HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Six names now decorate the Medal of Honor Wall at the Veteran’s Memorial Park in downtown Huntsville.
Community and military leaders, neighbors, and veterans gathered at the ceremony Tuesday morning to honor the addition of two names. Both honorees were in attendance.
Their actions have been recognized for years, and now, their names will be seen by all who visit.
LTC James M. Sprayberry
LTC Sprayberry received the Medal of Honor for his gallant actions on April 25, 1968, while serving as executive officer of Company D, 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. During a heavy engagement with the enemy, a large number of Soldiers became separated from the main body. Sprayberry, then a 1st Lieutenant, volunteered to lead a patrol through a heavily defended enemy area to rescue his surrounded comrades. Completely disregarding his own safety, Sprayberry broke through to the beleaguered men, moved them to protective cover, and began eliminating enemy positions. In the ensuing fight, he personally killed twelve of the enemy and saved the lives of many of his fellow Soldiers. On October 9, 1969, then Captain Sprayberry was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon. Sprayberry, a long-time resident of Central Alabama, moved to Madison County in 2014, becoming the county’s fifth Medal of Honor Recipient.
Captain Gary M. Rose
Captain Rose received the Medal of Honor for actions as a Combat Medic in Laos from September 11-14, 1970, during a Special Forces operation deep in enemy territory. During this operation, his small force was engaged by a greatly superior and well-armed enemy unit. Braving a hail of bullets and mortar fire, then Sergeant Rose, exposed himself on multiple occasions to reach and treat wounded Soldiers. Although repeatedly wounded himself, Rose continued to endanger his own life to save others. After four days of harrowing combat, the force was extracted; but the helicopter in which he was riding was shot down, further injuring Sergeant Rose. He nevertheless pulled wounded comrades from the burning wreckage and again offered life-saving treatment. Rose, a long-time resident of Huntsville, was awarded the Medal of Honor on October 23, 2017, by President Donald Trump, becoming Madison County’s sixth Medal of Honor recipient.
These additions to the Medal of Honor Wall are an honor not only for the recipients but for the community.
“It means something to those of us that served, I hope it means as much to those that are supported by those that served,” said Garry Schwartz, president of the ceremony’s presenting sponsor, Huntington Ingalls Industries.
“Every facet of this community understands the sacrifices that veterans have given for them,” said Clay Davis with the Madison County Military Heritage Commission. “They understand freedom.”