List of African-American Medal of Honor recipients

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The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. Recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Because of the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.[1]

Of the 3,464 Medals of Honor awarded as of June 2009, 88 have been awarded to 87 different African American recipients.[2] Robert Augustus Sweeney is one of nineteen men, and the only African American, to have been awarded two Medals of Honor.[3]

A 1993 study commissioned by the Army investigated racial discrimination in the awarding of medals.[4] At the time, no Medals of Honor had been awarded to black soldiers who served in World War II. After an exhaustive review of files, the study recommended that several black Distinguished Service Cross recipients be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal to seven African American World War II veterans; of these, only Vernon Baker was still alive.[4]

Civil War[edit]

Twenty-five African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the American Civil War, including seven sailors of the Union Navy, fifteen soldiers of the United States Colored Troops, and three soldiers of other Army units.[2] Fourteen African American men earned the Medal for actions in the Battle of Chaffin's Farm, where a division of U.S. Colored Troops saw heavy action. Another four men, all sailors, earned their Medals at the Battle of Mobile Bay. William Harvey Carney was the first African American to perform an action for which a Medal of Honor was awarded, but Robert Blake was the first to actually receive the Medal (Blake's was issued in 1864, Carney did not receive his until 1900). It was common for Civil War Medals of Honor to be awarded decades after the conflict ended; in one case, Andrew Jackson Smith's Medal was not awarded until 2001, 137 years after the action in which he earned it. Smith's wait, caused by a missing battle report, is the longest delay of the award for any recipient, African American or otherwise.[5]

