Profiles in Courage

VADM John D. Bulkeley, U.S. Navy (1933-1975)

VADM John D. Bulkeley, U.S. Navy (1933-1975)

John D. Bulkeley was a Vice Admiral in the United States Navy and one of its most decorated naval officers. Bulkeley received the Medal of Honor for actions in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was also the PT boat skipper who evacuated General Douglas MacArthur from Corregidor in the Philippines.  Biography of John D. Bulkeley John D. Bulkeley was born in New York City and grew up on a farm in Hackettstown, New Jersey, where he graduated from Hackettstown High School. He was a 1933 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. At the dawn of World War II, Bulkeley was a Lieutenant in command of Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three, a Philippine-based detachment of six motor torpedo boats. He hit his stride as a daring, resourceful and courageous leader. He picked up General Douglas MacArthur, his family, and his immediate staff, who had been ordered to flee the Philippines, and took them aboard PT 41 and other 77-foot (23 m) motor torpedo boats through over 600 nautical miles...

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Sgt Henry Johnson, U.S. Army (1918-1919) – America’s First World War Hero

Sgt Henry Johnson, U.S. Army (1918-1919) – America’s First World War Hero

Henry Johnson was a World War I soldier who singlehandedly beat back a German assault while critically wounded. He was a great American hero and received the highest military honor of two different countries. One of those countries, however, his very own, didn't bestow that medal until nearly 100 years after his service in WWI. The honor this man deserved was not awarded by the U.S. government upon his return home, because he was black. But that racism was eventually overcome, if only by the undeniable memory of his heroism. Biography of Henry Johnson In 1917, a young Henry Johnson was working as a Red Cap porter at an Albany, New York train station joined the 15th New York National Guard Regiment. Due to U.S. segregation policies, it was an all-black regiment. Due to be shipped out to France as the U.S. declared war on Germany and its allies, the 15th New York was renamed the 369th Infantry Regiment and placed within the American Expeditionary Force under General John J. Pershing....

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Chiune Sugihara – Japanese Schindler Helped 5,580 Jews Escape The Holocaust

Chiune Sugihara – Japanese Schindler Helped 5,580 Jews Escape The Holocaust

Although Japan was one of the Axis Powers during WWII, one Japanese diplomat did his best to mitigate the horrors of his country's ally, Nazi Germany. Before the war ended, he saved thousands of Jews from concentration camps but ended up selling lightbulbs in order to survive. Chiune Sugihara helped Jews escape the Holocaust Chiune Sugihara was first assigned to Harbin, China in the early 1930s as Japan's Deputy Foreign Minister where he learned German and Russian. Despite a promising career, he resigned his post in protest over how his country treated the Chinese. Due to his experience and linguistic abilities, however, he was reassigned in 1939 to Kaunas, Lithuania as vice-consul; though his real job was to report on German and Soviet movements. Japan never trusted either country, which is why Sugihara also maintained ties with Polish Intelligence. After the Soviet invasion of Lithuania on June 15, 1940, the Japanese consulate began dismantling itself since they already had an...

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Cpl William Thomas Perkins Jr., U.S.M.C. (1966-1967) – Vietnam War Combat Photographer

Cpl William Thomas Perkins Jr., U.S.M.C. (1966-1967) – Vietnam War Combat Photographer

The only Medal of Honor to be awarded to a combat photographer is now on display in the Medal of Honor Gallery in the "Price of Freedom" exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Marine Cpl. William Thomas Perkins Jr Marine Cpl. William Thomas Perkins Jr. died at the age of 20 on Oct. 12, 1967, when he flung himself on a grenade to preserve the lives of three other Marines during Operation Medina, a Marine search and destroy operation in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam. The Marine Corps posthumously awarded him the Medal of Honor for "his gallant actions." Perkins' mother, Marilane Perkins Jacobson of Lexington, Ky., donated the medal, her son's letters and other personal effects to the museum's permanent Armed Forces Collections in 2015. "I didn't want his possessions to end up in somebody's brown box in a basement," Jacobson said. "I figured they should go to the Smithsonian." Perkins' award, his Purple Heart, and photography are exhibited along with his Bell...

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MA2 Doris Miller, U.S. Navy (1939–1943) – Navy Named Aircraft Carrier for Pearl Harbor Hero

MA2 Doris Miller, U.S. Navy (1939–1943) – Navy Named Aircraft Carrier for Pearl Harbor Hero

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 20th, 2020, at Pearl Harbor, the Navy announced that a $12.5 billion aircraft carrier will be named after Mess Attendant 2nd Class Doris Miller, the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for valor for his actions on December 7, 1941, when he manned a machine gun on the USS West Virginia to fire back at attacking Japanese planes. "I think that Doris Miller is an American hero simply because of what he represents as a young man going beyond the call of what's expected," said Doreen Ravenscroft, president of Cultural Arts of Waco (Texas) and team leader for the Doris Miller Memorial. Doris Miller Was The First African American Who Earn The Navy Cross In 1941 an African American was not allowed to man a gun in the Navy, and as far as rank was concerned, "he could not really get above a Messman level," Ravenscroft said. Miller's actions started to turn the tide, she added. "Without him really knowing, he actually was a part of the civil...

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MajGen Smedley Butler, U.S. Marine Corps (1898–1931) – Medal of Honor Recipient

MajGen Smedley Butler, U.S. Marine Corps (1898–1931) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Smedley Butler may be the best-known double Medal of Honor recipient and one of the most popular military Generals in U.S. history. Butler served 33 years in the Marine Corps and had a role in the Spanish-American War in Cuba, the Philippine-American War in Manila, the Boxer Rebellion in China, the Banana Wars in the Caribbean, the Mexican Revolution, and World War I. Butler's first Medal of Honor was earned during the Mexican Revolution when the then-major fought block to block in the streets of Vera Cruz to rid the city of the. resistance. His second award occurred a year later in 1915 when his Marines engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the Caicos resistance, a lower society of miscreants who formed a gang to wreak havoc in Haiti. Smedley Butler is One of the Most Revered Military Generals in U.S. History His wartime heroics became legendary, and he is one of the most recognized Marines of all time. Butler also introduced the Marine Corps' first unofficial mascot, a bulldog named...

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Sgt Alvin York, U.S. Army (1941–1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Sgt Alvin York, U.S. Army (1941–1947) – Medal of Honor Recipient

Sergeant Alvin York was seemingly born to a hardscrabble existence and anonymity in death, but World War One changed that forever. The story of York is one that twists and turns like the Mississippi river as he went through redemption and battled personal demons. At the end of it, all was the story that could have secured fame, finance, and his future - but York turned his back on it all to go back to the simple life and try and make a positive impact on the community in which he lived. York's early upbringing laid the foundations for the heroic feats that he would perform later on in life. He was born in a log cabin in 1887 close to Pall Mall in Tennessee, the third of 11 children. His upbringing was typical of the poor, subsistence farmers living in the area. Alvin was only sent to school for nine months as his father wanted him to help out on the farm and hunt to provide extra food on the table. This lack of schooling may have set York back in some ways, but it gave him the...

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