New York State Honors its World War I
Medal of Honor Recipients

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This information was extracted in 1997 with permission from the US Army Center of Military History site.

Click here to read "A Brief History of the Medal of Honor".




BART, FRANK J.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company C, 9th Infantry, 2d Division. Place and date: Near Medeah Ferme, France, 3 October 1918. Entered service at: Newark, N.J. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: Pvt. Bart, being on duty as a company runner, when the advance was held up by machinegun fire voluntarily picked up an automatic rifle, ran out ahead of the line, and silenced a hostile machinegun nest, killing the German gunners. The advance then continued, and when it was again hindered shortly afterward by another machinegun nest this courageous soldier repeated his bold exploit by putting the second machinegun out of action.


CALL, DONALD M.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 344th Battalion, Tank Corps. Place and date: Near Varennes, France, 26 September 1918. Entered service at: France. Born: 29 November 1892, New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919. Citation: During an operation against enemy machinegun nests west of Varennes, Cpl. Call was in a tank with an officer when half of the turret was knocked off by a direct artillery hit. Choked by gas from the high-explosive shell, he left the tank and took cover in a shellhole 30 yards away. Seeing that the officer did not follow, and thinking that he might be alive, Cpl. Call returned to the tank under intense machinegun and shell fire and carried the officer over a mile under machinegun and sniper fire to safety.


*COLYER, WILBUR E.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 1st Engineers, 1st Division. Place and date: Near Verdun, France, 9 October 1918. Entered service at: South Ozone, Long Island, N.Y. Birth: Brooklyn, N.Y. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Volunteering with 2 other soldiers to locate machinegun nests, Sgt. Colyer advanced on the hostile positions to a point where he was half surrounded by the nests, which were in ambush. He killed the gunner of one gun with a captured German grenade and then turned this gun on the other nests silencing all of them before he returned to his platoon. He was later killed in action.


DONALDSON, MICHAEL A.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company I, 165th Infantry, 42d Division. Place and date: At Sommerance-Landres-et St. Georges Road, France, 14 October 1918. Entered service at: Haverstraw, N.Y. Born: 1884, Haverstraw, N.Y. G.O. No.: 9, W.D., 1923. Citation: The advance of his regiment having been checked by intense machinegun fire of the enemy, who were entrenched on the crest of a hill before Landres-et St. Georges, his company retired to a sunken road to reorganize their position, leaving several of their number wounded near the enemy lines. Of his own volition, in broad daylight and under direct observation of the enemy and with utter disregard for his own safety, he advanced to the crest of the hill, rescued one of his wounded comrades, and returned under withering fire to his own lines, repeating his splendidly heroic act until he had brought in all the men, 6 in number.


DONOVAN, WILLIAM JOSEPH

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 165th Infantry, 42d Division. Place and date: Near Landres-et-St. Georges, France, 14-15 October 1918. Entered service at: Buffalo, N.Y. Born: 1 January 1883, Buffalo, N.Y. G.O., No.: 56, W.D., 1922. Citation: Lt. Col. Donovan personally led the assaulting wave in an attack upon a very strongly organized position, and when our troops were suffering heavy casualties he encouraged all near him by his example, moving among his men in exposed positions, reorganizing decimated platoons, and accompanying them forward in attacks. When he was wounded in the leg by machine-gun bullets, he refused to be evacuated and continued with his unit until it withdrew to a less exposed position.


*DUNN, PARKER F.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company A, 312th Infantry, 78th Division. Place and date: Near Grand-Pre, France, 23 October 1918. Entered service at: Albany, N.Y. Birth: Albany, N.Y. G.O. No.: 49, W.D., 1922. Citation: When his battalion commander found it necessary to send a message to a company in the attacking line and hesitated to order a runner to make the trip because of the extreme danger involved, Pfc. Dunn, a member of the intelligence section, volunteered for the mission. After advancing but a short distance across a field swept by artillery and machinegun fire, he was wounded, but continued on and fell wounded a second time. Still undaunted, he persistently attempted to carry out his mission until he was killed by a machinegun bullet before reaching the advance line.


EGGERS, ALAN LOUIS

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division. Place and date: Near Le Catelet, France, 29 September 1918. Entered service at: Summit, N.J. Birth: Saranac Lake, N.Y. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Becoming separated from their platoon by a smoke barrage, Sgt. Eggers, Sgt. John C. Latham and Cpl. Thomas E. O'Shea took cover in a shell hole well within the enemy's lines. Upon hearing a call for help from an American tank, which had become disabled 30 yards from them, the 3 soldiers left their shelter and started toward the tank, under heavy fire from German machineguns and trench mortars. In crossing the fire-swept area Cpl. O'Shea was mortally wounded, but his companions, undeterred, proceeded to the tank, rescued a wounded officer, and assisted 2 wounded soldiers to cover in a sap of a nearby trench. Sgt. Eggers and Sgt. Latham then returned to the tank in the face of the violent fire, dismounted a Hotchkiss gun, and took it back to where the wounded men were, keeping off the enemy all day by effective use of the gun and later bringing it, with the wounded men, back to our lines under cover of darkness.


