Did you know...At least 141Hungarians fought under the American flag during the American Revolution - this does not include those enlisted in the French military. The Father of the U.S. Light Cavalry (Hussars), Commandant Michael Kovats de Fabricy died in the battle of Charleston, SC in 1779. In the Civil War, over 4000 Hungarians served the Union. There have also been at least 8 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from Hungary or of Hungarian descent.
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Col. Michael de Kováts (b. 1724, Karcag, Hungary, d. 1779, Charleston, SC)
US Military Hero!- Founding Father of the US Cavalry! "Golden Freedom Cannot be Purchased with Yellow Gold" - Letter to Benjamin Franklin, 1777
A Nobleman born in Karcag and officer in Hungarian Cavalry under Maria Theresa. Captain in the famous Prussian Cavalry under Frederick the Great. After hearing of American uprising, he offered his sword to Ben Franklin, then Ambassasor to France. US Congress made him Colonel-Commander of the legendary Pulaski Legion. He recruited, trained, organized, and led into battle the first American Cavalry. On May 11, 1779, Colonel Kovats gave his life in the American War for Independence while leading the Continental Army cavalry he had trained in Hungarian hussar tactics against a British siege of Charleston. The British remarked that Kovats' forces were "the best cavalry the rebels ever had." He is the first Hungarian to give his life for American freedom and independence.
The American Hungarian Federation (AHF) established the Colonel Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom to honor outstanding individuals and recognize their life's achievements, dedication to freedom and democracy, promotion of transatlantic relations, and meritorious contribution to society. The award, AHF's highest honor, is open to Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike.
Charles Zágonyi - (Szatmár, Hungary, 1826 [annexed by Rumania in
US Military Hero! "The Union Forever!" Led the famous Civil War "Zágonyi Death Ride"
Raised into the military, he became a Huszar officer with Polish General Bem and Kossuth in Hungary's fight for democracy in 1848. He was wounded in battle and spent two years as an Austrian POW. After the war, he came to the US and joined the Union. Under General John Fremont, Major Zágonyi, the former Huszár officer, was commissioned to organize his first cavalry guard which came to be known as "Fremont's Body Guard." He trained his men as Huszárs and they all soon looked the part.
The Death Ride:
Despite being outnumbered 2000 to 300, Zagonyi convinced the hestitating Gen. Fremont to attack. Zágonyi went on to rout confederate forces at Springfield, Missouri in October, 1861. Fremont compared Zágonyi's feat to that of the famed, "Charge of the Light Brigade." His surprise attack, a complete success, left over 300 enemy casualties. The monument commemorating this event in Springfield, Missouri describes it as one of the "most daring and brilliant cavalry charges of the Civil War." The famous "death ride" was celebrated in poems, paintings and articles.
TRIVIA! Wild Bill Hickock rode with Zagonyi, the "dashing Hungarian"
- See Hungarian
Soldiers in Foreign Armies, The Hungarian Art of War
Julius H. Stahel Számwald (b. 11/5/1825, Szeged, Hungary
d. 12/4/1912, New York City)
US Military Hero! Congressional Medal of Honor
At the outbreak of the War of Liberation with Louis Kossuth against the ruling Hapsburg dynasty in the spring of 1848, Stahel immediately joined various patriotic organizations and also enlisted in the revolutionary army. In the battle of Branyiszkó, February 5, 1849, Stahel sustained serious wounds and was decorated for bravery.
By May 1849 the Hungarian insurgents inflicted a series of decisive defeats upon the Hapsburg Imperial Army and the Croat, Serb, Slovak and Rumanian irregulars supporting the House of Hapsburg. A small Russian army, which made an informal incursion into eastern Hungary to help the hard-pressed Hapsburg troops there, was routed and expelled. Czar Nicholas I, the autocrat of Europe, was more than willing to extend a hand in stamping out liberalism and soon a Russian army of some 300,000 poured into Hungary. The revolutionaries felt confident that the Russian invasion would mobilize Western support on their side, but their hopes were cruelly dashed. Governor Lajos Kossuth and thousands of others, Stahel among them, fled abroad after the defeat.
