In this space you have probably read of Siegel's less than honorable lifestyle. But in the process he managed to prove that he had another side to himself. One that showed that he could instantly become a hero, later evidenced with the President of the United States awarding him with a Medal of Honor.
This came about when 2nd Class Boatswain's Mate Siegel and others were dispatched on a rescue mission near the Norfolk Naval Yard. The schooner Hjeltenaes was ablaze and the sailors had to rescue the crew fighting the fire.
From the website for the US Naval History and Heritage Command I note that the total number of Medals of Honor awarded for the Great War to sailors and marines was 28 medals. Siegel's being one of these. In fact it seems to have been the LAST MOH awarded for this branch of the service in that war.
Recent blogs have shared with you some comments I received from a US Medal of Honor researcher who has spent some 50 years researching infinite details of the Tiffany Cross version of the Medal of Honor.
I should note that there have been several versions of the army and navy medals and eventually the creation of the Air Force medal. Ribbons and details of each "model" have also often been changed.
The first medals to come out in Civil War days was often referred to , though I believe little known today, as the Paquet Medal after the very engraver of incredible credentials and named Anthony C Paquet. If you know where to look on the CW medals you will be surprised to discover with a powerful magnifier, that his signature is engraved on each on these earlier medals. (search his name on this site to see the signature) Paquet in later life traveled to Europe and upon his return chose to sail with the luxury liner called the Titanic... and ending up coming home in a body bag.
Another version of the medal was called the Gillespie medal and then of course there is the Tiffany Medal that caused some well deserved criticism on recent news in this space.
I invite you to read the comments section of the last few blogs and locate the one from Marc re the Tiffany Medal. I also encourage you to follow the links given therein to discover considerable more research on the Tiffany than that needed for this space.
However... later this week I will bring you a closer look at the issues he has raised regarding the Tiffany Cross, said to be the most rare of all MOH's, though I wonder if this is an up to date quote. It seems that the Air Force medal has been awarded in lower numbers than the TC...
But I may pursue this more in the blogs to come.
Hope to see you later this week,