Posts made in March, 2016

George H. Cannon

Posted on Mar 15, 2016

cannon-mu1211First Lieutenant George Ham Cannon, USMC, (November 5, 1915 – December 7, 1941) was the first U.S. Marine in World War II to receive the nation’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. He posthumously received the medal for “distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own condition” during the bombardment of Midway Island by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. He remained at his Command Post despite being mortally wounded by enemy shell fire. He refused to be evacuated until his men who had been wounded by the same shell were evacuated, and he continued to direct the reorganization of his Command Post until forcibly removed. He refused medical attention until he was assured communications were restored to his Command Post. As a result of his utter disregard of his own condition, he later died from loss of blood.


George Ham Cannon was born on November 5, 1915 in Webster Groves , Missouri. He later moved to Detroit , Michigan , where he graduated from Southeastern High School. He also attended the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, prior to entering the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor . While in attendance at that university he was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in June 1938.

He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Engineer Reserve, U.S. Army during his last year in the University of Michigan . While at the University of Michigan he became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He resigned his commission in the army upon graduation, in order to accept a commission as second lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Commissioned on June 25, 1938, he was ordered to duty on July 5, 1938, at the Philadelphia Navy Yard to await assignment to the next class of Basic School . He began studies on July 18, that year.

His first tour of duty as a U.S. Marine was on board the USS Boise, following the completion of his schooling May 20, 1939. He was assigned to the Post Service Battalion at the Marine Barracks, Quantico , Virginia , on July 10, 1940, and two weeks later entered the Base Defense Weapons Course at the Marine Corps Schools.

Ordered to the Marine Corps Base in San Diego , California , in December 1940, he joined Battery H, 2d Defense Battalion on February 16, 1941. In March 1941, the battery joined the 6th Defense Battalion and in July the unit sailed for Pearl Harbor . In August 1941, he was promoted to first lieutenant with the rank dating back to from June 25, 1941.

On September 7, 1941, 1LT Cannon reported to Midway Island as a platoon leader and member of the Battalion Coding Board. He was killed in action on the same day the Japanese drew the United States into World War II, December 7, 1941, during the sneak attack by Japanese forces.

The USS Cannon was named in honor of 1LT Cannon, sponsored by his mother, Mrs. Estelle Ham Cannon, and launched at the Dravo Corporation, Wilmington , Delaware , on May 25, 1943. The Cannon Memorial Recreation Center (closed in 2006) in Detroit was built and named in his honor, as well as a Marine Corps recruiting center in downtown Detroit .


In addition to the Medal of Honor, 1LT Cannon was awarded the Purple Heart; American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; and the World War II Victory Medal posthumously.

After his burial on Midway, his remains were then removed to Halawa Cemetery in Hawaii , and from there to the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery (“Punchbowl”), where he is permanently interred.

Medal of Honor

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Congressional MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service during an attack on the United States Fleet in Midway Islands as set forth in the following CITATION:

For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own condition during the bombardment of Sand Island , Midway Islands , by Japanese forces on December 7, 1941. Lieutenant Cannon, Battery Commander of Battery “H”, Sixth Defense Battalion, Fleet Marine Force, U. S. Marine Corps, was at his Command Post when he was mortally wounded by enemy shell fire. He refused to be evacuated from his post until after his men, who had been wounded by the same shell were evacuated, and directed the reorganization of his Command Post until forcibly removed, and as a result of his utter disregard of his own condition he died from loss of blood.



The first school on Midway Island , which was established after World War II, is named the George Cannon School , “in honor of Midway’s war hero”.

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Raymond H. Cooley

Posted on Mar 1, 2016

Raymond H CooleyRaymond Henry Cooley (May 14, 1916 – March 12, 1947) was a soldier who received the Medal of Honor for actions in the campaign to recapture the Philippines from Japanese forces during World War II. Cooley joined the Army from Tennessee in September 1941. Cooley is one of a few known Medal of Honor recipients to have fallen on a grenade and survived.

Medal of Honor citation

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant , U.S. Army, Company B, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Lumboy, Luzon , Philippine Islands, February 24, 1945. Entered service at: Richard City , Tenn. Born: May 7, 1914, Dunlap, Tenn. G.O. No.: 77, September 10, 1945.


He was a platoon guide in an assault on a camouflaged entrenchment defended by machine guns, rifles, and mortars. When his men were pinned down by 2 enemy machine guns, he voluntarily advanced under heavy fire to within 20 yards of 1 of the guns and attacked it with a hand grenade. The enemy, however, threw the grenade back at him before it could explode. Arming a second grenade, he held it for several seconds of the safe period and then hurled it into the enemy position, where it exploded instantaneously, destroying the gun and crew. He then moved toward the remaining gun, throwing grenades into enemy foxholes as he advanced. Inspired by his actions, 1 squad of his platoon joined him. After he had armed another grenade and was preparing to throw it into the second machinegun position, 6 enemy soldiers rushed at him. Knowing he could not dispose of the armed grenade without injuring his comrades, because of the intermingling in close combat of the men of his platoon and the enemy in the melee which ensued, he deliberately covered the grenade with his body and was severely wounded as it exploded. By his heroic actions, S/Sgt. Cooley not only silenced a machinegun and so inspired his fellow soldiers that they pressed the attack and destroyed the remaining enemy emplacements, but also, in complete disregard of his own safety, accepted certain injury and possible loss of life to avoid wounding his comrades.

After the war

Cooley would return home to Tennessee where he along with fellow Medal of Honor recipients Charles Coolidge and Paul Huff led a 4th of July celebration in 1946. Cooley’s life after the war was brief and tragic. He suffered agony from his war wounds and became addicted to both drugs and alcohol. He died from a fatal car accident by running into a brick wall on March 12, 1947. It was determined that he had been driving under the influence. Highway 28 between Jasper and I-24 in Tennessee is now officially named the Raymond H Cooley Highway .

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