How Much Do You Know About These Famous American War Heroes?

Mark Lichtenstein

Image: YouTube

About This Quiz

America has produced a lot of war heroes, men and women who acted above and beyond the call of duty. Some are heralded, while others are relatively unsung. How much do you know about them?

Where did Wesley L. Fox's actions warrant his Medal of Honor?

In Operation Dewey Canyon, a massive firefight resulted in Fox's commanding officer being killed. Fox took command, and lead his men to victory, calmly communicating while crossing through areas of intense fire.

What was John Stark responsible for?

John Stark was a farmer who raised a militia and stormed into Boston as the battle was hot. He spotted a gap in the Patriots' defensive line and moved in, keeping the British away, ensuring victory.

What was the name of the ill-fated fort a young George Washington built, resulting in the deaths of nearly all his men?

By building Fort Necessity within bow range of the treeline, he effectively created a fort that the Native Americans he was fighting could shoot at from cover, without fear of retaliatory fire. Naturally, everything went wrong for him, and this memory haunted him. It is mentioned by the character George Washington in the musical Hamilton.

What was the nickname of the POW camp where Senator John McCain was held?

The Hoa Lo Prison in Hanoi was where Senator John McCain was taken after his bomber was shot down, and he was pulled from the wreckage and severely beaten. At this prison, POWs were routinely tortured and forced to make false statements, often not coming out of the prisons for years.

What was Daniel Morgan's nickname, and how did he get it?

"Big Wagoner" was the nickname of this former brawler who would have had fun in MMA, if you were allowed to do finger locks.

What did Anthony Wayne's teachers see in him?

Anthony Wayne did indeed become a soldier, and was part of the dubious invasion of Canada.

What did Benedict Arnold do that was heroic?

At the Battle of Saratoga, Arnold and his men had been under the impression that they would have reinforcements, but did not get them. After a night of rabble-rousing (and quite likely a lot of drinking) Arnold led his men to attack the British. They won. Arnold and his horse were struck by shot and a cannonball, breaking Arnold's leg and giving him a limp for the rest of his life. Lord Germaine, the British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies called Arnold “the most enterprising and dangerous” of all the American generals.

What object sits beside the tomb of Benedict Arnold?

Pay a visit to St. Mary’s of Battersea, a church well off the beaten path in London, and if you call ahead you can visit the crypt where Arnold is entombed. The crypt is sort of a community room, and photos found online show an aquarium full of fish sitting beside his tomb, with a sign indicating that the water aerator needs to be kept plugged in.

What did Kyle Carpenter do to warrant the Medal of Honor?

Kyle Carpenter was on a rooftop with another soldier when a grenade was tossed onto it beside them. Without thinking he threw his body onto it, absorbing the blast, and ensuring that no one would die from the grenade except for him. His brothers in arms ensured he didn't die either, evacuating him. He later received the Medal of Honor from President Obama.

What did Ty Carter do to warrant getting the Medal of Honor?

In the midst of battle with the Taliban, Carter ran into a hail of bullets without his weapon in order to carry a wounded comrade out, which he managed to do, saving his life.

What did Jason Dunham do to warrant receiving the Medal of Honor?

Jason Dunham died when he threw his body onto a grenade, covering the explosive with his helmet in an attempt to contain the blast. At a checkpoint on the Syrian border, a driver got into hand to hand combat with him pulling the pin on a grenade in a suicidal last ditch. Dunham saved at least two Marines from the blast.

What did Salvatore Giunta say when, at his Medal of Honor ceremony, he was called a hero?

Indeed, this is what he said to the Christian Science Monitor. “So if you think that’s a hero – as long as you include everyone with me," he concluded.

What did Dakota Meyer say about his heroics, the time his unit was ambushed by more than fifty Taliban fighters?

Dakota Meyer's words to CNN were heartbreaking. When the rest of his unit was separated from him by an ambush, he disobeyed orders to evacuate and, wounded, charged in with a machine gun, first pulling out his Afghan allies, and later the bodies of his men, all of whom died.

After the evacuation of Firebase 6, how many days did Brian Thacker elude capture, so American and South Vietnamese forces could recapture the base?

After leading a crazy-brave defense of Firebase 6, directing action from an exposed viewpoint and taking Viet Cong fighters on in hand to hand combat, Brian Thacker ordered the evacuation of the base, staying behind alone to hold off the vastly numerically superior enemy with just one M-16. While the enemy approached with the rocket launchers, flamethrowers, machine guns, and grenades they used to penetrate the base's defenses, Thacker ordered friendly fire on his position to further stymie the enemy. Somehow, he survived and escaped, laying low until the base was recaptured. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor, obviously.

What actions garnered Melvin Morris the Medal of Honor?

