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University of Washington Medal of Honor Memorial Dedication


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Here are some pictures I took at a wonderful I attended on Memorial Day 2009. It was for the Medal of Honor Memorial Dedication being held at the University of Washington for the following UW Alumni:

Deming Bronson, 1LT, USA (1915)
This UW graduate won a Medal of Honor in World War I for capturing enemy prisoners near Eclisfontaine, France, in 1918. He was wounded by a hand grenade and a bullet and still led his unit to capture enemy positions. At the UW, he was a forestry major and played Husky football from 1912-1916 under legendary Coach Gil Dobie.

Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, Col., USMCGregory “Pappy” Boyington, Col., USMC (1934)
The Marines’ WWII ace, Boyington downed 28 enemy planes before being captured by the Japanese and spending the rest of the conflict in a prisoner of war camp. His squadron’s exploits became the basis for the 1970s TV series, Baa Baa Black Sheep.

Robert E. Galer, BGen, USMCRobert E. Galer, BGen, USMC (1935)
As a Marine Corps major in August and September of 1942, he repeatedly engaged Japanese aerial forces in combat, “individually shooting down 11 enemy bomber and fighter aircraft over a period of 29 days,” according to the text of his medal citation. Galer was himself shot down four times during his service in World War II and Korea. He retired as a brigadier general in 1957.

William Nakamura, PFC, USAWilliam Nakamura, PFC, USA (1941)
Twice on July 4, 1944, Private First Class William K. Nakamura singlehandedly attacked German machine gunners in Italy so his platoon could be freed from pinned-down positions. During his second effort, Nakamura was killed. He had volunteered for the Army after his family and other Japanese Americans on the West coast were forced to move to internment camps.

Bruce Crandall, Maj., USABruce Crandall, Maj., USA (1951-52)
For extraordinary heroism as a Flight Commander in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). On Nov. 14, 1965, despite the fact that his landing zone was still under relentless enemy fire, Major Crandall landed and supervised the loading of seriously wounded soldiers aboard his aircraft. His voluntary decision to land under the most extreme fire instilled in the other pilots the will and spirit to continue to land their own aircraft.

John D. "Bud" Hawk, Sgt., USAJohn D. “Bud” Hawk, Sgt., USA (1952)
Army Sgt. Hawk was wounded on August 20, 1944, in France when the German army was trying to escape its encirclement following the Normandy invasion. A portion of his medal citation reads, “Sgt. Hawk’s fearless initiative and heroic conduct, even while suffering from a painful wound, was in large measure responsible for crushing two desperate attempts of the enemy to escape from the Falaise Pocket and for taking more than 500 prisoners.”

Archie Van Winkle, Col., USMCArchie Van Winkle, Col., USMC (1961)
Van Winkle was awarded the Medal of Honor for action in Korea. On November 2, 1950, Van Winkle led a daring charge through withering enemy fire during which a bullet shattered his arm and an enemy hand grenade exploded against his chest. Though severely wounded, he refused to be evacuated, and continued to shout orders and encouragement to his men while lying on the ground weak from loss of blood. His heroic leadership enabled the outnumbered platoon to repulse a fanatical enemy attack.

Robert Leisy, 2LT, USARobert Leisy, 2LT, USA (1968)
He served as a 2nd Lt. in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. During an engagement in Phuoc Long Province, Leisy’s unit was ambushed by a far larger force of North Vietnamese soldiers. He shielded his men from a rocket grenade attack and died of the wounds on Dec. 2, 1969. He was 24.

