Medals of Honor: These Brave Veterans Saved America

Audie L. Murphy

Audie L. Murphy is the most decorated American soldier of World War II. He saw combat in Italy and France and is credited with killing 240 German soldiers. He eventually went on to star in a movie about his life.

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Lieutenant Audie L Murphy (1924 – 1971) after being presented with the US Congressional Medal of Honour and the Legion Of Merit. He won every medal of valor that the United States had to offer by 20 years of age and went on to become an actor mainly in low budget cowboy movies. (Photo by Horace Abrahams/Keystone/Getty Images)

Rank: Second lieutenantMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

David McCampbell

David McCampbell was recognized for shooting down 34 Japanese planes and engaging the enemy many times despite the odds. On October 24, 1944, he shot down nine planes in 95 minutes.

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Commander David McCampbell, USN, in the cockpit of F6F. showing flags denoting his 30 Japanese planes shot down, aboard USS Essex. | Location: cockpit of F6F, on board the USS Essex, South Pacific. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Rank: CommanderMilitary branch: NavyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

Douglas MacArthur

Douglas MacArthur directed the US to victory in the Pacific theater of World War II as well as led the U.N. troops during the Korean War.

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(Original Caption) 4/6/1951-General Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, UN Forces in Korea, is seen in a jeep at the Command Post in St. ROK Corps Area, Yang Yang, Korea. Source: Gettyimages.

Rank: GeneralMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWI, WWII, Korean WarMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Edward V. Rickenbacker

Edward V. Rickenbacker was the nation’s greatest flying ace during World War I. He earned the Medal of Honor for attacking a formation of five German planes and managed to take down two of them.

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American ace of the 94th Aero Squadron, First Lieut. Edward [Eddie] V. Rickenbacker, stands up in his Spad plane near Rembercourt, France, during World War I. | Location: near Rembercourt, France. (Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Rank: First lieutenantMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross

James B. Stockdale

After having been shot down over Hanoi in 1965, James B. Stockdale spent eight long years in a Vietnamese POW camp. He was known to exhibit bravery even when he was subjected to torture. He was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford in 1976.

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(Photo via Getty Images)

Rank: Rear admiralMilitary branch: NavyServed in: Vietnam WarMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Joel T. Boone

Joel T. Boone was awarded the Medal of Honor for his acts of heroism in World War I. He served as a surgeon with the U.S. Marines in France. Boone risked his life multiple times under heavy enemy fire. He ventured into a field to rescue wounded American soldiers and replenish medical supplies.

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Franklin D. Roosevelt Pins Medal of Honor on Lieutenant Commander Joel T. Boone at the White House. GETTY

Rank: LieutenantMilitary branch: NavyServed in: WWI, WWII, Korean WarMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Louis Cukela

Louis Cukela earned his Medal of Honor for moderating a machine-gun nest by either killing or driving off the soldiers with his bayonet. He destroyed a German grip with hand grenades and captured four Germans.

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military.com

Rank: SergeantMilitary branch: MarinesServed in: WWIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Neel E. Kearby

Neel E. Kearby was a fighter pilot who was known for taking on greater enemy numbers. On October 11, 1943, he and three other pilots went against about 50 Japanese aircrafts. Kearby shot down six Japanese planes and later received the Medal of Honor. He was killed in action the following year.

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NY Daily News

Rank: ColonelMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Richard I. Bong

Richard I. Bong was America’s most prolific fighter pilot in World War II, managing to take down 40 Japanese planes. Gen. Douglas MacArthur awarded him the Medal of Honor, calling him the “bravest of the brave.”

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Portrait of American pilot Lt Richard I Bong (1920 – 1945) (from Poplar, Wisconsin) in the cockpit of his Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane, New Guinea, March 6, 1943. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Rank: MajorMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Samuel D. Dealey

Samuel D. Dealey was a submarine commander who was able to sink the most Japanese weight, or merchant ships, during World War II. He was killed in action in 1944.

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history.navy.mil

Rank: CommanderMilitary branch: NavyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Smedley D. Butler

Smedley D. Butler was the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. He won the first of his two Medals of Honor at the Battle of Veracruz in 1914 and was awarded his second medal during the U.S. involvement in Haiti in 1915. He died in 1940.