He moved to New York and worked, like Pulitzer, as a Journalist. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Stahel and Ludwig Blenker, a flamboyant German expatriate, organized the 8th New York Volunteer Infantry, the first German-American regiment in the Union army. Stahel became the regiment's lieutenant-colonel. At the First Battle of Bull Run, July 20, 1861, with his 8th New York Infantry, on his own initiative took command of the rear guard and made possible the withdrawal of the main forces, thus preventing Confederate forces from advancing on Washington. President Lincoln personally expressed his appreciation for this action. For their valiant conduct on the battlefield, Stahel was promoted to Colonel of the 8th New York. Shortly afterwards, on November 12, Stahel received his star as a brigadier-general. A few days after John Singleton Mosby's daring raid behind the Federal lines at Fairfax Court House during the night of March 8, Lincoln summoned Stahel to the White House and ordered him personally to take charge of the cavalry at Fairfax. He told Stahel in no uncertain terms that the raids upon the lines around Washington must stop. The three brigades of cavalry in the Department of Washington were organized as a division, which together with the outposts were placed under Stahel's command. On March 14, he was raised to the rank of major-general.
Stahel received the US Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery at the Battle of Piedmont in Virginia. While wounded, the General led a cavalry charge which led to a Union victory. After the War, he was appointed U.S. Consul to Japan. In 1912 his remains were placed in Arlington National Cemetery.
Early in 1866 Stahel was appointed by President Andrew Johnson consul at Yokohama, Japan. There he succeeded in opening additional ports to American trade. Afterwards, he served as consul to Osaka and Hiogo. He remained in Japan until 1884, when he was made consul in Shanghai, China.
- See more at ArlingtonCemetery.com (Special thanks to Steve Beszedits for biographical
Wass de Czege (b.Kolozsvár (now Cluj after Rumanian annexation),
Transylvania, in 1941)
Brigadier General, US Army Founding Director of the US Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies and Architect of AirLand Battle Doctrine
As one of the "Jedi Knights," helped the planning of Operation Desert Storm. First in Class, West Point 1964. Chief of Arms Control Branch, Office of the Supreme Allied Commander, SHAPE, Belgium. Author of the 1982 and 1986 versions of Field Manual 100-5, "Operations," the Army's main warfighting doctrine publication. Read Palmer McGrew's experience in Vietnam with "A" Company Commander, de Czege. Here is an excerpt:
He and his brothers, in remembrance of their father, Count Albert Wass de Czege, the noted Transylvanian-Hungarian novelist (see Documented Facts and Figures on Transylvania), established the Czegei Wass Foundation in 1996. The purpose of the Foundation is to provide economic and humanitarian aide to the small villages in Transylvania so that the villagers can improved their lives during the reconstruction period following Communism. Headquartered in the United States, it has established sister foundations both in Hungary and Rumania.
"Knowing why, when and how to change is key to maintaining an Army's effectiveness."
"The will to fight is at the nub of all defeat mechanisms....One should always look for a way to break the enemy's will and capacity to resist."
- Read about his Starry-Wass
de Czege model.
General Robert Ivany, Ph.D. (b. Hungary, 1949)
Three-year-old Robert Ivany, the son of World War II refugees from Hungary, immigrated to the United States with his parents following the war. He grew up in Cleveland and eventually graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1969. Over the course of his 34 years of dedicated service in the United States Army as an armored cavalry officer, he led soldiers in the United States, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Germany and Vietnam where he was wounded in action and decorated for valor. He assisted several nations in the transformation of their armed forces. In 1990, Robert Ivany was the first senior military officer invited to Hungary to contribute to the democratization of their defense establishment.