On September 17, 1969, Morris used a bag of grenades to blow up a row of bunkers that were keeping his battalion pinned down.

How was Michael Murphy's Medal of Honor awarded?

Navy SEAL Michael Murphy and his men were ambushed and pinned down by Taliban fighters. He took multiple rounds as he calmly radioed for help, returning fire thereafter until he succumbed to his wounds.

Did the presence of Ryan Pitts turn the tide of battle?

The official report of the assault on Wanat, Afghanistan is that the presence of Ryan Pitts turned the tide of battle.

In what war did Robert Blume earn the Medal of Honor?

Aboard the U.S.S. Nashville during the cutting of the cable leading from Cienfuegos, Cuba, in 1898, Seaman Blume "set an example" through his coolness and bravery.

Who was the most decorated American officer of World War 2?

Matt Urban's Medal of Honor citation notes ten–yes, ten!–examples of bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Urban was wounded seven times over the course of seven campaigns. He seemed to "come back from the dead" so often, among the enemy he earned the nickname "The Ghost".

Who was the first recipient of the Medal of Honor?

Jacob Parrott was one of six men awarded the medal of honor thirty years after their actions in "The Great Locomotive Chase" in April 1862. His actions, taken well before the Civil War in the far-off land of what would become Arizona, earned him and his comrades the first Medals of Honor.

Who was the second generation of the first father and son Medal of Honor awardees?

General Douglas McArthur and his father, the eccentrically named Arthur MacArthur, Jr., were both awarded the Medal of Honor.

What army did Medal of Honor recipient Alvin Cullum York fight against?

Alvin Cullum York fought against the Germans in World War I.

About what important fact did Medal of Honor recipient Audie Murphy lie?

Audie Murphy lied about his age so he could enlist in World War 2. Sent to the Mediterranean theater, he became one of the most decorated soldiers in the war.

Why did most consider Nathanael Greene a poor bet for being a soldier?

Nathanael Greene was an unlikely soldier, but with the help of a bookseller friend, he amassed a collection of books on military strategy and tactics and used them to impress Washington, convincing him to put Greene in charge, despite his physical shortcomings and pacifist leanings.

Who transported the canon from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston, for the Siege of Boston?

Henry Knox was a young, tough man with no military training when Washington spotted him, putting important tasks in his hands rather than those of more experienced or educated officers.

What foreign citizenship did Medal of Honor recipient Florent Groberg renounce to become a US serviceman?

Florent Groberg was born in France, and moved to the US, where he renounced his citizenship to join the US military.

As of March, 2016, who are the remaining medal of honor recipients still on duty?

By March 2016 the only remaining Medal of Honor recipients still on active duty were Edward Byers and William D. Swenson.

What prompted the medal of honor for Charles H. Coolidge?

Charles H. Coolidge and his unit held a position against a German advance, in which the Germans had many more men, several tanks, and more powerful weaponry. Charles H. Coolidge himself was targeted by the tanks several times. For his acts above and beyond the call of duty, he was awarded the Medal of Honor.

What was former Senator John Kerry's highest military award?

The silver-haired politician was awarded the silver star for an incident whereupon he charged a Vietcong soldier wielding a rocket launcher, killing the other soldier and capturing his ordinance, saving dozens of his men.

What was Theodore Roosevelt's famous military accomplishment?

T. R. made his name in the battles of Las Guasimas and San Juan Heights, before being elected Vice President.

Who was the Commander in Chief of the American Army in France?

John J. Pershing was one of the voices speaking out against the Treaty at Versailles and was the only American to be promoted to the rank of General of the Armies in his lifetime.

Who was Virginia Hall?

Virginia Hall was an American spy who spent the first half of the war as a spy, ducking in and out of Nazi territory, training the French Resistance, and dodging the Nazis, all while hobbling around on a prosthetic leg.

Who was it who aided soldiers scrambling ashore on D-Day, then showed his leadership skills by organizing the forces and summoning them by radio?

Carlton W. Barrett helped turn the ride of D-Day and potentially, the war. He was awarded the Medal of Honor.

What was the name of the hero who organized a force on D-Day under intense enemy fire, then ran through exposed terrain to direct tank fire, only to be surrounded and killed by German forces?

Jimmie. W, Monteith was awarded the Metal of Honor for his actions on D-Day.

What was General William Eaton known for?

While he is best known for reviving the Marine Corps, all of these facts are technically true. General Eaton was a diplomat in North Africa when the prince governing Tripoli, then a Barbary State surviving through piracy, took three hundred American sailors hostage. He asked the President for a small group of men to be trained as Marines, a military specialty that he had encountered during the Revolutionary War. With them and an army of mercenaries, armed with a pistol and a scimitar, General Eaton took Derna, the heavily fortified second city of Tripoli.

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