In 1990, Congress designated March 25th as National Medal of Honor Day to honor the heroism and sacrifice of our Medal of Honor recipients.

This National Medal of Honor Day, we recognize five incredible American heroes and their unimaginable bravery, as described in the text of their original citations.

Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart, United States Army

Shughart’s heroism was depicted in the film “Blackhawk Down.” Per his citation, Shughart distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site.

Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense small arms fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life.

Cpl. Jason Dunham, United States Marines

Dunham was the first Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipient for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2010, the US Navy commissioned a destroyer in his honor, the SS Jason Dunham.

On April 4, 2000, Corporal Dunham’s squad was conducting a reconnaissance mission in the town of Karabilah, Iraq, when they heard rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire erupt approximately two kilometers to the west. Corporal Dunham led his Combined Anti-Armor Team towards the engagement to provide fire support to their Battalion Commander’s convoy, which had been ambushed as it was traveling to Camp Husaybah.

As Corporal Dunham and his Marines advanced, they quickly began to receive enemy fire. Corporal Dunham ordered his squad to dismount their vehicles and led one of his fire teams on foot several blocks south of the ambushed convoy. Discovering seven Iraqi vehicles in a column attempting to depart, Corporal Dunham and his team stopped the vehicles to search them for weapons. As they approached the vehicles, an insurgent leaped out and attacked Corporal Dunham. Corporal Dunham wrestled the insurgent to the ground and in the ensuing struggle saw the insurgent release a grenade. Corporal Dunham immediately alerted his fellow Marines to the threat. Aware of the imminent danger and without hesitation, Corporal Dunham covered the grenade with his helmet and body, bearing the brunt of the explosion and shielding his Marines from the blast. In an ultimate and selfless act of bravery in which he was mortally wounded, he saved the lives of at least two fellow Marines.

Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter, United States Marines

Kyle Carpenter is the youngest living Medal of Honor recipient.

In Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on 21 November 2010. Lance Corporal Carpenter was a member of a platoon-sized coalition force, comprised of two reinforced Marine rifle squads partnered with an Afghan National Army squad. The platoon had established Patrol Base Dakota two days earlier in a small village in the Marjah District in order to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local Afghan population. Lance Corporal Carpenter and a fellow Marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of Patrol Base Dakota when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbagged position. Without hesitation and with complete disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Carpenter moved toward the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow Marine from the deadly blast. When the grenade detonated, his body absorbed the brunt of the blast, severely wounding him, but saving the life of his fellow Marine.

Carpenter spent five weeks in a coma, and endured 71 different procedures through 41 different surgeries. He lost his right eye and had to relearn how to stand, walk, and put on his own socks.

Captain Florent A. Groberg, United States Army

Flo Groberg was born in France and came to the United States as a boy. “Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, I was no longer a guy from France,” Groberg said, “From that day forward, I was an American.”

In Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on August 8, 2012, Captain Groberg was leading a dismounted movement consisting of several senior leaders to include two brigade commanders, two battalion commanders, two command sergeants major, and an Afghanistan National Army brigade commander.

As they approached the provincial governor’s compound, Captain Groberg observed an individual walking close to the formation. While the individual made an abrupt turn towards the formation, he noticed an abnormal bulge underneath the individual’s clothing. Selflessly placing himself in front of one of the brigade commanders, Captain Groberg rushed forward using his body to push the suspect away from the formation. Simultaneously, he ordered another member of the security detail to assist with removing the suspect. At this time, Captain Groberg confirmed the bulge was a suicide vest. And with complete disregard for this life, Captain Groberg, again, with the assistance of the other member of the security detail, physically pushed the suicide bomber away from the formation.

Upon falling, the suicide bomber detonated his explosive vest outside of the perimeter of the formation, killing four members of the formation and wounding numerous others. The blast from the first suicide bomb caused the suicide vest of a previously unnoticed second suicide bomber to detonate prematurely with minimal impact on the formation.

Captain Groberg’s immediate actions to push the first suicide bomber away from the formation significantly minimized the impact of the coordinated suicide bombers’ attack on the formation, saving the lives of his comrades and several senior leaders.

Over the next three years, Flo Groberg endured at least 33 surgeries and hundreds of hours of physical therapy to regain the use of his leg. Although given the choice of amputation, Groberg chose to endure severe pain keep his leg.

Sergeant John A. Chapman, United States Air Force

Technical Sergeant Chapman was attached to a SEAL team conducting reconnaissance operations in Takur Ghar, Afghanistan, on March 4, 2002. During insertion, the team’s helicopter was ambushed causing a teammate to fall into an entrenched group of enemy combatants below. Sergeant Chapman and the team voluntarily reinserted onto the snow-capped mountain, into the heart of a known enemy stronghold to rescue one of their own. Without regard for his own safety, Sergeant Chapman immediately engaged, moving in the direction of the closest enemy position despite coming under heavy fire from multiple directions. He fearlessly charged an enemy bunker, up a steep incline in thigh-deep snow and into hostile fire, directly engaging the enemy.

Upon reaching the bunker, Sergeant Chapman assaulted and cleared the position, killing all enemy occupants. With complete disregard for his own life, Sergeant Chapman deliberately moved from cover only 12 meters from the enemy, and exposed himself once again to attack a second bunker, from which an emplaced machine gun was firing on his team. During this assault from an exposed position directly in the line of intense fire, Sergeant Chapman was struck and injured by enemy fire. Despite severe, mortal wounds, he continued to fight relentlessly, sustaining a violent engagement with multiple enemy personnel before making the ultimate sacrifice.

Their selflessness will NEVER be forgotten. Please, help us honor these heroes!

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