Medal of Honor Recipients

Alchesay, William  cmoh-2

652699424 Sergeant, Indian Scouts. White Mountain Apache leader. Born 1853, died 1928. Served with General Crook. Widely respected, made several trips to confer with President of the United States. MOH issued 12 April 1875 for gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with the Apaches during the years 1872-1873.


Austin, Oscar   cmoh-2

475700798 (1948-1969) Private First Class, USMC, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein). Entered service in Phoenix, AZ. Cited for action on 23 February 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam. To save the life of a wounded fellow Marine, PFC Austin first threw himself between the Marine and a grenade, absorbing the effects of its detonation. He then placed himself between the Marine and an enemy soldier and was mortally wounded.


Bacon, Nicky cmoh-2

775079040 Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 4th Battalion, 21st Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade, America Division. Entered service in Phoenix, AZ. Cited for action on 26 August 1968 in the Republic of Vietnam. In the face of intense enemy fire, squad leader Bacon took charge of two decimated platoons, personally destroying a hostile bunker with grenades, an enemy gun crew in a single-handed effort, and an antitank weapon. Despite heavy fire, he directed fire into the enemy position from the exposed deck of a tank until several wounded comrades were evacuated.


Barnes, Willaim Croftcmoh-2

2013 AVHOF Barnes, Will mil(1858-1936)  Born in San Francisco, California in 1858.  Active duty U.S. Army Signal Corps,  1879-1883.  Barnes risked his life frequently in enemy areas,  repairing  telegraph lines and carrying dispatches.  In a skirmish on September 11, 1881, Barnes displayed bravery in action against the Apaches.  Awarded the Medal of Honor in 1882.  Starting in 1883, Sergeant Barnes became a cattleman in Holbrook, Arizona;  served in Arizona’s Territorial Legislative Assembly, accomplishing the creation of Navajo County; and wrote many books, including Arizona Place Names, still in print today.  Starting in 1907 with the US Forest Service , Barnes developed and preserved grazing lands in the State; retiring from government service in 1930 in Phoenix.  The Barnes Hall Army Reserve Training Center, Oak Street, Phoenix; Barnes Butte, Phoenix; and Barnes Field House at Fort Huachuca; are named in Barnes’ honor.


Blanquet cmoh-2

758398567Rank and organization: Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Connell, Trustrim cmoh-2

sm-t-connel(1844-1937) Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He served with distinction as an infantryman during the Civil War. Connell was awarded the Medal Of Honor in 1865 for  heroism and leadership resulting in the capture of a key Confederate flag and assets during the battle at Sailor’s Creek, Virginia. A Western and Arizona pioneer, during the 1880’s, he was placed in charge of Indian territory, and all Wells Fargo Company business in Indian territory. The Connell family relocated to Phoenix in 1898. After statehood, Connell was employed by the American Railway Express Company, until his retirement in 1925. He maintained close ties to the State’s military establishment and at the time of his demise, was the only Arizonan reportedly wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor.


Crandall, Bruce P. cmoh-2

bruceUnited States Army, Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airborne). Born Olympia, Washington in 1933 and cited for action on 14 November 1965 in the la Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam. Disregarding intense enemy fire that had halted his original mission on the fifth troop lift, Major Crandall marshaled assets, adjusted his base of operations to a more forward location, and flew continuing missions to deliver ammunition and to evacuate wounded soldiers from the landing zone thereby instilling others to follow his lead and enhancing morale and the will to fight at a critical time. Lasting through the day and into the evening, he completed a total of 22 flights, most under intense enemy fire, retiring from the battlefield only after all possible service had been rendered to the infantry battalion.


Chiquito cmoh-2

777491776Rank and organization: Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1871-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Dunagan, Kern cmoh-2

922170229(1934-1991) Major, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry, American Division. Born 20 February 1934, Superior, AZ. Cited for action on 13 and 14 May 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam. On several occasions during the two-day period, then-Captain Dunagan, although facing heavy enemy fire, continued to locate enemy positions and direct fire on them. He was seriously wounded twice but refused evacuation until all of his wounded, some of whom he'd rescued himself, were treated and evacuated.