General Ivany taught history at West Point, coached the West Point football team, spent 2 years as an aide to President Ronald Reagan, and commanded forces throughout the world. In July 1998, Major General Ivany was assigned as the Commanding General, Military District of Washington. General Ivany's career culminated with his appointment as the 45th Commandant of the War College at Carlisle Barracks, the Army's foremost institution for educating its leaders. Dr. Ivany retired from the Army on September 30, 2003 and is now President of Houston's University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Ivany is a recipient of the 2006 Col. Commandant Michael Kovats Medal of Freedom from the American Hungarian Federation. He is also recipient of the General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence in Military Writing. An expert on leadership development, he is presently conducting research on the leadership attributes of 20 generals and admirals who have transitioned to corporate leadership. In addition to earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, he received a Ph.D. in Modern European History from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
Lászlo Bercsényi / Le comte de Bercheny (b. 8/3/1689 Eperjes, Hungary (Now Presov after Slovak annexation), d. 1/9/1778 Luzancy, France) Huszár, Founder of the modern French Cavalry! Marshal of France
The Light Cavalry of the Magyars - the Hussars or Hussards - was widely imitated by other nations, both in terms of organization and detail of uniform. At the end of the 17th century, Louis XIV ordered the establishment of three separate Hungarian regiments.
According to today's French tradition, the founder of the modern French cavalry was Laszlo Count Bercsenyi (Bercheny in French spelling) son of the famous general under Rákoczi. Bercsenyi was promoted to the rank of general for his heroism in the War of Polish Succession.During the War of Austrian Succession (1741 1748) the hussar regiment of Bercsenyi covered the retreat of the French Army from Bohemia. For his services in this campaign he was appointed by Louis XV (1723-1774) to Inspector General of the French cavalry. In 1756 Bercsenyi, already 67 years old, was promoted to the highest rank of the French Army: Marshal of France. After receiving amnesty from Empress Maria Theresa, he went back to Hungary for awhile, but, disillusioned, returned to France where he died in 1778 at the age of 89.
Today the First Hussards are an active parachute regiment stationed in Tarbe, France, "Les hussards de Bercheny." The First Hussards were deployed in Indochina during the Vietnam era and as part of the coalition forces in desert storm
| Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi (b. 1/1/1902, d. 4/8/1945)
WWII hero of German resistance! Yad Vashem "Righteous Among Gentiles"
Another son of Erno von Dohnanyi and brother-in-law of reknowned anti-Nazi pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Fellow conspirator and close friend of General Hans Oster. In 1929 his outstanding legal talent lands him the job of Special Assistant to the Reich Minister of Justice at the age of 27. In the 1930s, Dohnanyi uses his post to secretly procure files on Hitler and other Nazi officials to be used to prove their criminal misconduct in office; and in Hitler's case, medical files from military psychiatrists showing evidence of mental hysteria induced by gas attacks during World War I.
He played a major role in helping to plan the September 1938 and October 1939 coup attempts. In August 1939 he becomes special project chief in the Abwehr. He forwards reports from Dietrich Bonhoeffer about deportation of Jews to the Army High Command in the hope it may persuade the top brass to protest. Backed by Abwehr Chief Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, Dohnanyi and Deputy Abwehr Chief Oster put together Operation U-7, a secret Abwehr mission to save Jews from Hitler's death camps. On April 5, 1943, he was arrested after Gestapo discovers operation U-7 during a raid on Dohnanyi's office. Gestapo discovers Dohnanyi's compiled information on Nazi crimes after July 20, 1944. On April 8, 1945, Dohnanyi is hanged by the SS in Sachsenhausen concentration camp along with Canaris, Oster, and Bonhoeffer. (Dohnanyi is seen at center on right)
Trivia: His son and father, Christoph and Erno (Ernst) von Dohnányi are world-renowned conductors (see Film, the Arts, & Media)
Asbóth, (b. 12/18/1811, Keszthely, Hungary,
d. 1/21/1868, Argentina)
US Chief-of-Staff, US Minister to Argentina
Asboth graduated from the academy at Selmecbanya and, after receiving government appointment as an engineer, worked in various parts of Hungary becoming a General in the Hungarian Honvedseg. During the Hungarian Revolt of 1848 against Austria, he associated himself with Lajos Kossuth and followed him into exile in the United States in 1851. By 1861 he had become a citizen and offered his services to the Union when the Civil War broke out.
