Indian fighter awarded two Medals of Honor

By Bartee Haile

 

On Sep. 29, 1872, Sgt. William Wilson won his second Medal of Honor in six months of combat against the Comanches. One of less than two dozen fighting men to receive a pair of American’s highest military decoration, the obscure cavalryman earned both on the battlefields of Texas. In its 157-year history, the coveted citation had been bestowed upon better than 5,000 servicemen, but only 19 had been so honored on two different occasions. Seven marines, seven sailors and five soldiers comprise that elite club.

The name of the first double recipient was Custer -- not George Armstrong Custer, the vainglorious general with the golden locks, but his younger brother Tom, who earned his pair three days apart in the last month of the Civil War. Tom Custer died alongside his famous sibling in 1876 at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

 

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