20 of America’s Most Decorated War Heroes

© Hulton Archive / Getty Images

There is no greater service to the nation than giving one’s life for one’s country. The United States honors military heroes on holidays including Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day at events across the country.

24/7 Tempo pays tribute to some of the most decorated war heroes in our nation’s history. We created our list from information obtained from sources such as the Department of Defense.

Some Americans pause their celebration to remember a loved one who passed in the service of the nation or is presently on duty protecting our freedom and liberty at one of America’s largest military bases around the world.

Where Memorial Day – which honors those killed in the line of duty – was once observed with introspection and solemnity, and Veterans Day pays tribute to the military service men and women who have died or are alive, on Independence Day people go to beaches or lakes or host barbecues.

The day is capped off by watching a fireworks display, a common feature in the grandest military parades in history.

© Copyright Underwood & Underwood / Wikimedia Commons

Alvin York

  • Rank: Corporal
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWI
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross

York was a pacifist who took command of troops when senior officers were killed or put out of action. He proceeded to kill 28 Germans and captured 132 others.

© Horace Abrahams / Keystone / Getty Images

Audie L. Murphy

  • Rank: Second lieutenant
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Murphy is the most decorated American soldier of World War II. Murphy, who saw combat in Italy and France, is credited with killing 240 German soldiers. He would go on to star in a movie about his life.

© Public Domain / WIkimedia Commons

Daniel J. Daly

  • Rank: Gunnery sergeant
  • Military branch: Marines
  • Served in: WWI
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross

One of 19 servicemen to be awarded the Medal of Honor twice, Daly was awarded his second medal for leading U.S. soldiers against Germans in World War I.

© US Navy Employee / Wikimedia Commons

David McCampbell

  • Rank: Commander
  • Military branch: Navy
  • Served in: WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

McCampbell shot down 34 Japanese planes, engaging the enemy many times despite overwhelming odds. On Oct. 24, 1944, he shot down nine planes in 95 minutes.

© US Federal Government / Wikimedia Commons

Desmond Doss

  • Rank: Corporal
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor

Doss, who was enlisted though he was a conscientious objector, was a medic in the Pacific theater of World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for saving lives while he was wounded during the fighting on Okinawa.

© U.S. Army Signal Corps officer Gaetano Faillace / Wikimedia Commons

Douglas MacArthur

  • Rank: General
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWI, WWII, Korean War
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

MacArthur led the United States to victory in the Pacific theater of World War II. He also led U.N. troops during the Korean War.

© Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Edward V. Rickenbacker

  • Rank: First lieutenant
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWI
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross

Rickenbacker was America’s greatest flying ace during World War I. He earned the Medal of Honor for attacking a formation of five German planes and downing two of them.

© Matthew A. Ebarb / U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

Eugene B. Fluckey

  • Rank: Commander
  • Military branch: Navy
  • Served in: WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross

One of the most daring submarine commanders of World War II, Fluckey found 30 Japanese vessels hiding in a harbor and damaged six of them in early 1945. His submarine managed to evade Japanese patrol boats and escape.

© U.S. Army Air Corps / Wikimedia Commons

Frank Luke, Jr.

  • Rank: Second lieutenant
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWI
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross

Luke, one of America’s greatest fighter aces in World War I, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.

© National Museum of the U.S. Air Force

George A. Davis

  • Rank: Major
  • Military branch: Army/Air Force
  • Served in: WWII, Korean War
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Davis was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for risking and ultimately losing his life During the Korean War. Davis shot down two enemy MiG fighter jets and pursued a third, despite obvious peril, in February, 1952.

© U.S. Government / WIkimedia Commons

George E. Day

  • Rank: Colonel
  • Military branch: Air Force/Army/Marines
  • Served in: WWII, Korean War, Vietnam War
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Air Force Cross, Silver Star

Day, who fought in World War II and Korea, received the Medal of Honor for enduring hardship during this captivity in North Vietnam, where he was captured twice and held as a POW for over five years.

© The Library of Congress / Flickr

Gordon Johnston

  • Rank: First lieutenant
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWI
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Johnston won the Medal of Honor fighting Morro rebels in the Philippines in 1906. He later served with the Army in France in World War I.

© USMC / Wikimedia Commons

Henry L. Hulbert

  • Rank: First lieutenant
  • Military branch: Marines
  • Served in: WWI
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross

After he was cited for heroism in the Philippines and Samoa, Hulbert went on to serve in World War I, where he was wounded.

© U.S. Navy Department / Wikimedia Commons

Herman H. Hanneken

  • Rank: Second lieutenant
  • Military branch: Marines
  • Served in: Banana Wars, WWI, WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

Hanneken won the Medal of Honor for subduing rebels in Haiti in 1919. He was also awarded the Silver Star for gallantry fighting on Guadalcanal in World War II.

© Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Howard W. Gilmore

  • Rank: Commander
  • Military branch: Navy
  • Served in: WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross

Gilmore was the first submariner to receive the Medal of Honor in World War II. He received the award posthumously for fighting Japanese vessels in South Pacific.

© U.S. War Department / Wikimedia Commons

Jack L. Treadwell

  • Rank: Captain
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWII, Vietnam War
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star

Treadwell subdued six pillboxes and captured 18 German prisoners at the fortified Siegfried Line in Germany in March 1945.

© U.S. Navy File Photo / Wikimedia Commons

James B. Stockdale

  • Rank: Rear admiral
  • Military branch: Navy
  • Served in: Vietnam War
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Silver Star

After being shot down over Hanoi in 1965, Stockdale spent eight years in a Vietnamese POW camp, and consistently exhibited bravery, even when subjected to torture. For his sacrifice, he was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Gerald Ford in 1976.

© US Navy / Wikimedia Commons

James E. Williams

  • Rank: Boatswain’s mate first class
  • Military branch: Navy
  • Served in: Korean War, Vietnam War
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star

Williams was the most decorated enlisted man in the history of the Navy. On Oct. 31, 1966, two U.S. patrol boats were searching for Viet Cong when they encountered a fleet of enemy sampans, or small boats. In the ensuring fight, Williams led the attack that eventually destroyed more than 65 enemy boats.

© Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

James H. Doolittle

  • Rank: General
  • Military branch: Army
  • Served in: WWII
  • Medal(s) of valor: Medal of Honor, Silver Star

Doolittle lifted America’s morale after the devastating attack on Pearl Harbor by leading a daring raid on Tokyo in April 1942. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.

Related Articles More from author

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.