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Gunny Hicks
2 January 2001, 13:26
Can anyone out there identify the most decorated unit in American Military History ?

Ranger002
2 January 2001, 13:34
Hint,

This question is being asked by a Marine :-)
William Hazen

TANGOisinKOREA
2 January 2001, 14:09
The 442nd "go for broke" Japanese-American regiment is the most decorated unit in U.S. military history.

Chas

Gunny Hicks
2 January 2001, 14:12
Sorry. The unit I am referring to had 100% of it's personnel decorated for heroism for a single action.

Ranger002
2 January 2001, 14:16
Uhhh Gee Gunny,

Would that be "The Old Breed" 1st. Marine Division???
William Hazen

Gunny Hicks
2 January 2001, 14:30
The unit was part of 1st MarDiv. The Action took place in Vietnam, near Chu Lai.

E19
2 January 2001, 14:31
Originally posted by Gunny Hicks:
Can anyone out there identify the most decorated unit in American Military History ?

Gunny,

What criteria would be/was used to determine this?

Here is one unit that might qualify.


By DAVID STOUT - NEW YORK TIMES - 14 MAY 2000

WASHINGTON, May 13 -- More than a half-century since they braved enemy fire after first enduring the contempt of their own countrymen, 21 servicemen have been awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for heroism during World War II.

All 21 were of Asian descent, and 19 were Japanese-Americans, some of whose fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters were interned behind barbed wire in the days of fear and prejudice that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor."We are privileged to properly honor the heroic actions of these brave soldiers," Louis Caldera, the secretary of the Army, said in making the announcement on Friday. The medals will be presented by President Clinton at a White House ceremony scheduled for June 21.

One of the 21 honored was Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii. As a 20-year-old lieutenant, he was gravely wounded in Italy on April 21, 1945, while leading his platoon in an attack on a Fascist bunker. He lost his right arm, and with it his dream of being a surgeon."I am deeply grateful to my nation for this extraordinary award," the senator said in a statement. "If I did well, much of the credit should go to my parents, grandparents and the gallant men of my platoon. This is their medal. I will receive it on their behalf."

Most of the 21 are not as well known as Mr. Inouye. They were among the millions of young Americans from classrooms and shops, cities and prairies who went to war. But the Japanese-Americans felt they had something to prove, and several thousand of them did, leaving American internment camps to become volunteers, most notably in the 442nd Regimental Combat Team.

Fighting in Europe, the 442nd became known as "the Purple Heart battalion" for the casualties it suffered. The 442nd fought in eight major campaignsin Italy, France and Germany. The unit suffered more than 800 casualties in the fall of 1944 as it rescued 211 members of a Texas unit pinned down by the Germans in southern France, a battle known in military legend as "the rescue of the lost battalion."

The 442nd was awarded thousands of citations, including 9,500 Purple Hearts and 52 Distinguished Service Crosses, the second-highest military honor. By war's end, military historians say, it was the most decorated unit in American military history.

But the victory was far from complete. Japanese-American veterans encountered prejudice when they came home. And why, some people asked as the years went by, were only two Asian-Americans awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II combat, especially if 104 rated the Distinguished Service Cross?

In 1996, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Democrat of Hawaii, saw that a provision was written into a military-programs bill calling for the Army and Navy to review the 104 Distinguished Service Cross citations to gauge whether any recipients had been unfairly denied the Medal of Honor.

Inquiries determined that the 21 honored on Friday -- during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month -- indeed deserved the star-spangled, pale blue ribbon and gold medallion of the Medal of Honor.

Most of the 21 were members of the famed 442nd..Here are the men who were awarded the Medal of Honor: Rudolph Davila, Barney Hajiro, Mikio Hasemoto (posthumous), Joe Hayashi, Shizuya Hayashi, Daniel Inouye, Yeiki Kobashigawa, Robert Kuroda (posthumous), Kiyoshi Marunaga and Kaoru Moto (posthumous). Masato Nakae (posthumous), Shinyei Nakamine (posthumous), William Nakamura (posthumous), Joe Nishimoto (posthumous), Allan Ohata, Yukio Okutsu, Frank Ono (posthumous), Kazuo Otani (posthumous), George Sakato, Ted Tanouye (posthumous) and Francis Wai (posthumous).

Tracy
2 January 2001, 14:51
In historical terms, the Italian Campaign has not received as much publicity as others. Yet 25% of all Medals of Honor were given to personnel who did their actions in Italy.

I say the 442 RCT. 1st SSF (Devils' Brigade) has to be in the top 20; as well as 5th SFG from Vietnam.

OK Gunny, what's the skinny?