Sixteen Medal of Honor recipients were on hand for the Dedication of UW’s Medal of Honor Memorial. They are:

MSG John Baker (USA-ret)
COL Bruce Crandall (USA-ret)
MG Patrick Henry Brady (USA-ret)
MAJ Drew D. Dix (USA-ret)
Col James Fleming (USAF-ret)
SP4 Michael J. Fitzmaurice (USA)
COL Robert Howard (USA-ret)
CPT Arthur Jackson (USAR-ret)
SgtMaj Allan Kellogg (USMC-ret)
SP4 Thomas Kinsman (USA)
COL Walter Joseph Marm (USA-ret)
SSG Hiroshi H. Miyamura (USA)
LT Thomas R. Norris (USN-ret)
MSG Wilburn Ross (USA-ret)
Col Leo Thorsness (USAF-ret)
Col Jay Vargas (USMC-ret)

Afterwards, they had a 'meet-and-greet' where 13 of the MOH recipients stayed to sign autographs and meet their adoring admirers. I personally shook hands and thanked each and everyone of them for their sacrifice and service on behalf of our grateful nation. One of the defining moments of my life.

UW Medal of Honor Memorial



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UW JROTC Color Guard

MOH recipients; in the front passenger seat is Col. Leo Thorsness (USAF-ret). In the back seats; the gentleman in the hat is MSG Wilburn Ross (USA-ret), a WWII recipient whom fought in Europe. The gentleman next to him is Captain Arthur J. Jackson.

Col. Thorness risked his life to assist in the rescue of three downed aviators. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam in the infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' as a prisoner of war alongside John McCain.

MSG Wilburn Ross was awarded the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty near St. Jacques, France.

Then-PFC Jackson fought during the Battle of Peleliu, personally taking out 12 pillboxes and over 50 Japanese by himself! Simply amazing!

In the front passenger seat is MAJ Drew D. Dix (USA-ret). Behind him is Col. Jay Vargas (USMC-ret). Next to him is Sgt. Maj. Allan Kellogg (USMC-ret).

Then-Staff Sergeant Drew Dix received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War; he was the first enlisted Special Forces soldier to receive the medal. When two heavily armed Viet Cong battalions attacked the Province capital city of Chau Phu, this resulted in the complete breakdown and fragmentation of the defenses of the city. SSG Dix's actions resulted in 14 confirmed Viet Cong killed in action and possibly 25 more, the capture of 20 prisoners, 15 weapons, and the rescue of the 14 United States and free world civilians

Then-Captain Vargas, though suffering from wounds he had incurred while relocating his unit under heavy enemy fire the preceding day, CPT Vargas combined his Marine company with two other companies and led his men in an attack on the fortified village of Dai Do.

Then-Staff Sergeant Kellogg, returning for his second tour of duty in the Republic of Vietnam, earned his Medal of Honor in Quang Nam Province by smothering a grenade blast with his body to protect those around him.

In the front passenger seat is SP4 Michael J. Fitzmaurice (USA). Behind him is LT Thomas R. Norris (USN SEAL-ret). Next to him is seated COL Bruce Crandall (USA-ret).

During a firefight in Khe Sanh, Republic of Vietnam, SP4 Fitzmaurice smothered the blast of an enemy-thrown explosive charge with his flak vest and body to protect other soldiers. Seriously wounded, he continued to fight the enemy and refused medical evacuation.

1LT Norris (US Navy SEALS) rescued two downed pilots deep within heavily controlled enemy territory in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam.

Col. Crandall's call sign was 'Snake-6' but he was colloquially known as 'Snake shinola', due to his superb (some would say insane) flying ability. He was known to fly 'lower than snake shinola', hence the sobriquet that was bestowed upon him by his comrades. Col. Crandall was the helicopter pilot who was made famous by the movie 'We Were Soldiers'. He flew 22 separate combat flights for 14 hrs. strait into LZ X-Ray to rescue 70 severely wounded soldiers during the Battle of the Ia Drang valley in 1965.





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A picture of the VIP tent where the MOH recipients, the UW President, the Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli and the Washington State Governor sat during the ceremony.

UW Alumni, Col. Bruce Crandall laying the wreath in dedication to his fellow Medal of Honor Recipients and UW alumni.

Close up of Col. Crandall standing at attention.

A veritable gauntlet of heroes; the Medal of Honor recipients standing at attention during the dedication.






