The Medal of Honor is the highest military award for bravery that can be conferred on a member of the American armed forces. It is bestowed for a deed of supreme valor. More often than not, the Medal of Honor is awarded posthumously.

Congress established the Medal of Honor in 1861. Because it was the only military medal in existence and the criteria for the award were rather broad, the Medal of Honor was not bestowed very selectively during its early history. In one case, President Abraham Lincoln awarded the Medal of Honor to each member of a Massachusetts infantry regiment who volunteered to re-enlist in the Union Army.

To restore the prestige of the Medal of Honor, Congress established a board in 1916 to review all past awards. The board rescinded 911 of the 2,625 Medals of Honor issued before 1916. In addition, stricter standards and the creation of other medals to honor gallant actions caused the number of Medal of Honor awards to decrease significantly in the 20th century. Only 123 Medals of Honor were approved in World War I and only 435 in World War II. During the Korean War, 131 Medals of Honor were awarded, and 240 were bestowed during the Vietnam War.

Wisconsin citizens have been the recipients of 63 Medals of Honor. This figure does not include a special Congressional medal awarded to General William "Billy" Mitchell of Milwaukee, the pioneer air power theorist after whom Milwaukee's airport is named. Listed below, by conflict, are the Wisconsinites who have received the Medal of Honor.

Posthumous Medal of Honor posthumous award

The Civil War (1861-1865) - 22 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Anderson, PeterArmyLafayette Co., WINewell, IA
Coates, JeffersonArmyBoscobel, WIDorchester, NE
Cosgriff, Richard H.ArmyHudson, WIChippewa Falls, WI
Croft, James E.ArmyJanesville, WIJanesville, WI
Cushing, Alonzo 1st Lt. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyDelafield, WIWest Point, NY
Durham, John S.ArmyMalone, WILeavenworth, KS
Ellis, HoraceArmyChippewa Falls, WIEagle Point, WI
Ellis, WilliamArmyLittle Rock, AR
(served with Company K, 3rd WI Cavalry)
San Bernadino Co., CA
Hayes, JohnNavyMercer Co., PA
(resided in Wisconsin 1869-1867)
Blairstown, IA
Hilliker, BenjaminArmyWaupaca, WIHollywood, CA
Johnson, JohnArmyJanesville, WIWashington, DC
MacArthur, Arthur Jr.ArmyMilwaukee, WIArlington, VA
Moore, Daniel B.ArmyMifflin, WIMineral Point, WI
Murphy, Dennis J.F.ArmyGreen Bay, WIAllouez, WI
O'Connor, AlbertArmyColumbia Co., WIOrting, WA
Patterson, John T.ArmyMauston, WIMauston, WI
Pond, George F.ArmyFairwater, WIFort Scott, KS
Pond, James B.ArmyJanesville, WIBronx, NY
Sickles, William H.ArmyColumbia Co., WIOrting, WA
Toohey, ThomasArmyMilwaukee, WIKansas City, MO
Truell, Edwin M.ArmyManston, WIArlington, VA
Waller, Francis A.ArmyDeSoto, WIRetreat, WI
 

 

The Frontier Wars (1865-1891) - 7 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Albee, GeorgeArmyBaraboo, WIArlington, VA
Cable, Joseph A.ArmyMadison, WICrow Agency, MT
Goldin, Theodore F.ArmyAvon, WIKing, WI
Hill, Frank E.ArmyMayfield, WISan Francisco, CA
Nolan, Richard J.ArmyMilwaukee, WIWashington, DC
Robbins, Marcus M.ArmyElba, WIPittsfield, MA
Windus, Clarion A.ArmyJanesville, WIBracketville, TX
 

 

The Spanish - American War (1898) - 1 Recipient

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Brookins, OscarArmyByron, WIGalloway, OH
 

 

The Philippine - American War (1899-1902) - 1 Recipient

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

McGrath, Hugh J.ArmyEau Claire, WIArlington, VA
 

 

The Boxer Rebellion - China Relief Expedition (1900) - 1 Recipient

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Young, Frank A.Marine CorpsMilwaukee, WIArlington, VA
 

 

The Mexican Border Campaign (1914-1917) - 2 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Castle, Guy W.S.NavyPortage, WIArlington, VA
De Somer, AbrahamNavyMilwaukee, WIAt sea
 

 

World War I (1917-1918) - 2 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Siegel, John O.NavyMilwaukee, WIunknown
Slack, ClaytonArmyMadison, WIArlington, VA
 

 

World War II (1941-1945) - 16 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Agerholm, Harold C. Posthumous Medal of HonorMarine CorpsRacine, WIRacine, WI
Anderson, Beauford T.ArmySoldiers Grove, WICalifornia
Bong, Richard I.Army Air CorpsPoplar, WIPoplar, WI
Burr, Elmer J. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyMenasha, WINeenah, WI
Endl, Gerald L. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyJanesville, WIFort Atkinson, WI
Gruennert, Kenneth E. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyHelenville, WIHelenville, WI
Jerstad, John L. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmy Air CorpsRacine, WI*ABMC, Belgium
MacArthur, DouglasArmyMilwaukee, WINorfolk, VA
Miller, Andrew Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyTwo Rivers, WI*ABMC, France
Mower, Charles E. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyChippewa Falls, WI*ABMC, Philippines
Newman, Beryl R.ArmyBaraboo, WIUrbanna, VA
Olson, Truman O. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyCambridge, WIStoughton, WI
Peterson, Oscar V. Posthumous Medal of HonorNavyPrentice, WIMissing at sea
Salomon, Benjamin L.ArmyMilwaukee, WIGlendale, CA
Van Valkenburgh, Franklin Posthumous Medal of HonorNavyMilwaukee, WIPearl Harbor, HI
Young, CassinNavyMilwaukee, WIPearl Harbor, HI
* American Battle Monuments Commission Cemetery
 

 

The Korean War (1950-1953) - 5 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Christianson, Stanley R. Posthumous Medal of HonorMarine CorpsMindoro, WIMindoro, WI
Handrich, Melvin O. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyManawa, WIManawa, WI
Ingman, EinarArmyIrma, WILincoln Co., WI
Red Cloud, Mitchell Jr. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyJackson Co., WIJackson Co., WI
Sudut, Jerome A. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyWausau, WIWausau, WI
 

 

The Vietnam War (1964-1972) - 6 Recipients

Name

Branch

Residence or place of birth

Place of burial

Bellrichard, Leslie A. Posthumous Medal of HonorArmyJanesville, WIJanesville, WI
Fritz, Harold A.ArmyMilwaukee, WIliving
Modrzejewski, Robert J.Marine CorpsMilwaukee, WIliving
Sijan, Lance Posthumous Medal of HonorAir ForceMilwaukee, WIMilwaukee, WI
Stumpf, Kenneth E.ArmyMilwaukee, WIliving
Wetzel, Gary G.ArmyMilwaukee, WIliving
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