back to top

15 Heroic Stories Of American's Making The Greatest Sacrifice

Before you spend your Memorial Day relaxing and grilling, take the time to reflect on those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Posted on

"And When he gets to heaven, To Saint Peter he will tell; One more Soldier reporting, sir. I've served my time in Hell!"

Memorial Day is a time to take a moment and honor those who made the greatest sacrifice. These are 15 examples of heroes who sacrificed themselves to not only protect our freedom but to save the life of a fellow soldier.

Gary Gordon and Randy Shughart

Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart were Delta Force operatives who were killed trying to rescue Chief Warrant Officer Michael Durant during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993. They were both posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Marc Alan Lee

Marc Alan Lee was the first SEAL to be killed during Operation Iraqi Freedom as he was providing cover fire while his squad helped an injured soldier. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star with Valor and the Purple Heart.

Louis Jordan


Louis Jordan was the Pat Tillman of his era as he gave up a promising football career to serve in the US Army during the Great War. He was killed during an artillery barrage as he was warning his fellow soldiers of the incoming attack.

John R. Fox

In attempt to prevent his position from being captured by the Nazi forces, John R. Fox deliberately called for artillery strike on his own position. For his actions during the Italian Campaign, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

George Andrew Davis Jr.


George Andrew Davis Jr. is most highly decorated pilot of the Korean War and one of seven US military pilots to become an ace in two wars. He was killed defending a friendly pilot from a group of Chinese fighters in MiG Ally. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Herbert C. Jones


Herbert C. Jones rescued several injured sailors on the USS California during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was killed while operating an antiaircraft gun against a wave of enemy fighters. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty

Tea Party Tribute

Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty were members of the CIA's Global Response Staff who were killed defending the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. Both of them had previously also served with the Navy SEAL's.

Jesse L. Brown


Jesse L. Brown was a Navy pilot who was shot down while providing support during the Battle of Chosin Reservoir. Despite the efforts of wingman, he was killed in action. Brown was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions.

Thomas J. McMahon


Thomas J. McMahon was a combat medic that died saving the lives of three soldiers during the Vietnam War. For his heroic actions, he was posthumously awarded the the Medal of Honor.

Lori Piestewa

BBC News

Lori Piestewa was a U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps soldier who died trying to protect Shoshana Johnson and Jessica Lynch in an ambush. She was awarded the Purple Heart for her sacrifice while Piestewa Peak in Arizona was named in her honor.

Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz, and Michael P. Murphy

Matthew "Axe" Axelson, Danny Dietz, and Michael P. "Murph" Murphy were SEAL operatives who were killed during Operation Red Wings in 2005. Dietz, and Axelson were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross while Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

James Anderson Jr.


James Anderson Jr. was killed during the Vietnam War when he covered a grenade with his body, saving the lives of several of his squad-mates. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first African-American U.S. Marine to receive the honor.

Donald L. McFaul

During Operation Just Cause; Donald L. McFaul was a SEAL operative who was killed while pulling an injured SEAL to safety during the capture of Paitilla Airfield. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Cross for his heroism during the battle.

Edward O'Hare


Edward "Butch" O'Hare became the first navel aviator to receive the Medal of Honor when he single highhandedly shoot down or damage nine Japanese bombers. He was killed in 1943 during an encounter with a group of torpedo bombers.

Eddie Grant


Another athlete who chose duty over fame, Eddie Grant who gave up a career in Major League Baseball to fight in the Great War. During the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, he was killed while leading his unite in a search for the 77th Sustainment Brigade (aka Lost Battalion).

Bonus: Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and Quentin Roosevelt

While many from a privilege background will use their parents influence to avoid service, these brothers were whiling to join the many Americans who fought for our country. Following in the footsteps of their father, both Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and Quentin Roosevelt also made the greatest sacrifice to protect our freedom.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.


Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was the oldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and the only general to personally lead troops on D-Day. Despite having a heart problem, he personally lead the U.S. 4th Infantry Division during the taking of Utah Beach. He died 36 days later of heart attack and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Quentin Roosevelt


Quentin Roosevelt was the youngest son of President Theodore Roosevelt and one of the most respected pilots during the Great War. He was killed on July 14, 1918 in a dog fight with three German fighters. The Imperial Government used his death as propaganda which backfired as German pilots highly respected him, which became a contributing factor in the breakdown of the German armies moral.

Authors Note

This is not a ranking or a list of "most awesome soldiers" but a summery of a few who were killed in the line of duty. Anyone who makes such a sacrifice for another soldier and country is a hero.

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!