Fred W. Stockham
|Fred William Stockham|
March 16, 1881|
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
|Died||June 22, 1918
|Allegiance||United States of America|
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||1903-1907, 1912-1918|
|Unit||2nd Battalion, 6th Marines|
|Battles/wars||World War I
*Third Battle of the Aisne
*Battle of Belleau Wood †
|Awards||Medal of Honor
Croix de Guerre
Fred William Stockham (March 16, 1881 in Detroit – June 22, 1918 in France) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his self-sacrificial valor during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I.
Early life and education
Stockham was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 16, 1881. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 16, 1903 and, over the next four years, served twice in the Philippines, from September 26, 1903 to August 28, 1905 and from September 29, 1906 to January 13, 1907, and did one tour of duty in China in the intervening period. Private Stockham was honorably discharged at New York City on July 15, 1907. Four years later, on May 31, 1912, he reenlisted in the Marine Corps.
By the time he was again discharged, on May 30, 1916, he had risen to the rank of sergeant and had served most of his term ashore in Nicaragua. Sgt. Stockham saw combat during the engagement at León, Nicaragua, on October 6, 1915, a little over a month before his departure from that troubled Latin American nation. He was honorably discharged again on May 30, 1916, this time at Mare Island, Calif. However, within a week, he had returned to New York City, where on June 7, he reenlisted.
By February 8, 1918, Sgt. Stockham was in France and heading for the trenches. Between that time and his death, he served in the Toulon sector, in the Aisne operation, and at Belleau Wood. During the last-named battle, Gunnery Sergeant Stockham displayed the "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty" which later earned him the Medal of Honor by an Act of Congress.
Gy. Sgt. Stockham died in France on June 22, 1918. Thanks to the efforts of his former comrades, one of whom undoubtedly was the man whose life his gas mask saved, Gy. Sgt. Stockham was belatedly and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor by an Act of Congress on December 21, 1939, over 20 years after his sacrifice.
- Medal of Honor (posthumous)
- Purple Heart (posthumous)
- Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
- Philippine Campaign Medal
- World War I Victory Medal
- Croix de Guerre (France)
Medal of Honor citation
Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 96th Company, 2d Battalion, 6th Regiment. Place and date: In Bois-de-Belleau, France, 13-June 14, 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Detroit, Mich.
During an intense enemy bombardment with high explosive and gas shells which wounded or killed many members of the company, G/Sgt. Stockham, upon noticing that the gas mask of a wounded comrade was shot away, without hesitation, removed his own gas mask and insisted upon giving it to the wounded man, well knowing that the effects of the gas would be fatal to himself. He continued with undaunted courage and valor to direct and assist in the evacuation of the wounded, until he himself collapsed from the effects of gas, dying as a result thereof a few days later. His courageous conduct undoubtedly saved the lives of many of his wounded comrades and his conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to all who served with him.
Note - Sergeant Stockham's Medal of Honor was awarded by the Secretary of the Army and, thus, it would have been of the Army design rather than the naval design.
In 1943, the destroyer USS Stockham (DD-683) was named for Gy. Sgt. Fred W. Stockham, USMC. In 2001, the container & roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Soderman (T-AKR-299) was renamed USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK-3017). As of 2016, she is still in service.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
- American Decorations. Vol. IV. July 1, 1939 to June 30, 1940. pg. 1.
- Priolo, Gary P. (November 16, 2007). "T-AKR-299 Soderman / T-AK-3017 GYSGT Fred W. Stockham". Service Ship Photo Archive. NavSource Online. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- "Gunnery Sergeant Fred W. Stockham, USMC". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Archived from the original on 2008-01-24. Retrieved 2006-03-20.
- "Stockham". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. Retrieved 2006-05-10.
- "USNS GYSGT Fred W. Stockham (T-AK 3017)". Container & Roll-on/Roll-off Ship. Military Sealift Command, U.S. Navy. October 27, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-06.