Ohio National Guard News

Medal of Honor values instilled in Soldiers

By Cadet Cory S. Krites
Company 1st Bat 148th Infantry

Soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, came together with their Families Sept. 13, 2009, to hold their annual Family Readiness Group (FRG) picnic. The picnic is a time when the Soldiers, along with their Family members can come together and enjoy camaraderie and receive updates on future events and past achievements.

One way Company B leaders acknowledge their Soldiers’ past achievements is through an award ceremony, which they held during the picnic. The unit annually honors recipients with awards named after the seven Medal of Honor recipients in the regiment lineage. These awards recognize Soldiers of today for their achievements while honoring the Soldiers of the past.

The Senior NCO-Rodriguez Award is named after Tech. Sgt. Cleto Rodriguez, and the Determination-Reese Award is named after Pfc. John Reese Jr., who both earned Medals of Honor for their actions at the Paco Railroad Station during the battle of Manila in the Philippine Islands. Rodriguez and Reese killed 82 enemy Japanese soldiers and paved the way for an overwhelming defeat of the enemy. Reese was killed in battle while reloading his rifle. The recipients of this year’s Rodriguez award were Staff Sgts. Joshua Hughes and Matthew Paxson. This year’s recipient of the Determination-Reese Award was Sgt. Joseph Miner.

The Senior Company Leader-Baesel Award is named after 2nd Lt. Albert Baesel, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions near Ivoiry, France on Sept. 27, 1918, where he and another Soldier braved enemy fire in an attempt to rescue a fallen comrade. Baesel was killed in action upon reaching his brother-in-arms. The recipient of this award was 1st Sgt. Shawn Hayslett. 

Pvt. Roger Young was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions with the enemy July 31, 1943 on New Georgia, Solomon Islands. Young single-handedly drew enemy machine-gun fire so that his platoon could disengage itself without loss. This year’s recipient was Staff Sgt. Joseph Bogoni.

The Platoon Leader Viale Award is named after 2nd Lt. Robert Viale, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions Feb. 5, 1945, in Manila, Luzon, Philippine Islands. Viale and two others knocked out three enemy pillboxes that had his men pinned. In an attempt to destroy another enemy machine gun, Viale dropped a grenade; seeing no other alternative, Viale placed the grenade between himself and a cement wall to protect his platoon. This year’s recipient of the Platoon Leader Viale Award was 2nd Lt. Heath Salva. 

The Soldiers-Krotiak Award is named after Pfc. Anthony Krotiak, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions May 8, 1945, at Balete Pass, Luzon, Philippine Islands. While directing men at a recently-seized position, a grenade landed in the middle of a group of Soldiers. Krotiak immediately pushed others away while diving upon the grenade, killing him instantly but saving the lives of those around him. Spc. Jason Block was this year’s recipient of the Soldiers-Krotiak Award.  

The final award was the Proficiency-Cicchetti Award, named for Pfc. Joseph Cicchetti, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at South Manila, Philippine Islands on Feb. 9, 1945. Cicchetti led a litter team that traversed a 400-yard impact area to rescue 14 wounded Soldiers. In an attempt to rescue one last Soldier, he was struck in the head with shell fragments. With complete disregard for his own life, he carried the wounded Soldier 50 more yards to safety. Upon completion of the rescue mission, Cicchetti fell dead. The recipient of this award was Sgt. Alan Lilly. 

Each year’s awardees are chosen by the unit based upon their assessment of how each individual’s traits and values are consistent with those of the past Medal of Honor recipients.

  Several Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 148th Infantry Regiment, are awarded plaques named for Medal of Honor recipients from their regimental lineage, during a Sept. 13, 2009, unit picnic. (Courtesy Photo)