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied from the official Medal of Honor citation
Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Anderson, AaronAaron Anderson Navy E-01Landsman USS Wyandank (1847) Mattox Creek, Virginia March 17, 1865 "Participating with a boat crew in the clearing of Mattox Creek, L/man Anderson carried out his duties courageously in the face of a devastating fire which cut away half the oars, pierced the launch in many places and cut the barrel off a musket being fired at the enemy."
Anderson, BruceBruce Anderson Army E-01Private 142nd New York Volunteer Infantry Second Battle of Fort Fisher, North Carolina January 15, 1865 "Voluntarily advanced with the head of the column and cut down the palisading."
Barnes, William H.William H. Barnes Army E-01Private 38th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Among the first to enter the enemy's works; although wounded."
Powhatan Beaty.jpg Beaty, PowhatanPowhatan Beaty Army E-08First Sergeant 5th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it."
Blake, RobertRobert Blake Navy 0Contraband[n 1] USS Marblehead (1861) off Legareville in the Stono River, Johns Island, South Carolina December 25, 1863 "[I]n an engagement with the enemy on John's Island. Serving the rifle gun, Blake, an escaped slave, carried out his duties bravely throughout the engagement which resulted in the enemy's abandonment of positions, leaving a caisson and one gun behind."
Bronson, James H.James H. Bronson Army E-08First Sergeant 5th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Took command of his company, all the officers having been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it."
Brown, William H.William H. Brown Navy E-01Landsman USS Brooklyn (1858) Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama August 5, 1864 "[R]emained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan."
Brown, WilsonWilson Brown Navy E-01Landsman USS Hartford Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama August 5, 1864 "Knocked unconscious into the hold of the ship when an enemy shellburst fatally wounded a man on the ladder above him, Brown, upon regaining consciousness, promptly returned to the shell whip on the berth deck and zealously continued to perform his duties although 4 of the 6 men at this station had been either killed or wounded by the enemy's terrific fire."
William Harvey Carney.jpg Carney, William HarveyWilliam Harvey Carney Army E-05Sergeant 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, South Carolina July 18, 1863 "[G]rasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded."
Dorsey, DecaturDecatur Dorsey Army E-04Corporal 39th United States Colored Infantry Regiment Battle of the Crater, Petersburg, Virginia July 30, 1864 "Planted his colors on the Confederate works in advance of his regiment, and when the regiment was driven back to the Union works he carried the colors there and bravely rallied the men."
Sgt Major Christian Fleetwood - American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient.jpg Fleetwood, ChristianChristian Fleetwood Army E-09Sergeant Major 4th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Seized the colors, after 2 color bearers had been shot down, and bore them nobly through the fight."
James Daniel Gardner.jpg Gardner, James DanielJames Daniel Gardner Army E-01Private 36th United States Colored Infantry Regiment Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Rushed in advance of his brigade, shot a rebel officer who was on the parapet rallying his men, and then ran him through with his bayonet."
James H Harris.jpg Harris, James H.James H. Harris Army E-05Sergeant 38th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Gallantry in the assault"
Thomas R Hawkins.jpg Hawkins, Thomas R.Thomas R. Hawkins Army E-01Private 6th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Deep Bottom, Virginia July 21, 1864 "Rescue of regimental colors."
Hilton, Alfred B.Alfred B. Hilton* Army E-05Sergeant 4th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "When the regimental color bearer fell, this soldier seized the color and carried it forward, together with the national standard, until disabled at the enemy's inner line."
Milton M Holland.jpg Holland, Milton M.Milton M. Holland Army E-09Sergeant Major 5th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Took command of Company C, after all the officers had been killed or wounded, and gallantly led it."
James, MilesMiles James Army E-04Corporal 36th United States Colored Infantry Regiment Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Having had his arm mutilated, making immediate amputation necessary, he loaded and discharged his piece with one hand and urged his men forward; this within 30 yards of the enemy's works."
Alexander Kelly.jpg Kelly, AlexanderAlexander Kelly Army E-08First Sergeant 6th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Gallantly seized the colors, which had fallen near the enemy's lines of abatis, raised them and rallied the men at a time of confusion and in a place of the greatest danger."
John Lawson.jpg Lawson, John HenryJohn Henry Lawson Navy E-01Landsman USS Hartford Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama August 5, 1864 Although "Wounded in the leg and thrown violently against the side of the ship when an enemy shell killed or wounded the 6-man crew as the shell whipped on the berth deck, Lawson, upon regaining his composure, promptly returned to his station and, although urged to go below for treatment, steadfastly continued his duties..."
Mifflin, JamesJames Mifflin Navy 0Engineer's Cook USS Brooklyn (1858) Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama August 5, 1864 "[R]emained steadfast at his post and performed his duties in the powder division throughout the furious action which resulted in the surrender of the prize rebel ram Tennessee and in the damaging and destruction of batteries at Fort Morgan."
Pease, JoachimJoachim Pease Navy E-01Seaman USS Kearsarge (1861) off Cherbourg, France June 19, 1864 "Acting as loader on the No. 2 gun during this bitter engagement, Pease exhibited marked coolness and good conduct and was highly recommended by the divisional officer for gallantry under fire."
Robert A Pinn touchup.jpg Pinn, RobertRobert Pinn Army E-08First Sergeant 5th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Took command of his company after all the officers had been killed or wounded and gallantly led it in battle."
Ratcliff, EdwardEdward Ratcliff Army E-08First Sergeant 38th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Commanded and gallantly led his company after the commanding officer had been killed; was the first enlisted man to enter the enemy's works."
Andrew Jackson Smith.jpg Smith, Andrew JacksonAndrew Jackson Smith Army E-04Corporal 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina November 30, 1864 "Saving his regimental colors, after the color bearer was killed during al bloody charge called the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina"
Veale, CharlesCharles Veale Army E-01Private 4th U.S. Colored Infantry Battle of Chaffin's Farm, Virginia September 29, 1864 "Seized the national colors after 2 color bearers had been shot down close to the enemy's works, and bore them through the remainder of the battle."

Indian Wars[edit]

Eighteen African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the Indian Wars of the western United States.[2] Fourteen were "Buffalo Soldiers", members of the Army's first peacetime black regiments. The four Buffalo Soldier regiments, the 9th Cavalry, 10th Cavalry, 24th Infantry, and 25th Infantry, fought in campaigns throughout the west. The remaining four Medal of Honor recipients were U.S. Army Indian Scouts recruited from among the Black Seminoles, a group of Seminole Indians of African descent.

