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Medal of Honor Recipients

The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest honor presented to military personnel for actions above and beyond the call of duty. The medal is awarded by the U.S. Congress and presented by the president of the United States; it is commonly known as the Congressional Medal of Honor, though this is not its proper name. Since the medal was first presented in 1863, 3,468 individuals have been honored. Of those, twenty-five have Arkansas connections. John Henry Pruitt, a World War I Marine from Newton County, is just one of nineteen soldiers to have been awarded the medal twice. Originally presented for both combat and non-combat heroism, it is today presented to a member of the military who “distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States.”

The Arkansas General Assembly created a commission that began in 1996 to develop plans for construction of a memorial honoring these soldiers. Noted local artist John Deering designed the memorial, which consists of a bronze eagle surrounded by a circle of bronze plaques dedicated to each recipient. The memorial is located on the southeast lawn of the Arkansas State Capitol. The Medal of Honor Memorial, which honors men from the Civil War through the Vietnam War, was dedicated on November 18, 2000. The memorial was funded by private donations, and $125,000 was provided by the Arkansas General Assembly by Act 510 of 1999.

 

Name

Birthplace

Action

Nick Daniel (Nicky) Bacon

Caraway (Craighead County)

Vietnam, August 26, 1968

Maurice Lee “Footsie” Britt

Lonoke (Lonoke County)

World War II, November 10, 1943

Lloyd Leslie “Scooter” Burke

Tichnor (Arkansas County)

Korea, October 28, 1951

Marcellus Holms Chiles

Eureka Springs (Carroll County)

World War I, November 1918

Gilbert Georgie Collier

Hunter (Woodruff County)

Korea, July 19–20, 1953

Clarence Byrle Craft

 

World War II, May 31, 1945

William Ellis

 

Civil War, January 14, 1865

Pompey Factor

Arkansas

Indian Wars, April 25, 1875

William J. Franks

 

Civil War, March 5, 1864

Charles Leon Gilliland

Mountain Home (Baxter County)

Korea, April 25, 1951

Nathan Green Gordon

Morrilton (Conway County)

World War II, February 15, 1944

James Richard Hendrix

Lepanto (Poinsett County)

World War II, December 26, 1944

Herbert A. Littleton

Mena (Polk County)

Korea, April 22, 1951

Edgar Harold Lloyd

Blytheville (Mississippi County)

World War II, September 14, 1943

Douglas MacArthur

Little Rock (Pulaski County)

World War II

Oscar Miller

Franklin County

World War I, September 28, 1918

John Henry Pruitt

Fallsville (Newton County)

World War I, October 3, 1918

James Lamar Stone

Pine Bluff (Jefferson County)

Korea, November 21–22, 1951

Seymour W. Terry

Little Rock

World War II, May 11, 1945

William H. Thomas

Wynne (Cross County)

World War II, April 22, 1945

John Ward

Arkansas

Indian Wars, April 25, 1875

Travis E. Watkins

Waldo (Columbia County)

Korea, August 31–September 3, 1950

Wilson Douglas Watson

 

World War II, February 26–27, 1945

Henry W. Wheeler

Fort Smith (Sebastian County)

Civil War, July 21, 1861

Jack Williams

Harrison (Boone County)

World War II, March 3, 1945

 

For additional information:
Congressional Medal of Honor Society. http://www.cmohs.org/ (accessed June 23, 2010).

“State Monument Honors Medal of Honor Recipients.” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. November 19, 2000, pp. 1, 3.

Ware, David. Beyond the Call of Duty, Arkansas Honors Its Veterans. Little Rock: Arkansas Secretary of State, 2002.

Mike Polston
Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 2/6/2014

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