Rank Insignia Previous Honoree ID Next Honoree ID

honoree image
First Name: Henry

Last Name: Commiskey

Birthplace: Hattiesburg, MS, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Alfred

Date of Birth: 10 January 1927

Date of Death: 15 August 1971

Rank: Major

Years Served: 1944-1966
Henry Alfred Commiskey, Sr.

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Henry Alfred Commiskey, Sr.
Major, U.S. Marine Corps

Medal of Honor Recipient
Korean War

Henry Alfred Commiskey was born on 10 January 1927, in Hattiesburg, MS. He attended Sacred Heart School in Hattiesburg and worked as a brakeman on the Illinois Central Railroad.

Commiskey joined the U.S. Marine Corps on 12 January 1944, two days after his 17th birthday. He completed his recruit training at San Diego, CA. He then served at Camp Pendleton; in Hawaii; in the Pacific Theatre during World War II; and in Japan. Commiskey served in the enlisted ranks for more than five years, including 21 months overseas.

World War II

During World War II, he was wounded in action during the Iwo Jima campaign - for which he received a Letter of Commendation for "exhibiting high qualities of leadership and courage in the face of a stubborn and fanatical enemy."

Commiskey also had been a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC. He was serving there, with the rank of Staff Sergeant, when he was accepted for officer training and commissioned a Second Lieutenant on 10 September 1949. He completed training in June 1950, and taught in the tactics section at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA, before going to Korea with the 1st Marines in August 1950.

Korean War

The action for which (then) 2nd Lt. Commiskey received the Medal of Honor came a few days after the Inchon landing in which he participated.

The action occurred on 20 September 1950 near Yongdungpo, Korea, on the outskirts of Seoul. Although Commiskey escaped harm then, he was wounded a week later and again on 8 December 1950, after which he was returned to the U.S. for hospitalization. Following hospitalization at the Naval Hospital in Pensacola, Commiskey served at the Naval Air Rocket Test Station, Lake Denmark, Morris County, NJ. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in June 1951.

Medal of Honor

On 1 August 1951, he was presented the nation's highest decoration for valor by President Harry S. Truman in a White House ceremony. He was the first Marine to receive the Medal of Honor - the nation's highest decoration for valor - for extraordinary heroism in the Korean War.

The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to


for service as set forth in the following CITATION:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Platoon Leader in Company C, First Battalion, First Marines, First Marine Division (Reinforced), in action against enemy aggressor forces near Yongdungp'o, Korea, on 20 September 1950. Directed to attack hostile forces well dug in on Hill 85, First Lieutenant Commiskey, then Second Lieutenant, spearheaded the assault, charging up the steep slopes on the run. Coolly disregarding the heavy enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire, he plunged on well forward of the rest of his platoon and was the first man to reach the crest of the objective. Armed only with a pistol, he jumped into a hostile machine-gun emplacement occupied by five enemy troops and quickly disposed of four of the soldiers with his automatic pistol. Grappling with the fifth, First Lieutenant Commiskey knocked him to the ground and held him until he could obtain a weapon from another member of his platoon and kill the last of the enemy gun crew. Continuing his bold assault, he moved to the next emplacement, killed two or more of the enemy and then led his platoon toward the rear nose of the hill to rout the remainder of the enemy. His valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit served to inspire the men of his company to heroic endeavor in seizing the objective and reflect the highest credit upon First Lieutenant Commiskey and the United States Naval Service.



In September 1951, he became a Student Naval Aviator at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola. He received his wings at Corpus Christi in June 1953, and later completed jet training at El Toro, CA. He was promoted to Captain in July 1953.

In April 1954, he returned to Korea as a pilot with Marine Attack Squadron 212, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.


He returned to the United States in September 1954, and at his own request was assigned line duty. He joined the 1st Marine Division in December 1954, and served consecutively as a Company Commander; Assistant S-3 of the 1st Service Regiment; and Division Reenlistment Officer. From September 1956 until July 1959, he served as Officer in Charge of the Marine Corps Recruiting Station, 6th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District, Jackson, MS. He was promoted to Major in July 1959.

Major Commiskey completed the Junior Course at the Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA, in June 1960, then served as an instructor, Student Company Commander and Executive Officer, The Basic School, Quantico. Prior to his retirement from active duty in August 1966, he served as a recruiter.

Other Awards and Medals

Naval Aviator Badge

In addition to the Medal of Honor, Commiskey received the following awards and medals:

Purple Heart with 2 Gold Stars (in lieu of second and third awards)
Presidential Unit Citation (United States) with 2 Bronze Stars
Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 1 Bronze Star
World War II Victory Medal
Navy Occupation Service Medal with Asia Clasp
National Defense Service Medal with 1 Bronze Star
Korean Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal
Korean Presidential Unit Citation

Foreign Awards

Letter of Commendation with Ribbon and Metal Pendant


On 5 June 2004, a United States Postal Service facility in Hattiesburg, MS, was officially named the "Major Henry A. Commiskey, Sr., Post Office Building."


Henry Alfred Commiskey, Sr. died on 15 August 1971 in Meridian, MS, and was cremated. The location of his ashes is the Gulf of Mexico between Gulfport and Biloxi, MS, at coordinates 30 degrees 05 minutes North, 88 degrees 35 minutes West. They were scattered on 24 August 1971 at 11:45 a.m. central time.

A cenotaph for Major Commiskey is located at Highland Cemetery in Hattiesburg, MS.

Honoree ID: 1144   Created by: MHOH




Honoree Photos

honoree imagehonoree imagehonoree image

honoree imagehonoree image

honoree image