FutureMustang
2 January 2001, 14:52
Gunny Hicks is referring to this:
http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/howard_jimmie.html

Granted every member of this unit was decorated, but I've always heard this referred to as the most decorated patrol in American history.

In contrast, I've always heard the 442nd referred to as the most decorated unit in American history.

I think you have to have a line as far as element size in determining most decorated, and it's well above platoon. Otherwise, the two man sniper team of MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randy Shugart was the most decorated unit of all time.

The story of the platoon in Company C, 1st Recon Battalion, 1st Marine Division is an amazing one, but I'd call it the most decorated patrol, not unit.

E19
2 January 2001, 14:56
While not an official unit as such the Son Tay raid certainly garnered a tremendous number of individual awards. Extremly high on a percentage basis. Meets Gunnys standard of one action:

Army SF (56 men)
DSC's: 6
Silver Stars: 50

Air Force (44 Men)
AFC's: 5
Silver Stars: 35
DFC's: 4


MACV/SOG was a unit that was very highly decorated despite the fact that medals were not awarded
for many operations especially in the earlier years and heroism was the norm.




[This message has been edited by E19 (edited 01-02-2001).]

Gunny Hicks
2 January 2001, 15:10
I am referring to a unit, that in one single action, garnered more heroic awards than any other unit for a single action. The 442d definately won (in shere numbers) but these were awarded over the length of their campaigns.

SSgt. Howards Platoon, C Co. 1st MarDiv Recon. Bn.

18 Men
36 Medals

1 MOH
4 Navy Crosses
13 Silver Stars
18 Purple Hearts

All for one action.

This being the Special Forces board, I though everyone would appreciate this. I know that Bn Recon doesn't fall under the Spec. Forces umbrella, but these Marines did one helluva job that night.

For the full story:
http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/howard_jimmie.html

Daredevil
2 January 2001, 15:17
I know the 442nd isn't the group that Mr. Hicks is talking about but if anyone gets the chance, the last time I was in the American History Museum up at the Smithsonian they had an exhibit dedicated to the 442nd. It included a Medal of Honor that one of the soldiers earned and the story of how he earned it.

There's also a fairly moving exhibit of items that have been left at the Vietnam Memorial Wall since it opened. I don't know if that is still there though.

TANGOisinKOREA
2 January 2001, 15:21
Okay

so my answer wasnt what what Gunny wanted but it was correct and I was first so what did I win?

Chas

Gunny Hicks
2 January 2001, 15:29
How about a free pass to Tok Sok Ri.

E19
2 January 2001, 15:31
Gunny,

Most guys I know who have one, don't consider Purple Hearts awards for heroism.

Yes that was one hell of job those Marines did on that hill.

TANGOisinKOREA
2 January 2001, 15:36
Ill take it. Foal Eagle is always impressive.

Chas

Razor
2 January 2001, 15:43
Heroes one and all, but I have a question. The patrol was made up of 17 men--15 Marines and 2 Navy corpsmen. The site that was linked shows 18 Purple Hearts awarded. What am I missing?

FLTCREW1
2 January 2001, 15:49
Originally posted by Razor:
The patrol was made up of 17 men--15 Marines and 2 Navy corpsmen. The site that was linked shows 18 Purple Hearts awarded. What am I missing?

I think you're missing this part: "the 16 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen alone on Hill 488"



------------------
NSDQ

FutureMustang
2 January 2001, 15:58
"Seventeen young men, 15 Marines and 2 Navy Corpsmen. Jimmie Howard had always called them his "Indians"."

Howard had 15 Marines and two Navy Corpsmen in his platoon. Howard himself was the 18th man.

dmgedgoods
2 January 2001, 17:18
That is one hell of an amazing thing that happened on that hill.

RogueExec
2 January 2001, 17:44
5th Marines, Gunny?

OldSFer
2 January 2001, 18:07
A tip of the beret for SSgt Howard and his Marines and Corpsmen.

Great illustration of what being a Marine is really all about.


[This message has been edited by OldSFer (edited 01-02-2001).]

Razor
2 January 2001, 19:46
Ahh, 17 + Howard, for a total of 18. Thanks for pointing out the obvious answer that I was too thick to see.

Gunny Hicks
2 January 2001, 21:57
Originally posted by RogueExec:
5th Marines, Gunny?


Teshec? I've never had the opportunity to be assigned to the 5th Marines. I've spent all of my fleet time with First of the First.
I was in 1st Battalion, 9th Marines (The Walking Dead), then after some broken time I was in 3rd Bn/1st Marines. Both out of the 1st Marine Regt. 1st MarDiv.