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(Original Caption) 3/4/1932-General Smedley D. Butler, whose daughter Ethel Peters Butler is to marry John Wehle, Jr. soon. Getty

Rank: MajorMilitary branch: MarinesServed in: WWIMedal(s): Medal of Honor

Thomas B. McGuire, Jr.

Thomas B. McGuire shot down 38 Japanese planes during World War II, which made him the second highest scoring U.S. ace of the war. He was killed over the Philippines and given the Medal of Honor posthumously.

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(Original Caption) These four P-38 lightning fighter pilots, shown at an advanced base in New Guinea, have accounted for no less than 53 Jap planes between them. They are (l to r) Capt. Francis J. Lent, of Melrose, Minn. (11 victories); Major Thomas B. McGuire Jr., Ridgewood, N.J. (21 victories); Col. Charles H. MacDonald, Arlington, VA. (11 victories), and Major John S. Loisel, West Point, Neb., (10 victories). All are members of famed ‘ Satan’s Angel’s’ group. Major McGuire is leading Southwest Pacific ace. Getty

Rank: MajorMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Daniel J. Daly

Daniel J. Daly was one of 19 servicemen to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice. Daly was awarded his second medal for leading U.S. soldiers against Germans in World War I.

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uso.org

Rank: Gunnery sergeantMilitary branch: MarinesServed in: WWIMedal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross

Desmond Doss

Desmond Doss was enlisted despite being an objector. He was a medic in the Pacific theater of World War II and received the Medal of Honor for saving lives while he was wounded during the fighting on Okinawa.

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Source: adventist.org

Rank: CorporalMilitary branch: ArmyServed in: WWIIMedal(s): Medal of Honor

Eugene B. Fluckey

Eugene B. Fluckey was one of the most daring submarine commanders of World War II. He found 30 Japanese vessels hiding in a harbor and ruined six of them in early 1945. His submarine managed to escape Japanese patrol boats and escape.

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Fluckey, at left, being visited by Vice Admiral Charles Munns in 2006. Source: wikiwand.com

Rank: CommanderMilitary branch: NavyServed in: WWII

Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross

Alvin York

Alvin York, also known as Sergeant York, was one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I. York was actually a pacifist, but he took command of troops when the senior officers were killed in battle or put out of action. He went on to kill 28 Germans and captured 132 others.

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Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

On February 7, 1919, Sergeant Alvin C. York, 328th Infantry, returns to the hill in the Argonne Forest, near Cornay, France, where he and 17 other men captured 132 German prisoners on October 8, 1918. | Location: Argonnes Forest, near Cornay, France.

Rank: Corporal Military branch: Army Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross

Frank Luke, Jr.

Luke was one of America’s greatest fighter aces in World War I. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. Frank Luke was the first airman to receive the Medal of Honor. The Luke Air Force Base, in Arizona, is a U.S. Air Force pilot training installation that was named in his honor.

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Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Lt. Frank Luke (standing next to the wreckage of a recent hit) is in a spirited race with Lt. Eddie Rickenbacker for the honor of being called the ‘ACE’ of the American fliers overseas. Lt. Luke brought down three German observation balloons in thirty five minutes. 1918.

Rank: Second lieutenant Military branch: Army Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross

George A. Davis

Davis was a highly decorated fighter pilot and flying ace in the US Army Air Forces in World War II. Davis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor because he risked and eventually lost his life during the Korean War. Davis shot down two enemy fighter jets and went after a third, which ended up killing him in 1952.

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Source: National Museum of the USAF

Rank: Major Military branch: Army/Air Force Served in: WWII, Korean War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

George E. Day

Day fought in World War II and Korea and received the Medal of Honor for the adversity he experienced during captivity in North Vietnam. He was captured twice and held as a POW for over five years. As of 2016, he is the only person awarded both the Medal of Honor and Air Force Cross.

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Source: Rally Point

Rank: Colonel Military branch: Air Force/Army/Marines Served in: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Silver Star

George L. Mabry, Jr.

