War II (Continued)
Munro was born on October 11, 1919, Vancouver, British
Columbia. He is the only Coast Guardsman to ever be
awarded the Medal of Honor. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was
the President of the United States, presented the medal to his
mother. Douglas is buried at Laurel Hills Memorial Park in
Cle Elum, Washington.
was a petty officer in charge of a group of twenty-four Higgins boats,
engaged in the evacuation of a battalion of marines, trapped by
enemy Japanese forces at Point Cruiz, Guadalcanal, on September
27, 1942. After making plans for the evacuation of nearly
500 marines, Munro, at the risk of his life, led five small
landing crafts near the shore. As he closed in on the
beach, he signaled the others to land, and then in order to draw
the enemy’s fire and protect the loaded boats, he placed his
craft with two guns as a shield between the beaches and the
Japanese. When the task of evacuation was nearly completed,
Munro was killed instantly by fire. His crew were wounded
and guided the last Higgins boats to safety. Munro and his
men saved the lives of those who would have perished.
Munro is a hero because he didn’t think of his own life; he
thought of others. After he was killed, Munro’s heroic act was
not completed. He instilled courage in his crew members to
finish what they had started. Douglas Munro gave his life
for his country and others.
Audie Leon Murphy
Audie Leon Murphy was born on July 20, 1924. He was the son
of a poor Texas sharecropper and rose to national fame as the
most decorated U.S. combat soldier of WWII. Audie
enlisted at age 18. Among
his 33 awards and decorations was the coveted Congressional
Medal of Honor, the highest military award for bravery that can
be given to any individual in the United States of America, for
”conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
above and beyond the call of duty.” He also received every decoration for valor that his country
had to offer, some of them more than once, including five
decorations by France and Belgium. On September 1945, Audie was
released from the Army as an active member and reassigned to
inactive status. After the war he went to Hollywood and starred in dozens of
motion pictures and several television shows.
Audie Leon Murphy died in a plane crash in 1971 at the age of
46. On June 7th, Audie Murphy was buried with full military
honors in Arlington National Cemetery. His gravesite, near the
Amphitheater, is the second most visited gravesite year around. President Kennedy’s grave is the most visited.
Audie Murphy remains a unique figure in modern America
because of his significant presence in both our military history
and our popular culture.
Arthur Shomo is my favorite Medal of Honor winner. He is not my
favorite because he was the strongest or best-looking. He is my
favorite because I think he had the most courage. He was the
leading pilot of a two-fighter pilot flight. When Shomo and his
wingman were flying, they approached a bomber plane being
protected by twelve fighter planes. Even though the odds were 13
to 2, Shomo immediately ordered an attack on the planes. Shomo
scored fatal hits on seven of the planes including the bomber
plane. During this action his wingman had also shot down three
Maj. Shomo’s gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life
”above and beyond the call of duty,” he was awarded the
Medal of Honor.
Charles L. Thomas
For incredible heroism on December 14, 1944, near Climbach,
France, First Lieutenant Charles L. Thomas received the Medal of
Honor. He served during World War II.
While riding in the lead vehicle of a task force organized to
attack and capture the village of Climbach, France, then first
Lieutenant Thomas’ armored scout car was exposed to profound
enemy artillery. Although wounded by the earlier burst of deadly
fire, Lieutenant Thomas signaled the remainder of the column to
stop, and despite the severity of his wounds, helped the crew of
the wrecked car in exiting. Upon leaving the protection, which
the vehicle provided, Lt. Thomas was again subjected to a hail
of enemy fire, which inflicted many gunshot wounds in his chest,
legs, and left arm. Despite the extreme pain caused by the
wounds, he commanded and directed the dispersion and emplacement
of two anti-tank guns, which in a few moments were sharply, and
effectively returning the enemy fire. Realizing that he could no
longer control the platoon, he signaled to the platoon commander
to join him. He then thoroughly oriented him on the enemy gun
dispositions and the situation. Only after he was positive that
his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he
allow himself to be evacuated.