John C. Fremont, who had known him in New York, applied for his services, appointed him a Brigadier General of Volunteers and his chief-of-staff. Seriously wounded three times during the war, he was appointed to the rank of general in l864. Distinguished himself at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, where he was wounded in left arm. Despite the wound, he saddled up next morning. His arm was later shattered and a bullet lodged under his cheek in the Marianna engagement in Florida. In 1866, he was appointed U.S. Minister to Argentina and Uruguay. The wound in his cheek failed to heal, and on January 21, 1868, he died and was buried in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His remains were exhumed in Argentina, and he came home on October 23, 1990 to full military honors. He lies today in Section 2 of Arlington National Cemetery. His grandson attended the funeral and is in the Virginia National Guard.
Gyula Vári, Hungarian Air Force
Acclaimed Fighter Pilot - First pilot to win consecutive titles at Fairford's Royal International Air Tattoo
The Royal International Air Tattoo the world's biggest military airshow, bringing together the elite pilots and aircraft from around the world. There are over 150000 spectators, nearly 450 aircraft from and about 25 nations. Various competitions are held, and the Hungarian Air Force's Major Gyula Vari is the undisputed King, pulling 9G's and presenting a remarkable concoction of vertical climbs and tail slides. He is the first pilot to win consecutive awards. Look at this record:
Fairford 1998 - "Superkings" trophy for Best Display (MiG-29)
Fairford 1999 - Major Vári flew his MiG 29UB to an award winning standard, taking both the "As the Crow Flies" and the "Superkings" trophy for Best Solo Jet Display
Fairford 2000 - Fellow Hungarian Air Force Officer, Captain Peter Kovács, and his Mig-29 win "As the Crow Flies" trophy, following in the footsteps of Major Vári
Fairford 2001 - Great success! Winner is Gyula Vári again
Count András Hadik (b. October 16, 1710, Csallóköz (Hungary, now Žitný ostrov in Slovakia, d. March 12, 1790)
András Hadik, son of a lesser noble family, was born on October 16, 1710 in Csallóköz (Hungary, now called Žitný ostrov in Slovakia after annexation into Czechoslovakia at the Treaty of Trianon in which Hungary lost 2/3 of its territory in 1920). Other sources say he was born Kőszeg, Kingdom of Hungary.
During the War of the Austrian Succession (1740 – 1748) he gained fame for his actions against the Prussians at the city of Neisse (Nysa, now Poland) using surprise attacks and tricks under the unwritten laws of the so-called "small war," relying on the excellent training of his light cavalry hussars. During the war, he was again promoted, this time to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1744 he gained the rank of Commanding Colonel of his own hussar regiment, then near the end of the war in 1747 he attained the rank of General and was appointed commander of a cavalry brigade.
For his outstanding lifelong service Empress Maria Theresa bestowed upon him nobility, granting him the title of Count. The Austrian Imperial Cavalry that was established in 1702, was renamed after him. He elevated the fame of the Hungarian hussars in 18th Century Europe. As a genial leader and experienced strategist his highest attainment was that of Chairman of the War Council in Vienna. He held the post of Commandant of Buda Castle, Governor General of Transylvania, and in that capacity was the first to formally recommend the abolition of serfdom in Hungary.
- read more in Wikipedia
| János Hunyadi (1387-1456)
Military leader and statesman. First to stop the Ottoman Turks!
Following his successful long Campaign against the Turks (1443-44), he was elected (1446) governor and regent for King Ladislas (1440-57). In 1456, shortly before dying of the plague, he routed the Turkish forces before Nándorfehérvár (now Belgrade in Serbia), the securing a 70-year peace. The Pope also gave instructions that throughout Christendom the church bells should be rung to remind Christians that they, should pray for the relief of Nándorfehérvár and for the survival of Hungary. The custom of ringing church bells at noon, which is still observed throughout the Catholic world today, dates from this time.
