Francis C. Hammond

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Francis C. Hammond
A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
Francis Hammond
Hammond, Medal of Honor recipient
Born (1931-11-09)November 9, 1931
Alexandria, Virginia
Died March 27, 1953(1953-03-27) (aged 21)
Korea
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg United States Navy
Years of service 1951–1953
Rank Hospitalman
Unit 1st Battalion 5th Marines,
1st Marine Division
Battles/wars Korean War
Awards

Francis Colton Hammond (November 9, 1931 – March 27, 1953) was a United States Navy Hospital Corpsman who served with a U.S. Marine Corps unit during the Korean War. Killed in action, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the night of March 26–27, 1953.[1]

Born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Hammond graduated from its George Washington High School in 1949.[1][2][3] He joined the Navy from Alexandria in 1951 and by March 26, 1953, was serving as a hospital corpsman with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. On that night, during a counterattack against an entrenched force, he exposed himself to intense hostile fire in order to treat wounded Marines, even after he had been wounded himself. When a relief unit arrived and his own unit was ordered to pull back, Hammond remained in the area, helping evacuate casualties and assisting the newly arrived corpsmen, until he was killed by mortar fire. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.[2]

Hammond, age 21, was buried near his hometown at Arlington National Cemetery.[4][5]

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Hammond's official Medal of Honor citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a[n] HC serving with the 1st Marine Division in action against enemy aggressor forces on the night of 26–27 March 1953. After reaching an intermediate objective during a counterattack against a heavily entrenched and numerically superior hostile force occupying ground on a bitterly contested outpost far in advance of the main line of resistance, HC Hammond's platoon was subjected to a murderous barrage of hostile mortar and artillery fire, followed by a vicious assault by onrushing enemy troops. Resolutely advancing through the veritable curtain of fire to aid his stricken comrades, HC Hammond moved among the stalwart garrison of marines and, although critically wounded himself, valiantly continued to administer aid to the other wounded throughout an exhausting 4-hour period. When the unit was ordered to withdraw, he skillfully directed the evacuation of casualties and remained in the fire-swept area to assist the corpsmen of the relieving unit until he was struck by a round of enemy mortar fire and fell, mortally wounded. By his exceptional fortitude, inspiring initiative and self-sacrificing efforts, HC Hammond undoubtedly saved the lives of many marines. His great personal valor in the face of overwhelming odds enhances and sustains the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.[2]

Honors[edit]

A new high school in Hammond's hometown of Alexandria was named in his honor and opened in 1956. Alexandria City Public Schools changed to a 6-2-2-2 configuration in 1971, and the city's three high schools changed from four-year to two-year campuses. All of the city's juniors and seniors attended the newest high school, T.C. Williams, while Hammond and George Washington split the freshmen and sophomores.[6][7] Both Hammond and George Washington became junior high schools (grades 7–9) in 1979 and then middle schools (grades 6–8) in 1993.[3]

The frigate USS Francis Hammond (FF-1067) was named in his honor and commissioned on July 25, 1970.

Personal[edit]

Hammond was survived by his wife Phyllis and a son, Francis, Jr. They accepted his posthumous Medal of Honor in late December 1953.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ a b Cressey, Pamela (May 1997). "Alexandrians remember Hammond". City of Alexandria. Historic Alexandria. Retrieved April 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Medal of Honor recipients - Korean War". United States Army Center of Military History. August 3, 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  3. ^ a b Danforth, Austin (September 10, 2009). "Alumni Stress Over Future of Schools' Identity". Alexandria Times. Retrieved 2009-09-10. 
  4. ^ "Francis C. Hammond". Claim to Fame: Medal of Honor recipients. Find a Grave. Retrieved July 26, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Remembering". Wilmington (NC) Star-News. Associated Press. December 16, 2007. p. 2A. 
  6. ^ "Alexandria school plan to be offered". Free-Lance Star (Fredericksburg, VA). Associated Press. May 1, 1971. p. 10. 
  7. ^ The consolidation of the three high schools created the dynamic for the movie Remember the Titans.
  8. ^ "Hero's son gets his medal". Spartanburg (SC) Herald-Journal. AP photo. January 1, 1954. p. 9. 

External links[edit]