I'm on my second tour at the School of Infantry. Spent four years on independant duty overseas between the tours at SOI.

LRSC Grunt
2 January 2001, 22:22
Question: In the movie "Go For Broke" the 442nd was at one time attached to the 36th Inf Div., is this true? Are they the ones who rescued one of the 36ths captured battalions?

TRIGG
3 January 2001, 03:09
I just read that story,and it was heroic.I noticed the Date "July 15th 1966" was this battle fought in the operation known as "hastings." I just wanted to know because this engagement reminds me of what my dad told me of his experience of "Operation Hastings." My dad told me about being stuck on a bald hill(hard surface) for a few days.In small holes that were hard to dig because of the rocky surface.Great story Hicks,but he told me there were only 6 marines.

FutureMustang
3 January 2001, 04:13
Trigg, are you implying that the real story (according to you) was about a unit involving your father?

RogueExec
3 January 2001, 11:12
Originally posted by TRIGG:
Great story Hicks,but he told me there were only 6 marines.

Gunny or Gunnery Sergeant Hicks is the appropriate way to address that 17+ year Marine, trigg. Particularly if you haven't taken the piss yet.

WS-G
3 January 2001, 12:21
Originally posted by LRSC Grunt:
Question: In the movie "Go For Broke" the 442nd was at one time attached to the 36th Inf Div., is this true? Are they the ones who rescued one of the 36ths captured battalions?

From The History of the 36th Infantry Division in WW2 (http://www.ghg.net/burtond/36th/36infhist.html)...

Operation Anvil (Invasion of Southern France),15 AUG 1944. Amphibious assault spearheaded by 36th ID at Raphael-Frejus.

Battle of Bruyères, 15-18 OCT 1944. Due to the extreme rapidity of its advance, the 1/141st Infantry was cut off from the rest of the Division. The attached 442d RCT ("Nisei") was tasked with relieving the beleaguered battalion, which they accomplished.

Ober-Otterbach, 20 MAR 1945. 36th ID begins assault on the Siegfried Line. Enters Germany 23 MAR 1945.

Austria, near Bavarian border, 07 MAY 1945. 36th ID captures majority of its long list of Nazi "celebrity" prisoners in this region:

Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering. Reichsminister Dr. Hans Frank (Poland's #1 war criminal). Admiral Nicholas Horthy (Dictator of Hungary) Luftmarschall Ritter von Greim. Luftmarschall Hugo Sperrle. Sepp Dietrich Max Amann (publisher of Mein Kampf) Leni Riefenstahl (German film director)

Liberated Dachau and Hurlach concentration camps, also Landsberg prison.

See also: 143d Infantry Regiment Summary History — Eastern France (http://www.kwanah.com/txmilmus/36division/archives/143/14307.htm). Colmar Pocket was where my unit earned its PUC.

The distinction of the most continuous days in combat of any infantry unit in WW2 also belongs to the 143d Infantry Regiment (133 days).


SGT W.M. Salter
Co. G (Abn), 143d Inf. (LRS), TXARNG

[This message has been edited by William M Salter (edited 01-03-2001).]

Gunny Hicks
3 January 2001, 14:42
Trigg:

Sorry, nobody with your family name on Hill 488 with SSgt. Howard that night. Your Dad must have been referring to another incident.

TRIGG
6 January 2001, 03:23
yeah i knew that Gunnery Sergeant Hicks,i just am a bad typer.at the end i wrote he told me there were only six.So i knew before i read the story.And i Read the list of names which made me sad.I was aware of it the whole time.But i need to know,was this battle on operation hastings?

Gunny Hicks
6 January 2001, 03:47
No. The action involving SSgt Howard was on 16 Jun. 1966

Operation Hastings began on 15 July, 1966. Operation Hastings involved 1/1, 2/4, 3/4 and 3/5 (based on the info I found).

Two Marines won the Medal Of Honor during Operation Hastings on 18 July, they were Capt. Modrzejwski (C.O. of Kilo Co. 3/4) and Sgt. John McGinty (1st Plt, Kilo Co. 3/4).

Sgt. McGinty was commisioned, and went on to become a Capt. prior to leaving active duty.

Operation Hastings pretty much destroyed the 324th NVA Div. inflicting on them 882 Killed and 17 Captured.

The Marines lost 126 KIA and 448 Wounded.

TRIGG
6 January 2001, 03:48
FutureMustang i wasnt implying he was on this battle,his helicopte landed and the other 2 were blown out of the sky(RIP Marines)they were to meet up with C company but they(C company) were ambushed and slaughtered from NVA units and some .50 cal machine guns,they never found each other and whoever was in charge told them to wait up on the hill,Dig Holes and get some sort of evacuation.They were there for something like 3-5 days(cant remember that part) with an enemy company or battalion below.

