Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
				Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.

Soldier's Medal for Heroism

Several Black soldiers received the Soldier's Medal for heroism in the Pacific area. Edward Williams, private, Quartermaster Corps, Hurtsboro, Alabama, helped to extinguish a conflagration at a United States truck assembly plant in Iran, Persia. He risked his life to the peril of intense heat to save quantities of Government property from damage and destruction.

James Scott, private, Corps of Engineers, Montgomery, Alabama, risked his life on June 25, 1942, near an airdrone in New Guinea to save a pilot. When a fighter plane, taking off to intercept enemy planes then overheated, struck a log and crashed into the nearby river splashing gasoline on the plane and water, and igniting both gasoline and ammunition. Private Scott in the midst of flames and exploding ammunition waded into the river and assisted in rescuing the pilot.

Roscoe E. Thomas, Master Sergeant, Corps of Engineers, Atlanta, Georgia, went to the assistance of three comrades buried under debris from an ammunition dump which had been set on fire by Japanese bombers.

James Williams, private, Infantry, Indianapolis, Indiana, saved two of his buddies from drowning when they slipped and fell into the ocean while embarking in the Solomon Islands. He immediately dived into the water to help them.

Columbus Howard, private first class, Corps of Engineers, Inkster, Michigan, proceeded within 200 yards of an exploding inferno to remove hot metal fragments from inflammable materials, and fought tirelessly to prevent the fire from spreading to other vital supply dumps.

Jesse E. Evans, private, Quartermaster Corps, Morristown, New Jersey, aided in the rescue of three sailors from the waters adjoining a United States island base in the South Pacific. Private Evans was one of a party of soldiers working on a ship in the harbor when he heard the cry for help and located a small home-made boat not far away which had capsized. One of the three sailor occupants was unconscious and being held up by another. Without regard for his own safety, Private Evans plunged 40 feet over the side of the ship, swam to the men and helped keep the unconscious man afloat until a ship's launch could come alongside.

Nathaniel Hocker, sergeant, Coast Artillery, Brooklyn, New York, helped to save the life of a pilot on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on March 24,1944. With complete disregard for the gasoline flames and the danger of the unexploded bombs, Sergeant Hocker assisted in removing the pilot from a burning plane that had crashed near his gun position.

William Downing, technician fourth grade, Quartermaster Corps, Nyack, New York, plunged into the icy waters of the Bering Sea to rescue a soldier in danger of being crushed between a barge and a freighter.

Douglas D. Hopper, private first class, Corps of Engineers, Shelby, North Carolina, braved the treacherous currents of a river in India to rescue an officer.

SOURCE: Appendix to the Congressional Record, Volume 92 - Part 9, January 14, 1946, to March 8, 1946. Submitted by Spencer Moore, Magnolia, New Jersey.

Category: World War II | Subcategory: Pacific Theater | Tags: North Carolina , Georgia , Alabama , Michigan , 1944
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