Father and Son Medal of Honor Recipients

June 17, 2018

There are only two sets of fathers and sons who share the extremely heroic and honorable bond of being Medal of Honor recipients. To honor these heroes on Father’s Day, we’re highlighting their stories.

The first father and son pair to both be awarded the Medal of Honor began with Arthur MacArthur during the Civil War and later his son DouglasMacArthur during World War II. Lieutenant Arthur MacArthur was distinguished for his actions on November 25, 1863, at Missionary Ridge, Tennessee. At only 18 years old, he is credited for seizing the colors of his regiment at a critical moment and planting them on the captured works on the crest of Missionary Ridge.

Arthur MacArthur was one proud father when his son followed in his military hero footsteps. Douglas MacArthur was actually nominated for our nation’s highest honor twice before receiving it. He was eventually honored in 1942, for leadership in preparing the Philippine Islands to resist conquest, for gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against invading Japanese forces, and for the heroic conduct of defensive and offensive operations on the Bataan Peninsula. He mobilized, trained, and led an army which has received world acclaim for its gallant defense against a tremendous superiority of enemy forces in men and arms. His utter disregard of personal danger under heavy fire and aerial bombardment, his calm judgment in each crisis, inspired his troops, galvanized the spirit of resistance of the Filipino people, and confirmed the faith of the American people in their Armed Forces. In addition to his Medal of Honor, Douglas MacArthur is memorable for many other reasons, including college football, corncob pipes, and RayBan aviators.

 

The second father and son duo are prominent for other reasons. President Teddy Roosevelt and his son Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Roosevelt was also the only President to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the War with Spain. Almost 50 years later, his son Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was awarded the Medal of Honor, his for actions during World War II. Read both of their citations below.

Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt distinguished himself by acts of bravery on 1 July, 1898, near Santiago de Cuba, Republic of Cuba, while leading a daring charge up San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt, in total disregard for his personal safety, and accompanied by only four or five men, led a desperate and gallant charge up San Juan Hill, encouraging his troops to continue the assault through withering enemy fire over open countryside. Facing the enemy’s heavy fire, he displayed extraordinary bravery throughout the charge, and was the first to reach the enemy trenches, where he quickly killed one of the enemy with his pistol, allowing his men to continue the assault. His leadership and valor turned the tide in the Battle for San Juan Hill. Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.


For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 6 June 1944, in France. After 2 verbal requests to accompany the leading assault elements in the Normandy invasion had been denied, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt’s written request for this mission was approved and he landed with the first wave of the forces assaulting the enemy-held beaches. He repeatedly led groups from the beach, over the seawall and established them inland. His valor, courage, and presence in the very front of the attack and his complete unconcern at being under heavy fire inspired the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice. Although the enemy had the beach under constant direct fire, Brig. Gen. Roosevelt moved from one locality to another, rallying men around him, directed and personally led them against the enemy. Under his seasoned, precise, calm, and unfaltering leadership, assault troops reduced beach strong points and rapidly moved inland with minimum casualties. He thus contributed substantially to the successful establishment of the beachhead in France.

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