His outstanding heroism was an inspiration to his men and
shows the highest tradition of the armed forces. For his
courageous and inspiring actions he was granted the privilege of
receiving the Medal of Honor.
Lieutenant Thomas willingly placed himself in harm’s way to
serve his country. He did this knowing that no one would have
thought any less of him if he did not. For that I admire him.
Herbert Joseph Thomas was born on February 8,
1918, in Columbus, Ohio. He became a sergeant in the U.S.
Marines during World War II. In 1943, he and his men were
assigned to fight against the Japanese forces in the Soloman
While fighting for the Koromokina River, most of
his crew was wounded by enemy fire. They never once gave up.
Sergeant Thomas led his squad through the dense jungle, while
shooting enemy soldiers. Once they reached the center of the
Japanese position, they began destroying the machine-gun crews.
When they thought the worst was over, another machine-gun crew
was discovered. Approaching this one was to be more difficult
than the pervious ones. Sgt. Thomas threw a grenade toward
the gun emplacement, but dense jungle growth caused it to fall
back among the squad members. Sergeant Thomas deliberately threw
himself on the grenade and smothered the explosion with his
body. He saved his fellow comrades. Since they were greatly
inspired by his action, the men unhesitatingly charged the enemy
and destroyed everything in sight.
Sgt. Herbert Joseph Thomas courageously gave his
life for our country. We are proud and should honor all that
fought for our freedom and gave their lives in its defense.
Matt Urban was the leader of his company. While
they were attacking at Renouf, France, Lieutenant Colonel
Urban’s company was attacked by two enemy tanks and small arms
fire. The enemy tanks were raking his company’s position.
Realizing the danger his company was in, Lieutenant Colonel
Urban armed himself with a bazooka and destroyed both tanks.
Unfortunately, Lieutenant Colonel
Urban was hit in the chest by a tank gun.
next day, while seizing an enemy village, he was wounded again
in the leg. One hour later he was wounded again and was forced
to evacuate. While in the hospital, Lieutenant Colonel Urban
learned of his company’s need for battle-tested leaders.
Leaving the hospital and hitchhiking back to the battlefield,
Lieutenant Colonel Urban found his company and started leading
them again. He found an immobile tank and mounted the gun on it.
He was again wounded in the chest, this time by mortar shell
fragments. Nine days later, while establishing a crossing point
on the Meuse River, he was wounded again for a fourth time. Five
hours later he was wounded again in the neck and could not talk
anymore. By using hand signals to give his commands to his
commanding officer, he still led his men. After the situation
was under control, he was evacuated and sent to the
extreme determination and great skill, Lieutenant Colonel Urban
went ”above and beyond the call of duty”. I admire
this man because of his bold determination and valor. This World
War II veteran served his country in the utmost way.
Mr. Jonathan M. Wainwright served as a general in
the US Army. He entered the service at Skancateles, Onondaga
Country, New York.
General Wainwright spent three years and three
months in Japanese custody after his defense and surrender at
Bataan and Corregidor. While he was held as a prisoner, General
Wainwright received very harsh treatment from the Japanese. He was hardly fed during this time and became very
emaciated. On August 31, 1945 he was freed.
General Wainwright frequented the firing line of
his troops where his presence provided the example that helped
make the efforts of these brave men possible. He was responsible
for the stand on Corregidor, in the Philippine Islands at the
beginning of the war. This commanded the admiration of the
nation’s allies. This final stand showed the high morale of
American arms in a time of overwhelming odds.
General Wainwright flew to Yokohama on September
2, 1945, the day of the surrender of Japan aboard the Missouri.
He was called forward by General Macarthur, and was given the
first pen with which they had signed for the defeated Japanese.
General Wainwright was presented with the Medal of Honor on
September 10, 1945, by President Harry S. Truman at the White
To me General Jonathan Wainwright was a very
special man and deserved to receive the Medal of Honor for all
of his hard work and struggles, while he was a prisoner. He
distinguished himself as a very determined leader.
Go to next page in
Ville Platte Main Page