First Lieutenant George Ham Cannon, USMC, was the first U.S. Marine in World War II to receive the nation's highest military award — the Medal of Honor. He posthumously received the medal for "distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage, and disregard of his own condition" during the bombardment of Midway Island by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. He remained at his Command Post despite being mortally wounded by enemy shell fire. He refused to be evacuated until his men who had been wounded by the same shell were evacuated, and he continued to directed the reorganization of his Command Post until forcibly removed. He refused medical attention until he was assured communications were restored to his Command Post. As a result of his utter disregard of his own condition, he later died from loss of blood.
George Ham Cannon was born on 5 November 1915 in Webster Groves, Missouri. He later moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he graduated from Southeastern High School. He also attended the Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, prior to entering the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. While in attendance at that university he was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering in June 1938.
Medal of Honor citation
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Congressional MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to
/S/ FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
The first school on Midway Island, which was established after World War, is named the George Cannon school, "in honor of Midway's war hero".