Courage under pressure is the common denominator among the eight University of Washington alumni who have received the Medal of Honor. In addition to John "Bud" Hawk and Bruce Crandall, the honorees are:
Courage under pressure is the common denominator among the eight University of Washington alumni who have received the Medal of Honor. In addition to John “Bud” Hawk and Bruce Crandall, the honorees are:
Marine Maj. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, 1912-1988
Commander of the “Black Sheep Squadron” in World War II, Boyington, an Idaho native who graduated from high school in Tacoma, led repeated airstrikes against Japanese forces. Boyington, who earned an aeronautical-engineering degree from the UW, was credited with shooting down a record 28 enemy planes.
Boyington himself was shot down in 1944 and spent 20 months as a prisoner of war. During that time, he was presumed dead and was awarded the Medal of Honor. A 1970s television series was based on his autobiography. He retired as a colonel in 1947.
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Army 1st Lt. Deming Bronson, 1894-1957
Wisconsin-born Bronson, who moved with his family to Seattle’s Capitol Hill as a youngster, played football at the UW and earned a forestry degree before enlisting in the Army during World War I.
In September 1918, he was wounded in the face and back of the head by a hand grenade but continued to fight through the night and following day against German forces, helping to free the French village of Eclisfontaine.
Marine Maj. Robert E. Galer, 1913-2005
Galer, of Seattle, was an All-American basketball player at the UW who joined the Marines after completing his bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1935.
In World War II, he led a Marine fighter squadron in repeated combat missions against a much larger force of Japanese fliers in the Solomon Islands in 1942. He was credited with shooting down 14 enemy planes and was himself shot down three times. He continued flying combat missions in the Korean War — and was shot down a fourth time — and retired as a brigadier general in 1957.
Army 2nd Lt. Robert Leisy, 1945-1969
Leisy, a Magnolia native who graduated from the UW in 1968, had been in Vietnam less than three months when his unit was attacked by a much larger force of North Vietnamese soldiers in December 1969. When Leisy spotted an enemy sniper about to fire a rocket-propelled grenade from a nearby tree, he threw his body over that of his 19-year-old radio operator, protecting the other soldier but sustaining multiple injuries. When medical aid arrived, Leisy refused attention until others were treated. He died that night.
Army Pfc. William K. Nakamura, 1922-1944
Nakamura, a Garfield High School graduate, was attending the UW in 1942 when he and his family were among some 120,000 American residents of Japanese ancestry forced into internment camps. He was allowed to leave Idaho’s Minidoka Relocation Center to join the Army.
Twice on July 4, 1944, Nakamura attacked German machine-gun units in northern Italy so his platoon could escape its pinned-down position. During his second attempt, he was fatally wounded.
He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and was among 22 Asian-Americans whose awards were upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2000. That same year, the federal courthouse on Fifth Avenue in downtown Seattle was renamed in his honor.
Marine Staff Sgt. Archie Van Winkle, 1925-1986
Van Winkle, born in Alaska and raised in the Darrington area, left the UW to join the Marines, serving in the Korean War. In November 1950, he led a daring charge against enemy forces, even as a bullet shattered his elbow and a hand grenade exploded against his chest.
Despite his severe wounds, he refused evacuation and continued to shout orders and encouragement to his troops, who successfully turned back the attack.
He completed his UW degree in history while still in the Marines and retired as a colonel in 1974.
Jack Broom: 206-464-2222 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Material from Seattle Times archives, HistoryLink and the University of Washington is included in this report.