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Congressional Medal of Honor
Heroes of Pearl Harbor


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

MERVYN SHARP BENNION

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: During the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941.
Born: 5 May 1887, Vernon, Utah.
Appointed from: Utah.

As Commanding Officer of the U.S.S. West Virginia, after being mortally wounded, Capt. Bennion evidenced apparent concern only in fighting and saving his ship, and strongly protested against being carried from the bridge.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

JOHN WILLIAM FINN

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.
Entered service at: California.
Born: 23 July 1909, Los Angeles, California.

During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50-caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machinegun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

FRANCIS C. FLAHERTY

Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve.
Place and date: During the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941.
Born: 15 March 1919, Charlotte, Michigan.
Accredited to: Michigan.

When it was seen that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, Ens. Flaherty remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

SAMUEL GLENN FUQUA

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Arizona.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.
Entered service at: Laddonia, Missouri.
Born: 15 October 1899, Laddonia Mo.

Upon the commencement of the attack, Lt. Comdr. Fuqua rushed to the quarterdeck of the U.S.S. Arizona to which he was attached where he was stunned and knocked down by the explosion of a large bomb which hit the guarterdeck, penetrated several decks, and started a severe fire. Upon regaining consciousness, he began to direct the fighting of the fire and the rescue of wounded and injured personnel. Almost immediately there was a tremendous explosion forward, which made the ship appear to rise out of the water, shudder, and settle down by the bow rapidly. The whole forward part of the ship was enveloped in flames which were spreading rapidly, and wounded and burned men were pouring out of the ship to the quarterdeck. Despite these conditions, his harrowing experience, and severe enemy bombing and strafing, at the time, Lt. Comdr. Fuqua continued to direct the fighting of fires in order to check them while the wounded and burned could be taken from the ship and supervised the rescue of these men in such an amazingly calm and cool manner and with such excellent judgment that it inspired everyone who saw him and undoubtedly resulted in the saving of many lives. After realizing the ship could not be saved and that he was the senior surviving officer aboard, he directed it to be abandoned, but continued to remain on the quarterdeck and directed abandoning ship and rescue of personnel until satisfied that all personnel that could be had been saved, after which he left his ship with the boatload. The conduct of Lt. Comdr. Fuqua was not only in keeping with the highest traditions of the naval service but characterizes him as an outstanding leader of men.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

EDWIN JOSEPH HILL

Rank and organization: Chief Boatswain, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 4 October 1894, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Accredited to: Pennsylvania.

During the height of the strafing and bombing, Chief Boatswain Hill led his men of the linehandling details of the U.S.S. Nevada to the quays, cast off the lines and swam back to his ship. Later, while on the forecastle, attempting to let go the anchors, he was blown overboard and killed by the explosion of several bombs


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

HERBERT CHARPOIT JONES

Rank and organization: Ensign, U.S. Naval Reserve.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 1 December 1918, Los Angeles, California.
Accredited to: California.

Ens. Jones organized and led a party, which was supplying ammunition to the antiaircraft battery of the U.S.S. California after the mechanical hoists were put out of action when he was fatally wounded by a bomb explosion. When two men attempted to take him from the area which was on fire, he refused to let them do so, saying in words to the effect, "Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off."


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

ISAAC CAMPBELL KIDD

Rank and organization: Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 26 March 1884, Cleveland, Ohio.
Appointed from: Ohio.

Rear Adm. Kidd immediately went to the bridge and, as Commander Battleship Division One, courageously discharged his duties as Senior Officer Present Afloat until the U.S.S. Arizona, his Flagship, blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

JACKSON CHARLES PHARRIS

Rank and organization: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. California.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.
Entered service at: California.
Born: 26 June 1912, Columbus, Georgia.

