Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the Armed Services of the United States. Recipients receive the Medal of Honor from the president on behalf of Congress. It was first awarded during the Civil War and eligibility criteria for the Medal of Honor have changed over time.
Recipients buried or memorialized here:
Chief Water Tender Heinrich Behnke. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions on board the USS Iowa after the blowing out of a manhole cover on the vessel, January 25, 1905. Behnke died in 1952 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 20A.
Corporal Anthony Casamento (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, Company D, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division, for actions at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, November 1, 1942. Casamento died in 1987 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 79A.
Chief Gunner's Mate John Everetts. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Cushing, for the attempted rescue of a shipmate from drowning, February 11, 1898. Everetts died in 1956 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 36A.
Edmund Joseph Flaherty (World War I & II, Korea). He was better known by his stage name Pat Flaherty and appeared or served as a technical advisor in some 200 films between 1930-50. Before his acting career took off Flaherty served in the Army at the time of the Mexican Border expedition and as a pilot during World War I. After the war he played professional baseball, pitching for the New York Giants, and professional football, punting for the Chicago Bears. During World War II he served as a captain in the Marines Corps, and he served again during the Korean War, rising to the rank of major. His filmography includes credited roles in such classic films as Mutiny on the Bounty, Sergeant York, The Babe Ruth Story, and The Jackie Robinson Story. His military and sports background, along with a large, physical presence, often led to him being cast as strong authoritarian figures such as military men, athletes, coaches, police officers and street thugs.
Gunner's Mate Third Class Robert Galbraith (Philippine Insurrection). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions at El Pardo, Cebu, Philippine Islands, September 12–13, 1899. Galbraith died in 1949 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 17.
Boatswain's Mate William Henry Gowan. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions at Coquimbo, Chile, January 20, 1909. Gowan died in 1957 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 7A.
First Sergeant Sydney G. Gumpertz (World War I). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company E, 132nd Infantry, 33rd Division, for actions in the Bois-de-Forges, France, September 29, 1918. Gumpertz died in 1971 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 65.
Chief Water Tender August Holtz. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for actions during a fire on board the USS North Dakota, September 8, 1910. Holtz died in 1938 and is buried in Section F, Site 916.
First Lieutenant Stephen Edward Karopczyc (Vietnam). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company A, 35th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, in recognition of perseverance and selfless devotion to his men during a battle in Kontrm Province, Republic of Vietnam, March 12, 1967. Karopczyc was killed in action and is buried in Section DSS, Site 5A.
Specialist Fifth Class John James Kedenburg (Vietnam). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, 1st Special Forces, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in recognition of inspiring leadership and self-sacrifice as an advisor to a reconnaissance team of South Vietnamese troops in the Republic of Vietnam, June 13, 1968. Kedenburg is buried in Section 2H, Site 3684.
Private First Class Carlos James Lozada (Vietnam). Carlos James Lozada, native of Puerto Rico, enlisted in the U.S. Army on August 15, 1966, and served with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade. On November 20, 1967, in Dak TO, Lozada alerted comrades of an oncoming attack by the North Vietnamese and provided defensive fire. When the company received orders to withdraw, Lozada remained in position and he was killed in action. Lozada received the Medal of Honor, posthumously, in November 1969. Lozada is buried in Section T, Site 2295.
Landsman Thomas Mitchell. He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for the rescue of a drowning shipmate while on board the USS Richmond, in Shanghai, China, November 17, 1879. Mitchell died in 1942 and is buried in Section M, Site 27661.
Chief Boatswain's Mate Lauritz Nelson (Spanish-American War). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy for his actions on board the USS Nashville in Cuba, May 11, 1898. Nelson died in 1941 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 2.
Herbert “Herbie” Horatio Nichols (World War II). Though somewhat overlooked in his era, Nichols was an influential American jazz pianist and composer born in San Juan Hill, Manhattan in 1919. He attended City College of New York and was drafted into the Army in 1941. He served in the 24th Infantry Regiment Band until 1943. He composed around 170 songs, among the most famous is the jazz standard, “Lady Sings the Blues.” Billie Holiday wrote the lyrics and sang this song. Nichols died of leukemia in 1963.
Sergeant Alfred B. Nietzel (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company H, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, in recognition of heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life near Heistern, Germany, November 18, 1944. Nietzel is buried in Section J, Site 14185.
First Lieutenant Bernard James Ray (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor posthumously for service in the U.S. Army, Company F, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division, in recognition of implacable determination and self-sacrifice so that his company could advance in the Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, November 17, 1944. Ray is buried in Section DSS, Site 6.
Staff Sergeant Joseph Edward Schaefer (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company I, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, for actions near Stolberg, Germany, September 24, 1944. Schaefer died in 1987 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 80.
Colonel Charles William Shea (World War II). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company F, 350th Infantry, 88th Infantry Division, for actions near Mount Damiano, Italy, May 12, 1944. Shea died in 1994 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 71A.
Private First Class William Thompson (Korea). William Thompson was born in August 1927 in New York City. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1945 and completed one tour of duty. Thompson reenlisted in January 1948 and served with the 24th Infantry in 1949–1950. On August 6, 1950, near Haman in South Korea, Thompson provided cover for comrades as they withdrew from a surprise enemy attack. His courage was recognized posthumously with the Medal of Honor, which his mother received in June 1951. Thompson is one of two black soldiers to receive the Medal of Honor for service in the Korean Conflict. He is interred in Section DSS, Site 19.
