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Scottish Bravery

The Medal of Honor is the highest military award for bravery that can be given an individual in the United States of America. Conceived during the Civil War, it was first presented in 1863. “The event must be witnessed by at least two persons and it must be so outstanding that it clearly distinguished gallantry beyond the call of duty from lesser forms of bravery; it must involve the risk of life...”

On June 19, 1944, David McCampbell, attacking 80 Japanese planes, shot down 7 by himself. In a second battle October 24, 1944, McCampbell , with one other pilot, engaged a flight of 60 Japanese planes and shot down 9 before the enemy retreated. His actions won him the Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, distinguished Flying Cross with two gold stars and Air Medal, as well as the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The battle at Stone River, Tennessee, occurred on December 31, 1862. In the battle, a Chicago resident, Major John Farquhar of the 89th Illinois Volunteers, was awarded the Medal of Honor.

On May 22, 1863, an attempt was made to capture Vicksburg. The attempt failed to break the Confederate defenses, but four Scots won the Medal of Honor for gallantry: William Fraser , a private in Company A. 97th Ill. Vol. Inf. and David Dickie, a Scottish-born Sgt. of the same company; James Jardine, 54th Ohio Vol., and William Campbell, private 30th Ohio Vol. Inf.

Beginning with the Civil War through World War II, Americans of Scottish descent have fought in every major conflict. Medals of Honor were bestowed in every conflict except World War I. During the Civil War 24 native born Scots and 2 Ulster Scots received the Medal of Honor. Several of those who received the honor had Chicago and Illinois connections. A total of 38 persons of Scottish descent and three Ulster Scots have won the nation’s highest award.

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