Twenty special operators who have been awarded the Medal of
Honor were inducted into U.S. Special Operations Command’s Commando Hall of
Honor Jan. 29, 2019 in Tampa, Florida. The multi-generational Medal of Honor
recipients spanned from World War I with the induction of Army Maj. Gen.
William “Wild Bill” Donovan to today’s war on terrorism with the induction of
Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II.
The group of national heroes were given a tour of USSOCOM’s
Medal of Honor Hall, given a global mission briefing by Army Gen. Raymond
A. Thomas III, commander of USSOCOM, followed by a formal mess night where they
were officially inducted into the hall.
“It is just a great honor to be in the company of such
extraordinary people like you,” Thomas said. “Our command really cherishes your
contributions to special operations.”
The guest speaker during the Commando Hall of Honor
induction ceremony was Navy Adm. Eric Olson, the eighth USSOCOM commander and Silver
Star Medal recipient for his actions in 1993 at the Battle of Mogadishu.
“Only those who have earned the Medal of Honor know how deep
one has to reach to find the strength to perform such acts of extreme valor,”
Olson said. “Those who wear the medal live under a very public spotlight, know
what it takes to be the highest role model for the rest of their lives. None of
them sought to be in the public eye. They always look good, Stand tall. Speak
well. They go the extra mile and if you look at them tonight you see what I
The medal represents the very best of a warrior culture. The
extraordinary acts and courage are performed for the right reasons,” continued
Olson. “It’s worth noting that Medals of Honor awarded in our lifetime were for
saving lives and not taking them at levels of heroism that they and we honor
The grandson Maj. Gen. William Donovan, David Donovan and
his wife Teresa, attended the induction representing his grandfather who
commanded the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. The OSS is the
precursor for the Central Intelligence Agency and ultimately USSOCOM.
“What an incredible experience Teresa and I had assisting
with the induction of my grandfather and other Medal of Honor winners into the
Hall of Fame,” Donovan said. “We are
still trying to absorb being at the nerve center of the world's only
hyper-power along with the Medal of Honor recipients from the past and
The following special operations Medal of Honor recipients
were inducted into USSOCOM’s Commando Hall of Honor.
Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins,
Sgt. 1st Class Eugene
Ashley, U.S. Army
Sgt. Gary Beikirch, U.S. Army
Master Sgt. Roy Benavidez, U.S.
Master Chief Petty Officer (SEAL)
Edward Byers, U.S. Navy
Master Sgt. John Chapman, U.S.
Maj. Gen. William Donovan, U.S.
Maj. Gen. Merritt Edson, U.S.
Master Sgt. Gary Gordon, U.S.
Col. Robert Howard, U.S. Army
Col. William Jones, U.S. Air
Sgt. John Levitow, U.S. Air Force
Command Sgt. Maj. Gary Littrell,
Staff Sgt. Robert Miller, U.S.
Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris,
Capt. Gary Rose, U.S. Army
Sgt. 1st Class Randall
Shughart, U.S. Army
Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II, U.S. Army
Petty Officer 1st
Class James Williams, U.S. Navy
Sgt. Gordon Yntema, U.S. Army