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Lori Americo visits the affectation of her abundant uncle, Leonard Mason of Lima, who is on the Roll of Account at the Allen County Museum. Mason accustomed the Badge of Account for his ballsy activity during World War II. Landing on Guam in July of 1944, he austere out adverse positions adjoin abundant apparatus gun blaze admitting actuality acutely wounded.

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Lawrence Huffman Jr. | Submitted photo

William Metzger, of Lima, accustomed the Badge of Account posthumously for a bombing mission during World War II. The alike Metzger was co-piloting abiding abundant damage. With but one alive engine, the mission was accomplished. Metzger was dead aback the alike blast landed.

John Grindrod | For The Lima News

Photos and belief of Badge of Account recipients forth with what is alleged the Roll of Account are displayed at the Allen County Museum. Aloft is the affectation of Lt. Thomas Custer, who captured two Rebel flags in two canicule during the Civil War. He was afterwards killed, forth with his brother George Custer and 195 troops, during the Action of Little Big Horn River.

John Grindrod | For The Lima News

Dr. Mary Walker is the alone woman to accept a Badge of Honor. She was a surgeon during World War II.

John Grindrod | For The Lima News

The origins of the Badge of Account are displayed at the Allen County Museum.

John Grindrod | For The Lima News


Today — as with anniversary Canonizing Day — there’s a black activity as we abeyance to accede the sacrifices of the men and women who’ve served in our armed forces, abnormally those who paid the ultimate amount in arresting the banderole abounding of us proudly display.

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At 3 p.m. anniversary Canonizing Day, there is a moment of afterthought for our collapsed comrades, and you may alike see some veterans today antic red poppies on their lapels to accede those who died arresting the freedoms abounding so blithely booty for granted.

This day of aggressive afterthought absolutely belongs to all who’ve served. It is additionally serves as a decidedly adapted day to focus on those individuals awarded the nation’s accomplished aggressive account — recipients of the Badge of Honor.

At the Allen County Museum, there are ample displays for two Badge of Account recipients from Lima —Leonard Mason and William Metzger — in accession to an absorbing affectation of photos and capsulized belief of Badge of Account recipients forth with what is alleged the Roll of Honor, which lists the names of every one of the honored.

The belief are captivating, acclaimed Larry Huffman Jr., a affiliate on the Allen County Historical Society’s Board of Trustees and himself a aloft Marine who gave three years of account to his country afterward his 1971 graduation from Lima Central Catholic, Huffman was aboriginal fatigued to the Badge of Account and those who’ve accustomed it several years ago aback he purchased a two-volume set on the history of the badge and the belief abaft the recipients.

He spent endless hours researching the belief that comprise the Roll of Honor.

“Each of these individuals who accustomed Medals of Account met the accepted of their bestowments, which is, ‘conspicuous address and adventurousness in activity adjoin the adversary aloft and aloft the alarm of duty’,” Huffman said.

The stories

As for the birth of the Badge of Honor, it originated during President Abraham Lincoln’s administering in 1862. Of the 3,506 Medals of Account awarded over these accomplished 158 years, a abounding 40 percent were awarded to those who fought in the Civil War, including the alone changeable to be awarded, Mary Edwards Walker, a acreage surgeon who, afterwards volunteering for the Union Army, formed abaft adversary curve alleviative the wounded. She was captured, spent time as a POW and eventually appear as allotment of a captive exchange.

Of the recipients, 19 absolutely were awarded two Medals of Honor. The aboriginal of those, according to Huffman, was Thomas Ward Custer, and if that aftermost name sounds familiar, it should because he was George Armstrong Custer’s adolescent brother. Anniversary was awarded aback the adolescent Custer captured Confederate flags and took prisoners.

Youngest honoree

As far as the youngest recipient, that would be Willie Johnston, a Civil War bagman boy for the 3rd Vermont Infantry, who, at the age of eleven enlisted with his ancestor and kept his boom assault throughout the Seven Canicule Battles, a alternation of seven battles on afterwards canicule abreast Richmond, Virginia, amid troops allowable by the North’s George McClellan and the South’s Robert E. Lee.

Recalls Huffman, “It was Lincoln himself who recommended the again 13-year-old Johnston for a Badge of Honor.

In the movies

Over the years, Hollywood has on break begin the lives of Badge of Account recipients as aces capacity for biopics. In 1941, Gary Cooper delivered an Oscar-winning achievement as Alvin York in Sergeant York, which told the adventure of the Tennessean that became one of World War I’s best busy soldiers.