Mabry was a major general. He was honored for his bravery in an attack in November 1944 in the Huertgen Forest in Germany. He managed to find a safe route through and clear a minefield and led his troops to capture three German dugouts, killing three German soldiers and capturing nine more.

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Source: Fort Carson Mountaineer

Rank: Lieutenant colonel Military branch: Army Served in: WWII Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Gordon Johnston

Johnston was a football player and couch turned soldier who won the Medal of Honor fighting Morro rebels in the Philippines in 1906. In 1900, Johnston’s was the leader of a small detachment of scouts and his actions earned him the nation’s second highest award for bravery, the Distinguished Service Cross. He served with the US Army in France in World War I.

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Source: WorthPoint

Rank: First lieutenant Military branch: Army Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Henry L. Hulbert

Hulbert was a United States Marine that served in the Second Samoan Civil War and World War I. After being noted for heroism in the Philippines and Samoa, Hulbert went on to serve in World War I, where he was wounded. Hulbert was recognized for many acts of bravery during the Battle of Belleau Wood in France in WWI.

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Source: Wikipedia

Rank: First lieutenant Military branch: Marines Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross

Herman H. Hanneken

Hanneken was a United States Marine Corps officer. He served in the Banana Wars of the 1910s and 1920s (in Central America and the Carribbean). He went on to win the Medal of Honor for pacifying rebels in Haiti in 1919. He also received the Silver Star for gallantry fighting on Guadalcanal in World War II.

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Source: Wikipedia

Rank: Second lieutenant Military branch: Marines Served in: Banana Wars, WWI, WWII Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

Howard W. Gilmore

Gilmore was a submarine commander in the US Navy who received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his acts of heroism and self-sacrifice during World War II. He was the first submariner to get the Medal of Honor in World War II. He fought Japanese vessels in the South Pacific.

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Source: NavSource

Rank: Commander Military branch: Navy Served in: WWII Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross

Jack L. Treadwell

Treadwell was a United States Army colonel that received the military’s highest decoration for valor: the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War II. He captured six German bunkers and captured 18 German prisoners at the fortified Siegfried Line in Germany in 1945.

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Source: www.ncgenweb.us

Rank: Captain Military branch: Army Served in: WWII, Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

James E. Williams

Williams was a Cherokee Indian and honorary US Navy chief boatswain’s mate. He was awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War. Williams was the most decorated enlisted man in the history of the Navy. On October 31, 1966, two US patrol boats were searching for Viet Cong when they came across a fleet of enemy boats. In the fight, Williams led the attack that eventually destroyed more than 65 boats.

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Source: Wikipedia

Rank: Boatswain’s mate first class Military branch: Navy

Served in: Korean War, Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

James H. Doolittle

Doolittle was an American aviation pioneer and Reserve officer in the US Army Air Corps. He was the commander of the Doolittle Raid, the daring raid on Tokyo, Japan in April 1942. It was four months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was thus awarded the Medal of Honor.

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Photo by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

American pilot James H. Doolittle, after completing the first Santiago to La Paz, Bolivia flight, a distance of 18,000 miles crossing the Andes mountain range which rise 15,000 feet. The flight was made on September 3, 1926. | Location: La Paz, Bolivia.

Rank: General Military branch: Army Served in: WWII Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

James L. Day

Day was a United States Marine Corps major general who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. During the battle of Okinawa, he resisted Japanese assaults almost all by himself. He also brought the wounded to safety and returned to fight. When he was relieved after fighting for three days straight, the death toll of the enemies was over 100.

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Source: Picryl

Rank: Corporal Military branch: Marines Served in: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Joe R. Hooper

Hooper served in both the United States Navy and United States Army where he finished his career as a captain. He received the Medal of Honor for heroism and bravery in the Vietnam War. In February 1968, he single-handedly fought multiple enemy-controlled bunkers under heavy fire, using grenades, a pistol, a rifle, and a bayonet. He kept going on despite serious bodily injuries.

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Source: WHNT.com

Rank: Sergeant Military branch: Army/Navy Served in: Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

John C. McCloy

McCloy was an American lawyer and banker who aided in War during World War II as Assistant Secretary of War. McCloy was awarded two Medals of Honor for heroism during the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1901, and at the Battle of Veracruz in 1914.