More: Budapest Pocket Guide
Civil War Hero: Organized the famed "Lincoln Riflemen."
a company of militia which came to be known as the, "Lincoln
Riflemen." His militia merged and he Became Colonel of
the 24th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He was shot during
an engagement on February 24, 1864, near Buzzard Roost Gap in Tennessee
and later died of his wounds in Chattanooga. To honor his memory,
two forts, one in Chattanooga and the other in Knoxville, were named
Laszlo Rabel (b. 9/21/1939, Budapest, d. Binh Dinh Province, Republic
of Vietnam, 11/13/1968)
US Military Hero! Congressional Medal of Honor
Laszlo earned the Medal of Honor in Vietnam while serving with the 74th Infantry Detachment (Long Range Patrol), 173rd Airborne Brigade at Binh Dinh Province, Vietnam, November 13, 1968 for conspicious gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty.
He distinguished himself while serving as leader of Team Delta, 74th Infantry Detachment. At 1000 hours on this date, Team Delta was in a defensive perimeter conducting reconnaissance of enemy trail networks when a member of the team detected enemy movement to the front. As he and a comrade prepared to clear the area, he heard an incoming grenade as it landed in the midst of the team's perimeter. With complete disregard for his own life, he threw himself on the grenade and, covering it with his body, received the complete impact of the immediate explosion. Through indomitable courage, complete disregard for his own life and injury to the other members of Team Delta. By gallantry at the cost of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, he has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Army.
George Utassy (b. 1823, d. Philadelphia, 1906)
Civil War Hero: Organized the famed Garibaldi Guard
Utassy was a Huszar officer in the failed 1848 war of Independence. He was sent on a clandestine mission to Germany but was caught and served two years in irons in an Austrian prison. He came to the US after his release and joined the union cause. The New York's Civil War Garibaldi Guard was organized by George Utassy who became the first commander of the unit with the rank of colonel. The Guard was allowed to display three flags: the Union flag and Garibaldi's flag were joined by the Hungarian tricolor, since many in the Garibaldi Guard were Hungarians. His two brothers, Carl and Anton, also served in this regiment. After the war, Col. Utassy supported himself teaching piano in Philadelphia.
|Colonel George Pomûtz (Pomucz) - (b.
Civil War Hero: Appointed US Consul General to St. Petersburg, Russia.
One of the founders of New Buda,the Hungarian settlement in Iowa, George Pomutz began his Civil War career as a first-lieutenant and adjutant with the 15th Iowa Infantry Regiment and finished it as a brigadier-general by brevet. Pomutz was wounded in the Battle of Shiloh in April of 1862.
Figyelmessy - (b. Pest, Hungary, 1822, d. Philadelphia)
US Inspector General during Civil War.
Another Huszar officer, Figyelmessy served under Kossuth and was often put to use as as spy but was never apprehended despite the huge reward on his head. After the loss of Komarom (now called Kmorano after Slovak annexation), he went abroad. In Italy, Figyelmessy organized a Huszar regiment and served with the famed Garibaldi on his Naples campaign and commanded the First Squadron of Hungarian Hussars, distinguishing himself in numerous engagements, especially the battle of the Volturno. When he saw that there was no more hope for a resurrection of war against Austria, he left for America and quickly offered his sword to the Union. He proudly wore his Huszar regalia and medals and served under General Fremont becoming Inspector General. Figyelmessy later became American Consul in British Guiana. In keeping with his promise never to set foot on an un-free Hungary, he returned to Philadelphia, where he died.
| Lt. Colonel Albert Anzelm (Anselm) -
Civil War Hero: General Fremont's Chief-of-Staff.