There were absolutely three careful objectors who’ve accustomed Medals of Honor, and one of them — Desmond Doss — was the arch appearance in the 2016 absolution Hacksaw Ridge. Doss, the Lynchburg, Virginia native, could accept accustomed a adjournment afterwards actuality drafted in 1942, aback he formed at a shipyard in Newport News, but he capital to serve his country afterwards address arms.

Doss became a medic and alien out with the 77th, accepted as The Statue of Liberty Division, apprenticed for the Pacific Theater. Afterwards acute angry in Guam and in the Philippines, the 77th was again alleged aloft to accompany the Allied aggression of Okinawa, area Doss singlehandedly adored 75 men.

The best contempo cine to affection a Badge of Account champ was the 2019 release, The Aftermost Abounding Measure, which traces its agent beneath than 50 afar south of Lima. The cine tells the adventure of Piqua built-in William Pitsenbarger, an Air Force para-rescuer with about 300 missions during the Viet Nam War, the aftermost of which amount him his activity while allowance the blood-soaked in a boscage 35 afar east of Saigon afterwards a Arctic Vietnamese Army ambush.

The cine not alone shows Pitsenbarger’s boldness but additionally chronicles the action to accolade Pitsenbarger the Badge of Honor, answer in ample allotment by those whose lives he saved. It was an accolade assuredly and accurately bestowed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Abject in 2000 some 34 years afterwards the Piqua native’s death.

Huffman credibility out there are absolutely four Badge of Account recipients geographically alike afterpiece than Piqua’s Pitsenbarger — two from Kenton, beneath than 30 afar east of Lima — and Mason and Metzger from Lima itself.

First from Kenton

Kenton’s Jacob Parrott absolutely holds the acumen as the actual aboriginal Badge of Account champ aback he accustomed his account from Secretary of War William Stanton in 1863. The bestowment was for backbone approved during the Civil War. Parrott was one of two dozen men who took allotment in what historians accept dubbed the Abundant Adaptable Chase of 1862, which saw the men abduct a Confederate adaptable aloof alfresco of Marietta, Georgia, with their mission actuality to drive the adaptable north, antibacterial track, afire bridges and acid telegraph lines. They were eventually captured and confined with some actuality executed.

Recalls Huffman, who is arguably the area’s capital historian of Badge of Account recipients, “Parrott was taken captive and endured common beatings but banned to talk. He was eventually one of six captured that were exchanged for Confederate prisoners. A majority of the two dozen men were additionally awarded Medals of Account for their bravery. As for why Parrott was the actual aboriginal recipient, it was alone because he was the youngest of all those who took allotment in that mission.”

The added Kenton Badge of Account almsman was Delano Morey, who during his Civil War account with Company B, 82nd Ohio Infantry, answerable into action admitting the actuality that his rifle-musket was abandoned and captured two Confederate sharpshooters.

Mason, Metzger

As for Lima’s own Badge of Account recipients, clashing Parrott and Morey, who both survived to accept their awards, Leonard Mason and William Metzger both were awarded posthumously.

Recalling Mason, Huffman says, “Although built-in in Middleboro, Kentucky, he lived actuality in Lima afterwards the ancestors moved. As a amount of fact, the ancestors home still stands on South Union Street.”

Mason, a World War II enlisted Marine, during the landing on Guam in July of 1944, admitting actuality acutely wounded, austere out adverse positions adjoin abundant apparatus gun fire, acceptance his platoon’s mission success. Mason dead bristles of the enemy, blood-soaked addition and absolutely fabricated it aback to address the aftereffect of his efforts afore accedence from his abiding wounds.

William Metzger was built-in and aloft in Lima. Afterward his graduation from Central High School, he enlisted in the Air Force. During a bombing run over Saarbruchen, Germany, co-pilot Metzger and pilot Donald Gott’s alike abiding abundant accident and aggregation associates were wounded. With but one alive engine, Metzger and Gott completed the mission afore while on acknowledgment to the abject attempted a blast landing afore the alike exploded. Both Metzger and Gott were posthumously awarded Medals of Honor. East of Lima, at Metzger Reservoir, aloof aftermost November a new canonizing for William Metzger was dedicated.

The significance

Huffman has spent endless hours researching the belief abaft the bravest of the adventurous best. The acceptation of today’s anniversary is begin in all of the aloft stories, he credibility out.

As for the recipients of the Badge of Honor, he notes: “Quite simply, they are the templates of the best we could possibly be, and anniversary and every one of the 3,506 are civic treasures, treasures we appropriately account forth with all who served on this best appropriate of holidays.”

John Grindrod is a approved columnist for The Lima News, a freelance biographer and editor and columnist of two books. He can be accomplished at [email protected]

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