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Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Rank: Lieutenant commander Military branch: Navy Served in: Boxer Rebellion, Battle of Veracruz Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross

John H. Pruitt

Pruitt was a US Marine during World War I and is one of only 19 who received two Medals of Honor. He received the Medals of Honor posthumously for his actions during World War I. Pruitt captured two machine-guns on his own, killed two German soldiers, and then captured 40 Germans that were in a dugout. He was killed in the battle.

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Source: Wikipedia

Rank: Corporal Military branch: Marines Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

John H. Quick

Quick served as a United States Marine and got the Medal of Honor for his actions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1898 during the Spanish–American War. He also received the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross during World War I. Quick took action in France in major U.S. offensives of World War I, including Belleau Wood and St. Mihiel.

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Source: Rally Point

Rank: Sergeant major Military branch: Marines Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross

Jonas H. Ingram

Ingram was an officer in the US Navy during World War I and World War II. He directed the United States Atlantic Fleet during World War II and took the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1914 in Veracruz, Mexico. His direction of artillery during the Battle of Veracruz in led to the capture of the city.

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Source: Google Arts & Culture

Rank: Admiral Military branch: Navy Served in: Mexican Revolution, WWI, WWII Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross

Kenneth A. Walsh

Walsh was in the US Marine Corps as lieutenant colonel and a Medal of Honor recipient. He was the fourth ranking fighter ace in World War II with a record of destroying 21 enemy planes. He also served in Korea during the first year of the Korean War. He then retired from the Marine Corps in 1962. Walsh fought off Japanese planes that were trying to bomb allied forces in the Solomon Islands area.

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(Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Rank: First lieutenant Military branch: Marines Served in: WWII, Korean War Medal(s): Medal of Honor

Lawson P. Ramage

Ramage was a vice admiral in the Navy and a renowned submarine commander during World War II. He was given the Medal of Honor and other combat decorations during the war. He also served during the Korean War and Vietnam. Ramage was the third submarine commander to get a Medal of Honor for his role in damaging a Japanese convoy near Taiwan in 1944.

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Getty Images

Commander Lawson P. Ramage receives the Medal of Honor from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Commander Ramage’s father watches the ceremony in the background.

Rank: Commander Military branch: Navy Served in: WWII Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

Leo K. Thorsness

Thorsness was a Colonel in the Air Force who received the Medal of Honor for his combats in the Vietnam War. He got the medal for an air engagement on April 19, 1967. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. He was held in the same prison as John McCain. After his service, Thorsness served a term in the Washington State Senate.

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Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/GettyImages

Rank: Colonel Military branch: Air Force Served in: Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Lewis L. Millett

Millett was an officer who received the Medal of Honor for leading the last major American bayonet charge, stabbing two soldiers and throwing grenades at enemy positions, during the Korean War. He was wounded but refused to leave the battle until the position was taken. He retired from the Army in 1973 and passed away from congestive heart failure in 2009.

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Source: pearlsofhonor.blogspot.com

Rank: Captain Military branch: Army Served in: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Lloyd L. Burke

Burke was a soldier in the Korean War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions on October 28, 1951 an attack on North Korean bunkers. He killed 100 North Koreans while being heavily wounded. Burke also served in the Vietnam War until a helicopter he was flying in was shot down. It forced him to return to the States and he was hospitalized for a long period of time.

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Source: Google

Rank: First lieutenant Military branch: Army Served in: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Matej Kocak

Kocak was a US Marine Corps sergeant who was posthumously awarded the Army and Navy Medals of Honor for “heroism above and beyond the call of duty” in 1918. He put two German machine-gun nests out of action. Less than three months after his act of valor, he was killed in action by enemy gunfire in the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge in France.

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Source: history.navy.mil

Rank: Sergeant Military branch: Marines Served in: WWI Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Matt L. Urban

Urban was a lieutenant colonel and one of the most decorated American soldiers of World War II. Urban received the Medal of Honor in 1980 after a recommendation had been lost and eventually found. Urban was honored for his bravery during the Normandy crusade in 1944. He received the Purple Heart seven times.

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Source: MLive.com

Rank: Captain Military branch: Army Served in: WWII

Medal(s): Medal of Honor, Silver Star