Medal of Honor
The first Medal of Honor recipient was John Mackie. There was a time in history that the United States was divided. Civil War raged across the land from April 12, 1861 to May 9, 1865. Casualties mounted on both sides. The United States needed a formal way to award gallantry in combat. On July 12, 1862 the Medal of Honor was recognized service wide as one of the highest military honors one can receive.
The Medal of Honor is usually awarded by the President of the United States. A Medal of Honor that is earned posthumously is given to the service member’s family. The Medal of Honor is afforded special protection by the US government. In many cases were acts of stolen valor are hailed as “free speech”, the unauthorized wear of the Medal of Honor is not.
First Marine Medal of Honor Recipient
The US Marine Corps has a long history of gallantry and valor on the field of battle. It did not take long for a Marine to be awarded the honor. On May 15, 1862 US Marine Cpl. John F. Mackie was aboard the ironclad USS Galena. The ship with 4 other Union vessels sailed up the James River to test Confederate defenses in Richmond, Virginia. Soon after taking a sharp bend in the river the fleet encountered submerged obstacles. This slowed the fleet’s speed and allowed artillery to zero in on them.
Something had to be done to save the Union fleet from destruction. Heavy fire was raining down on the fleet high atop Drewry’s Bluff from Fort Darling. The USS Galena dropped anchor within 550 meters of the Fort and prepared to open fire. Just before she could bring her guns to bear on the Fort the Galena was hit twice. With the entire gun crew dead or wounded John Mackie lead Marines to man their post.
The Battle of Drewry’s Bluff lasted over three and a half hours. By the end of the battle the USS Galena took 45 direct hits before sailing back to port. The quick thinking of Cpl. John Mackie ensured the safety of the ship and her crew.
John Mackie’s Legacy
Although Cpl. John Mackie went above and beyond the call of duty, the Medal of Honor was not even introduced yet. He received his Medal of Honor on July 10, 1863. Corporal john F. Mackie is the first US Marine in history to be awarded the Medal of Honor. His bravery and valor will always be remembered as his legacy is sewn into our history.
Devil Dog Shirts will continue to perpetuate the warrior ethos as we honor the brave Marines came before us. We are committed to sharing the history of our brave warriors. Without them stepping outside their human abilities, they would not be able to accomplish inhuman things. Furthermore, this is a true testament to our history. Marines like Cpl. John Mackie makes us who we are today!
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Thank you for your service and thanks to all my Marine pilots that protected me in Vietnam, 1972-73…