My dad said they didnt ever made it to the top(DAD said you could hear them talking) he said if they ever tryed to go up to top they would toss grenades and hear screams since there wasnt much fighting.he even told me that they mortered all over the top of the hill.He said that the went boom! and Boom! and continued in his direction(like in movies) and it went right past him,he says thats what he dreams about.and he said for the days he was there the NVA would get pounded by air force bombs.i guess after sometime the enemy left due to mass casualties from bombs.They moved out and looked for C company,they found alot of bodies i guess,and my dad told me about the worst part of his experience of the war was finding 2 of his engineer buddies with holes in there heads.Sorry For bad spelling errors,if anybody reads this that knew Ken Trigg 7th engineers,a,b or d company,email me and im not trying to make Dad look like A Legend(though he is my inspiration and my hero in life)im just trying to find any books with names of people who were on the hill with him,or if there is this story on the web.

TRIGG
6 January 2001, 03:50
id just like to say,in the second paragraph i wrote "my dad said they didnt ever made it to the top" i ment Make to all you veterans who like good spelling

Gunny Hicks
6 January 2001, 04:00
For a good overview of Operation Hastings, click on this link:
http://web20.mindlink.net/vets/hastings.html

LRSC Grunt
6 January 2001, 04:31
Sgt. Salter,
This might be somewhat of a shock to you.

One day while I was taking out the trash(company was getting rid of alot of shit!) I happened to look inside the dumpster. Lone and behold someone threw away a captured nazi battle flag!!! It has a couple rips in it but is still intact. Do you have any idea what I should do with it? Know of any museums that would take it? I really dont have any use for it and only saved it because its a war trophie and is probably apart of our units history.

LRSC Grunt
6 January 2001, 04:31
Sgt. Salter,
This might be somewhat of a shock to you.

One day while I was taking out the trash(unit was getting rid of alot of shit!) I happened to look inside the dumpster. Lone and behold someone threw away a captured nazi battle flag!!! It has a couple rips in it but is still intact. Do you have any idea what I should do with it? Know of any museums that would take it? I really dont have any use for it and only saved it because its a war trophie and is probably apart of our units history.


[This message has been edited by LRSC Grunt (edited 01-06-2001).]

DFC5343
6 January 2001, 05:25
LRSC...check with the Museam of Tolerance in L.A. They always are on the look for that kind of stuff.

Sharky
6 January 2001, 07:02
There is also The Holocaust Museum here in El Paso. I can ask if you want me to. Let me know.

------------------
F.I.D.O.

WS-G
6 January 2001, 16:46
Originally posted by LRSC Grunt:
Sgt. Salter,
This might be somewhat of a shock to you.....

Not really. As a famous British general of recent history said a couple of years ago: "Paratroopers aren't easily shocked."

One day while I was taking out the trash(unit was getting rid of alot of shit!) I happened to look inside the dumpster. Lone and behold someone threw away a captured nazi battle flag!!!

They (whoever "they" are <G> ) should be more careful.

It has a couple rips in it but is still intact. Do you have any idea what I should do with it? Know of any museums that would take it? I really dont have any use for it and only saved it because its a war trophie and is probably apart of our units history.

I'll take it if you still want to get rid of it. As odd as it may seem, considering that I'm Jewish, I've always had a marked fascination with the German military. Also, as much as my view may deviate from the "party line", I don't begrudge a German vet wearing a badge/decoration with a swastika on it either — and I would say the same WRT Soviet vets and anything bearing the hammer-and-sickle — as long as he actually earned it. These neo-Nazi skinhead punks are a completely different matter however.

Cole
6 January 2001, 20:37
***

[This message has been edited by Cole (edited 01-06-2001).]

Cole
6 January 2001, 20:37
Mr. Salter,
I see above that you mentioned the Presidential Unit Citation. Is that award fairly common throughout the U.S. Military. Or is uncommon, held with a high degree of esteem. I could do the research but by internet time is limited right now and I spend my time here. http://www.specialoperations.com/ubboard/wink.gif
Anyways...I was just interrested because I have read that the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment (My future regiment?!) recieved the PUC for its actions at Kapyong in the Korean War. Any info on the PUC would be nice.
Thanks

WS-G
6 January 2001, 21:19
Originally posted by Cole:
Mr. Salter,
I see above that you mentioned the Presidential Unit Citation. Is that award fairly common throughout the U.S. Military....

