Homer Lee Wise was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on February 27, 1917. He volunteered and enlisted in the United States Army on September 10, 1941 for a three-year term. Three years, which would be extended by World War II.
On June 16, 1944 in action near Magliano, Italy, then Staff Sergeant Wise rescued one of his men from under fire, and then single-handedly spearheaded his battalion’s attack. Six months later, he was recognized as one of our nation’s greatest heroes.
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant. U.S. Army, Company L, 142d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division. Place and date: Magliano, Italy, 14 June 1944. Entered service al: Baton Rouge, La. G.O. No.: 90, 8 December 1944
Citation: While his platoon was pinned down by enemy small-arms fire from both flanks, he left his position of comparative safety and assisted in carrying 1 of his men, who had been seriously wounded and who lay in an exposed position, to a point where he could receive medical attention. The advance of the platoon was resumed but was again stopped by enemy frontal fire. A German officer and 2 enlisted men, armed with automatic weapons, threatened the right flank. Fearlessly exposing himself, he moved to a position from which he killed all 3 with his submachinegun. Returning to his squad, he obtained an Ml rifle and several antitank grenades, then took up a position from which he delivered accurate fire on the enemy holding up the advance. As the battalion moved forward it was again stopped by enemy frontal and flanking fire. He procured an automatic rifle and, advancing ahead of his men, neutralized an enemy machinegun with his fire. When the flanking fire became more intense he ran to a nearby tank and exposing himself on the turret, restored a jammed machinegun to operating efficiency and used it so effectively that the enemy fire from an adjacent ridge was materially reduced thus permitting the battalion to occupy its objective.
Ward survived the war and was also decorated with the Silver Star for valor in action. He was discharged from the Army on July 21, 1945, but decided to return to service and reenlisted 1947. Ward remained in the Army until his retirement as a First Sergeant in 1966. He passed away at age 57 on April 22, 1974 and was laid to rest in the St. John Cemetery, Darien, Connecticut.