My husband and I traveled to Mingo County West Virginia today to honor his two great uncles at the West Virginia Army National Guard armory.
The armory was dedicated today in honor of two West Virginia Congressional Medal of Honor recipients and brothers, Col. Julien Gaujot and Lt. Col. Antoine “Tony” Gaujot. West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, unveiled the dedication plaque and new armory name with family members of the Gaujot brothers, including West Virginia 17th Circuit Court Judge Phillip Gaujot and his wife Carol, and brother Claude Gaujot and his wife Rebecca. “This is not just about honoring courage and valor in defense of the nation that the Gaujot brothers displayed,” Hoyer said. “It’s also about making sure that we, not just in the Guard, but we as a State, fully understand and recognize our value to the nation.” Hoyer went on to say that keeping the story of these two West Virginians in living memory helps current and future generations have a sense of pride and understanding of sacrifice at the root of West Virginia service.
“I’m really proud today, I know my brother is too,” said Phillip Gaujot. “The Gaujot name and legacy has always meant something special to us, primarily because those who came before us always passed down our verbal history. The highlight [of our name] was always our great uncles, Julian and Tony.”
Antoine “Tony” Gaujot was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Philippine-American War. On Dec. 19, 1899, during the Battle of Paye at San Mateo, Philippines, Gaujot swam across a swollen river under heavy enemy fire to retrieve an enemy boat which allowed his unit to safely cross the river. He was wounded in the shoulder during the encounter. As reward for his efforts during the battle, he was commissioned as an officer and he later served in World War I before retiring from service as a lieutenant colonel. His Medal of Honor was issued Feb. 15, 1911 and as was custom at the time, sent to him via registered mail. He died in Williamson, W.Va., on April 14, 1936, at the age of 57.
Julien Gaujot was awarded the Medal of Honor for his action on April 13, 1911 at Aqua Pietà, Mexico, during a border skirmish with Mexican rebels and government troops. When United States troops were killed during the action, an infuriated Gaujot mounted his horse and for more than an hour endured heavy fire as he moved between factions. When the battle was over, he had obtained permission from the rebel commander to receive the surrender of the surrounded forces of Mexican Federals and escorted those forces, along with five Americans held prisoner, safely to the American line. Julien served during five major engagements, including the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, the Cuban Pacification, at the Mexican border, and in WWI. He is the only Soldier to ever be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions of a peacekeeping nature. He was also one of the first recipients of the award to receive the honor directly from the president at the White House when President William Howard Taft awarded him the medal during a ceremony on Nov. 23, 1912. Gaujot retired from the Army in 1934 as a colonel and he later died in Williamson, W.Va., on April 7, 1938, at the age of 63.
While a total of five different sets of brothers have been awarded the Medal of Honor throughout the nation’s history, the Gaujot brothers are the only pair to receive the medal for actions in two different wars.
The Mingo armory is the second named after the Gaujot brothers. The original Gaujot Armory, located in Williamson, W.Va., was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1958, by Gov. Cecil Underwood, under the command of then Adjutant General Brig. Gen. William E. Blake. The armory has been home to the Service Battery of the 468th Field Artillery Battalion; Delta Company, 1/150th Armored Calvary; and Alpha Troop, 1/150th Armored Reconnaissance Squadron and has also served the Mingo County community until it was sold to the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.
Antoine “Tony” Gaujot is buried in Fairview Cemetery in Williamson, W.Va., and Julien Gaujot is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va.
The armory currently serves as the home to West Virginia Army National Guard’s A Troop, 1st Squadron, 150th Cavalry Regiment and the 156th Military Police Law and Order.
It was a great day to travel to Mingo County and enjoy all the beautiful fall scenery, and especially for the dedication of the new Gaujot Armory, A proud day for the Gaujot families.