Two “Tough ‘Ombres” – Everhart & Sayers (November 12, 1944)

90th Infantry Division Patch (Wikimedia Commons)

The 90th Infantry Division was first formed in August 1917 as part of the United States Army for service in World War I. It was known as the “Texas Oklahoma” division as most of the division’s men came from those two states, and the division’s patch became a combined “T” and “O”.

The 90th was deactivated after World War I, and was reformed for World War II in 1942. The first elements of the division landed in Normandy on D-Day, and the full unit entered combat by June 10, 1944. The division’s combat record gave them a better nickname that played off of the “TO”: “Tough ‘Ombres”. About five months later on November 12, 1944, two of the division’s soldiers exhibited heroism above and beyond the normal call of duty.

One man lived, one died, and both received the Medal of Honor.

Forrest Eugene Everhart was born on August 28, 1922 in Bainbridge, Ohio. He was acting as a platoon commander in Company H, 2nd Battalion, 359th Infantry Regiment as a Technical Sergeant when his unit’s positions came under intense counterattack by the Nazis near Kerling, France.

From Medal of Honor Citations for World War II (A-F):

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

EVERHART, FORREST E.

Rank and organization: Technical Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company H, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Kerling, France, 12 November 1944. Entered service at: Texas City, Tex. G.O. No.: 77, 10 September 1945

Citation: He commanded a platoon that bore the brunt of a desperate enemy counterattack near Korling, France, before dawn on 12 November 1944. When German tanks and self-propelled guns penetrated his left flank and overwhelming infantry forces threatened to overrun the 1 remaining machinegun in that section, he ran 400 yards through woods churned by artillery and mortar concentrations to strengthen the defense. With the 1 remaining gunner, he directed furious fire into the advancing hordes until they swarmed close to the position. He left the gun, boldly charged the attackers and, after a 15-minute exchange of hand grenades, forced them to withdraw leaving 30 dead behind. He re-crossed the fire-swept terrain to his then threatened right flank, exhorted his men and directed murderous fire from the single machinegun at that position. There, in the light of bursting mortar shells, he again closed with the enemy in a hand grenade duel and, after a fierce 30-minute battle, forced the Germans to withdraw leaving another 20 dead. The gallantry and intrepidity of T/Sgt. Everhart in rallying his men and refusing to fall back in the face of terrible odds were highly instrumental in repelling the fanatical enemy counterattack directed at the American bridgehead across the Moselle River.

Everhart survived the war. He died just two days after his 64th birthday on August 30, 1986 and was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Foster Joseph Sayers was born on April 27, 1924 and was just short of his 19th birthday when he was inducted into the United States Army on March 13, 1943 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. As a machine gunner in Company L, 3rd Battalion, 357th Infantry Regiment, he launched a solo diversionary attack that allowed his unit to outflank the enemy while he inflicted numerous casualties himself.

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

Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Medal of Honor ribbon (foreground); World War II European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon (background)
Photo: Military Times’ Hall of Valor

*SAYERS, FOSTER J.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company L, 357th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Thionville, France, 12 November 1944. Entered service at: Howard, Pa. G.O. No.: 89, 19 October 1945

Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in combat on 12 November 1944, near Thionville, France. During an attack on strong hostile forces entrenched on a hill he fearlessly ran up the steep approach toward his objective and set up his machinegun 20 yards from the enemy. Realizing it would be necessary to attract full attention of the dug-in Germans while his company crossed an open area and flanked the enemy, he picked up his gun, charged through withering machinegun and rifle fire to the very edge of the emplacement, and there killed 12 German soldiers with devastating close-range fire. He took up a position behind a log and engaged the hostile infantry from the flank in an heroic attempt to distract their attention while his comrades attained their objective at the crest of the hill. He was killed by the very heavy concentration of return fire; but his fearless assault enabled his company to sweep the hill with minimum of casualties, killing or capturing every enemy soldier on it. Pfc. Sayers’ indomitable fighting spirit, aggressiveness, and supreme devotion to duty live on as an example of the highest traditions of the military service.

Sayers’ remains were repatriated to the United States and laid to rest in the Schenks Cemetery, Howard, Pennsylvania.

Share

One thought on “Two “Tough ‘Ombres” – Everhart & Sayers (November 12, 1944)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.