U. S. Army Staff Sergeant Archer T. “John” Gammon (1918-1945), of Pittsylvania County and Danville, Virginia, posthumously received the Congressional Medal of Honor.
John Gammon was one of fifteen children of Walter and Cordie Sue Evans Gammon, both of whom were from the Callands area of Pittsylvania County. During John's early years, the family lived in the Sheva community northeast of Chatham. At the time John registered with the draft board in Chatham, the family was residing on the John Roach peach farm between Chatham and Gretna. In 1941 the family moved to Danville, and at the time he was inducted into the Army, John had been working at Dan River Mills.
Brothers Bob, Jim, and John Gammon joined for this wartime portrait. During World War II, Bob and John were in the Army, and Jim was in the Coast Guard. Their brother Walter and sister Mildred both served in the Navy (she in the WAVES). Later their younger brother Calvin served in the Army during the Korean Conflict.
As of late 2002, nine of the fifteen Gammon brothers and sisters survive. Asked about his memories of John and the remarkable events surrounding his death, Calvin comments, “John was a normal, everyday person. I was proud of him. [Calvin was 15 when news came of John's death.] Surprised? No. Any of us would have done the same. Back in those days, you did what you had to do.”
It is of note that John Gammon, already decorated with a Bronze Star, had been offered a battlefield commission, but he preferred to serve as an enlisted troop. He was a Staff Sergeant at the time of his death.
John Gammon's military citations are displayed:
Walter and Cordie Gammon are presented with their son John Gammon's Medal of Honor Citation in Danville during 1946.
A newspaper clipping contains the following information about this photograph:
Memorial Drive Officially Opened
The new Memorial Drive which runs from George Robertson Bridge to Union Street Bridge was officially opened on July 21  with Dan River's W. C. "Dan" Daniel, Commander, Virginia Department of the American Legion, making the dedicatory address. Participating in the opening of the non-stop thoroughfare to the downtown Danville area were (left to right): Robert Clarke, City Councilman; Dan Daniel; Susan Lee Scott, granddaughter of the late City Engineer Landon Scott; Mrs. Cordie Gammon, mother of Danville's only winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, the late Sgt. Archer T. Gammon; Sandy Leake; and Mayor Curtis T. Bishop.
Mrs. Cordie Gammon visits the Danville's Disabled American Veterans' Chapter #19, which is named for her son, Archer T. Gammon. (See also DAV Archer T. Gammon Chapter 19 website.)
A Victory Class cargo ship, the Yale Victory, was renamed the Sgt. Archer T. Gammon on October 31, 1947, and continued to serve until it was decommissioned in 1973. (See archive.)
Gammon Field is one of Fort Benning, Georgia's Parade of Fields, each honoring a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient (see more photos from Fort Benning). Archer T. Gammon is also honored in the name of a barracks and an athletic field at Fort Eustis, Virginia; an athletic field at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; and an athletic field at Fort McPherson, Georgia.
A rugged granite marker, citation plaque, rifle, helmet, and flag stand as a memorial to John Gammon. The monument is located at Floral Hills Cemetery on the north side of US 58, east of Danville.
Note: Research assistance is provided by Calvin Gammon, Danville, VA.
This webpage is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.
Copyright © 2002–2008 Patricia B. Mitchell.