Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Navy

James Richard Ward

  • Rank: Seaman First Class
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    U.S.S. Oklahoma
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Navy
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 7, 1941
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Territory, USA

For conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. When it was seen that the U.S.S. Oklahoma was going to capsize and the order was given to abandon ship, Ward remained in a turret holding a flashlight so the remainder of the turret crew could see to escape, thereby sacrificing his own life.

Medal of Honor Recipient James R. Ward
Medal of Honor Recipient James R. Ward
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Springfield, Clark County, Ohio
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 1942

    Medal of Honor mailed to his parents in Springfield, Ohio, accompanied by a letter from President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Secretary of Navy Frank Knox.

  • Born: September 10, 1921, Springfield, Clark County, OH, United States
  • Died: December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (Territory)
  • Buried: Remains not recovered from USS Oklahoma; National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) (Wall of the Missing), Honolulu, Hawaii; Ferncliff Cemetery ('In Memory' marker), Springfield, OH, United States

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