Oscar Godfrey Johnson, Jr. was born in Foster City, Michigan on March 25, 1921. He was a high school graduate and working as a farm hand when he was drafted into the United States Army for service in World War II.
Arthur Murray Preston was born in Washington, District of Columbia on November 1, 1913. He was a graduate of both Yale University and the University of Virginia, and was an attorney in Washington, DC when he volunteered to enlist in the United States Navy in September of 1940.
Preston was sent to the Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School at Northwestern University and was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve during March of 1941. He became an officer in motor torpedo (PT) boats and was present at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked on December 7, 1941.
On September 15, 1944, the United States Marine Corps‘ 1st Marine Division began the assault on the island of Peleliu. Peleliu was identified as a necessary target to seize as both flank protection and staging area for later attacks on the Philippines and on to Japan.
Two Marines – both from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment – received the Medal of Honor for their heroism on the first day of the assault. Both were awarded because the Marines smothered grenade blasts with their bodies.
UPDATE: REPLAY ADDED BELOW!! Their Finest Hour returns live to Vigilant Liberty Radio on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 10pm Eastern, 7pm Pacific! For this week’s program, I’ll be welcoming a man who’s both a friend and has a fantastic depth and breadth of knowledge on American politics: Tom Dougherty (@Tom1247), founder and editor of the blog Practical Politicking (@PracticalPols).
In addition to Staff Sergeant George D. Keathley, there were three other Medals of Honor awarded for heroism in Europe on September 14, 1944. The American heroes who earned them were First Lieutenant Edgar H. Lloyd, Sergeant Joseph J. Sadowski, and Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Wigle.
George Dennis Keathley was born on March 10, 1917 in Olney, Texas. He graduated from what is today known as Texas A&M University with their class of 1937. He entered the United States Army for World War II service in 1942. Keathley was an infantryman with Company B of the 1st Battalion, 338th Infantry Regiment.
Almond Edward Fisher was born on January 28, 1913 in Hume, New York. During World War II, he was an infantry officer with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division. The motto of the 45th was “Semper Anticus”, Latin for “Always Forward”.
On September 12-13, 1944, Second Lieutenant Fisher embodied that motto with acts of incredible courage while fighting in southern France.
Raymond Zussman was born in Hamtramck, Michigan on July 23, 1917. He was drafted into the United States Army on September 24, 1941. He received his basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma and was then sent to Fort Knox, Kentucky. He graduated from the armor officers’ course and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Armor Branch on January 9, 1943.
Blogger’s note: this post should properly have appeared on September 3, 2014 or before. Due to the long span of the citation of this Medal of Honor recipient, I missed it in the regular sequence of the World War II 70th anniversaries. I am sincerely sorry for this oversight of one week.
Matt Louis Urban was born with the surname Urbanowicz in Buffalo, New York on August 25, 1919. He graduated from Cornell University in 1941, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army upon graduation, having been an ROTC member. As an officer with the 60th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division throughout World War II in Europe, he became one of the most decorated soldiers in United States’ history.