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Boyne, ThomasThomas Boyne Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Mimbres Mountains and near Ojo Caliente, New Mexico May 29, 1879 and September 27, 1879 "Bravery in action"
Brown, BenjaminBenjamin Brown Army E-05Sergeant 24th Infantry Regiment Arizona May 11, 1889 "Although shot in the abdomen, in a fight between a paymaster's escort and robbers, did not leave the field until again wounded through both arms."
John Denny.jpg Denny, JohnJohn Denny Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Las Animas Canyon, New Mexico September 18, 1879 "Removed a wounded comrade, under a heavy fire, to a place of safety."
Pompei Factor- medal of honor 1875.jpg Factor, PompeyPompey Factor Army E-01Private Indian Scouts Pecos River, Texas April 25, 1875 "With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol."
Greaves, ClintonClinton Greaves Army E-04Corporal 9th Cavalry Regiment Florida Mountains, Luna County, New Mexico January 24, 1877 "While part of a small detachment to persuade a band of renegade Apache Indians to surrender, his group was surrounded. Cpl. Greaves in the center of the savage hand-to-hand fighting, managed to shoot and bash a gap through the swarming Apaches, permitting his companions to break free."
Henry Johnson, MOH.jpg Johnson, HenryHenry Johnson Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Milk River, Colorado October 2, 1879October 5, 1879 "Voluntarily left fortified shelter and under heavy fire at close range made the rounds of the pits to instruct the guards, fought his way to the creek and back to bring water to the wounded."
George Jordan (MOH).jpg Jordan, GeorgeGeorge Jordan Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Fort Tularosa and Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico May 14, 1880 and August 12, 1881 For repulsing a larger force of Indians on 2 separate occasions
Isaiah Mays.jpg Mays, IsaiahIsaiah Mays Army E-04Corporal 24th Infantry Regiment Cedar Springs, Arizona May 11, 1889 "Gallantry in the fight between Paymaster Wham's escort and robbers. Mays walked and crawled 2 miles to a ranch for help."
William McBryar, USV.jpg McBryar, WilliamWilliam McBryar Army E-05Sergeant 10th Cavalry Regiment Salt River, north of Globe, Arizona March 7, 1890 "Distinguished himself for coolness, bravery and marksmanship while his troop was in pursuit of hostile Apache Indians."
Paine, AdamAdam Paine Army E-01Private Indian Scouts Canyon Blanco, Staked Plains, Texas (Red River War) September 26, 1874September 27, 1874 "Rendered invaluable service to Col. R. S. Mackenzie, 4th U.S. Cavalry, during this engagement."
Payne, IsaacIsaac Payne Army 0Trumpeter Indian Scouts Pecos River, Texas April 25, 1875 "With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol."
Thomas Shaw (MOH).jpg Shaw, ThomasThomas Shaw Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Carrizo Canyon, Cuchillo Negra Mountains, New Mexico August 12, 1881 "Forced the enemy back after stubbornly holding his ground in an extremely exposed position and prevented the enemy's superior numbers from surrounding his command."
Stance, EmanuelEmanuel Stance Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Kickapoo Springs, Texas May 20, 1870 "Gallantry on scout after Indians"
Walley, AugustusAugustus Walley Army E-01Private 9th Cavalry Regiment Cuchillo Negro Mountains, New Mexico August 16, 1881 "Bravery in action with hostile Apaches"
Ward, JohnJohn Ward Army E-05Sergeant Indian Scouts, 24th Infantry Regiment Pecos River, Texas April 25, 1875 "With 3 other men, he participated in a charge against 25 hostiles while on a scouting patrol"
Williams, MosesMoses Williams Army E-08First Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Cuchillo Negro Mountains, New Mexico August 16, 1881 "Rallied a detachment, skillfully conducted a running flght of 3 or 4 hours, and by his coolness, bravery, and unflinching devotion to duty in standing by his commanding officer in an exposed position under a heavy fire from a large party of Indians saved the lives of at least 3 of his comrades."
Wilson, William OthelloWilliam Othello Wilson Army E-04Corporal 9th Cavalry Regiment Sioux Campaign December 30, 1890 "Bravery"
Brent Woods with hat.jpg Woods, BrentBrent Woods Army E-05Sergeant 9th Cavalry Regiment Gavilan Canyon, New Mexico August 19, 1881 "Saved the lives of his comrades and citizens of the detachment"

Spanish-American War[edit]

Six African Americans earned the Medal of Honor during the Spanish-American War: five Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry Regiment and one United States Navy sailor.[2] Four of the five Buffalo Soldiers received the Medal for rescuing a trapped landing party during the Battle of Tayacoba.

