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List of Medal of Honor recipients for the Attack on Pearl Harbor

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike on the neutral United States 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 on the morning of December 7, 1941. The attack killed almost 2,500 people and devastated the U.S. naval fleet and airfields, leading 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 for an encounter that day, at a Naval Air Station on Sand Island in the Hawaiian Islands, with units of the same Japanese attack fleet. The 16 recipients held a wide range of ranks, from seaman to rear admiral. Eleven received their awards posthumously.

Contents

Specific locationsEdit

Medals of Honor were awarded to four sailors from USS California, three from USS Arizona, two each from USS Nevada and USS Oklahoma, and one each from USS Utah, USS Vestal, USS West Virginia, as well as one land based at Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay and a marine based at Naval Air Station Midway,

RecipientsEdit

  This indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously.

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Notes
  Mervyn S. Bennion Navy Captain Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii 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 W. Finn Navy Chief Aviation Ordnanceman Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii 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 Japanese aircraft. Despite numerous painful wounds, he remained at his post and inflicted heavy damage upon the Japanese until ordered to seek medical attention.
  Francis C. Flaherty Navy Ensign Pearl Harbor During the evacuation of USS Oklahoma, he 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 Navy Lieutenant Commander Pearl Harbor Incapacitated in the initial bombing of 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 Navy Chief Boatswain Pearl Harbor During the height of the strafing and bombing of USS Nevada, led his men of the linehandling details to the quays, cast off the lines and swam back to his ship. Back on board, while attempting to let go the anchors, was blown overboard and killed by the explosion of several bombs.
  Herbert C. Jones Navy Ensign Pearl Harbor Organized and led a party to supply ammunition to the antiaircraft battery of 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 Navy Rear Admiral Pearl Harbor 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.
Jackson C. Pharris Navy Gunner Pearl Harbor In charge of an ordnance repair party on 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 Navy Chief Radioman Pearl Harbor After the mechanized ammunition hoists were put out of action in 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 Navy Chief Machinist Pearl Harbor Forced his men to leave the untenable forward dynamo room of 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 Navy Machinist's Mate First Class Pearl Harbor When his battle station compartment flooded on 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 Navy Chief Watertender Pearl Harbor Although realizing that 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.
  Franklin Van Valkenburgh Navy Captain Pearl Harbor 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 Navy Seaman First Class Pearl Harbor During evacuation of 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.
  Cassin Young Navy Commander Pearl Harbor Moved his ship, USS Vestal, away from the battleship USS Arizona, and subsequently beached it upon determining that such action was required to save his ship.

MidwayEdit

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 indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously.

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Notes
  George H. Cannon Marine Corps First Lieutenant Naval Air Station Midway, Sand Island, Midway Atoll, Territory of Hawaii 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.

See alsoEdit

  • Francis P. Hammerberg - posthumous Navy Medal of Honor recipient for noncombat action (rescue operations) in the West Loch of Pearl Harbor in February 1945.