Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Medal of Honor Citation

The past two Memorial Days I've highlighted a Medal of Honor citation, here and here. All MOH citations are available online. They make fascinating reading and point out the amazing courage, will and endurance exhibited by recipients This year's citation comes from World War I, a war that seems largely forgotten except by historians.

Private First Class George Dilboy won his medal posthumously for single-handedly charging and destroying a machine gun position, despite being shot multiple times in the torso, and having his leg nearly severed above the knee by machine gun fire. Here's the full citation.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company H, 103d Infantry, 26th Division. Place and date: Near Belleau, France, 18 July 1918. Entered service at: Keene, N.H. Birth: Greece. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919. Citation: After his platoon had gained its objective along a railroad embankment, Pfc. Dilboy, accompanying his platoon leader to reconnoiter the ground beyond, was suddenly fired upon by an enemy machinegun from 100 yards. From a standing position on the railroad track, fully exposed to view, he opened fire at once, but failing to silence the gun, rushed forward with his bayonet fixed, through a wheat field toward the gun emplacement, falling within 25 yards of the gun with his right leg nearly severed above the knee and with several bullet holes in his body. With undaunted courage he continued to fire into the emplacement from a prone position, killing 2 of the enemy and dispersing the rest of the crew.
George Dilboy is just one of many MOH recipients whose medal had to be awarded after he sacrificed himself to do something beyond the capacity of most people.

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