In charge of the ordnance repair party on the third deck when the first Japanese torpedo struck almost directly under his station, Lt. (then Gunner) Pharris was stunned and severely injured by the concussion which hurled him to the overhead and back to the deck. Quickly recovering, he acted on his own initiative to set up a hand-supply ammunition train for the antiaircraft guns. With water and oil rushing in where the port bulkhead had been torn up from the deck, with many of the remaining crewmembers overcome by oil fumes, and the ship without power and listing heavily to port as a result of a second torpedo hit, Lt. Pharris ordered the shipfitters to counterflood. Twice rendered unconscious by the nauseous fumes and handicapped by his painful injuries, he persisted in his desperate efforts to speed up the supply of ammunition and at the same time repeatedly risked his life to enter flooding compartments and drag to safety unconscious shipmates who were gradually being submerged in oil. By his inspiring leadership, his valiant efforts and his extreme loyalty to his ship and her crew, he saved many of his shipmates from death and was largely responsible for keeping the California in action during the attack. His heroic conduct throughout this first eventful engagement of World War 11 reflects the highest credit upon Lt. Pharris and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

THOMAS JAMES REEVES

Rank and organization: Radio Electrician (Warrant Officer) U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 9 December 1895, Thomaston, Connecticut.
Accredited to: Connecticut.

After the mechanized ammunition hoists were put out of action in the U.S.S. California, Reeves, on his own initiative, in a burning passageway, assisted in the maintenance of an ammunition supply by hand to the antiaircraft guns until he was overcome by smoke and fire, which resulted in his death.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

DONALD KIRBY ROSS

Rank and organization: Machinist, U.S. Navy, U.S.S. Nevada.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 7 December 1941.
Entered service at: Denver, Colorado.
Born: 8 December 1910, Beverly, Kansas.

When his station in the forward dynamo room of the U.S.S. Nevada became almost untenable due to smoke, steam, and heat, Machinist Ross forced his men to leave that station and performed all the duties himself until blinded and unconscious. Upon being rescued and resuscitated, he returned and secured the forward dynamo room and proceeded to the after dynamo room where he was later again rendered unconscious by exhaustion. Again recovering consciousness he returned to his station where he remained until directed to abandon it.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

ROBERT R. SCOTT

Rank and organization: Machinist's Mate First Class, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 13 July 1915, Massillon, Ohio.
Accredited to: Ohio.

The air compressor compartment in the U.S.S. California, to which Scott was assigned as his battle station, was flooded as the result of a torpedo hit. The remainder of the personnel evacuated that compartment but Scott refused to leave, saying words to the effect "This is my station and I will stay and give them air as long as the guns are going."


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

PETER TOMICH

Rank and organization: Chief Watertender, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 3 June 1893, Prolog, Austria.
Accredited to: New Jersey.

Although realizing that the ship was capsizing as a result of enemy bombing and torpedoing, Tomich remained at his post in the engineering plant of the U.S.S. Utah, until he saw that all boilers were secured and all fireroom personnel had left their stations, and by so doing lost his own life.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

FRANKLIN VAN VALKENBURGH

Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 5 April 1888, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Appointed from: Wisconsin.

As commanding officer of the U.S.S. Arizona, Capt. Van Valkenburgh gallantly fought his ship until the U.S.S. Arizona blew up from magazine explosions and a direct bomb hit on the bridge which resulted in the loss of his life.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor
Awarded Posthumously

JAMES RICHARD WARD

Rank and organization: Seaman First Class, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 10 September 1921, Springfield, Ohio.
Entered service at: Springfield, Ohio.

When it was seen that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, Ward remained in a turret holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life.


World War II History Medal of Honor Separator


Congressional Medal of Honor

CASSIN YOUNG

Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy.
Place and date: Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.
Born: 6 March 1894, Washington, D.C.
Appointed from: Wisconsin.
Other Navy award: Navy Cross.

Comdr. Young proceeded to the bridge and later took personal command of the 3-inch antiaircraft gun. When blown overboard by the blast of the forward magazine explosion of the U.S.S. Arizona, to which the U.S.S. Vestal was moored, he swam back to his ship. The entire forward part of the U.S.S. Arizona was a blazing inferno with oil afire on the water between the 2 ships; as a result of several bomb hits, the U.S.S. Vestal was afire in several places, was settling and taking on a list. Despite severe enemy bombing and strafing at the time, and his shocking experience of having been blown overboard, Comdr. Young, with extreme coolness and calmness, moved his ship to an anchorage distant from the U.S.S. Arizona, and subsequently beached the U.S.S. Vestal upon determining that such action was required to save his ship.


[To create this Medal of Honor information directory we used primary source materials from the U.S. Army Center for Military History. However, the official citations have been edited to make them more readable.]

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