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Special guest of the Medal of Honor Society. This is Sergeant First Class (then-Staff Sergeant) Leroy Arthur Petry, only the second living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the current Global War on Terror. Petry will receive the honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in Paktya, Afghanistan, on May 26, 2008. At the time, I didn't know who this was, and it wasn't known until just recently that he was a nominee for the Medal of Honor. When I saw him standing around talking to the Medal of Honor recipients, I knew there was something special about this individual, so I snapped a few candid pics of him.

SFC Petry is an Army Ranger who currently serves with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. He lost his right hand and suffered shrapnel wounds after he knowingly placed himself in extreme danger and threw an armed grenade away from his fellow soldiers, saving their lives. Despite his grievous injury, he applied his own tourniquet and continued fighting the enemy with his off-hand. What a courageous soldier!

The crowd gathers around the Medal of Honor Memorial Stone.

Unobscured view of the memorial stone.





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Walter Joseph Marm, far left, Hiroshi Miyamura, center, and Wilburn Ross, were some of the Medal of Honor recipients who were in attendance on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at a Medal of Honor Memorial Dedication ceremony at the University of Washington.

Col. Leo Thorness after the ceremony.

Col. Robert 'Bob' Howard. It is truly amazing that he was even able to attend this event as he was deathly ill and dying from terminal pancreatic cancer. He was eventually laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on February 22, 2010.

As a Staff Sergeant of the highly-classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor on three separate occasions for three individual actions during thirteen months spanning 1967-1968. The first two nominations were downgraded to the award of the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert nature of the operations in which Howard participated.

As a Sergeant First Class of the same organization, he risked his life during a rescue mission in Cambodia on December 30, 1968, while second in command of a platoon-sized Hornet force that was searching for missing American soldier Robert Scherdin, and was finally awarded the Medal of Honor.

It is believed by some historians that Howard is the most highly-decorated living American soldier in history. He was wounded 14 times over 54 months of combat, was awarded 8 Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Stars, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor three separate times. Col. Howard resided in Texas and spent much of his free time working with veterans. He also took periodic trips to Iraq to visit with active duty troops.

Captain Arthur J. Jackson is a United States Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on Peleliu during World War II. PFC Jackson single-handedly destroyed 12 enemy pillboxes and killed 50 enemy soldiers. Here he is posing for a picture with an Eagle Scout and his grandmother.





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Thank you very much for posting this detailed account and for the wonderful photos! It sounds like an amazing experience. I am so glad to see these heroes honored (and all college rivalry I've set aside).


Go Cougs!


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The Medal of Honor display for William Kenzo Nakamura (January 21, 1922 – July 4, 1944) a United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in World War II. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.


Medal of Honor display for Col. Bruce Crandall.


Medal of Honor display for UW alumni, 1LT Deming Bronson for his actions in World War I.


Medal of Honor display for Col. Archie Van Winkle, US Marine and UW alumni.


The many awards and decorations of Col. Van Winkle and memorabilia on display for the general public.


Col. Van Winkle's Medal of Honor.










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There was quite a poop-storm surrounding this with the brainwashed elites of the UW student council when they rejected the notion of honoring the school's MoH recipients...Boyinton in particular. Below is the transcript of the meeting minutes when this was first proposed:


R-12-18 A Resolution to Calling for a Tribute for Col. Gregory “Pappy”

Boyington, USMC


Andrew Everett, sponsor of the legislation, summarized the resolution.


He said he wasn’t interested in a large statue, but rather something on a

small scale.


Jill Edwards moved to table the resolution until next meeting. Seconded.



Jill Edwards said other legislation needed to be considered as other

resolutions have been on the docket longer.


Mikhail Smirnoff said he didn’t see the issue as controversial and that

because Senate had voted it to the top of the agenda it should be

considered immediately.


Ashley Miller commented that many monuments at UW commemorate

rich white men.


Karl Smith amended the first ‘whereas’ clause to strike the section “he

was credited with destroying 26 enemy aircraft, tying the record for most

aircraft destroyed by a pilot in American Uniform for which he was” and

leaving the reference to the Navy Cross. Seconded. Objection.


He said the resolution should commend Colonel Boyington’s service, not

his killing of others.


