Medal of Honor

Seven VMI alumni have received the Medal of Honor, the highest and most rarely awarded decoration conferred by the United States. The medal is presented for "personal bravery or self sacrifice...involving the risk of life." Photographs and full citations of the VMI recipients are viewed by clicking on their name. 

   Clarence E Sutton, VMI 1890
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Born: 18 February 1871, Middlesex County, Va.
Accredited to: Washington, D.C. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901

Citation: In action during the battle near Tientsin, China, 13 July 1900. Although under heavy fire from the enemy, Sutton assisted in carrying a wounded officer from the field of battle.


Charles E. Kilbourne, VMI 1894
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Volunteer Signal Corps
Place and date: At Paco Bridge, Philippine Islands, 5 February 1899
Entered service at. Portland. Oreg. Birth: Fort Myer, Va.
Date of issue: 6 May 1905

Citation: Within a range of 250 yards of the enemy and in the face of a rapid fire climbed a telegraph pole at the east end of the bridge and in full view of the enemy coolly and carefully repaired a broken telegraph wire, thereby reestablishing telegraphic communication to the front.


Cary D. Langhorne,  VMI 1894 
Rank and organization: Surgeon, U.S. Navy. Born: 14 May 1873, Lynchburg, Va.
Accredited to: Virginia. G.O. No.: 177, 4 December 1915

Citation: For extraordinary heroism in battle, engagement of Vera Cruz, 22 April 1914. Surg. Langhorne carried a wounded man from the front of the Naval Academy while under heavy fire.


Aldophus Staton, VMI 1899 
Rank and organization: Lieutenant , U.S. Navy
Born: 28 August 1879, Tarboro, NC

Citation: For distinguished conduct in battle, engagement of Vera Cruz, Mexico, 22 April 1914; was eminent ans conspicuous in command of his battalion. He exhibited courage and skill in leading his men through the action of the 22nd and in the final occupation of the city.


William P. Upshur,VMI 1902 
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Marine Corps
Born: 28 October 1881, Richmond, Va. Appointed from: Virginia

Citation: In company with members of the 15th Company of Marines, all mounted, Capt. Upshur left Fort Liberte, Haiti, for a 6-day reconnaissance. After dark on the evening of 24 October 1915, while crossing the river in a deep ravine, the detachment was suddenly fired upon from 3 sides by about 400 Cacos concealed in bushes about 100 yards from the fort. The marine detachment fought its way forward to a good position which it maintained during the night, although subjected to a continuous fire from the Cacos. At daybreak, Capt. Upshur, in command of one of the 3 squads which advanced in 3 different directions led his men forward, surprising and scattering the Cacos, and aiding in the capture of Fort Dipitie.


Richard E. Byrd, VMI 1908 
Rank and organization: Commander, U.S. Navy.
Born: 25 October 1888, Winchester, Va.   Appointed from: Virginia.

Citation: For distinguishing himself conspicuously by courage and intrepidity at the risk of his life, in demonstrating that it is possible for aircraft to travel in continuous flight from a now inhabited portion of the earth over the North Pole and return


Edward R. Schowalter, Jr., VMI 1951
Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company A, 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Div.
Place and date: Near Kumhwa, Korea, 14 October 1952
Entered service at: Metairie, La. Born: 24 December 1927, New Orleans, La.
G.O. No.: 6, 28 January 1954.

Citation: 1st Lt. Schowalter, commanding, Company A, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. Committed to attack and occupy a key-approach to the primary objective, the 1st Platoon of his company came under heavy vicious small-arms, grenade, and mortar fire within 50 yards of the enemy-held strongpoint, halting the advance and inflicting several casualties.

The 2d Platoon moved up in support at this juncture, and although wounded, 1st Lt. Schowalter continued to spearhead the assault. Nearing the objective he was severely wounded by a grenade fragment but, refusing medical aid, he led his men into the trenches and began routing the enemy from the bunkers with grenades. Suddenly from a burst of fire from a hidden cove off the trench he was again wounded. Although suffering from his wounds, he refused to relinquish command and continued issuing orders and encouraging his men until the commanding ground was secured and then he was evacuated.

1st Lt. Schowalter's unflinching courage, extraordinary heroism, and inspirational leadership reflect the highest credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.