Captain Ben L. Salomon was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, 58 years after he sacrificed himself to save wounded troops in the Battle of Saipan in World War II.
He was a dentist on the medical staff of the 107th Infantry Division when the Japanese launched a major offensive in his area. They sent thousands of Japanese soldiers in an overwhelming attack which killed or wounded the medical doctors in charge. Captain Ben Solomon was the only one able to take command of his first aid area.
Captain Salomon was in a tent with wounded soldiers when the Japanese began to appear. He ordered the enlisted medics to evacuate the wounded to the rear area. He stayed behind to provide cover and hold back the enemy.
He took a rifle and went to the front of the tent when he saw a machine gun with two of our soldiers lifeless and slumped over it. He took over the machine gun and started firing. In the morning, they found him dead on top of the machine gun with his hand on the trigger. In front of him they found 98 dead Japanese soldiers.
One of the reasons that delayed the awarding the Medal of Honor to Captain Ben Salomon, was the mistaken concept that medical personnel couldnít receive the Medal of Honor for bravery in combat. They overlooked the fact that you canít receive it if you are on the offensive. You can receive it if you are on the defensive as was Capt. Salomon.
Captain Salomon was a 1937 graduate of the School of Dentistry, University Of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Dr. John Ingle, formerly Dean of the School of Dentistry was present on May 2, 2002, at ceremonies in Washington, DC, when the award was officially given. His Medal of Honor is on display is the School of Dentistry.
Dr. Ingle had interviewed his father, who told him that Ben was Jewish and so was his deceased mother and himself.
This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism included in Jewish Heroes and Heroines of America, © 1996, written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.
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Last updated 18 October 2006