Many units have it; the majority do not. To the best of my knowledge, none have been awarded since the Vietnam War (I could be wrong about that).

Or is uncommon, held with a high degree of esteem.

Very high esteem. The PUC is the highest citation that can be awarded to an entire unit. The conditions which must be satisfied by the unit in order for the PUC to be awarded are identical to those for which an individual combatant would receive the Distinguished Service Cross (roughly equivalent to a Commonwealth DSO/DCM).

Anyways...I was just interrested because I have read that the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment (My future regiment?!) recieved the PUC for its actions at Kapyong in the Korean War.

Entirely possible. The PUC can be awarded to non-US units attached to US forces in combat.

[This message has been edited by William M Salter (edited 01-06-2001).]

Gunny Hicks
6 January 2001, 21:23
The PUC is rather rare in the Marine Corps. Hasn't been awarded since Vietnam.

For the Navy Marine Corps:

Criteria

The Navy Presidential Unit Citation is awarded in the name of the President to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and cobelligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy. The unit must have accomplished its mission under such extremely difficult and hazardous conditions to set it apart from and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would be required for award of a Navy Cross to an individual.

For the US Army and Air Force:

Criteria: The Presidential Unit Citation is awarded to units of the Armed Forces of the United States and co-belligerent nations for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy occurring on or after 7 December 1941. The unit must display such gallantry, determination, and esprit de corps in accomplishing its mission under extremely difficult and hazardous conditions as to set it apart and above other units participating in the same campaign. The degree of heroism required is the same as that which would warrant award of a Distinguished Service Cross to an individual. Extended periods of combat duty or participation in a large number of operational missions, either ground or air is not sufficient. This award will normally be earned by units that have participated in single or successive actions covering relatively brief time spans. It is not reasonable to presume that entire units can sustain Distinguished Service Cross performance for extended time periods except under the most unusual circumstances. Only on rare occasions will a unit larger than battalion qualify for award of this decoration.

Cole
6 January 2001, 21:27
Thank You Gunny Hicks and Sgt. Salter,
I believe that this is an award held in high regard as the PPCLI regimemt flies a blue pennant(?) on the regimental standard signifing the award (not sure if there is a US equivilent, a centerpiece of tradition in our regimental system).

Gunny Hicks
6 January 2001, 22:17
The PUC (Army) can be awarded to Allied countries. And the Army award is a blue ribbon. The pennant you speak of is very likely the streamer for the PUC.

OldSFer
7 January 2001, 00:36
The 5th SFG was awarded the PUC for 1966/1968

The last time the PUC was awarded was August 22, 2000. A bit late in coming to MACV/SOG
for operations January 24, 1964 thru April 30, 1972.

The award is a blue ribbon in a gold metal frame with laurel leaves embossed on it. For a second award an oak leaf cluster is added.

The ribbon is worn above the right pocket by everyone serving in the unit. An individual in the unit at the time it was awarded may wear the ribbon regardless of what unit he is serving in.

A blue streamer is attached to the units
flag.

De Oppresso Liber

I jost found this site http://www-perscom.army.mil/TAGD/TIOH/MEDALS/PUC.HTM amazing what you can find on the internet.

I'm going to try www.fountainofyouth.org (http://www.fountainofyouth.org)

[This message has been edited by OldSFer (edited 01-07-2001).]

LRSC Grunt
7 January 2001, 17:51
I think my former battallion(2/502) has like 4 of them(solid blue ribbon?).

Cole
7 January 2001, 19:34
Sorry, my explanation was a bit muddled, I found this on a Canadian Army Website.

"The 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricias Canadian Light Infantry, has a unique distinction. This battalion received the Distinguished Unit Citation from the President of the United States to recognize its stand near Kapyong, Korea, in April 1951. Equating to a battle honour, the Citation is represented by a streamer four feet in length and two and three-quarter inches in width, bearing the name of the action, attached to the pike of the regimental Colour. The use of this streamer in accordance with American practice was authorized by King George VI. In addition to the streamer, the Presidential Citation is also worn on the uniform. It is a small royal blue bar with gold trim. Although battle honours are awarded on a regimental basis, and the whole of the PPCLI carries Kapyong on its colours, the distinction of bearing this streamer belongs to 2 PPCLI alone, and is carried on the battalions regimental colour. The badge is also unique to 2PPCLI."

Razor
8 January 2001, 13:30
William,

I have to agree with your thoughts on allowing soldiers to hold on to their pride of service, no matter the "side" on which they fought. During my tour in Germany, I was saddened by how hard I had to search to find war memorials to the soldiers who fought in WWI and WWII. They were very few and far between.