Happy Birthday to Robert Sweeney – An American Hero

February 19th, 2009 | by Sqotty |

February 20th marks the birthday of Robert Augustus Sweeney, born that date in 1853. Sweeney is interesting historically as being one of only 19 (currently) men who have been awarded two Medals of Honor. He is also the only African-American to hold that distinction.

Sweeney was a Navy man, and as such, during his service in the 1880s, he saved two fellow sailors from drowning. It is for those acts of courage, placing his own life on the line to save another seaman, for which Sweeney was awarded this nation’s highest honor.

It wasn’t until I was researching a trivia question for Black History Month regarding the Medal of Honor and its recipients that I became cognizant of Robert Sweeney.

Both of the ships that Sweeney served were sloops of war, sailing ships: the USS Kearsarge and the USS Jamestown.

A google search does not generate much more information about Sweeney aside from what is listed on Wikipedia and the citations for his Medals of Honor and a listing of his gravesite.

Happy birthday, Robert Augustus Sweeney.

For those of you interested, Find a Grave has a section for leaving notes and flowers on their site.


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