Westmoreland County Medal of Honor Recipients

Copy of White Flag Memorial Day Wishes Facebook Post

On this Memorial Day weekend, we honor the deceased who have influenced our life, especially those who served in the military.The Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious military award in the United States. Since beginning in 1863 during the Civil War, thousands of military service members have been recognized for their valor. In honor of all military personnel, past and present, we offer this information about Medal of Honor recipients from Westmoreland County.

Department of the Army, Navy and Air Force versions of the Medal of Honor



Rank: Corporal

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company K

Division: 211th Pennsylvania Infantry

Born: Westmoreland County, Pa.

Place / Date: At Petersburg, Va., 2 April 1865

Capture of flag.



Rank: Corporal

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company A

Division: 61st Pennsylvania Infantry

Born: Westmoreland County, Pa.

Place / Date: At Petersburg, Va., 2 April 1865

Voluntarily took the colors, whose bearer had been disabled, and, although himself severely wounded, carried the same until the enemy’s works were taken.



Rank: Private

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company E

Division: 211th Pennsylvania Infantry

Born: Westmoreland County, Pa.

Departed: Yes

Place / Date: At Petersburg, Va., 2 April 1865

Capture of flag. Buried Ligonier Valley Cemetery, Ligonier, Westmoreland County, PA.



Waterford, PA

Rank: Landsman

Organization: U.S. Navy

Born: 1844, Pennsylvania

G.O. Number: 59

Accredited To: Pennsylvania

Served on board the U.S.S. Pontoosuc during the capture of Fort Fisher and Wilmington, 24 December 1864, to 22 February 1865. Carrying out his duties faithfully throughout this period, McWilliams was so severely wounded in the assault upon Fort Fisher that he was sent to the hospital at Portsmouth, Va. McWilliams was recommended for his gallantry, skill and coolness in action while under the fire of the enemy.



Rank: Blacksmith

Organization: U.S. Army

Company: Company H

Division: 7th U.S. Cavalry

Born: 14 October 1851, Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County, Pa.

Entered Service At: Pittsburgh, Pa.

Place / Date: At Little Big Horn, Mont., 25 June 1876

With 3 comrades during the entire engagement courageously held a position that secured water for the command.



Rank: Staff Sergeant U.S. Army

Company:  Division: 38th Infantry, 2-t Infantry Division

Born: 16 August 1916, Lycippus, Pa.

Place / Date: Near Plougastel, Brittany, France, 23 August 1944

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, on 23 August 1944, S/Sgt. Carey, leader of a machinegun section, was advancing with his company in the attack on the strongly held enemy hill 154, near Plougastel, Brittany, France.  The advance was held up when the attacking units were pinned down by intense enemy machinegun fire from a pillbox 200 yards up the hill. From his position covering the right flank, S/Sgt. Carey displaced his guns to an advanced position and then, upon his own initiative, armed himself with as many hand grenades as he could carry and without regard for his personal safety started alone up the hill toward the pillbox. Crawling forward under its withering fire, he proceeded 150 yards when he met a German rifleman whom he killed with his carbine. Continuing his steady forward movement until he reached grenade-throwing distance, he hurled his grenades at the pillbox opening in the face of intense enemy fire which wounded him mortally. Undaunted, he gathered his strength and continued his grenade attack until one entered and exploded within the pillbox, killing the occupants and putting their guns out of action. Inspired by S/Sgt. Carey’s heroic act, the riflemen quickly occupied the position and overpowered the remaining enemy resistance in the vicinity.



Rank: Major U.S. Army

Company:  Division: 82d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

Born: Jeannette, Pa.

Place / Date: Over Luzon, Philippine Islands, 11 January 1945

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.  Maj. Shomo was lead pilot of a flight of 2 fighter planes charged with an armed photographic and strafing mission against the Aparri and Laoag airdromes.  While en route to the objective, he observed an enemy twin engine bomber, protected by 12 fighters, flying about 2,500 feet above him and in the opposite direction.  Although the odds were 13 to 2, Maj. Shomo immediately ordered an attack.  Accompanied by his wingman, he closed on the enemy formation in a climbing turn and scored hits on the leading plane of the third element, which exploded in midair.  Maj. Shomo then attacked the second element from the left side of the formation and shot another fighter down in flames.  When the enemy formed for counterattack, Maj. Shomo moved to the other side of the formation and hit a third fighter, which exploded and fell.  Diving below the bomber, he put a burst into its underside and it crashed and burned.  Pulling up from this pass, he encountered a fifth plane firing head on and destroyed it.  He next dived upon the first element and shot down the lead plane; then diving to 300 feet in pursuit of another fighter, he caught it with his initial burst, and it crashed in flames.  During this action, his wingman had shot down 3 planes, while the 3 remaining enemy fighters had fled into a cloudbank and escaped.  Maj. Shomo’s extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity in attacking such a far superior force and destroying 7 enemy aircraft in one action is unparalleled in the southwest Pacific area.

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