Leadership, valor, mentorship, vision logoLeadership and valor: the Medal of Honor

Signal Corps has 5 recipients of nation's highest honor

by Lisa Alley

This Army Communicator edition covers traits Signaleers should possess beyond their technical expertise. Several stories cover leadership, mentorship and the responsibility of training subordinates, as well as the leadership traits of valor and coup d�oeil vision (in French, literally �stroke of the eye�), defined as �a glance embracing a wide view� or �an in-depth survey done with a glance.�

First are profiles of the five Signal Corps members who received the Medal of Honor, the nation�s highest military honor. The first Signal MoH was awarded to PVT Morgan Lane. While Lane�s profile may not illustrate the leadership qualities present in MoH recipients as well as the other profiles do (of the more than 3,400 Army MoHs awarded, more than 1,500 were given for acts conducted during the Civil War, but most of those weren�t deserving of the MoH according to the higher standards we have today), all recipients are paragons of selfless sacrifice and other Army values.

Army version, Medal of Honor The Army's version of the Medal of Honor features MG George Gillespie's medal design, adopted in 1904, and the neck-ribbon style adopted in 1944.

The battlefield is no respecter of job or rank � all soldiers must be ready to risk their lives at any time. The two MoHs President George W. Bush awarded posthumously May 1 illustrate this � one MoH went to a World War II Army dentist who died while single-handedly fighting off enemy troops, and the other to an Army pilot who died marking enemy targets to save friendly soldiers during the Vietnam War.

Dr. (CPT) Benjamin Salomon received his MoH for heroism on the Pacific island of Saipan July 7, 1944. CPT Jon Swanson received the award for his bravery Feb. 26, 1971, in the skies over Cambodia.

Salomon was a dentist serving as a surgeon with 27th Infantry Division. The division had invaded Saipan, in the Marianas Islands. He was at his battalion�s aid station when the unit came under a massive attack by thousands of Japanese soldiers. �The American units sustained massive casualties, and the advancing enemy soon descended on Salomon�s aid station,� the president during the May 1 ceremony at the White House.

Salomon killed several enemy soldiers as they tried to enter the aid station from different directions. As the attacks continued, he ordered comrades to evacuate the tent and carry away the wounded. �He went out to face the enemy alone and was last heard shouting, �I�ll hold them off until you get them to safety. See you later,�� Bush said.

Salomon replaced a dead machinegun crew and began firing on the attackers. When American troops retook the ground, they found his body still at the machinegun � surrounded by 98 dead Japanese soldiers.

Swanson was an Army pilot supporting South Vietnamese troops in Cambodia. He was serving his second tour in Vietnam. Flying an OH-6 helicopter, Swanson was called in to provide close air support.

�Flying at tree-top level, he found and engaged the enemy, exposing himself to intense fire from the ground,� Bush said. �He ran out of heavy ordnance, yet continued to drop smoke grenades to mark other targets for nearby gunships.

�Swanson made it back to safety, his ammunition nearly gone and his scout helicopter heavily damaged,� Bush continued. �Had he stayed on the ground, no one would have faulted him. But ... he had seen that more targets needed marking to eliminate the danger to troops on the ground. He volunteered to do the job himself, flying directly into enemy fire until his helicopter exploded in flight.�

The Signaleers� MoH stories portray the same type of valor. We hope you appreciate reading the stories of Lane, SGT Will Croft Barnes, MG Adolphus Greely, COL Gordon Johnston and MG Charles Kilbourne Jr.

The Salomon and Swanson MoH information was excerpted from a news release by Jim Garamone of American Forces Press Service. For more information on the MoH, visit the Army�s website (www.army.mil) and click on the link for the Center of Military History. Or, see the interesting history of the medal�s first 55 years at www.medalofhonor.com/1st55Years.htm.

Ms. Alley has edited Army Communicator since June 1995. Previous jobs include editor of The Sheppard Senator, the installation newspaper at Sheppard AFB, Texas; editor of the award-winning post newspaper Panorama, Fort Ord, Calif.; command information officer, Fort Ord; and 7th Infantry Division (Light) and Fort Ord division move and base-closure information specialist. A former soldier, she has also served as a military and civilian reporter, accumulating about 25 years� experience in journalism and Army public affairs. She has served as a Keith L. Ware (the Army journalism awards) judge and briefed English defense and aerospace-industry representatives in London on how the Signal Regiment uses the worldwide web. Formerly the U.S. Army Signal Center and Fort Gordon web manager, she was also a seminar leader on public affairs and the web in the 2001 Worldwide Public Affairs Symposium.

Acronym Quickscan
MoH � Medal of Honor

dividing rule

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