Monday, September 21, 2015

Uncommon Valor

What must it been like to serve with men such as this?
"We had been walking through piles of dead men when the general gave a sudden start, and then stepped over to the figure of a man who was bent over the barrel of a heavy machine gun. Very quickly, almost before I saw what he was doing, the general took out a knife and cut the Red Cross brassard from Ben Salomon's arm. Then he straightened up and looked around. There were ninety-eight Japanese bodies piled up in front of that gun position. Salomon had killed so many men that he had been forced to move the gun four different times in order to get a clear field of fire. There was something else that we noted, too. There were seventy-six bullet holes in Salomon's body. When we called a doctor over to examine him, we were told that twenty-four of the wounds had been suffered before Salomon died. There were no witnesses, but it wasn't hard to put the story together. One could easily visualize Ben Salomon, wounded and bleeding, trying to drag that gun a few more feet so that he would have a new field of fire. The blood was on the ground, and the marks plainly indicated how hard it must have been for him, especially in that last move," Love wrote.
From all accounts he was defending the withdrawal of a medical unit as it moved out of active combat.  Captain Salomon was a dentist assigned to the hospital.

Captain Salomon was initially denied a Medal of Honor because he was a medical officer and had been wearing a Red Cross brassard.  He was finally granted his Medal by President George W. Buch in May 2002.  He had no family to accept the Medal.

I am in awe of men like this.

Hat tip to Firehand.


Rivrdog said...

My uncle Leo Schneider was such a man. In the last stand at Corregidor, Luzon, the Major of Medical Corps ran out of stretcher bearers, so he ran out on the battlefield under artillery and strafing fire to recover three wounded and bring them back to the safety of the tunnel-hospital. He was proposed for the Silver Star, but did not get it. Not many such medals were awarded to Jews in those days. He continued his medical heroism in POW camp after surviving the Bataan Death March, but got no recognition for that, either.

Old NFO said...

A special breed, no question!

BobF said...

I agree. Just in awe. And there are so many others of whom we will never hear, but the world today, warts and all, is a hell of a lot better off than it might be, thanks to them all.

Aw, come on -- this robot thing is showing me *doughnuts* at midnight? Not nice. :-)