Andrew Everett said a destroyed aircraft was not necessarily indicative

that a pilot had died. He said the statistic on aircraft downed explained

Colonel Boyington’s achievements and why his performance was



Deidre Lockman said she was in favor of the resolution and approved of

Karl Smith’s amendment.


Sam Al-Khoury moved to close debate on the amendment. Seconded.

Passed without objection.


The amendment passed.


Erin Shields asked what the process is for erecting a memorial on



Andrew Everett said it was a process he would push through personally.

He said it would go to the university administration, then to the Capital

Projects Committee for placement consideration, and back to the

administration for a final discussion on the monument.


Niki Iglesias moved to close debate. Seconded. Objection.


The motion failed.


The motion failed.


Travis McCoy asked how the construction of the memorial would be



Andrew Everett said he had drawn up funding proposals for the UWAA,

several UW departments, and other private sources of funding.


Jono Hanks1 asked why Andrew Everett was interested in honoring this

particular alumnus.


Andrew Everett said he had read about Colonel Boyington and thought

his achievements warranted recognition.


Tyler Dockins asked why the monument shouldn’t commemorate all the

alumni who fought in the war.


Andrew Everett noted that several statues around campus already serve

such a purpose and that Colonel Boyington had many of the qualities the

University of Washington hoped to produce in its students.


Jill Edwards questioned whether it was appropriate to honor a person

who killed other people.


She said she didn’t believe a member of the Marine Corps was an

example of the sort of person UW wanted to produce.


I had quite the heated e-mail exchange with the student body president after that came out. He tried desperately to defend the comments while saying that something was going to be done to honor the men. I went off on him for quite a while.

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Display for Brigadier General Robert Galer. A naval aviator in the United States Marine Corps he received the Medal of Honor for heroism in aerial combat during the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. He went on to command Marine Aircraft Group 12 during the Korean War and retired a few years after in 1957.

Sergeant John 'Bud' Hawk's Medal of Honor display. 'Bud' was a former United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War II during the battle of the Falaise pocket, a decisive engagement of the Battle of Normandy near Chambois, France in 1944.

Col. Gregory 'Pappy' Boyington (of 'Baa Baa Blacksheep' fame) Medal of Honor display. Col. Boyington was a United States Marine Corps officer who was an American fighter ace during World War II. For his heroic actions, he was awarded both the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross. Boyington flew initially with the American Volunteer Group in the Republic of China Air Force during the Second Sino-Japanese War. He later commanded the famous U.S. Marine Corps squadron, VMF-214 ("The Black Sheep Squadron") during World War II. Boyington became a prisoner of war later in the war.

More 'Pappy' Boyington memorabilia.





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General Peter Chiarelli, the 32nd and current Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. He previously served as commander, Multi-National Corps—Iraq under General George W. Casey Jr. Gen. Chiarelli was a strong advocate for those who've suffered Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI's), the 'signature wound' of the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and led the initiative to appropriately recognize these wounded soldiers appropriately, with the Purple Heart.

Nisei veterans from World War II. These second generation American-borne Japanese Americans. Over 33,000 Nisei soldiers served in the American Army during the war. Nisei soldiers were used in the Pacific Theater as interpreters as well as in combat in North Africa, Italy and France. The principle units in which the Nisei served were the 100th Infantry Battalion, which was formed in Hawaii, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, formed from volunteers from the internment camps, and the secret Nisei Military Intelligence Service whose members served with army and navy units from the Aleutians to the far reaches of the south Pacific. The Nisei soldiers became famous for their heroism and the high number of casualties they sustained in combat.

Captain Arthur Jackson sits with his fellow MOH recipients signing autographs.

This is MOH recipient William Ross signing autographs for numerous well-wishers and grateful Americans.

Here are a number of Medal of Honor recipients signing autographs. 13 MOH recipients stayed after the ceremony to attend the 'meet-and-greet' afterward. I waited 2 1/2 hrs. in line just so I could have a few words with them, shake their hands, and thank them. All-in-all, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! I'll cherish it for the rest of my life!