GAFFNEY, FRANK

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company G, 108th Infantry, 27th Division. Place and date: Near Ronssoy, France, 29 September 1918. Entered service at: Niagara Falls, N.Y. Birth: Buffalo, N.Y. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Pfc. Gaffney, an automatic rifleman, pushing forward alone, after all the other members of his squad had been killed, discovered several Germans placing a heavy machinegun in position. He killed the crew, captured the gun, bombed several dugouts, and, after killing 4 more of the enemy with his pistol, held the position until reinforcements came up, when 80 prisoners were captured.


HOFFMAN, CHARLES F. (Army Medal)

Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 49th Company, 5th Regiment, 2d Division, (Name changed to Ernest August Janson, see p. 444. ) Place and date: Near Chateau-Thierry, France, 6 June 1918. Entered service at: Brooklyn, N.Y. Born. 17 August 1878, New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. (Also received Navy Medal of Honor. ) Citation: Immediately after the company to which he belonged had reached its objective on Hill 142, several hostile counterattacks were launched against the line before the new position had been consolidated. G/Sgt. Hoffman was attempting to organize a position on the north slope of the hill when he saw 12 of the enemy, armed with 5 light machineguns, crawling toward his group. Giving the alarm, he rushed the hostile detachment, bayoneted the 2 leaders, and forced the others to flee, abandoning their guns. His quick action, initiative, and courage drove the enemy from a position from which they could have swept the hill with machinegun fire and forced the withdrawal of our troops.


JANSON, ERNEST AUGUST (Navy Medal)

Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 49th Company. (Served under name of Charles F. Hoffman) Born: 17 August 1878, New York, N.Y. Accredited to: New York. (Also received Army Medal of Honor.) Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Chateau-Thierry, France, 6 June 1918. Immediately after the company to which G/Sgt. Janson belonged, had reached its objective on Hill 142, several hostile counterattacks were launched against the line before the new position had been consolidated. G/Sgt. Janson was attempting to organize a position on the north slope of the hill when he saw 12 of the enemy, armed with 5 light machineguns, crawling toward his group. Giving the alarm, he rushed the hostile detachment, bayoneted the 2 leaders, and forced the others to flee, abandoning their guns. His quick action, initiative and courage drove the enemy from a position from which they could have swept the hill with machinegun fire and forced the withdrawal of our troops.


KAUFMAN, BENJAMIN

Rank and organization: First Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company K, 308th Infantry, 77th Division. Place and date: In the forest of Argonne, France, 4 October 1918. Entered service at: Brooklyn, N.Y. Born: 10 March 1894, Buffalo, N.Y. G.O. No.: 50, W.D., 1919. Citation: He took out a patrol for the purpose of attacking an enemy machinegun which had checked the advance of his company. Before reaching the gun he became separated from his patrol and a machinegun bullet shattered his right arm. Without hesitation he advanced on the gun alone, throwing grenades with his left hand and charging with an empty pistol, taking one prisoner and scattering the crew, bringing the gun and prisoner back to the first-aid station.


*KOCAK, MATEJ (Army Medal)

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 66th Company, 5th Regiment, 2d Division. Place and date: Near Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Born: 31 December 1882, Gbely (Slovakia), Austria. G.O. No.: 34, W.D., 1919. (Also received Navy Medal of Honor.) Citation: When the advance of his battalion was checked by a hidden machinegun nest, he went forward alone, unprotected by covering fire from his own men, and worked in between the German positions in the face of fire from enemy covering detachments. Locating the machinegun nest, he rushed it and with his bayonet drove off the crew. Shortly after this he organized 25 French colonial soldiers who had become separated from their company and led them in attacking another machinegun nest, which was also put out of action.


*KOCAK, MATEJ (Navy Medal)

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Born: 31 December 1882, Gbely (Slovakia), Austria. Accredited to: New York. ( Also received Army Medal of Honor. ) Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, 2d Division, in action in the Viller-Cottertes section, south of Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. When a hidden machinegun nest halted the advance of his battalion, Sgt. Kocak went forward alone unprotected by covering fire and worked his way in between the German positions in the face of heavy enemy fire. Rushing the enemy position with his bayonet, he drove off the crew. Later the same day, Sgt. Kocak organized French colonial soldiers who had become separated from their company and led them in an attack on another machinegun nest which was also put out of action.


O'NEIL, RICHARD W.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company D, 165th Infantry, 42d Division. Place and date: On the Ourcq River, France, 30 July 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 30, W.D., 1921. Citation: In advance of an assaulting line, he attacked a detachment of about 25 of the enemy. In the ensuing hand-to-hand encounter he sustained pistol wounds, but heroically continued in the advance, during which he received additional wounds: but, with great physical effort, he remained in active command of his detachment. Being again wounded, he was forced by weakness and loss of blood to be evacuated, but insisted upon being taken first to the battalion commander in order to transmit to him valuable information relative to enemy positions and the disposition of our men.


