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Civilians Awarded the Medal of Honor

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Civilians Awarded the Medal of Honor

Eight U.S. Civilians have been awarded the Medal of Honor, including Dr. Mary Walker who, in the Civil War, became the only woman in history to receive the award.

Two Civilian Pilots earned Medals of Honor in the Civil War while serving with the U.S. Navy:


Date of Action


Ferrell, John H.

December 6, 1864


Freeman, Martin

August 5, 1864


Two Civilians earned Medals of Honor in the Civil War while serving with the U.S. Army:


Date of Action


Walker, Mary Edwards

July 21 & Oct, 1861;
Sept, 1863 & Sept, 1864

Assistant Surgeon

Woodall, William H.

March 29 - April 9, 1865

Civilian Scout

Four Civilians earned Medals of Honor in the Indian Campaigns while serving with the U.S. Army:


Date of Action


Chapman, Amos

September 12, 1874

Civilian Scout

Cody, William Frederick

April 26, 1872

Civilian Scout

Dixon, William "Billy"

September 12, 1874

Civilian Scout

Dozier, James B.

October 5, 1870

Civilian Scout

In 1917 the Army conducted a review of all awards of the Medal of Honor to that date, revoking 905 awards a panel of Army Generals found did not merit the award. (These included Medals of Honor awarded to the soldiers who served in President Lincoln's burial detail, members of the 27th Maine who in the Civil War received Medals of Honor as incentive to remain on duty a few days past expiration of their enlistment, and other awards without valor or merit. The same Board of Generals also revoked the awards to Dr. Walker and William Woodall (Civil War) as well as the awards to the four Civilian Scouts from the Indian Campaigns, based upon the recipients' status as civilians.

After decades of appeal to Congress, in 1977 the Medal of Honor awarded to Dr. Walker was finally restored, and in 1989 the awards to William Woodall, Amos Chapman, William "Buffalo Bill" Cody, William Billy Dixon and James Dozier were restored.

Under legislation now governing award of the Medal of Honor, there can be no other civilian recipients. The highest military award that can be presented to an American Civilian, or to a Foreign Civilian or member of a Foreign Allied Force is the Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, or Air Force Cross.

Recipients By Specialty

Army Medics and Medical Officers

Civil War

Blackwood, William Robert Douglas

Corson, Joseph Kirby

Curran, Richard J.

Davidson, Andrew

Grant, Gabriel

Ranney, George E.

Raub, Jacob F.

Thompson, James Harry

Walker, Mary Edwards*

Indian Campaigns

Bryan, William C.

Burkard, Oscar R.

Irwin, Bernard John Dowling

Skinner, John Oscar

Tilton, Henry Remsen

Wood, Leonard

Spanish-American War

Church, James Robb

Philippine Insurrection

Mathews, George William

Shiels, George Franklin

Straub, Paul Frederick

World War II

*McGee, William D.

*Murphy, Frederick C.

*Parrish, Laverne

*Wilson, Alfred Leonard

Doss, Desmond Thomas

Garman, Harold Alva

Hawks, Lloyd C.

Kelly, Thomas Joseph

Korean War

*Wilson, Richard G.

*Womack, Bryant Homer

Bleak, David Bruce

Vietnam War

*Bennett, Thomas William

*Evans, Jr., Donald Ward

*Lapointe, Jr., Joseph Guy

*McMahon, Thomas Joseph

*McWethy, Jr., Edgar Lee

*Monroe, James Howard

*Shea, Daniel John

*Winder, David Francis

Beikirch, Gary Burnell

*Dr. Walker was a Civilian Contract Surgeon

Hagemeister, Charles Cris

Joel, Lawrence

Kays, Kenneth Michael

Rascon, Alfred

Rocco, Louis Richard

Sasser, Clarence Eugene

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