Lloyd, Sadowski, and Wigle (September 14, 1944)

In addition to Staff Sergeant George D. Keathley, there were three other Medals of Honor awarded for heroism in Europe on September 14, 1944. The American heroes who earned them were First Lieutenant Edgar H. Lloyd, Sergeant Joseph J. Sadowski, and Second Lieutenant Thomas W. Wigle.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (G-L):

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Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*LLOYD, EDGAR H.

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company E, 319th Infantry, 80th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Pompey, France, 14 September 1944. Entered service at: Blytheville, Ark. G.O. No.: 25, 7 April 1945

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 14 September 1944, Company E, 319th Infantry, with which 1st Lt. Lloyd was serving as a rifle platoon leader, was assigned the mission of expelling an estimated enemy force of 200 men from a heavily fortified position near Pompey, France. As the attack progressed, 1st Lt. Lloyd’s platoon advanced to within 50 yards of the enemy position where they were caught in a withering machinegun and rifle crossfire which inflicted heavy casualties and momentarily disorganized the platoon. With complete disregard for his own safety, 1st Lt. Lloyd leaped to his feet and led his men on a run into the raking fire, shouting encouragement to them. He jumped into the first enemy machinegun position, knocked out the gunner with his fist, dropped a grenade, and jumped out before it exploded. Still shouting encouragement he went from 1 machinegun nest to another, pinning the enemy down with submachine gun fire until he was within throwing distance, and then destroyed them with hand grenades. He personally destroyed 5 machineguns and many of the enemy, and by his daring leadership and conspicuous bravery inspired his men to overrun the enemy positions and accomplish the objective in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. His audacious determination and courageous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States.

Lloyd was killed in action on November 16, 1944 at age 22. He today rests in peace on the lawn of the Blytheville, Arkansas court house.

 

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (M-S):

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Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*SADOWSKI, JOSEPH J.

Rank and organization: Sergeant, U.S. Army, 37th Tank Battalion, 4th Armored Division. Place and date: Valhey, France, 14 September 1944. Entered service at: Perth Amboy, N.J. G.O. No.: 32, 23 April 1945

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty at Valhey, France. On the afternoon of 14 September 1944, Sgt. Sadowski as a tank commander was advancing with the leading elements of Combat Command A, 4th Armored Division, through an intensely severe barrage of enemy fire from the streets and buildings of the town of Valhey. As Sgt. Sadowski’s tank advanced through the hail of fire, it was struck by a shell from an 88-mm. gun fired at a range of 20 yards. The tank was disabled and burst into flames. The suddenness of the enemy attack caused confusion and hesitation among the crews of the remaining tanks of our forces. Sgt. Sadowski immediately ordered his crew to dismount and take cover in the adjoining buildings. After his crew had dismounted, Sgt. Sadowski discovered that 1 member of the crew, the bow gunner, had been unable to leave the tank. Although the tank was being subjected to a withering hail of enemy small-arms, bazooka, grenade, and mortar fire from the streets and from the windows of adjacent buildings, Sgt. Sadowski unhesitatingly returned to his tank and endeavored to pry up the bow gunner’s hatch. While engaged in this attempt to rescue his comrade from the burning tank, he was cut down by a stream of machinegun fire which resulted in his death. The gallant and noble sacrifice of his life in the aid of his comrade, undertaken in the face of almost certain death, so inspired the remainder of the tank crews that they pressed forward with great ferocity and completely destroyed the enemy forces in this town without further loss to themselves. The heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Sgt. Sadowski, which resulted in his death, inspired the remainder of his force to press forward to victory, and reflect the highest tradition of the armed forces.

Sergeant Sadowski rests in peace in the Saint Stephen’s Cemetery, Keasbey, New Jersey.

 

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (T-Z):

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Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*WIGLE, THOMAS W.

Rank and organization: Second Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company K, 135th Infantry, 34th Infantry Division. Place and date: Monte Frassino, Italy, 14 September 1944. Entered service at: Detroit, Mich. G.O. No.: 8, 7 February 1945

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in the vicinity of Monte Frassino, Italy. The 3d Platoon, in attempting to seize a strongly fortified hill position protected by 3 parallel high terraced stone walls, was twice thrown back by the withering crossfire. 2d Lt. Wigle, acting company executive, observing that the platoon was without an officer, volunteered to command it on the next attack. Leading his men up the bare, rocky slopes through intense and concentrated fire, he succeeded in reaching the first of the stone walls. Having himself boosted to the top and perching there in full view of the enemy, he drew and returned their fire while his men helped each other up and over. Following the same method, he successfully negotiated the second. Upon reaching the top of the third wall, he faced 3 houses which were the key point of the enemy defense. Ordering his men to cover him, he made a dash through a hail of machine-pistol fire to reach the nearest house. Firing his carbine as he entered, he drove the enemy before him out of the back door and into the second house. Following closely on the heels of the foe, he drove them from this house into the third where they took refuge in the cellar. When his men rejoined him, they found him mortally wounded on the cellar stairs which he had started to descend to force the surrender of the enemy. His heroic action resulted in the capture of 36 German soldiers and the seizure of the strongpoint.

Lieutenant Wigle succumbed to his wounds two days after his Medal of Honor action. He rests in peace in Arlington National Cemetery.

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