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3rd Division Medals of Honor
Near Cisterna di Latina
CMH & 3rd Infantry Division Patch
TRUMAN O. OLSON
Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company B, 7th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Cisterna di Littoria, Italy, 30-31 January 1944.
Entered service at: Cambridge, Wis.
Birth: Christiana, Wis.
G.O. No.: 6, 24 January 1945.
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. Sgt. Olson, a light machine gunner, elected to sacrifice his life to save his company from annihilation. On the night of 30 January 1944, after a 16-hour assault on entrenched enemy positions in the course of which over one-third of Company B became casualties, the survivors dug in behind a horseshoe elevation, placing Sgt. Olson and his crew, with the 1 available machinegun, forward of their lines and in an exposed position to bear the brunt of the expected German counterattack. Although he had been fighting without respite, Sgt. Olson stuck grimly to his post all night while his guncrew was cut down, 1 by 1, by accurate and overwhelming enemy fire. Weary from over 24 hours of continuous battle and suffering from an arm wound, received during the night engagement, Sgt. Olson manned his gun alone, meeting the full force of an all-out enemy assault by approximately 200 men supported by mortar and machinegun fire which the Germans launched at daybreak on the morning of 31 January. After 30 minutes of fighting, Sgt. Olson was mortally wounded, yet, knowing that only his weapons stood between his company and complete destruction, he refused evacuation. For an hour and a half after receiving his second and fatal wound he continued to fire his machinegun, killing at least 20 of the enemy, wounding many more, and forcing the assaulting German elements to withdraw.
Congressional Medal of Honor
CMH & 3rd Infantry Division Patch
Pvt Alton W. Knappenberger
Home Front May 1944: - Congressional Medal Of Honor - The Army announces the award of the Medal of Honor to Pvt. Alton W. Knappenberger 20 of Springmount, PA. Knappenberger destroyed 2 machine gun positions on Feb. 1 near Cisterna di Latina, Italy.
KNAPPENBERGER, ALTON W.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, US Army, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Cisterna di Latina, Italy, 1 February 1944. Entered service at: Spring Mount, Pa. Birth: Cooperstown, Pa. G.O. No.: 41, 26 May 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty in action involving actual conflict with the enemy, on 1 February 1944 near Cisterna di Latina, Italy.
When a heavy German counterattack was launched against his battalion, Pfc. Knappenberger crawled to an exposed knoll and went into position with his automatic rifle. An enemy machine-gun 85 yards away opened fire, and bullets struck within 6 inches of him. Rising to a kneeling position, Pfc. Knappenberger opened fire on the hostile crew, knocked out the gun, killed 2 members of the crew, and wounded the third.
While he fired at this hostile position, 2 Germans crawled to a point within 20 yards of the knoll and threw potato-masher grenades at him, but Pfc. Knappenberger killed them both with 1 burst from his automatic rifle. Later, a second machine-gun opened fire upon his exposed position from a distance of 100 yards, and this weapon also was silenced by his well-aimed shots. Shortly thereafter, an enemy 20 mm. antiaircraft gun directed fire at him, and again Pfc. Knappenberger returned fire to wound 1 member of the hostile crew. Under tank and artillery shellfire, with shells bursting within 15 yards of him, he held his precarious position and fired at all enemy infantrymen armed with machine pistols and machine-guns which he could locate. When his ammunition supply became exhausted, he crawled 15 yards forward through steady machine-gun fire, removed rifle clips from the belt of a casualty, returned to his position and resumed firing to repel an assaulting German platoon armed with automatic weapons. Finally, his ammunition supply being completely exhausted, he rejoined his company. Pfc. Knappenberger's intrepid action disrupted the enemy attack for over 2 hours. (1)
"When the Country is in need it has always been the Soldier...
It's the Soldier not the newspaper reporter who has given us Freedom of the Press.
It's the Soldier not the Poet who has given us Freedom of Speech.
It's the Soldier not the campus organizer who has given us Freedom to demonstrate.
It's the Soldier who salutes the Flag; Who serves under the Flag.
It's the Soldier who is called upon to defend our American way of life. "
- General Douglas MacArthur