Marine Corps History: The First Marine to Receive the Medal of Honor

Carl | April 18, 2013 

Corporal John F. Mackie was the first Marine to be awarded the prestigious Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military award.

Onboard the USS Galena at the Battle of Drewry’s Bluff during the Civil War, heavy fire from Confederate forces killed or wounded much of the crew. Cpl Mackie bravely risked his life to lead the gun’s operation for the remainder of the battle.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to a person who distinguishes him or herself “…by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States…”

At Drewry’s Bluff, Virginia, a marker indicates the location of Mackie’s bravery.

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