The Highest award for valor in the United States Armed Services is the Medal of Honor; sometimes referred to the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Has anyone received this high honor while retreating in the face of the enemy?

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    The Congressional Medal of Honor society website maintains a list of all recipients, together with the citation for each. It should be possible to go through and see which, if any, were awarded for actions during a retreat. Jan 10, 2018 at 6:25
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    Not my dog-fight - I'm British - but - 1 for lack of clarity in the question. Conspicuous gallantry is possible during a retreat - rearguard action, retrieving fallen comrades, etc. Headlong flight before the enemy would hardly count as conspicuous gallantry in any Army.
    – TheHonRose
    Jan 10, 2018 at 10:27
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    @JMS Probably the most brilliant actions in the whole WWII were two retreats: Dunkirk, and specially Von Mannstein's miraculous escaping from Kursk.
    – Rekesoft
    Jan 10, 2018 at 16:28
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    @Rekesoft, fair point, but in both cases the armies escaped / retreated not just the commander. But your point is a fair one.
    – user27618
    Jan 10, 2018 at 16:57
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    General Rommel was always dangerous while retreating too. He knocked the stuffings out of an inexperienced US force in the first US meeting with the Germans at Kassering pass where technically Rommmel was retreating from the Brits.
    – user27618
    Jan 11, 2018 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


Yes, if you take into account "fighting retreats." Perhaps the most famous ones come from the Korean War, one of America's less successful wars.

The battle of Chosin Reservoir in Korea was widely considered a retreat by the U.S. 1st Marine Division and 7th Infantry Division. This was even though the Marine Commander, General Oliver P. Smith put a brave face on it by saying something like, "Gentlemen, we are not retreating. We are attacking in a new direction."

Here is a list of Congressional Medal of Honor Recipients that include at least three officers of that retreat, Lt. Col. Don Faith (of the 7th infantry), and Captain William Barber and Sgt. Robert Kennemore (1st Marine).

Also, Major General William Dean commanding officer of the 24th Division during the early days, whose "fighting retreat" (which he personally led, wielding a bazooka and destroying an enemy tank), bought enough time for the rest of the U.N. forces to arrive.

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