*O'SHEA, THOMAS E.

Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Machine Gun Company, 107th Infantry, 27th Division. Place and date: Near Le Catelet, France, 29 September 1918. Entered service at: Summit, N.J. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 20, W.D., 1919. Citation: Becoming separated from their platoon by a smoke barrage, Cpl. O'Shea, with 2 other soldiers, took cover in a shell hole well within the enemy's lines. Upon hearing a call for help from an American tank, which had become disabled 30 yards from them, the 3 soldiers left their shelter and started toward the tank under heavy fire from German machineguns and trench mortars. In crossing the fire-swept area Cpl. O'Shea was mortally wounded and died of his wounds shortly afterwards.


PECK, ARCHIE A.

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company A, 307th Infantry, 77th Division. Place and date: In the Argonne Forest, France, 6 October 1918. Entered service at: Hornell, N.Y. Birth: Tyrone, N.Y. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: While engaged with 2 other soldiers on patrol duty, he and his comrades were subjected to the direct fire of an enemy machinegun, at which time both his companions were wounded. Returning to his company, he obtained another soldier to accompany him to assist in bringing in the wounded men. His assistant was killed in the exploit, but he continued on, twice returning safely bringing in both men, being under terrific machinegun fire during the entire Journey.


ROBINSON, ROBERT GUY

Rank and organization: Gunnery Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Aviation Force Place and date: Pittham, Belgium, 14 October 1918. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Born: 30 April 1896, New York, N.Y. Citation: For extraordinary heroism as observer in the 1st Marine Aviation Force at the front in France. In company with planes from Squadron 218, Royal Air Force, conducting an air raid on 8 October 1918, G/Sgt. Robinson's plane was attacked by 9 enemy scouts. In the fight which followed, he shot down 1 of the enemy planes. In a later air raid over Pittham, Belgium, on 14 October 1918, his plane and 1 other became separated from their formation on account of motor trouble and were attacked by 12 enemy scouts. Acting with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in the fight which ensued, G/Sgt. Robinson, after shooting down 1 of the enemy planes, was struck by a bullet which carried away most of his elbow. At the same time his gun jammed. While his pilot maneuvered for position, he cleared the jam with one hand and returned to the fight. Although his left arm was useless, he fought off the enemy scouts until he collapsed after receiving 2 more bullet wounds, one in the stomach and one in the thigh.


VALENTE, MICHAEL

Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Army, Company D, 107th Infantry, 27th Division. Place and date: East of Ronssoy, France, 29 September 1918. Entered service at: Ogdensburg N.Y. Born: 5 February 1895, Cassino, Italy. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., i929. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy during the operations against the Hindenburg line, east of Ronssoy, France, 29 September 1918. Finding the advance of his organization held up by a withering enemy machinegun fire, Pvt. Valente volunteered to go forward. With utter disregard of his own personal danger, accompanied by another soldier, Pvt. Valente rushed forward through an intense machinegun fire directly upon the enemy nest, killing 2 and capturing 5 of the enemy and silencing the gun. Discovering another machinegun nest close by which was pouring a deadly fire on the American forces, preventing their advance, Pvt. Valente and his companion charged upon this strong point, killing the gunner and putting this machinegun out of action. Without hesitation they jumped into the enemy's trench, killed 2 and captured 16 German soldiers. Pvt. Valente was later wounded and sent to the rear.


WAALER, REIDAR

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 105th Machine-Gun Battalion, 27th Division. Place and date: Near Ronssoy, France, 27 September 1918. Entered service at: New York, N.Y. Birth: Norway. G.O. No.. 5, W.D., 1920. Citation: In the face of heavy artillery and machinegun fire, he crawled forward to a burning British tank, in which some of the crew were imprisoned, and succeeded in rescuing 2 men. Although the tank was then burning fiercely and contained ammunition which was likely to explode at any time, this soldier immediately returned to the tank and, entering it, made a search for the other occupants, remaining until he satisfied himself that there were no more living men in the tank.


*WICKERSHAM, J. HUNTER

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 353d Infantry, 89th Division. Place and date. Near Limey, France, 12 September 1918. Entered service at: Denver, Colo. Birth: New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 16, W.D., 1919. Citation: Advancing with his platoon during the St. Mihiel offensive, he was severely wounded in 4 places by the bursting of a high-explosive shell. Before receiving any aid for himself he dressed the wounds of his orderly, who was wounded at the same time. He then ordered and accompanied the further advance of his platoon, although weakened by the loss of blood. His right hand and arm being disabled by wounds, he continued to fire his revolver with his left hand until, exhausted by loss of blood, he fell and died from his wounds before aid could be administered.


* = Casualty


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