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Schuylkill County Medal of Honor Recipients
BROWN, CHARLES: Sergeant, Company C, 50th Pennsylvania Infantry. Weldon Railroad, Va., 19 August 1864. Citation: 1 December 1864, for capture of flag of 47th Virginia Infantry (C.S.A.).
HARRIS, GEORGE W.: Pvt., Company B, 148th Pennsylvania Infantry. Spotsylvania, Va., 12 May 1864. Citation: 1 December 1864. Capture of flag, wresting it from the color bearer and shooting an officer who attempted to regain it.
HILL, HENRY: Corporal, Company C, 50th Pennsylvania Infantry. Wilderness, Va., 6 May 1864. Citation: 23 September 1897. This soldier, with one companion, would not retire when his regiment fell back in confusion after an unsuccessful charge, but instead advanced and continued firing upon the enemy until the regiment re-formed and regained its position.
MONAGHAN, PATRICK: Minersville, born in Ireland. Corporal, Company F, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Citation: 1 December 1864. Recapture of colors of 7th New York Heavy Artillery.
REID, ROBERT: Pottsville, born in Scotland. Private, Company G, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry. Petersburg, Va., 17 June 1864. Citation: 1 December 1864. Capture of flag of 44th Tennessee Infantry (C.S.A.).
ROBINSON, THOMAS: Tamaqua, born in Ireland. Private, Company H, 81st Pennsylvania Infantry. Spotsylvania, Va., 12 May 1864. Citation: 1 December 1864. Capture of flag in a hand-to-hand conflict.
BLAIR, JAMES: First Sergeant, Company I, 1st U.S. Cavalry. Winter of 1872-1873. Citation: 12 April 1875 for gallant conduct during campaigns and engagements with Apaches.
GUNTHER, JACOB: Corporal, Company E, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Arizona, 1868 and 1869. Citation: 6 September 1869 for bravery in scouts and actions against Indians.
FOLEY, ALEXANDER JOSEPH: Heckscherville, Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps. Tientsin, China, 13 July 1900. Citation: 19 July 1901. In the presence of the enemy in the battle near Tientsin, China, 13 July 1900, Foley distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.
World War I
BOONE, JOEL THOMPSON: St. Clair, Lieutenant (Medical Corps), U.S. Navy. Vicinity of Vierzy, France, 19 July 1918. Citation: Date Unknown. For extraordinary heroism, conspicuous gallantry, and intrepidity while serving with the 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines, in actual conflict with the enemy. With absolute disregard for personal safety, ever conscious and mindful of the suffering fallen, Surg. Boone, leaving the shelter of a ravine, went forward onto the open field where there was no protection and despite the extreme enemy fire of all calibers, through a heavy mist of gas, applied dressings and first aid to wounded marines. This occurred southeast of Vierzy, near the cemetery, and on the road south from that town. When the dressings and supplies had been exhausted, he went through a heavy barrage of large-caliber shells, both high explosive and gas, to replenish these supplies, returning quickly with a sidecar load, and administered them in saving the lives of the wounded. A second trip, under the same conditions and for the same purpose, was made by Surg. Boone later that day.
World War II
DAMATO, ANTHONY PETER: Shenandoah, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps. Engebi Island, Pacific Theater. Citation: Date Unknown. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with an assault company in action against enemy Japanese forces on Engebi Island, Eniwetok Atoll, Marshall Islands, on the night of 1920 February 1944. Highly vulnerable to sudden attack by small, fanatical groups of Japanese still at large despite the efficient and determined efforts of our forces to clear the area, Cpl. Damato lay with 2 comrades in a large foxhole in his company's defense perimeter which had been dangerously thinned by the forced withdrawal of nearly half of the available men. When 1 of the enemy approached the foxhole undetected and threw in a hand grenade, Cpl. Damato desperately groped for it in the darkness. Realizing the imminent peril to all 3 and fully aware of the consequences of his act, he unhesitatingly flung himself on the grenade and, although instantly killed as his body absorbed the explosion, saved the lives of his 2 companions. Cpl. Damato's splendid initiative, fearless conduct and valiant sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his comrades.
MESSERSCHMIDT, HAROLD O.: Grier City, Barnesville: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company L, 30th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division. Near Radden, France, 17 September 1944. Citation given: 17 July 1946. He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Braving machine-gun, machine pistol, and rifle fire, he moved fearlessly and calmly from man to man along his 40-yard squad front, encouraging each to hold against the overwhelming assault of a fanatical foe surging up the hillside. Knocked to the ground by a burst from an enemy automatic weapon, he immediately jumped to his feet, and ignoring his grave wounds, fired his submachine gun at the enemy that was now upon them, killing five and wounding many others before his ammunition was spent. Virtually surrounded by a frenzied foe and all of his squad now casualties, he elected to fight alone, using his empty submachine gun as a bludgeon against his assailants. Spotting one of the enemy about to kill a wounded comrade, he felled the German with a blow of his weapon. Seeing friendly reinforcements running up the hill, he continued furiously to wield his empty gun against the foe in a new attack, and it was thus that he made the supreme sacrifice. Sgt. Messerschmidt's sustained heroism in hand-to-hand combat with superior enemy forces was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service. This entry was updated on Nov. 21, 1998. We thank Mr. Paul Ryan of Allentown, Pa. for the information given us that enabled Messerschmidt to be placed in the right county after all these years.
This list of Medal of Honor Recipients was submitted by Ralph Haas, webmaster of the Pennsylvania Elks Association Homepage
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