101 episodes

Ken Harbaugh tells the stories of service members who have distinguished themselves through an act of valor. These stories from the Civil War to present day include recipients who were originally overlooked for the medal as well as those who were celebrated at the time.This podcast is made in partnership with The National Medal of Honor Museum.

Medal of Honor Podcast Evergreen Podcasts

    • History
    • 5.0 • 38 Ratings

Ken Harbaugh tells the stories of service members who have distinguished themselves through an act of valor. These stories from the Civil War to present day include recipients who were originally overlooked for the medal as well as those who were celebrated at the time.This podcast is made in partnership with The National Medal of Honor Museum.

    The Invasion of Iraq: SFC Paul Ray Smith

    The Invasion of Iraq: SFC Paul Ray Smith

    Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith was among the first group of Americans to invade Iraq in 2003, serving as a combat engineer. 

    On April 4th, 2003, American forces were attempting to seize Saddam Hussein International Airport. SFC Smith was leading two platoons of about three dozen men with the goal of setting up a holding area for prisoners of war, but they were attacked by over 100 members of the Iraqi Republican Guard. Smith quickly organized their defense, but the overwhelming enemy force began to swarm the area. Then, an RPG explosion sent shrapnel into three of Smith’s men. Smith organized their evac, but they were still vulnerable during their retreat. Seeing that a nearby carrier was unmanned, Smith exposed himself to enemy fire in order to man the .50 caliber machine gun on top of the vehicle. He engaged, covering his allies and killing as many as 50 enemies before being hit in the head by an enemy round. He was pulled to safety, but died a few minutes later in a hospital. 

    Smith’s leadership and quick thinking saved the lives of over 100 allied soldiers who were in vulnerable positions just a few hundred meters back. Thanks in part to Smith’s heroism, American forces eventually repelled the Iraqi attack and were able to successfully take control of the airport. 

    On April 4th, 2005, Sergeant First Class Paul Ray Smith was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in protecting his men and fending off the Iraqi attack.

    • 4 min
    Running Over the Enemy: S/Sgt. Herbert H. Burr

    Running Over the Enemy: S/Sgt. Herbert H. Burr

    Staff Sergeant Herbert H. Burr served in World War II as a tank gunner. His tank was approaching a town in Germany when they were hit by a bazooka, killing two crewmembers and seriously injuring the platoon sergeant. The surviving crew was forced to evacuate the vehicle, but Burr, delayed by his exit hatch that couldn’t open, feared being targeted upon leaving the vehicle. So, without any other crew, he commandeered the tank and drove it deeper into the town. He made a left turn where he was faced with an anti-tank gun that should have killed him, but Burr did something that was completely unexpected: he advanced. The enemy was thrown off by this decision, giving Burr just enough time to run over the gun with his tank, forcing the enemy to flee. Burr continued on, side swiping a German truck and knocking it over before heading back to his company. Upon his return, he exited the tank and braved sniper fire to reach medics and direct them towards his injured comrades.

    • 3 min
    A Pilot’s Final Moments: Capt. Steven Logan Bennett

    A Pilot’s Final Moments: Capt. Steven Logan Bennett

    Captain Steven Logan Bennett was flying an OV-10 Bronco near Quang Tri, Vietnam in 1972 when he received an urgent call for help. A friendly South Vietnamese ground unit had overextended, and were about to be engaged by nearly 300 enemies. Bennett called for air support, but none was available. He then called for artillery, but it turned out that it would risk hitting enemy troops. Seeing no other way to help, Bennett engaged the ground forces himself, disregarding the fact that his OV-10 was particularly susceptible to surface to air missiles. He strafed four times and avoided at least two missiles before one finally hit, destroying his left engine. He was kept airborne by his right engine, but a fire on his wing threatened to ignite the fuel storage, so he needed to act fast. His backseater couldn’t eject because his parachute had been destroyed by the missile, so the only option was to attempt a water landing. He knew that the OV-10 was not suited for this, and in fact no pilot had ever survived an OV-10 ditching, but he ignored the risks. His aircraft hit the water and was flung into a wing-over-wing tumble before settling nose first underwater. Bennett did not survive the crash, but his backseater did.
    On August 8th, 1974, Captain Steven Logan Bennett was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his extraordinary heroism and unparalleled concern for his companion. He’s credited with saving the lives of many South Vietnamese ground soldiers and his backseater.

    • 4 min
    Rerun: SFC Webster Anderson

    Rerun: SFC Webster Anderson

    Today, in honor of Vietnam War Veteran’s Day, we are re-airing our episode featuring SFC Webster Anderson.
    Sergeant First Class Webster Anderson served in the Army in Vietnam. He lost two legs and an arm defending his position near Tam Ky, but his resilience and bravery encouraged his men, led to victory, and earned him the Medal of Honor.

    • 3 min
    The Only Female Recipient: Dr. Mary E. Walker

    The Only Female Recipient: Dr. Mary E. Walker

    Dr. Mary E. Walker spent her whole life defying gender roles. She saved up money to go to college to become a Doctor, refused to wear women’s clothing her whole life, and served as an “Assistant Surgeon” (but still technically a civilian) during the war. She was captured and held as a prisoner of war for four months, and at the end of the war, she was awarded the Medal of Honor for her devotion to the detriment of her own health. Her medal was later rescinded in 1917, along with 911 other recipients, after the military decided to create eligibility requirements for the Medal of Honor. 50 years later, thanks to the help of her descendants, Dr. Walker’s Medal of Honor was posthumously restored by President Carter. 
    Dr. Walker was a vocal supporter of women’s suffrage, equal pay, and healthcare, and testified to Congress in support of women’s suffrage in 1912 and 1914. She received harassment her whole life for how she dressed, and in her later years, she opened her home to others who were ostracized by society.

    • 5 min
    Ambushed in Afghanistan: SSG Robert J. Miller

    Ambushed in Afghanistan: SSG Robert J. Miller

    Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller served in Afghanistan as a Weapons Sergeant. In January of 2008, Miller was part of a Special Forces combat reconnaissance unit tasked with confirming enemy activity in the Gowardesh Valley. The unit had a successful initial engagement, in which Miller relayed information that became crucial to a lethal allied air strike. Afterwards, Miller was ordered to be the point man for a patrol tasked with doing a post battle assessment. The patrol separated from the unit, traveling to the opposite side of the valley and into a natural checkpoint as they navigated up a steep hill. There they were ambushed by 140 enemies. Holding elevated fighting positions on three sides of the patrol, the insurgents fired from less than 25 meters away. The patrol immediately retreated, but Miller charged forward, engaging the enemy and drawing a majority of the fire away from his vulnerable allies. He did this for over 25 minutes, killing 16 enemies and wounding 30, before succumbing to two gunshot wounds. He’s credited with saving the lives of 23 allies. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and sacrifice that day.

    • 7 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Toby5568 ,

Amazing.

The episodes are short and give you great information. I love to listen to the stories of soldiers who have shown such selfless and valor. It really inspires me.
I hope more episodes are added to Apple Podcasts! 🤞🏼

BoiseTurtle15 ,

Awesome

I love this podcast. It is truly a good way to keep the stories of those who’ve have served us and paid the ultimate sacrifice alive. So thank you so much and keep it going

podfan28485 ,

Pod fan

Amazing show. Concise, well-researched, and compelling.

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