1950-1973: Medal of Honor Recipients
Sgt. Cornelius H. Charlton's platoon I was attacking heavily defended hostile positions on commanding ground when the leader was wounded and evacuated on June 2, 1951, during the Korean War. Charlton assumed command, rallied the men, and spearheaded the assault against the hill.
Personally eliminating two hostile positions and killing six of the enemy with his rifle fire and grenades, Charlton continued up the slope until the unit suffered heavy casualties and became pinned down. He regrouped the men and led them forward only to be hurled back by a shower of grenades.
Despite a severe chest wound, Charlton refused medical attention and led a third daring charge that carried to the crest of the ridge. The remaining emplacement which had retarded the advance was situated on the reverse slope, but Charlton charged his slope.
The wounds received during his daring exploits resulted in his death but his indomitable courage, superb leadership, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself the infantry, and the military service. Charlton was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
While Pfc. William Thompson's platoon was reorganizing under cover of darkness on Aug. 6, 1950, during the Korean War, fanatical enemy forces in overwhelming strength launched a surprise attack on the unit. Thompson set up his machine gun in the path of the onslaught and swept the enemy with withering fire, pinning them down momentarily thus permitting the remainder of his platoon to withdraw to a more tenable position.
Although hit repeatedly by grenade fragments and small-arms fire, he steadfastly remained at his machine gun and continued to deliver deadly, accurate fire until mortally wounded by an enemy grenade. Thompson’s dauntless courage and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit on himself and uphold the esteemed traditions of military service. Thompson was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Spc. Clarence Eugene Sasser distinguished himself while assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion. He was serving as a medical aidman with Company A, 3rd Battalion, on a reconnaissance in force operation. His company was making an air assault when suddenly it was taken under heavy small arms, recoilless rifle, machinegun and rocket fire from well fortified enemy positions on three sides of the landing zone on Jan. 10, 1968, during the Vietnam War.
During the first few minutes, over 30 casualties were sustained. Without hesitation, Sasser ran across an open rice paddy through a hail of fire to assist the wounded. After helping one man to safety, he was painfully wounded in the shoulder by fragments of an exploding rocket. Refusing medical attention, he ran through a barrage of fire to aid casualties of the initial attack and, after giving them urgently needed treatment, continued to search for other wounded.
Despite two additional wounds immobilizing his legs, he dragged himself through the mud toward another soldier 100 meters away. Although in agonizing pain and faint from loss of blood, Sasser reached the man, treated him, and proceeded on to encourage another group of Soldiers to crawl 200 meters to relative safety. There he attended their wounds for five hours until they were evacuated.
Sasser’s extraordinary heroism is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army. Sasser was awarded the Medal of Honor.
Staff Sgt. Clifford Chester Sims distinguished himself while serving as a squad leader with Company D. After encountering strong enemy defensive fire on Feb. 21, 1968, during the Vietnam War, Sims led his squad in a furious attack. His skillful leadership provided the platoon with freedom of movement and enabled it to regain the initiative.
Sims was then ordered to move his squad to a position where he could provide covering fire for the company command group and to link up with the 3rd Platoon, which was under heavy enemy pressure. After moving no more than 30 meters, Sims noticed that the ammunition stock was on fire. He took immediate action to move his squad from this position. In the process of moving, two members of his squad were injured, but Sims’ prompt actions undoubtedly prevented more serious casualties from occurring.
While continuing through the woods amidst heavy enemy fire, Sims and his squad heard the unmistakable noise of a concealed booby trap being triggered immediately to their front. Sims warned his comrades of the danger and unhesitatingly hurled himself upon the device as it exploded, taking the full impact of the blast. In so protecting his fellow soldiers, he willingly sacrificed his life.
Sims was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. His extraordinary heroism at the cost of his life is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the U.S. Army.