Leeds in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
Congressional Medal Of Honor Recipients
SSG Henry E. Erwin - 1 LT William R. Lawley, Jr. - PFC Alford L. McLaughlin
Citation: Staff Sergeant Henry Erwin, U.S. Army Air Corps, 52d Bombardment Squadron, 29th Bombardment Group, 314th Bombardment Wing, 20th Air Force. He was the radio operator of a B-29 airplane leading a group formation to attack Koriyama, Japan on 12 April 1945. He was charged with the additional duty of dropping phosphoresce smoke bombs to aid in assembling the group when the launching point was reached. Upon entering the assembly area, aircraft fire and enemy fighter opposition was encountered. Among the phosphoresce bombs launched by Staff Sergeant Erwin, one proved faulty. The bomb exploded in the launching chute, shot back into the interior of the aircraft, and struck him in the face. The burning phosphoresce obliterated his nose and completely blinded him. Smoke filled the plane, obscuring the vision of the pilot. Staff Sergeant Erwin realized that the aircraft and crew would be lost if the burning bomb remained in the plane. Without regard for his own safety, he picked it up and feeling his way, instinctively, crawled around the gun turret and headed for the copilot's window. He found
Citation: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Corps, 364th Bomber Squadron, 305th Bomber Group. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty, 20 February 1944, while serving as pilot of a B-17 aircraft on a heavy bombardment mission over enemy - occupied continental Europe. Coming off the target he was attacked by approximately 20 enemy fighters, shot out of formation, and his plane severely crippled. Eight crewmembers were wounded, the copilot was killed by a 20-mm. shell. One engine was on fire, the controls shot away, and 1st Lt. Lawley seriously and painfully wounded about the face. Forcing the copilot's body off the controls, he brought the plane out of a steep dive, flying with his left hand only. Blood covered
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Machine Gunner of Company I, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea on the night of 4-5 September 1952. Volunteering for his second continuous tour of duty on a strategic combat outpost far in advance of the main line of resistance, Private First Class McLaughlin, although operating under a barrage of enemy artillery and mortar fire, set up plans for the defense of his position which proved decisive in the successful defense of the outpost. When hostile forces attacked in battalion strength during the night, he maintained a constant flow of devastating fire upon the enemy, alternately employing two machine guns, a carbine and hand grenades. Although painfully wounded, he bravely fired the machine guns from the hip until his hands became blistered by the extreme heat from the weapons and, placing the guns on the ground to allow them to cool, continued to defend the position with his carbine and grenades. Standing up in full view, he shouted words of encouragement to his comrades above the din of battle and, throughout a series of fanatical enemy attacks, sprayed the surrounding area
Erected 2002 by Leeds Historical Society.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients marker series.
Location. 33° 32.364′ N, 86° 33.726′ W. Marker is in Leeds, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker is at the intersection of Montevallo Road (State Road 119) and Cleveland Street, on the left when traveling west on Montevallo Road. Located at the Leeds Historical Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Leeds AL 35094, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jonathan Bass House Museum (approx. ¼ mile away); Leeds Benchmarks In History (approx. 1.1 miles away); Rowan House (approx. 1.4 miles away); John Henry (approx. 1.4 miles away); The Depot (approx. 1.4 miles away); Shiloh Cemetery (approx. 1.4 miles away); Mt. Hebron School (approx. 3.6 miles away); Mt. Hebron Cemetery (approx. 3.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leeds.
Categories. • War, Korean • War, World II •
More. Search the internet for Congressional Medal Of Honor Recipients.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 7, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. This page has been viewed 2,028 times since then and 31 times this year. Last updated on May 31, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on February 7, 2010, by Timothy Carr of Birmingham, Alabama. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.