Private First Class Michael Valente (World War I). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Army, Company D, 107th Infantry, 27th Division, for actions east of Ronssoy, France, September 29, 1918. Valente died in 1976 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 60A.
Lieutenant James Aloysius Walsh (Mexican Campaign). He received the Medal of Honor while serving in the U.S. Navy on board the USS Florida for actions during the seizure of Vera Cruz, April 21–22, 1914. Walsh died in 1960 and is buried in Section DSS, Site 47A.
First Lieutenant John Earl Warren, Jr. (Vietnam). John Earl Warren, Jr., was born November 16, 1946, in Brooklyn, New York. He joined the U.S. Army in 1967 and First Lieutenant Warren's first tour started September 7, 1968. He was a platoon leader for Company C, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. On January 14, 1969, the platoon was ambushed as it moved forward to reinforce another unit. When a grenade landed in their group, Warren fell on it to shield other soldiers. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, which was presented to his family in April 1970. He is buried in Section O, Site 33144.
James "Tim" Brymn was born in North Carolina by about 1880. He attended Shaw University, trained at the National Conservatory of Music in New York, and became a noted composer and bandleader. When the United States entered World War I, Brymn enlisted. Second Lieutenant Brymn led the 350th Artillery Band when it was stationed at Camp Dix, NJ, and in France. In Brymn's "Black Devils" orchestra performed for President Woodrow Wilson and General John Pershing at the opening of the 1919 Peace Conference. Brymn released a dozen albums and led nightclub orchestras after the war. He and fellow veteran, James Reese Europe, are considered the fathers of jazz. Brymn died October 3, 1946, and is buried in Long Island National Cemetery (Section A, Site 45 N/S).
Samuel Albert Countee (1909–1959) was born in Texas. He grew up in Houston, graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1928, and earned a reputation as a talented artist. He came of age during the Harlem Renaissance and majored in art at Bishop College. In 1933 his painting Little Brown Boy attracted national attention and in 1936 his murals were included in the Texas Centennial Hall of Negro Life. During these years, he studied in Boston, established himself in New York, and received accolades for portrayals of African Americans. In World War II, Countee joined the U.S. Army and served 1942–1945. Staff Sergeant Countee was stationed in Iran and stateside when, in 1945, he painted a mural in the black officers' club at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Countee returned to New York after the war, married in 1953, and died six years later on September 11 (Section 2B, 2134).
Beatrice MacDonald (1881–1969) was born on Prince Edward Island, Canada. As a young woman she moved to New York City to attend New York City Hospital Nursing School, and following the U.S. entry into World War I, she volunteered to serve as an Army Nurse. While working on a patient in August 1917, a bomb dropped from an overhead German aircraft exploded and wounded her in the right eye. Although this grievous wound caused her to have her eye surgically removed, MacDonald bounced right back from her wound, vowing "I've only started doing my bit." She served with the Army Nurse Corps unit war's end, then returned to New York. After the creation of the Purple Heart, MacDonald applied for and received the first Purple Heart awarded to a female servicemember on January 4, 1936. She was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, French Croix de Guerre, British Military Medal, and British Royal Red Cross. She is buried in Section DSS, Site 69A.
Among the interments in Long Island National Cemetery are thirty-nine World War II group burials containing the remains of 112 veterans. For these individuals, the circumstances of death were such that their remains could not be identified for separate burials. These honored dead, who fought and died together, are united in group burials. Specially designed government headstones inscribed with names, ranks, and dates of death mark their shared graves. The largest group burial in the cemetery is composed of unknown remains of ten U.S. Army Air Corps servicemen who died together on May 4, 1945 when their plane was lost on a bombardment mission to Koror, Palau: three officers, one technical sergeant, two sergeants, and four corporals. (Section J, Site 13630)
In 1948 the remains of sixteen Civil War soldiers of the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery were removed from the cemetery at Fort Greble, RI, and reinterred in Long Island National Cemetery. (Section O, Site 37525)
In 1952, 104 remains from the abandoned post cemetery on Fort McKinley, ME, were reinterred in Long Island National Cemetery. (Section O, Site 39)
A group gravesite contains the remains of four American servicemen and two members of the British Armed Forces. Their plane crashed in the Burmese jungle in April 1945, and attempts to locate the wreckage were fruitless. It was not until 1957 that the Army, acting upon information supplied by Burmese tribesmen who had found a wreck in the jungle, finally discovered the place and its ill-fated passengers. Pursuant to an agreement with the families of the deceased, the remains of the six men were interred on Feb. 5, 1958. (Section M, Site 27188)
Of the thirty-six foreign nationals interred in Long Island National Cemetery, most are Royal Navy, Naval Volunteer Reserve and Marines (United Kingdom), and Royal Army and Artillery.
Enemy Prisoners of War
NCA manages 23 cemeteries that collectively contain the graves of more than a thousand World War I and World War II enemy prisoners of war (POWs); Long Island is one of them. The World War II POW burial section, 2C, contains the remains of thirty-seven German and fifty-four Italian foreign nationals. Thirty-six of the Italian POWs are interred in one group grave as unknowns; the men were among 1,800 POWs onboard a British-operated ship, SS Benjamin Contee, struck in an aerial torpedo strike on August 16, 1943. Many men confined in the ship holds died, and the initial search of the ship upon its return to Bone, Algeria, failed to recover every casualty. The remains of thirty-six Italians were found in the ship when it arrived in the United States, and the men are buried in one grave.