Medal of Honor Recipients
Commander (then Pharmacist's Mate First Class) John H. Balch, (World War I), U.S. Navy, 6th Regiment, U.S. Marines. Vierzy & Somme-Py, France, July 19, 1918, and Oct. 5, 1918 (Section 2, Grave 1925).
Staff Sergeant Walter Ehlers (World War II) U.S. Army, 18th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, Near Goville, France, June 9-10, 1944 (Section 20A, Site 644).
Colonel (then Captain) Lewis L. Millett (World War II, Korea and Vietnam) U.S. Army, Company E, 27th Infantry Regiment, Vicinity of Soam-Ni, Korea, Feb. 7, 1951 (Section 2, Site 1910).
Colonel (then Platoon Sergeant) Mitchell Paige, (World War II and Korea) U.S. Marine Corps, 1st Marine Division, Solomon Islands, Oct. 26, 1942, (Section 20A, Grave 533).
Ysmael Roger Villegas, native of California, enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 11, 1944. Villegas served with the Company F, 127th Infantry, 32nd Infantry Division during World War II. On March 20, 1945, in Luzon, Philippine Islands, SSgt. Villegas charged the entrenched enemy and eliminated five fox holes. He was killed in action and posthumously received the Medal of Honor on October 19, 1945 (Section 5, Grave 1178).
Robert Edward Badham, Lt. j.g., U.S. Navy. U.S. Congressman from California. Served in California assembly, 1963-1976; U.S. House of Representatives 1977-1989. Section 16 Site 914A.
George Baker. Tech Sgt., U.S. Army, World War II. Cartoonist. Baker was a former Disney cartoonist who created the comic strip and comic book character "The Sad Sack,” during World War II. Section 8 Site 3254.
Colonel Aaron Bank, U.S. Army. Founder of the Army’s elite Green Berets. During World War II Bank was assigned to the Office of Strategic Services within the Army’s Special Operations branch. After the war he stayed with the Army, and convinced them to create a permanent Special Forces unit. In 2002, President George W. Bush bestowed Bank with a commendation for creating the techniques used to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. He died in 2004 at the age of 101. Section 17 Site 421.
Melissa Rose Barnes was born in 1973 in Los Angeles, and enlisted in the Navy in 1992. Yeoman Barnes was posted to the Naval Command Center in 2001 where she was working on September 11. Barnes was killed in the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, and was buried in Riverside National Cemetery October 1, 2001 (Section 56B, Grave 12).
Lillian Kinkela Keil, Captain, U.S. Air Force. Air Force Flight Nurse Pioneer. She flew on 425 combat missions and took part in 11 major campaigns that included the D-Day invasion and Battle of the Bulge in World War II and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korea War. One of the most decorated women in American military history, she was awarded 19 medals, including a European Theater medal with four battle stars, a Korean service medal with seven battle stars, four air medals and a Presidential Citation from the Republic of Korea. Section 20A Site 1235.
John D. McKeel, Jr., Staff Sgt., U.S. Marine Corps. One of the 52 Americans held hostage by Iran from 1979 to 1981. Shot to death while trying to help a woman who was being robbed. Section 43 Site 1528.
Patrick Henry McMahon, Motor Machinist Mate First Class (MOMM1), U.S. Navy. During World War II, McMahon was rescued near the Solomon Islands from the wreckage of patrol boat PT-109 by Lt. John F. Kennedy. The boat had been rammed by a Japanese destroyer on August 2, 1943. Badly injured and burned, McMahon was towed for several miles to safety by the future U.S. president. Section 43 Site 1411.
Joe Morris, Sr., a native of Arizona, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943. Cpl. Morris was a Navajo Code Talker in the Pacific Theater during World War II and served into 1946. In 2001, the Navajo Code Talkers were presented with the Congressional Silver Medal. Morris died July 17, 2011 (Section 52A, Grave 2818). Navajo code talkers took part in every assault the U.S. Marines conducted in the Pacific from 1942 to 1945. They served in all six Marine divisions, Marine Raider battalions and Marine parachute units, transmitting messages by telephone and radio in their native language, a code that the Japanese never broke. The role that code talkers played in World War II was declassified in 1968; however, it was not until the last 20 years that code talkers such as Mr. Morris were recognized for their role in ending the war with Japan.
Ten Tuskegee Airmen are buried at Riverside National Cemetery: 1) Dr. Hackley E. Woodford, M.D., a Tuskegee Airmen flight surgeon who served during World War II, is buried in Section 49A Site 1149. 2) Pilot Perry Willis Lindsey, who served during World War II and the Korean War, is buried in Section 63A Site 768. 3) John Allen Pulliams Jr., served during World War II and went on to serve 30 years in the U.S. Air Force. He retired as a Chief Warrant Officer and is buried in Section 47 Site 1603. 4) Pilot Charles F. Jamerson is buried in Section 56A Site 668. Major Jamerson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1977 after more than 32 years of service. 5) Pilot Kenneth R. Hawkins is buried in Section 57A Site 2204. 6) Pilot John L. Hamilton is buried in Section 6 Site 270. 7) Charles W. Ledbetter, who served during World II and Korea, retiring after 30 years as an Air Forces Master Sergeant, is buried in Section 26 Site 1426. 8) Pilot Alfonso Harris, who served during World II, is buried in Section 61A Site 3207. 9) Pilot Thurston L. Gaines, Jr., a World War II pilot who was assigned to 99th Pursuit Squadron and later joined the "Red Tails" of the 332nd Fighter Group, is buried in Section 55A Site 94. 10) Buford A. Johnson, mechanic and crew chief for the 99th Fighter Squadron, also served during the Korean War. Master Sergeant Johnson retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1966 and is buried in Section 53B Site 2808. The Tuskegee Airmen collectively received the Congressional Gold Medal, considered Congress' most distinguished civilian award, in 2006.
Woodrow "Woody" Strode, Section 46, Grave 283. Woody Strode starred as 1st Sergeant Braxton Rutledge, a Buffalo soldier, in the 1960 John Ford movie "Sergeant Rutledge.” He starred in over 80 domestic and foreign films in a career that spanned nearly 55 years. Strode was also one of the first four blacks to integrate Major League football in 1946 when he played for the Cleveland Rams.
Born in Indiana in 1896, William F. Walker graduated from Pendleton High School in 1915 and enlisted in 1918. During the First World War, Private First Class Walker performed as an Army singer and bandleader in France. Following military service, Walker became an actor and he appeared in a number of films during Hollywood’s golden era, most notably as Reverend Sykes in To Kill a Mockingbird. Walker was elected to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) board of directors in 1952. Frustrated with discrimination African Americans faced in the film industry, he presented a report about the limited and stereotypical roles offered to black performers to the union with then-SAG President Ronald Reagan. Involved with SAG for two decades, Walker continued to push for greater integration in the movie industry. He died January 27, 1992, and is buried at Riverside National Cemetery (Section 32, Grave 631).