William E. Horton was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati from 1925 until his death in 1935. Throughout his decades of military career as well as after his retirement, Horton was awarded a total of 39 medals for his service at home and abroad. His medals span a range of service, starting with the Spanish American War through World War I.
Out of the 39 medals, four have been selected and described in detail below. These medals represent World War I in commemoration of the centenary of the United States entering the War.
U.S. Distinguished Service Medal, 1921
What is it?
- Established by Presidential Order (and later confirmed by Congress) in 1918
- Awarded for exceptionally meritorious Service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility in time of war or in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States
- Over 2,000 awards made for World War I service
- Prior to World War II, this medal was the only decoration for non-combat service in the U.S. Army
- Awarded to Colonel Horton in 1921
- Awarded the Certificate in 1926
- Horton had served in the Quartermaster Corps as Chief Quartermaster, Advance Section, in France.
- “For Exceptionally Meritorious and Distinguished Services in the performance of duties of great responsibility as Colonel, Quartermaster Corps, United States Army, Chief Quartermaster, Advance Section, Services of Supply, a position of great responsibility. Due to his untiring energy, the supplying of many thousands of troops in this section was successfully carried out and numerous Quartermaster Corps services and activities were organized and expeditiously administered. He has rendered service of great worth.”
- Until 1965, when the first Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was awarded, Air Force Personnel also received this medal.
- After the Legion of Merit was established in 1942, officers below the rank of Brigadier General have rarely received this award.
Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael & Saint George, 1919
What is it?
- Established in 1818 after the Napoleonic Wars
- The sixth most senior order in the British honors system
- Usually honors individuals who have rendered important services in relation to the Commonwealth or foreign nations – a diplomatic honor
- Foreign nationals receiving the award are honorary members
- The home of the Order is at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London
- Awarded to Colonel Horton in 1919
- Horton was serving in the Quartermaster Corps (Adv. Section Services of Supply)
- “By command of His Majesty the KING for bravery and distinguished service in the campaign”
- As explained in the Order’s Statute Book the recipient “may have rendered or shall hereafter render meritorious services to Us and Our Empire in connection with the Military Operations in which any of Our Forces have been or may be engaged during the present War and whose names have been published in the London Gazette in connection with such services”.
Legion of Honor, 1919
What is it?
- Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte for recognition of merit, not an order of chivalry
- It is the highest French order of merit for both military and civilians
- Technically restricted to French nationals, but foreigners who have served France for the ideals it upholds may receive the honor
- In World War I, some 55,000 decorations were awarded, of which 20,000 went to foreigners
- This medal was awarded to Colonel Horton in 1919
- Horton had served as Director of Supplies at Neufchâteau
- “Le Président de la République Francaise a conferé à M. le Colonel Horton, William, de l’Armée Américaine, Directeur de l’Intendance à Neufchâteau, la Décoration d’Officier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’honneur.”
- “The President of the French Republic has conferred on Colonel William Horton, of the American Army, Director of Supplies at Neufchâteau, the decoration of Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor.”
- The President of France is the Grand Master of the Order
- Admission into the Order requires 20 years of civil activity in peacetime or outstanding military service and bravery in times of war
- The badge originally displayed the bust of Napoleon. It now displays the bust of Marianne, the national symbol of the French Republic.
- In 2004, on the 60th anniversary of the Normandy landings, France gave the Legion of Honor to all U.S. veterans who fought on French soil during World War II. According to the website of the French Embassy in Washington, the medal is to “recognize outstanding services rendered to France.” Read more here.
- Notable individual American recipients include:
Insignia of Grand Officer of the Royal Order of Danilo I
What is it?
- Established in 1853 as the Order of Danilo I for the independence of Montenegro (1852-53)
- Awarded to prominent champions of the preservation of Montenegrin independence
- When awarded to Colonel Horton, “Grand Officer” was the second highest rank in the order
- It is one of the medals awarded to Major Jay Gatsby in the novel The Great Gatsby
- Colonel Horton was initially appointed as Commander of the Order of Prince Danilo on September 18, 1919
- He was promoted to the grade of Grand Officer in January 1921
- We hold the certificate given to Horton when he received the rank of Commander. His promotion to the rank of Prince is cited in correspondence with the War Office.
- Translated from the French, which was provided at the time to translate from the Montenegran: “By the Grace of God We, Nicholas I King of Montenegro, to Colonel W.E. Horton US Army for special services which you have rendered to the people of Montenegro and to Us: it pleases Us to confer the Order Third Class (Commander) of Prince Danilo I, established for the Independence of Montenegro.”