74 years ago today on Dutch New Guinea’s Noemfoor Island, Sgt. Ray E. Eubanks leads a squad against an enemy position that is devastating his company with machinegun, rifle, and mortar fire. Once the soldiers reach a spot 30 yards away from the enemy, Eubanks orders his men to keep firing at the position while he moves forward alone through the intensely fire-swept terrain. When he reaches a spot just 15 yards away, he opens fire with his automatic rifle, inflicting serious casualties on the Japanese defenders, but rendering his firearm useless in the process. Ignoring his wounds, he rushes forward and uses his broken gun as a club to kill four enemy soldiers before Eubanks is himself killed. For his actions, Sgt. Eubanks is awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Today in 1950, the 8th Cavalry Regiment is falling back to the Pusan Perimeter during the opening days of America’s involvement in the Korean War. The job of holding up the North Koreans goes to Cpl. Tibor Rubin, who over the next 24 hours, single-handedly fights-off an overwhelming numbers of enemy, inflicting “staggering” casualties while his fellow troopers withdraw.
In October, his unit is hammered by Chinese forces and Rubin is captured. Almost every night, Rubin, a Jew who survived over a year in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, sneaks out to gather food and supplies from enemy depots and gardens to assist his fellow captives. When offered the chance to be sent to his native Hungary, he refuses and will spend nearly three years as a prisoner of war. Dozens of American lives were saved due to Rubin, and in 2005 he is finally awarded the Medal of Honor.
On this day in 1970, the U.S. military decides to abandon Fire Support Base Ripcord (featured image) after a brutal 23-day siege by the North Vietnamese Army. 75 soldiers are killed during the battle, including 1st Lt. Bob Kalsu, the only active NFL football player killed in action during the Vietnam War.
As the soldiers are evacuated, Lt. Col. Andre C. Lucas is working to extricate a wounded comrade from a burning helicopter. While enemy mortar fire and exploding ammunition add to the threat of the expanding blaze, Lucas orders the rest of his fellow rescuers to safety while he works to free the soldier by himself. Lucas is mortally wounded and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for this action in addition to his previous acts of valor during the siege.