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Edward L. Baker (MOH).jpg Baker, Jr., Edward L.Edward L. Baker, Jr. Army E-09Sergeant Major 10th Cavalry Regiment Santiago, Cuba July 1, 1898 "Left cover and, under fire, rescued a wounded comrade from drowning."
Dennis Bell.jpg Bell, DennisDennis Bell Army E-01Private 10th Cavalry Regiment Tayabacoa, Cuba June 30, 1898 "Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated."
Lee, FitzFitz Lee Army E-01Private 10th Cavalry Regiment Tayabacoa, Cuba June 30, 1898 "Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts had been frustrated."
Robert Penn (MOH) framed.jpg Penn, RobertRobert Penn Navy Fireman First Class USS Iowa (BB-4) On board the U.S.S. Iowa off Santiago de Cuba July 20, 1898 "Performing his duty at the risk of serious scalding at the time of the blowing out of the manhole gasket on board the vessel, Penn hauled the fire while standing on a board thrown across a coal bucket 1 foot above the boiling water which was still blowing from the boiler."
Thompkins, William H.William H. Thompkins Army E-01Private 10th Cavalry Regiment Tayabacoa, Cuba June 30, 1898 "Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated."
Wanton, George H.George H. Wanton Army E-01Private 10th Cavalry Regiment Tayabacoa, Cuba June 30, 1898 "Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated."

World War I[edit]

Freddie Stowers was the only African American to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in World War I.[2] Stowers had led an assault on German trenches, continuing to lead and encourage his men even after being twice wounded. Stowers died of his wounds, and was shortly afterwards recommended for the Medal of Honor; however, this recommendation was never processed. In 1990, the Department of the Army conducted a review and the Stowers recommendation was uncovered. An investigation was launched, and based on results of the investigation the award of the Medal of Honor was approved. Stowers' Medal of Honor was presented on April 24, 1991—seventy-three years after he was killed-in-action.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Stowers, FreddieFreddie Stowers* Army E-04Corporal 371st Infantry Regiment, 93d Division Hill 188, Champagne Marne Sector, France September 28, 1918 Led his squad to destroy a group of enemy soldiers and was leading them to another trench when he was killed

World War II[edit]

