For February 2nd, we salute Robert Augustus Sweeney, an American hero, for 2021’s Black History Month.
Seaman Sweeney is a unique person, and he is one of a handful of people who won the Medal of Honor TWICE.
That’s right. But, he is also the only Black American to receive the honor twice.
Robert A Sweeney was a sailor in the United States Navy. Born in Monserrat, he enlisted in New Jersey and was assigned as an ordinary seaman to the USS Kearsarge. During that assignment, he would save a fellow Navy man’s life. On October 26th, 1881, the Kearsarge was anchored in Hampton Roads, Virginia; when climbing a Jacobs Ladder above the decks, Seaman E.M. Christoverson fell and landed in the water below. Christoverson could not swim and began to drown. Thinking of only saving his shipmate’s life, Seaman Sweeney jumped to Christoversen’s aid and saved the man’s life just as he was sinking beneath the waves. For that first act of incredibly selflessness and bravery, Robert Sweeney won his first Medal of Honor.
On December 23rd, 1883, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York, two ships were birthed side-by-side with the USS Yantic and the USS Jamestown. Robert Sweeney, assigned to the Yantic, when a young boy attempted to cross from the Yantic to the Jamestown, by way of a board between the ships, fell into the water gap between the two boats. Jumping immediately into action, Seaman Sweeney and another shipmate jumped into the freezing water and saved the young boy’s life. Seaman Sweeney won his second Medal of Honor for that act of selflessness and bravery.
Robert Augustus Sweeney, two-time winner of the Medal of Honor, would pass away at the young age of 37.
Today we are reminded of the incredible selflessness and bravery of what a Medal of Honor means to all of us, and we salute Seaman Sweeney on this day.
Please remember these heroes every single day and make sure to seek out more information.