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Corporal Hiroshi H. Miyamura (born October 6, 1925) is a Medal of Honor recipient awarded for his actions during the Korean War on 24 and April 25, 1951 near Taejon-ni, Korea. His was the first Medal of Honor which was classified Top Secret by the military because Corporal Miyamura was captured by the North Koreans and held as a prisoner of war immediately after the heroic actions that led to the award. It was feared that if his captors knew of his status, he would be singled out for torture and death. Wielding his bayonet in close hand-to-hand combat killing approximately 10 of the enemy. He killed more than 50 of the enemy before his ammunition was depleted and he was severely wounded. His position was overrun and he was taken as a POW by the North Koreans.

UW alum, Col. Crandall, call sign 'Snake-6', aka 'Snake-S***' of 'We Were Soldiers' fame.

(Then) Maj. Brady distinguished himself while serving in the Republic of Vietnam commanding a UH-1H ambulance helicopter, volunteered to rescue wounded men from a site in enemy held territory which was reported to be heavily defended and to be blanketed by fog.

Major General Brady and fellow MOH recipient Master Sergeant John Baker. Then-PFC John Baker, en route to assist another unit that was engaged with the enemy, (then) SGT. Baker took out 3 enemy bunkers, killed 4 Viet Cong snipers, and evacuated numerous severely wounded troops. He was directly responsible for saving the lives of several of his comrades, and inflicting serious damage on the enemy.

Master Sergeant John Baker and Col. Leo Thorness.

Major Drew Dix.

1LT Thomas R. Norris (born January 14, 1944) is a retired United States Navy SEAL awarded the Medal of Honor for his ground rescue with the assistance of Petty Officer Third Class Nguyen Van Kiet of two downed pilots in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam on April 10, 1972 – April 13, 1972.

Six months later, in October 1972, Norris sustained a near-fatal head wound in action and was rescued by his fellow Navy SEAL, Michael Thornton. Norris' rescuer, Michael Thornton, received the Medal of Honor for his actions. Tom Norris lost an eye and part of his skull during the operation in which he was rescued by Michael Thornton.

In 1979, Norris decided to join the FBI and requested a waiver for his disabilities. FBI director William Webster responded, "If you can pass the same test as anybody else applying for this organization, I will waiver your disabilities." In September 1979, Norris passed the test and subsequently served as an FBI agent for 20 years. He was an original member of the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team as an assault team leader.








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That is quite the post(s) and I wish that I had attended this event. I have met all the MoH recipients previously at other events and I've experienced nothing but humility from these men.


Thanks for presenting this here with your photos and write-ups on each person.

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What a great posting of some of our greatest heroes. Brought back many memories of friends that have past. I was with BG Galer the night before he passed.

I really miss my good friend Colonel Howard.

What memories you have brought back.

Thanks for the posting.


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  • 3 years later...
  • 1 year later...

Drew Dix as Major was my Battalion Exec in the 4th Battalion 9th Infantry 172nd Infantry Brigade (Sep) from when I got up there to Alaska in July 1981 till he retired, I think towards the Spring of 1982, I remember he was replaced by a Major Meyers, another Nam vet, MACV or 25th Div, can't remember now.


I had the honor of being a member of the Color Guard detail at the Officers Dining In, in early-ish January 1982, given in honor of the Canadian Officers of the Company of The Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry who was over in AK for training before their departure back to Calgary. A very memorable night, firstly I got to see the 9th Infantry's famous Manchu Bowl up close, which was being lent for awhile from South Korea, and drink from it the punch that's made to be mixed in it, and lastly but not least, I got a chance to see Major Drew Dix up close and personal, in his Mess Uniform with the Blue Max at his neck.


Thinking back now, there was a camera with us, forgot who's, didn't bring mine, or I would of had a load of fotos from that night. So I wonder if we would of respectfully asked the good Major to pose with us, that is the Color Guard, to include S/Sgt Larsen who was in charge of the whole detail, that he would of obliged, I would of for sure gotten a copy, where it would of been one of my treasured possessions, and of course I would of shared it here on USMF.

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