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Capt. Ben Salomon

Date of Award: May 1, 2002
Conflict: World War II
Branch: U.S. Army

Capt. Ben Salomon portraitAfter Ben Salomon received his doctorate from the University of Southern California Dental College in 1937, he practiced dentistry for just a handful of years joining the military in World War II. In the fall of 1940, soon after the National Selective Service Act became effective, Salomon was drafted into the U.S. Army as an infantry private and quickly excelled in his military training, being placed as the regimental dental officer of the 2nd Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division.

Salomon, the only dentist to receive the Medal of Honor to date, received the distinction for his sacrifice in battling Japanese forces at Saipan. He was first recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor by Capt. Edmund G. Love, the 27th Division historian, but it was denied because he was considered ineligible as a member of military medical personnel. It wasn't until May 1, 2002, more than a half-century following the war, that he was finally awarded with the honor.

Citation: “Realizing the gravity of the situation, Captain Salomon ordered the wounded to make their way as best they could back to the regimental aid station, while he attempted to hold off the enemy until they were clear. Captain Salomon then grabbed a rifle from one of the wounded and rushed out of the tent. After four men were killed while manning a machine gun, Captain Salomon took control of it. When his body was later found, 98 dead enemy soldiers were piled in front of his position.”

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