Monday, July 25, 2011

Medal of Honor Monday: John J. McVeigh

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty near Brest, France, on 29 August 1944.  Shortly after dusk an enemy counterattack of platoon strength was launched against 1 platoon of Company G, 23d Infantry.  Since the Company G platoon was not dug in and had just begun to assume defensive positions along a hedge, part of the line sagged momentarily under heavy fire from small arms and 2 flak guns, leaving a section of heavy machine guns holding a wide frontage without rifle protection.  The enemy drive moved so swiftly that German riflemen were soon almost on top of 1 machine gun position.  Sgt. McVeigh, heedless of a tremendous amount of small arms and flak fire directed toward him, stood up in full view of the enemy and directed the fire of his squad on the attacking Germans until his position was almost overrun.  He then drew his trench knife, and single-handed charged several of the enemy. In a savage hand-to-hand struggle, Sgt. McVeigh killed 1 German with the knife, his only weapon, and was advancing on 3 more of the enemy when he was shot down and killed with small arms fire at pointblank range.  Sgt. McVeigh's heroic act allowed the 2 remaining men in his squad to concentrate their machine gun fire on the attacking enemy and then turn their weapons on the 3 Germans in the road, killing all 3.  Fire from this machine gun and the other gun of the section was almost entirely responsible for stopping this enemy assault, and allowed the rifle platoon to which it was attached time to reorganize, assume positions on and hold the high ground gained during the day."
From Sgt. McVeigh's Medal of Honor citation, awarded on  on April 6, 1945,
May you be at peace,

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