Elsatsoosh cmoh-2

151121166Rank and organization: Corporal, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Ferguson, Frederick cmoh-2

925218262Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, Company C, 227th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Born 18 August 1939, Pilot Point, Texas; entered service in Phoenix, AZ. Cited for action on 31 January 1968, in Hue, Republic of Vietnam. Disregarding all warnings about heavy antiaircraft fire, CWO Ferguson flew his resupply helicopter at low level, maximum airspeed, toward the compound where a crew of survivors from a downed helicopter had taken refuge. Landing his aircraft under heavy fire and in blinding dust, his five wounded comrades were loaded aboard and, although the helicopter sustained heavy damage, CWO Ferguson managed to fly his crippled aircraft through the rain of fire again and to safety.


Foss, Joseph cmoh-2

631398159(1915-2003) Captain, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Marine Fighting Squadron 121, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Born 17 April 1915, Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Resident of Paradise Valley, AZ. Cited for action 9 October to 19 November 1942; 15 and 23 January 1943, at Guadalcanal. Engaging in almost daily-contact with the enemy during the 9 October to 19 November period, Captain Foss personally shot down 23 Japanese planes and damaged others probably beyond survival. On 15 January 1943 he downed three more enemy planes. Later that month he led an attack on Japanese fighters and bombers that resulted in four Japanese fighters being shot down and the bombers were turned back without dropping a single bomb.


Harvey, Raymond cmoh-2

964039976(1920-1996) Captain, U.S. Army, Company C, 17th Infantry Regiment. Born 1 March 1920, Ford City, PA. Lived in Arizona from 1978 until his death in 1996. Cited for action on 9 March 1951 in the Republic of Korea. When his unit was pinned down by heavy automatic weapons fire, Captain Harvey braved the hail of gunfire and grenades and advanced to the first machinegun nest, destroying it. He advanced to the next emplacement, killing its crew with carbine fire. He then neutralized a third position, followed by annihilation of even a fourth enemy pillbox. Though wounded, Captain Harvey continued to order his company forward, refusing evacuation until being assured that the mission would be accomplished.


Herrera, Silvestre cmoh-2

424027423(1917 - 2007) Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company E, 142nd Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. Born in EI Paso, Texas; entered service at Phoenix, AZ. Resident of Phoenix. Cited for action on 15 March 1945 near Mertzwiller, France. With his platoon stopped by heavy machinegun fire, Private Herrera made a one man frontal assault and captured eight enemy soldiers. The platoon advanced, was again stopped, and again Private Herrera advanced alone to attack the position. Stepping on a mine, both of his feet were severed, but he still managed to pin down the enemy with accurate rifle fire until a friendly unit was able to capture the enemy gun.


Irwin, Bernard John Dowling cmoh-2

Bernard_J_D_Irwin(1830-1917) Born in County Roscommon, Ireland. An assistant surgeon in the regular Army in the Arizona Territory 1856-1861, Lt. Irwin saw extensive field duty against hostile Apaches and Navajos. From his post at Fort Buchanan during the winter of 1861, he led a small detachment of soldiers through treacherous weather on a 100 mile journey to rescue a force which had been surrounded by Cochise’s 500 Apache warriors. At the site of the siege, he deftly deployed his soldiers so convincingly that the Apaches, suspecting a much larger force, hurriedly fled into the mountains. This signal engagement led to the degradation of hostile Indian activities in the Southwest. Although established in 1861, Lt. Irwin received the Medal Of Honor in 1894.


