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The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration presented by the United States (U.S.) government to a member of its armed forces. The Attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy against numerous U.S. military sites on the island of Oahu – with a focus on the naval base at Pearl Harbor – in the U.S. Territory of Hawaii. The attack, on the morning of December 7, 1941, led to America's entry into World War II.

For their actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor, 15 sailors in the U.S. Navy (from seven ships and one Naval Air Station) were awarded the Medal of Honor. As noted below, a 16th Medal of Honor was awarded to a marine in the U.S. Marine Corps for an encounter that day, at a Naval Air Station elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands, with units of the same Japanese attack fleet. Of these 16 Medals of Honor recipients for actions on this first day of the Pacific War, 11 received their awards posthumously.

Specific locations[edit | edit source]

Recipients[edit | edit source]

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

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Notes[1][2][3][4]
Head of a middle-aged white man with thinning hair, wearing a dark suit coat, white shirt, and dark tie. Bennion, Mervyn S.Mervyn S. Bennion Navy Captain Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii December 7, 1941 While mortally wounded, he remained in command of USS West Virginia. For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.
John William Finn.jpg Finn, John W.John W. Finn Navy Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii December 7, 1941 Stationed at NAS Kaneohe Bay, HI, he demonstrated extraordinary valor during the Japanese air assault on Oahu. Finn manned an exposed 50-caliber machine gun stand and returned significant fire upon enemy aircraft. Despite numerous painful wounds, he remained at his post and inflicted heavy damage upon the enemy until ordered to seek medical attention.
Francis Charles Flaherty.jpg Flaherty, Francis C.Francis C. Flaherty Navy Ensign Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 During evacuation of the USS Oklahoma, remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life.
Samuel G Fuqua.jpg Fuqua, Samuel G.Samuel G. Fuqua Navy Lieutenant Commander Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Incapacitated in the initial bombing of the USS Arizona, he recovered to direct the fighting of the fires and the rescue of wounded and injured personnel. He stayed on deck through the continuous bombing and strafing, leading in a calm and cool manner that resulted in the saving of many lives.
Edwin J. Hill;h49196.jpg Hill, Edwin J.Edwin J. Hill Navy Chief Boatswain Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 During the height of the strafing and bombing of the USS Nevada, led his men of the linehandling details to the quays, cast off the lines and swam back to his ship. Back onboard, while, attempting to let go the anchors, was blown overboard and killed by the explosion of several bombs.
Jones HC NH92307.jpg Jones, Herbert C.Herbert C. Jones Navy Ensign Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Organized and led a party to supply ammunition to the antiaircraft battery of the USS California after the mechanical hoists were put out of action when he was fatally wounded by a bomb explosion. When 2 men attempted to take him from the area, he ordered "Leave me alone! I am done for. Get out of here before the magazines go off."
Isaac C. Kidd.NH50176.jpg Kidd, Isaac C.Isaac C. Kidd Navy Rear Admiral Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Remained on the bridge of USS Arizona, discharging his duties as Commander of Battleship Division One and Senior Officer Present Afloat even as the ship blew up from magazine explosions, until a direct bomb hit on the bridge resulted in the loss of his life.
Pharris, Jackson C.Jackson C. Pharris Navy Gunner Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 In charge of an ordnance repair party on the USS California, severely injured by explosions and twice rendered unconscious by nauseous oil fumes while setting up a hand-supply ammunition train for the antiaircraft guns, ordering shipfitters to counterflood to address a list (keeping the California in action), repeatedly entered flooding compartments to drag unconscious shipmates to safety.
Thomas J Reeves (MOH).jpg Reeves, Thomas J.Thomas J. Reeves Navy Chief Radioman Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 After the mechanized ammunition hoists were put out of action in the USS California, in a burning passageway, assisted in ammunition supply by hand to the antiaircraft guns until he was killed by smoke and fire.
Donald K. Ross;h97461.jpg Ross, Donald K.Donald K. Ross Navy Chief Machinist Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Forced his men to leave the untenable forward dynamo room of the USS Nevada and performed all the duties himself until unconscious, returned to dynamo room after being resuscitated, worked the after dynamo room until unconscious, recovered and returned to his station until directed to abandon it.
Robert R Scott.jpg Scott, Robert R.Robert R. Scott Navy Machinist's Mate First Class Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 When his battle station compartment flooded on the USS California, site of an air compressor for the guns, Scott refused to leave as "This is my station and I will stay and give them air as long as the guns are going."
Peter Tomich.jpg Tomich, PeterPeter Tomich Navy Chief Watertender Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Although realizing that the USS Utah was capsizing, remained at his post in the engineering plant until he saw that all boilers were secured and all fireroom personnel had left their stations.
VanValkenburgh h75840.jpg Van Valkenburgh, FranklinFranklin Van Valkenburgh Navy Captain Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Remained on the bridge of USS Arizona, discharging his duties as Commanding Officer of the ship even as it blew up from magazine explosions, until a direct bomb hit on the bridge resulted in the loss of his life.
James R. Ward;h92309.jpg Ward, James R.James R. Ward Navy Seaman First Class Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 During evacuation of the USS Oklahoma, remained in a turret, holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life.
Head of middle-aged white man wearing a white jacket with black shoulderboards and a white peaked cap with a black visor. Young, CassinCassin Young Navy Commander Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941 Moved his ship, the USS Vestal, away from the battleship USS Arizona, and subsequently beached it upon determining that such action was required to save his ship.

Midway[edit | edit source]

The Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor also struck elsewhere in the Hawaiian Islands that day, trying to disable the U.S. Marine base on Sand Island at Midway Atoll. For his actions during that engagement, a 16th Medal of Honor was awarded to a marine who died at Sand Island on this first day of the Pacific War.

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

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Notes[1]
Head and shoulders of a young white man with wavy, neatly combed, hair wearing a dark jacket with large bright buttons, a high stiff collar, a strap laying diagonally across the chest, and two pins on his left breast. Cannon, George H.George H. Cannon Marine Corps First Lieutenant Naval Air Station Midway, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Territory of Hawaii December 7, 1941 Refused to be evacuated from his post until after his men, who had been wounded by the same shell that wounded him, were evacuated, and directed the reorganization of his Command Post until forcibly removed.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for World War II (Recipients A-F). United States Army Center of Military History. April 1, 2014. http://www.history.army.mil/moh/wwII-a-f.html. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  2. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for World War II (Recipients G-L). United States Army Center of Military History. April 11, 2014. http://www.history.army.mil/moh/wwII-g-l.html. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  3. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for World War II (Recipients M-S). United States Army Center of Military History. May 7, 2015. http://www.history.army.mil/moh/wwII-m-s.html. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 
  4. "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for World War II (Recipients T-Z). United States Army Center of Military History. August 13, 2013. http://www.history.army.mil/moh/wwII-t-z.html. Retrieved December 26, 2015. 


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