Staff Sergeant Sherwood H. Hallman, USA (September 13, 1944)

Sherwood Henry Hallman was born in Spring City, Pennsylvania on October 29, 1913. He was three days short of his first wedding anniversary and the father of an infant son when he was drafted into the United States Army for service in World War II on January 1, 1943.

29th Infantry Division shoulder patch (Wikimedia Commons)

After initial training in the United States, Hallman was sent to England to join the 29th Infantry Division and was assigned to Company F of the 2nd Battalion, 175th Infantry Regiment. His unit landed in Normandy on D-Day plus 1: June 7, 1944. Hallman was wounded that day by friendly fire and evacuated to England for treatment. He soon rejoined his comrades for the fight through Normandy and into Brittany.

By September 13, 1944, Hallman had been promoted to Staff Sergeant and the 29th was attacking Nazi fortifications around the city of Brest. When the attack bogged down, Hallman attacked alone with just his M1 carbine and hand grenades to break the stalemate. His solo charge killed several of the enemy and forced dozens to surrender.

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

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Photo: Military Times Hall of Valor

*HALLMAN, SHERWOOD H.

Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, 175th Infantry, 29th Infantry Division. Place and date: Brest, Brittany, France, 13 September 1944. Entered service at: Spring City, Pa. G.O. No.: 31, 17 April 1945

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 13 September 1944, in Brittany, France, the 2d Battalion in its attack on the fortified city of Brest was held up by a strongly defended enemy position which had prevented its advance despite repeated attacks extending over a 3-day period. Finally, Company F advanced to within several hundred yards of the enemy position but was again halted by intense fire. Realizing that the position must be neutralized without delay, S/Sgt. Hallman ordered his squad to cover his movements with fire while he advanced alone to a point from which he could make the assault. Without hesitating, S/Sgt. Hallman leaped over a hedgerow into a sunken road, the central point of the German defenses which was known to contain an enemy machinegun position and at least 30 enemy riflemen. Firing his carbine and hurling grenades, S/Sgt. Hallman, unassisted, killed or wounded 4 of the enemy, then ordered the remainder to surrender. Immediately, 12 of the enemy surrendered and the position was shortly secured by the remainder of his company. Seeing the surrender of this position, about 75 of the enemy in the vicinity surrendered, yielding a defensive organization which the battalion with heavy supporting fires had been unable to take. This single heroic act on the part of S/Sgt. Hallman resulted in the immediate advance of the entire battalion for a distance of 2,000 yards to a position from which Fort Keranroux was captured later the same day. S/Sgt. Hallman’s fighting determination and intrepidity in battle exemplify the highest tradition of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Staff Sergeant Hallman was killed in action the following day, September 14, 1944. His Medal of Honor was presented to his widow Virginia and his son Sherwood Jr. on May 31, 1945 in Philadelphia. He rests in peace with 4,408 of his comrades who came to liberate Europe and never left in the Brittany American Cemetery, Saint James, France.

The present-day 29th Infantry Division is an Army National Guard formation comprised of Guardsmen from Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia. One battalion of the 175th Infantry Regiment is presently part of the Maryland Army National Guard and assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team of the 28th Infantry Division.

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