Jim cmoh-2

548995427Rank and organization: Sergeant, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1871-73. Birth: Arizona Territory. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Jimenez, Jose cmoh-2

960640637(1946-1969) Lance Corporal, USMC, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Born in Mexico City on March 20, 1946; entered service at Phoenix, AZ. Cited for action on 28 August 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam. Facing a heavy attack from well-entrenched enemy soldiers, Lance Corporal Jimenez plunged forward toward the enemy positions, destroying several enemy personnel and an antiaircraft weapon. Advancing to within ten feet of vicious enemy fire, he destroyed the position and was continuing to move forward when he was mortally wounded.


Kelsay cmoh-2

99508018Rank and organization: Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches


Kosoha cmoh-2

Rank and organization: Indian Scouts. Place and date: Winter of 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Lauffer, Billy cmoh-2

70471758(1945-1966) Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division. Entered in Phoenix, AZ. Cited for action on 21 September 1966 in the Republic of Vietnam. Seeing his unit pinned down by intense machinegun crossfire and wounded comrades lying helpless in the beaten zone, Private Lauffer charged the enemy machinegun positions, confusing the enemy and allowing his wounded comrades to be rescued and his unit to gain a more advantageous position. Private Lauffer was fatally wounded during his heroic effort.


Luke, Jr., Frank cmoh-2

312878480(1897-1918) Born in St. Mary's Hospital in Phoenix, AZ on 19 May 1897. Graduated from Phoenix Union High School in 1917. Enlisted in September 1917; made his first solo flight in November at Rockwell Field, San Diego. Commissioned a second lieutenant, Luke was in service on the western front by July 1918. Decrying discipline and rules, he was on active duty for a period of just over two months. In that period he was given credit for shooting down nearly two dozen enemy aircraft. He was given the name "Balloon Buster" for the destruction of German observation balloons used for military purposes. Forced down in France, Luke defended himself with an automatic pistol until killed. In 1930, the American Society for the Promotion of Aviation named him the nation's greatest air hero. In 1941, the air base near Phoenix was named in his honor.


Machol cmoh-2

Rank and organization: Private, Indian Scouts. Place and date: Arizona, 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaign and engagements with Apaches.


Mays, Isaiah cmoh-2

772363110(1858-1925) Corporal, Company B, 24th U.S. Infantry. Buffalo Soldier, born as a slave in Virginia; entered service in Columbus, Ohio. Cited for gallantry in fight between Army paymaster escort and robbers on 18 February 1890. Mays walked and crawled two miles to a ranch for help. Awarded MOH 19 February 1890. Died 2 May 1925; buried in Arizona State Hospital Cemetery in Phoenix.


Mendoza, Manuel V. cmoh-2

manuelvmendozafull(1922-2001) Born in Miami, Arizona. Known as the “Arizona Kid” for his heroism during WWII at Mount Battaglia, Italy, October 4, 1944. While serving as platoon sergeant, Company B, 350th Infantry Battalion, 88th Infantry Division. Wounded, and outnumbered, Mendoza singlehandedly broke up a fierce German counterattack on his unit’s position. His actions earned award of the Distinguished Service Cross. Mendoza reenlisted from the Arizona Army National Guard to serve in the Korean War where he was wounded in battle. In 2002, Congress called for the review of war records of certain veterans. Mendoza was among 24 Army veterans awarded the Medal Of Honor by the President on March 18, 2014. He is the 24th Arizonan to receive the Medal of Honor.


Nannasaddie cmoh-2

863372013Rank and organization: Indian Scouts. Place and date: 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Nantaje (Nantahe) cmoh-2

792865424Rank and organization: Indian Scouts. Place and date: 1872-73. Birth: Arizona. Date of issue: 12 April 1875. Citation: Gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.


Pruitt, John cmoh-2

177211674(1896-1918) Corporal, 78th Company, 6th Regiment, 2nd Division, USMC. Born in Arkansas, entered service in Tucson, AZ. He received both Army and Navy Medals of Honor for action on 3 October 1918 at Mont Blanc Ridge, France. Corporal Pruitt, single-handedly attacked two machine guns, capturing them and killing two of the enemy. He then captured 40 prisoners in a dugout nearby. He was killed soon afterward by shellfire while sniping at the enemy.


