
Sergeant Jachman realized something had to be done or they would
all be killed. Spying a wounded comrade on the ground, he left
his place of cover with total disregard for his own safety,
dashed across open ground through a hail of fire, and brought
him to safety. Then taking the bazooka from his wounded comrade,
he advanced upon the tanks, which concentrated their firearms on
him. Firing the weapon alone, he damaged one tank forcing both
of them to retire. Sergeant Jachman’s heroic action, in which
he suffered fatal wounds, disrupted the entire enemy attack
proving one person can make a difference. Due to his wounds he
died shortly after receiving the Medal of Honor.
Although his actions cost him his life, they saved his Company from being
defeated and losing their lives. His constant valor earned him
the Medal of Honor. I consider him a true hero because he gave
up his life so that others might live. He did not have to risk
his life but he did, and I greatly admire him for the courage he
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