A Hungarian Lt. General, he came to the United States in 1850 after the failed Hungarian fight for democracy. One of the organizers of the Home Guards in St. Louis, Missouri, he participated in the capture of Camp Jackson in May 1861, and was wounded during the battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10 of the same year. Following his recovery, he became a staff officer with rank of colonel in the Western Department and afterward was Frémont's chief-of-staff in the Mountain Department.
Frankie "Zoly" Molnar (b. 2/14/1943, Logan, West Virginia,
d. Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 5/20/1967)
Vietnam War Hero - Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Rank: Staff Sergeant, US Army.
After assisting to repel the first enemy assault, S/Sgt. Molnar found that his squad's ammunition and grenade supply was nearly expended. Again leaving the relative safety of his position, he crawled through intense enemy fire to secure additional ammunition and distribute it to his squad. He rejoined his men to beat back the renewed enemy onslaught, and he moved about his area providing medical aid and assisting in the evacuation of the wounded. With the help of several men, he was preparing to move a severely wounded soldier when an enemy hand grenade was thrown into the group.
The first to see the grenade, S/Sgt. Molnar threw himself on it and absorbed the deadly blast to save his comrades. His demonstrated selflessness and inspirational leadership on the battlefield were a major factor in the successful defense of the American position and are in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Army. S/Sgt. Molnar's actions reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.
Read more at Mishalov.com
|Pvt. William L. S. Tabor
Civil War Hero - Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Rank: Private, Company K, 15th New
Civil War Hero - Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Rank: Sergeant, Company E, 57th Massachusetts Infantry.
Spanish American War Hero - Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Rank: Seaman, US Navy.
Matej Kocak (b. 12/31/1882 Egbell, Hungary [now called Gbely
after Czech and Slovak annexation], d. 1901)
WWI Hero - DOUBLE Congressional Medal of Honor Winner
Rank: Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps
Navy Citation: For extraordinary heroism while serving with the 66th Company, 5th Regiment, 2d Division, in action in the Viller-Cottertes section, south of Soissons, France, 18 July 1918. When a hidden machinegun nest halted the advance of his battalion, Sgt. Kocak went forward alone unprotected by covering fire and worked his way in between the German positions in the face of heavy enemy fire. Rushing the enemy position with his bayonet, he drove off the crew. Later the same day, Sgt. Kocak organized French colonial soldiers who had become separated from their company and led them in an attack on another machinegun nest which was also put out of action.
General Frederick Knefler (b. Arad, Hungary 1833 (annexed by Rumania in 1920), d. 1901)
Civil War Hero: "Hungarian Patriot and American General" - highest rank attained in the Union army by a member of the Jewish faith.
Active in the 1848 struggle for independence, Knepfler (Knoepfler Frigyes) started his Civil War career under Wallace in the 11th Indiana Infantry. When Wallace was promoted to brigadier-general in September 1861, he chose Knefler, then a captain, as his assistant adjutant-general. In May of 1862 he was promoted to major. Upon the formation of the 79th Indiana Infantry in August 1862, he was appointed the regiment's colonel. Knefler fought in several of the bloodiest engagements of the war, including Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Perryville, Stone's River, Chickamagua, Missionary Ridge and Nashville. On March 13, 1865, he was brevetted brigadier-general, the
was mourned by the entire city. The Indianapolis Journal wrote:
"He was one of the first to enlist, taking whatever place came
to him, serving faithfully and tirelessly in the position to which
he was assigned . . . During his four years spent at the front in
doing the duties assigned him he won the regard of subordinates and
the confidence of superiors. No better, braver soldier than he ever
buckled on a sword . . . No truer American ceased to live, no better
citizen in all the duties of citizenship was left in the city when
the feeble flame of that manly spirit flickered out."
See Frederick Knefler: Hungarian Patriot and American General by Beszedits or see Notable Hungarians in the Civil War
General Eugene A. Kozlay
Civil War Hero: Organized the 54th New York Infantry Regiment
Organized the 54th New York Infantry Regiment and was its colonel from November 1861 to March 1863 and again from March 1864 to April 1866. For gallant and meritorious services, he was brevetted brigadier-general on March 13, 1865.
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