Rowdy cmoh-2

231673088Sergeant, Company A, Indian Scouts. Awarded MOH on 15 May 1890 for bravery in action with Apache Indians on 7 March 1890.

Suhler, Simon (MOH)

Born in Bavaria, Germany in 1844 and enlisted in the 32nd Indiana Regiment (known unofficially as the First Indiana German Regiment) at the outset of the Civil War. The 32nd spoke German and were headed by a former Prussian officer. After his capture and wounding at Shiloh and being furloughed back, he deserted from his unit and served under the name of Simon Neustadle, honorably, the remainder of the Civil War in the 11th Heavy Artillery. He also later served in the 4th New York Heavy Artillery. After the war he joined the 8th Cavalry Regiment under the assumed name Charles Gardner, where he earned the Medal of Honor fighting the Apaches in Arizona. He was awarded the Medal of Honor at the rank of private. After 12 years in the 8th Cavalry he retired at the rank of sergeant. Suhler died in 1895 and was buried at San Antonio National Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas.


Smith, Cornelius cmoh-2

575533580(1869-1936) Corporal, Company K, 6th United States Cavalry. Born Tucson, Arizona. Cited for action in South Dakota on 1 January 1891. With four men of his troop, drove off a superior force of the enemy and held his position against their repeated efforts to recapture it, and subsequently pursued them a great distance. Awarded MOH on 4 February 1891.


Thompson, Max cmoh-2

406875190(1922-1996) Sergeant U.S. Army, Company K, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Born in North Carolina, entered service at Prescott, AZ. Cited for action on 18 October 1944 near Haaren, Germany. Under attack by enemy infantry supported by tanks and preceded by heavy artillery fire, Sergeant Thompson's unit incurred heavy casualties. Seeing the Germans about to overrun one of his platoons, he first picked up an abandoned machinegun and fired on the enemy until tank fire destroyed the gun. He then picked up an automatic rifle and continued firing while standing alone, until he halted the lead elements of the attack. He then took up a rocket gun, firing until he set a light tank afire. Finally, during the same action while attempting to silence three pillboxes, he advanced alone within 20 yards of one and, though wounded, forced the enemy to abandon it. His leadership caused the eventual clearing of the other two.

Thorsness, Leo cmoh-2

leo-thomasBorn in Walnut Grove, Minnesota in 1932. Cited for action in the skies over North Vietnam. While on a surface-to-air missile suppression mission, Colonel Thorsness wingman was shot down by intense antiaircraft fire with its 2 crewmembers abandoning their aircraft. In spite of being a single aircraft with low fuel in an extremely hostile environment of surface-to-air missiles, antiaircraft defenses and enemy aircraft, Colonel Thorsness directed search and rescue forces to the downed crewmembers and provided top cover over the rescue area while destroying one MIG-17, damaging another and driving three others away. Further, although critically short on fuel himself, Colonel Thorsness helped avert further possible loss of life and a friendly aircraft by electing to recover at a forward operating base, thereby allowing the other aircraft to receive much needed priority fuel from an airborne tanker aircraft.


Vargas, Jay cmoh-2

124909059Major, USMC, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th Marine Amphibious Brigade. Born in Winslow, AZ on 29 July 1937. Cited for action on 1 May 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam. Although wounded from action the previous day, then-Captain Vargas led three combined companies in an attack across an open rice paddy against a fortified village. Organizing and reorganizing and again wounded, Captain Vargas inspired his men to continue their advance. A number of enemy bunkers were destroyed and the objective seized. Though wounded a third time during the three day battle, Captain Vargas continued to lead, and, observing his battalion commander wounded, proceeded to carry him to safety.