Last Known Activity|
Medal of Honor Citation: G.O. No.: 65, August 19, 1953
Cpl. Speicher distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and indomitable courage above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. While participating in an assault to secure a key terrain feature, Cpl. Speicher's squad was pinned down by withering small-arms, mortar, and machine gun fire. Although already wounded he left the comparative safety of his position, and made a daring charge against the machine gun emplacement. Within 10 yards of the goal, he was again wounded by small-arms fire but continued on, entered the bunker, killed 2 hostile soldiers with his rifle, a third with his bayonet, and silenced the machine gun. Inspired by this incredible display of valor, the men quickly moved up and completed the mission. Dazed and shaken, he walked to the foot of the hill where he collapsed and died. Cpl. Speicher's consummate sacrifice and unflinching devotion to duty reflect lasting glory upon himself and uphold the noble traditions of the military service.
Burial: Beam Cemetery, Jennerstown, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, USA
Family donates Medal of Honor
By JUDY D.J. ELLICH
Daily American Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:10 PM EST
On Wednesday the Somerset County Veterans Hall of Honor received a new centerpiece.
The family of U.S. Army Cpl. Clifton T. Speicher of Gray, who served and died in the Korean War, donated his Congressional Medal of Honor and Purple Heart to the hall, which is located inside the Somerset County Office Building along North Center Avenue.
Speicher is one of only three Somerset County veterans to receive the medal, the country's highest honor for individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty for their country.
Officials acknowledged the donation by presenting an American flag to his sister, Margie Speicher, and niece Beverly Blough, both of Hollsopple, at the county's ninth annual Veterans Day observance Wednesday in the county courthouse. Speicher kept running her hands gently over the folded American flag during the remainder of the ceremony.
"It is wonderful," she said after the event, which drew nearly 200 people.
"He was my brother," she said as she unsuccessfully tried to hold back tears of pride.
She was speaking of Speicher, who was a member of Company F, 223d Infantry Regiment, 40th Infantry Division, on June 14, 1952, according to Commissioner Pamela Tokar-Ickes.
She shared his story.
It was the Korean War. He was stationed with his fellow soldiers near Minarigol, Korea. They were pinned down. Machine gun and small-arms fire pierced the air around them. The bullets were flying from a nearby fortified bunker. Speicher crouched forward and ran toward the bunker. He was wounded once - then twice - by small-arms fire. The 21-year-old continued on, entered the bunker, killed two enemy soldiers with his bayonet, and silenced the machine gun. Inspired by Speicher's display of valor, the men quickly completed the mission. Dazed and shaken, Speicher walked to the foot of the hill, where he collapsed and died.
Tokar-Ickes said Speicher's medals will be the centerpieces of the Veterans Hall of Honor, which is already filled with memorabilia from other county veterans.
"We will treasure this donation and give it safekeeping," she said.
Safekeeping was the theme of a speech by Lowell Shaffer of Davidsville. Shaffer spoke of the safekeeping of a nation by veterans and the need to recognize that "freedom is not free."
Shaffer is also a U.S. Army veteran who served in Korea. He served from 1952 to 1954 with both the 25th and 3rd infantry divisions. He is a member of the American Legion, the 25th Infantry Division Association, the 3rd Infantry Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He is also commander of Johnstown Post 1 of the Korean Veterans Service Association.
"If you love your freedom, write a soldier a letter," he said.
Scattered among the long wooden benches in Courtroom No. 1 were soldiers from eras of both war and peace. A Touch of Brass played a medley of military anthems. Veterans from each branch of the armed forces rose in recognition of their anthem. They sat down to resounding rounds of applause.
The event included additional musical selections from the Somerset student vocal group Counter Act and heart-felt renditions of the national anthem and "God Bless the USA" by Rockwood vocalist Danny Conner.
As master of ceremonies, the Rev. Russell Kessler led the Pledge of Allegiance and kept the program moving forward. The Rev. Daniel J. O'Neill of St. Peter's Catholic Church of Somerset gave the invocation and the benediction. The Somerset County Honor Guard presented and posted the colors. County Commissioner Jim Marker read a proclamation outlining the importance of Veterans Day, recognizing the service and sacrifice of America's veterans and calling for people to show their appreciation. The event concluded with a 21-gun salute and taps.