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:
Private First Class Ralph H. Johnson (Vietnam). Ralph Johnson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, on January 11, 1949. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in March 1967, and thereafter, the regular USMC, to fight in the Vietnam War. On March 5, 1968, PFC Johnson and his patrol, overlooking the Quan Duc Valley, were attacked by enemy forces. Johnson threw himself on a grenade and warned his comrades; actions that prevented the enemy from advancing and saved the life of a fellow marine. PFC Johnson received the Medal of Honor posthumously. The Charleston VA Medical Center was renamed for him in September 1991, and the navy named a destroyer (U.S.S. Ralph Johnson DDG 114) after him in 2015. Johnson's remains were interred in Beaufort National Cemetery in March 1970, in Section 3, Site 21.
Captain John James McGinty III (Vietnam). McGinty was born in Boston in 1940, and he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school. In 1966, McGinty began a tour of duty in Vietnam. On July 18, attacked by the North Vietnamese and severely wounded in the left eye, he saved the lives of dozens of men. McGinty received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1968. Later, as a born-again Christian, a faith that rejects idolatry, he chose to not display the medal because it features the image of Minerva. Captain McGinty retired in 1976 and worked at the VA Medical Center in San Diego, California. He died January 17, 2014, and is buried in Section D, Site 703.
Colonel Donald Conroy, "The Great Santini" is interred in Section 62, Grave 182.
Charles "Chuck" Taliano was born in Ohio in 1945 and served in the U.S. Marines from 1964 to 1968. Sergeant Taliano trained at Parris Island, SC, and was posted there as a drill Instructor in 1966. Photographed while addressing a recruit shortly before his tour ended, he became the face of the service during the Vietnam Era. The picture of Taliano, captioned "We don't promise you a rose garden," appeared on recruiting posters into the 1990s. After a civilian career in publishing, Taliano retired to Beaufort and ran a gift shop on Parris Island where he received thousands of visitors every year. Many men said they joined the marines because of Taliano. He died June 4, 2010, and is buried in Beaufort National Cemetery (Section A, Grave 120).
Nineteen Union Soldiers of the all black Massachusetts 54th and 55th Infantry were removed from Folly Island, S.C., and reinterred here with full military honors on Memorial Day, May 29, 1989.
South Carolinian Joseph Simmons was born in 1899. He attended the Penn School on St. Helena Island, one of the country's first schools for freed slaves, and enlisted in the army on February 18, 1918. MSgt. Simmons fought with the French during World War I, attached to the 5th Marines in three campaigns, including Belleau Wood. During World War II, Simmons served with the 25th Infantry, Buffalo Soldiers. An interest in music led to his becoming assistant bandleader, 92nd Division, in 1944. Simmons served for 34 years in all. For his World War I service, he received the French Legion of Honor Medal just a few weeks before his 100th birthday. He died September 24, 1999 (Section 2, Grave 2).
Gerd Reussel, German World War II Prisoner of War, Section PB61, Grave 18.
On February 11, 1962, eight U.S. servicemen and two South Vietnamese air force personnel died when their C47 transport plane was shot down between Saigon and Danang. The mission was to drop propaganda leaflets with lunar new year wishes to Vietnamese people. Among the dead were six members of the U.S. Air Force—the first USAF casualties of the Vietnam conflict. The remains of USAF Technical Sergeant Floyd M. Frazier (b. 1927) and Army Specialist 4th Class Glen F. Merrihew (b.1940) were comingled because of the crash, and Beaufort National Cemetery was selected by the military for their burial between the decedents' next of kin. Frazier, the youngest of twelve, was survived by his wife Doris and three children. Merrihew, just 21 years old, was due for discharge in September; sister Leona was his legal guardian. Funeral services were held March 12, 1962 (Section 42, Gravesite 234).