No African American was awarded a Medal of Honor either during World War II or immediately afterwards with respect to their actions during that conflict. This changed in 1992 when a study conducted by Shaw University and commissioned by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the United States Army asserted that systematic racial discrimination had been present in the criteria for awarding medals during the war. After an exhaustive review of files the study recommended that several of the Distinguished Service Crosses awarded to African Americans be upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, more than fifty years after the end of the war, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal to seven African American World War II veterans. Vernon Baker was the only living recipient—the other six men had been killed in action or died in the intervening years.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Baker Vernon USArmy.jpg Baker, VernonVernon Baker Army O-01Second Lieutenant 370th Infantry Regiment, 92d Infantry Division (Colored) near Viareggio, Italy April 5, 1945 and April 6, 1945 For extraordinary heroism in action on 5 and 6 April 1945, near Viareggio, Italy. Then Second Lieutenant Baker demonstrated outstanding courage and leadership in destroying enemy installations, personnel and equipment during his company's attack against a strongly entrenched enemy in mountainous terrain. When his company was stopped by the concentration of fire from several machine gun emplacements, he crawled to one position and destroyed it, killing three Germans. Continuing forward, he attacked an enemy observation post and killed two occupants. With the aid of one of his men, Lieutenant Baker attacked two more machine gun nests, killing or wounding the four enemy soldiers occupying these positions. He then covered the evacuation of the wounded personnel of his company by occupying an exposed position and drawing the enemy's fire. On the following night Lieutenant Baker voluntarily led a battalion advance through enemy mine fields and heavy fire toward the division objective. Second Lieutenant Baker's fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces
Carter E USArmy.jpg Carter, Jr., Edward A.Edward A. Carter, Jr.* Army E-06Staff Sergeant 12th Armored Division near Speyer, Germany March 23, 1945 "For extraordinary heroism on March 23, 1945, near Speyer, Germany. When the tank he was riding received heavy bazooka and small arms fire, Sgt. Carter voluntarily attempted to lead a three-man group across an open field. Two of his men were killed and the third seriously wounded. Continuing on alone, he was wounded five times and finally was forced to take cover. As eight enemy riflemen attempted to capture him, Sgt. Carter killed six of them and captured the remaining two. He then crossed the field, using as a shield his two prisoners from whom he obtained valuable information concerning the disposition of enemy troops."
JohnRFox.jpg Fox, John R.John R. Fox* Army O-02First Lieutenant 366th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division (Colored) the vicinity of Sommocolonia, Italy December 26, 1944 "[V]oluntarily remained on the second floor of a house to direct defensive artillery fire" so his unit could escape. "when a counterattack retook the position from the Germans, Lieutenant Fox's body was found with the bodies of approximately 100 German soldiers."
James, Jr., Willy F.Willy F. James, Jr.* Army E-02Private First Class 413th Infantry Regiment, 104th Infantry Division near Lippoldsberg, Germany April 7, 1945 "[L]ed a squad in the assault, accurately designating targets as he advanced, until he was killed by enemy machine gun fire while going to the aid of his fatally wounded platoon leader."
SSgtRubenRivers cropped.jpg Rivers, RubenRuben Rivers* Army E-06Staff Sergeant 761st Tank Battalion (Colored), 26th Infantry Division (United States) Guebling, France November 15, 1944November 19, 1944 For extraordinary heroism in action during the 15–19 November 1944, toward Guebling, France. Though severely wounded in the leg, Sergeant Rivers refused medical treatment and evacuation, took command of another tank, and advanced with his company in Guebling the next day. Repeatedly refusing evacuation, Sergeant Rivers continued to direct his tank's fire at enemy positions through the morning of 19 November 1944. At dawn, Company A's tanks began to advance towards Bougaktroff, but were stopped by enemy fire. Sergeant Rivers, joined by another tank, opened fire on the enemy tanks, covering company A as they withdrew. While doing so, Sergeant River's tank was hit, killing him and wounding the crew. Staff Sergeant Rivers' fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his unit and exemplify the highest traditions of military service.
1stLtCharlesLThomas.jpg Thomas, Charles L.Charles L. Thomas* Army O-02First Lieutenant 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, 103rd Infantry Division near Climbach, France December 14, 1944 "For extraordinary heroism in action on December 14, 1944, near Climbach, France. While riding in the lead vehicle of a task force organized to storm and capture the village of Climbach, France, then First Lieutenant Thomas's armored scout car was subjected to intense enemy artillery, self-propelled gun, and small arms fire. Although wounded by the initial burst of hostile fire, Lieutenant Thomas signalled the remainder of the column to halt and, despite the severity of his wounds, assisted the crew of the wrecked car in dismounting. Upon leaving the scant protection which the vehicle afforded, Lieutenant Thomas was again subjected to a hail of enemy fire which inflicted multiple gunshot wounds in his chest, legs, and left arm. Despite the intense pain caused by these wounds, Lieutenant Thomas ordered and directed the dispersion and emplacement of two antitank guns which in a few moments were promptly and effectively returning the enemy fire. Realizing that he could no longer remain in command of the platoon, he signalled to the platoon commander to join him. Lieutenant Thomas then thoroughly oriented him on enemy gun dispositions and the general situation. Only after he was certain that his junior officer was in full control of the situation did he permit himself to be evacuated. First Lieutenant Thomas' outstanding heroism were an inspiration to his men and exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces."
George WATSON.jpg Watson , George George Watson * Army E-01Private 2nd Battalion, 29th Quartermaster Regiment, Quartermaster Corps Porloch Harbor, New Guinea March 8, 1943 When his ship was hit by enemy bombers he sacrificed himself to save several other crewmembers who could not swim and drowned when the suction of the ship sinking pulled him under

Korean War[edit]

Two African Americans received the Medal of Honor for action in the Korean War, both were soldiers of the 24th Infantry Regiment.[2] Despite a 1948 Executive Order commanding the integration of the military, segregated units persisted until 1954; the 24th Infantry was one of the last remaining all-black regiments, and these two men were the last African Americans to receive the Medal of Honor for actions while serving in a segregated unit.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Cornelius Charlton.jpg Charlton, Cornelius H.Cornelius H. Charlton* Army E-05Sergeant 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Near Chipo-ri, Korea June 2, 1951 Using grenades and machine-gun fire he led his men to fight back a group of enemy soldiers until he was killed
William H. Thompson (MOH).jpg Thompson, William HenryWilliam Henry Thompson* Army E-02Private First Class 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Near Haman, Korea August 6, 1950 Sacrificed his life to allow the rest of his unit to escape a group of enemy soldiers

Vietnam War[edit]

Twenty African Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in the Vietnam War, including James Anderson, Jr., the first African American Marine to receive the Medal.[2]

