About George Henry Wanton, MSG
George Henry Wanton (May 15, 1868 – November 27, 1940) was a Buffalo Soldier in the United States Army and a recipient of America's highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Spanish-American War.
Wanton was born on May 15, 1866 in Paterson, New Jersey, the son of William H. and Margaret (Miller) Wanton. He joined the Army from his birth city of Paterson, and by June 30, 1898 was serving as a Private in Troop M of the 10th Cavalry Regiment. On that day, American forces aboard the USS Florida near Tayacoba, Cuba, dispatched a small landing party to provide reconnaissance on Spanish outposts in the area. The party was discovered by Spanish scouts and came under heavy fire; their boats were sunk by enemy cannon fire, leaving them stranded on shore.
The men aboard the Florida launched several rescue attempts; the first four were forced to retreat under heavy fire. The fifth attempt, manned by Wanton and three other Privates of the 10th Cavalry (Dennis Bell, Fitz Lee, and William H. Thompkins), launched at night and successfully found and rescued the surviving members of the landing party. One year later, on June 23, 1899, all four rescuers were awarded the Medal of Honor for their actions in what had come to be known as the Battle of Tayacoba.
In November 1921, he was selected as an Honorary Pallbearer at the burial of the Unknown Soldier.
George Wanton reached the rank of Master Sergeant and served in the Quartermaster Corps before leaving the Army.
He died at age 72 and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington County, Virginia.
Medal of Honor citation
Private Wanton's official Medal of Honor citation reads:
Voluntarily went ashore in the face of the enemy and aided in the rescue of his wounded comrades; this after several previous attempts at rescue had been frustrated