1918 : Harold A. Furlong Wins Congressional Medal of Honor

November 1, 2020 all-day

Congressional Medal of Honor citation : Harold A. Furlong, 1st Lieutenant, 33rd Infantry, 89th Division.  For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Bois-de-Bantheville, France, November 1, 1918.   Immediately after the opening of the attack, when his company was held up by severe machine gun fire which killed his company commander and several soldiers, Lieutenant Furlong moved out  in advance of the line with great courage and coolness, crossing an open space several hundred yards wide and taking up a position behind the line of machine guns, he closed in on them, killed a number of the enemy with his rifle, put four machine gun nests out of action and drove twenty German prisoners into our lines.

The rest of the story :

Harold Arthur Furlong (August 25, 1895 – July 27, 1987)  enrolled at MAC in 1914, but left in his junior year to join the U.S. Army.   His exploits are described in his National Medal of Honor Citation above.  He was part of the American forces engaged in the Battle of Meuse-Argonne, the last great battle of World War I and one of the biggest battles ever fought by the U.S.Army.  For his heroic effort, Furlong was presented the Congressional Medal of Honor by Gen. John “Blackjack” Pershing, commander of the American forces.  He was the only Michiganian so honored in World War I.  Following the war, he joined the Michigan National Guard.

Furlong would eventually enroll in medical school at the University of Michigan and become a doctor.  For more than 50 years, Furlong was on the staff of Pontiac General Hospital. He developed the obstetrics and gynecology unit at the hospital, and in 1982, the Harold A. Furlong Maternity Unit was named in his honor.

In an interview in 1959, Furlong downplayed his war exploits. ″Personally, I’m just happy to be a doctor and would just as soon not be written up in the newspaper as a war hero,″ he said.

Sources :

The Wolverine, the annual publication by the junior class of Michigan Agricultural College, 1922.

Harold Arthur Furlong wikipedia entry

Whitney Miller, MSU Moments, June 25, 2012.