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
James Anderson, Jr.jpg Anderson, Jr., JamesJames Anderson, Jr.* Marine Corps E-02Private First Class 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division Cam Lo, Vietnam February 28, 1967 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Anderson, WebsterWebster Anderson Army E-06Staff Sergeant 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) Tam Kỳ, Vietnam October 15, 1967 Anderson's artillery unit was attacked by North Vietnamese forces near Tam Kỳ in the Republic of Vietnam. Anderson directed the defense of the unit's position and continued to lead after twice being severely wounded.
Ashley, Jr., EugeneEugene Ashley, Jr.* Army E-07Sergeant First Class 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces Battle of Lang Vei, Vietnam February 6, 1968February 7, 1968 Led 5 assaults against the enemy, continuously exposing himself to enemy grenades, machine gun and automatic weapons fire until he was killed by enemy mortar fire after being carried off the battlefield
Austin OP USMC.jpg Austin, Oscar P.Oscar P. Austin* Marine Corps E-02Private First Class 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) Da Nang, Vietnam February 23, 1969 Sacrificed his life to save a wounded Marine
Bryant, William MaudWilliam Maud Bryant* Army E-07Sergeant First Class 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces Long Khanh Province, Vietnam March 24, 1969 Killed by an enemy rocket after leading his men on repeated attacks upon enemy bunkers
Davis HM USMC.jpg Davis, Rodney M.Rodney M. Davis* Marine Corps E-05Sergeant 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division Quang Nam Province, Vietnam September 6, 1967 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Jenkins, Jr., Robert H.Robert H. Jenkins, Jr.* Marine Corps E-02Private First Class 3rd Marine Division (Reinforced) Fire Support Base Argonne, DMZ, Vietnam March 5, 1969 Sacrificed his life to shield a wounded Marine from an exploding grenade
Lawrence Joel 3.jpg Joel, LawrenceLawrence Joel Army E-04Specialist Six 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade Vietnam November 8, 1965 After a long battle with enemy soldiers and despite his own wounds he continued to treat wounded until he was ordered to evacuate
Johnson, Dwight H.Dwight H. Johnson Army E-04Specialist Five 69th Armor Regiment, 4th Infantry Division Dak To, Kon Tum Province, Vietnam January 15, 1968 Risked his life to repeatedly attack a group of enemy soldiers until all of the enemy had been repulsed or killed
Johnson RH.jpg Johnson, Ralph H.Ralph H. Johnson* Marine Corps E-02Private First Class 1st Marine Division (Reinforced) Hill 146, Quan Duc Valley, Vietnam March 5, 1968 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Langhorn, Garfield M.Garfield M. Langhorn* Army E-02Private First Class 17th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade Plei Djereng, Pleiku Province, Vietnam January 15, 1969 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Leonard, MatthewMatthew Leonard* Army E-07Sergeant First Class 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division Suoi Da, Vietnam February 28, 1967 Although severely wounded he continued to fight the enemy until succumbing to his wounds
Long, Donald RussellDonald Russell Long* Army E-05Sergeant 4th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division Vietnam June 30, 1966 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Morris, MelvinMelvin Morris United States Army Staff Sergeant Third Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike Force Chi Lang, Vietnam September 17, 1969 Shot three times will retrieving a wounded comrade
Milton Lee Olive.jpg Olive, III, Milton L.Milton L. Olive, III* Army E-02Private First Class 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Phu Cuong, Vietnam October 22, 1965 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
Captain Riley Leroy Pitts.jpg Pitts, Riley L.Riley L. Pitts* Army O-03Captain 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Ap Dong, Vietnam October 31, 1967 Led his men against numerous attacks against the enemy until they had been defeated
Charles C. Rogers (MOH).jpg Rogers, Charles CalvinCharles Calvin Rogers Army O-05Lieutenant Colonel 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Infantry Division Fishook region (near the Cambodian border), Vietnam November 1, 1968 "Although too severely wounded to physically lead the defenders, Lt. Col. Rogers continued to give encouragement and direction to his men in the defeating and repelling of the enemy attack"
Sargent, Ruppert L.Ruppert L. Sargent* Army O-02First Lieutenant 9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Hau Nghia Province, Vietnam March 15, 1967 Sacrificed his life by smothering two enemy grenades with his body
Clarence Eugene Sasser.jpg Sasser, ClarenceClarence Sasser Army E-02Private First Class 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division Ding Tuong Province, Vietnam January 10, 1968 Although wounded himself he proceeded to administer first aid to the wounded for more than five hours until they were evacuated
Sims, Clifford ChesterClifford Chester Sims* Army E-06Staff Sergeant 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division Huế, Vietnam February 21, 1968 Sacrificed his life by smothering a grenade with his body
John E. Warren (MOH)2.jpg Warren, Jr., John E.John E. Warren, Jr.* Army O-02First Lieutenant 22d Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division Tay Ninh Province, Vietnam January 14, 1969 Treated the wounded and administered last rites to the dead and dying until he was killed by the enemy

