Three names added to Medal of Honor plaqueWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
One-hundred-fifty years to the day Lucas County gained its first two Medal of Honor recipients, three more men were granted their rightful place on a courthouse plaque honoring the achievement.
Added to the plaque were Civil War veteran Christian Albert, Spanish-American War veteran Peter Johnson and World War II veteran Hulon Whittington.
The modified plaque was rededicated in a Sept. 17 ceremony attended by elected officials, leaders of local veterans organizations and two direct descendents of Lucas County Medal of Honor recipients. The original plaque was dedicated in 2003 during Ohio’s bicentennial.
The plaque, located on the second floor of the Lucas County Courthouse in Downtown Toledo, now lists 19 names of recipients who were born in, lived in, entered service in, died in or were buried in Lucas County.
The Medal of Honor is awarded by the military for “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty,” said Lucas County Commissioner Carol Contrada.
The three missing names were brought to the attention of the commissioners by Marine Corps veteran Nick Haupricht, the chairman of Remembrance Inc., a local group dedicated to building and refurbishing war memorials in Northwest Ohio.
Albert, who died and is buried in Toledo, earned the Medal of Honor for his actions on May 22, 1863, during the siege of Vicksburg, Miss. Confederate surrenders at Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Pa., soon after are considered the turning point of the Civil War, Contrada said.
Johnson, who died in Toledo, was a fireman on board the USS Vixen in Cuba on May 28, 1898.
He responded to a boiler room explosion, saving the lives of those on board the ship, including future president Theodore Roosevelt, Contrada said.
Whittington, who married a Toledo native and died in Toledo, was serving in Grimesnil, France, on July 29, 1944, when his platoon came under enemy attack. According to his Medal of Honor citation, Whittington assumed command when his platoon leader and platoon sergeant went missing in action. He reorganized the defense and, while under fire, crawled between gun positions to check the actions of his men.
As a line of German tanks attempted to penetrate a roadblock, “Sgt. Whittington, completely disregarding intense enemy action, mounted a tank and by shouting through the turret, directed it into position to fire pointblank at the leading Mark V German tank. The destruction of this vehicle blocked all movement of the remaining enemy column consisting of more than 100 vehicles of a Panzer unit. The blocked vehicles were then destroyed by hand grenades, bazooka, tank, and artillery fire and large numbers of enemy personnel were wiped out by a bold and resolute bayonet charge inspired by Sgt. Whittington. When the medical aid man had become a casualty, Sgt. Whittington personally administered first aid to his wounded men.”
Whittington’s daughter Roxanne Whittington Jones of Bowling Green, and Linda Swartz of Perrysburg, the great-great-granddaughter of Civil War veteran Wilson Brown, spoke briefly at the ceremony.
Jones said her father regularly gave speeches about military service, but rarely spoke about the particulars of his own service.
“We are very proud. He would have been truly humbled by the recognition,” Jones said.
Swartz said the ceremony was “very moving.”
“It means a lot to us,” Swartz said. “It’s an honor. It’s great.”
Brown and fellow Lucas County Medal of Honor recipient Mark Wood met President Abraham Lincoln and became Lucas County’s first Medal of Honor recipients on Sept. 17, 1863. Both men took part in Andrews’ Raid, which commandeered a train in April 1862 and destroyed bridges, rails and Confederate supply lines between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn.
The plaque was modified by Columbus-based Columbus Art Memorial, the same company that cast the original plaque. The cost was $1,500, paid for by the Lucas County Commissioners’ miscellaneous fund. The commissioners declared Sept. 17 Lucas County Medal of Honor Day.
One name on the plaque, Civil War veteran Charles Thompson, is disputed by Haupricht, who believes Thompson was born in Perrysburg and has no connection to Lucas County. Haupricht has lobbied to remove Thompson’s name from the Lucas County plaque since he appears on the Medal of Honor plaque in Wood County, which was installed in 2012, but Contrada said records aren’t clear as to which county Thompson belongs and that it doesn’t hurt to honor him twice.
Tags: Atlanta, Bowling Green, Chatanooga, Christian Albert, Civil War, Columbus Art Memorial, Confederate soldiers, France, Gettysburg, Grimesnil, Hulon Whitington, Linda Swartz, Lucas County, Lucas County Commisioner Carol Contrada, Lucas County Courthouse, Lucas County Medal of Honor, Marine Corps, Mark V German tank, Medal of Honor, Miss., Nick Haupricht, PA, Perrysburg, Peter Johnson, Remembrance Inc., Spanish-American War, Tenn., Theodore Roosevelt, Vicksburg, Wilson Brown, Wood County, World War II