Peacetime[edit]

Before World War II, the Medal of Honor could be awarded for actions not involving direct combat with the enemy; eight African Americans earned the Medal in this way, all of them sailors.[2] Robert Augustus Sweeney received two peacetime Medals of Honor, one of only nineteen men, and the only African American, to be awarded the medal twice. Most of the non-combat medals, including both of Sweeney's, were awarded for rescuing or attempting to rescue someone from drowning.

      This along with * indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Note: Notes in quotations are derived or are copied in their entirety from the actual Medal of Honor citation
Image Name Service Rank Unit Place of action Date of action Notes
Daniel Atkins (MOH) poster.jpg Atkins, DanielDaniel Atkins Navy Ship's Cook First Class USS Cushing (TB-1) aboard ship at sea February 11, 1898 Attempted to save the life of an officer who fell overboard at sea
Davis, JohnJohn Davis Navy E-01Ordinary Seaman USS Trenton (1876) Toulon, France February 1881 "Jumping overboard, Davis rescued Augustus Ohlensen, coxswain, from drowning"
Girandy, AlphonseAlphonse Girandy Navy E-01Seaman USS Petrel (PG-2) aboard ship at sea March 31, 1901 "[F]earlessly exposing his own life to danger for the saving of others"
Johnson, JohnJohn Johnson Navy E-01Seaman USS Kansas (1863) near Greytown, Nicaragua April 12, 1872 "[D]isplayed great coolness and self-possession at the time Comdr. A. F. Crosman and others were drowned and, by extraordinary heroism and personal exertion, prevented greater loss of life."
Johnson, WilliamWilliam Johnson Navy Cooper USS Adams (1874) Navy Yard, Mare Island, California November 14, 1879 "[R]escued Daniel W. Kloppen, a workman, from drowning"
Joseph Noil poster.jpg Noil, Joseph B.Joseph B. Noil Navy E-01Seaman USS Powhatan (1850) Norfolk, Virginia December 26, 1872 "[S]aved Boatswain J. C. Walton from drowning"
Smith, JohnJohn Smith Navy E-01Seaman USS Shenandoah (1862) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil September 19, 1880 "[R]escuing from drowning James Grady, first class fireman"
Sweeney, Robert AugustusRobert Augustus Sweeney Navy E-01Ordinary Seaman First action:
USS Kearsarge (1861)
Second action:
USS Jamestown (1844)
First action:
Hampton Roads, Virginia
Second action:
Brooklyn Navy Yard
First action:
October 26, 1881
Second action:
December 20, 1883
First action:"[J]umped overboard and assisted in saving from drowning a shipmate who had fallen overboard into a strongly running tide"
Second action:"[R]escued from drowning A. A. George, who had fallen overboard from that vessel"

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "In international law, contraband is any goods carried by vessels of neutral nations during wartime that may be confiscated and thus prohibited from delivery to the enemy. Since slavery was still in active practice in the southern United States (the Confederate States of America) during the American Civil War when Blake was captured, he was considered someone's property and therefore considered to be contraband.”

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
General
Inline
  1. ^ "A Brief History — The Medal of Honor". Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Department of Defense. August 8, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h C. W. Hanna, African American recipients of the Medal of Honor, 3; Note: Hanna includes Clement Dees in his count, while this list does not, because Dees's medal was rescinded.
  3. ^ "List of Double MOH Recipients". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved August 28, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b "WWII African American MOH recipients". United States Army Center of Military History. Retrieved July 20, 2006. 
  5. ^ Owens, Ron (2004). Medal of Honor: Historical Facts and Figures. Turner Publishing Company. p. 23. ISBN 1-56311-995-1. Retrieved June 24, 2009. 

External links[edit]