Arthur Otto Beyer was born in Rock Township, Mitchell County, Iowa on May 20, 1909. He was living in Saint Ansgar, Iowa when he volunteered or was drafted for service in the United States Army during World War II.
On January 15, 1945 during the assault on Arloncourt, Belgium, Beyer – a Corporal and the gunner aboard an M18 Hellcat self-propelled gun – dismounted from his vehicle and attacked alone with his carbine and grenades, routing the Nazi defenders from a ridgeline defensive position. His Medal of Honor was awarded about seven months later in August 1945.
BEYER, ARTHUR O.
Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company C, 603d Tank Destroyer Battalion. Place and date: Near Arloncourt, Belgium, 15 January 1945. Entered service at: St. Ansgar, Iowa. G.O. No.: 73, 30 August 1945
Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry in action. His platoon, in which he was a tank-destroyer gunner, was held up by antitank, machinegun, and rifle fire from enemy troops dug in along a ridge about 200 yards to the front. Noting a machinegun position in this defense line, he fired upon it with his 76-mm. gun killing 1 man and silencing the weapon. He dismounted from his vehicle and, under direct enemy observation, crossed open ground to capture the 2 remaining members of the crew. Another machinegun, about 250 yards to the left, continued to fire on him. Through withering fire, he advanced on the position. Throwing a grenade into the emplacement, he killed 1 crewmember and again captured the 2 survivors. He was subjected to concentrated small-arms fire but, with great bravery, he worked his way a quarter mile along the ridge, attacking hostile soldiers in their foxholes with his carbine and grenades. When he had completed his self-imposed mission against powerful German forces, he had destroyed 2 machinegun positions, killed 8 of the enemy and captured 18 prisoners, including 2 bazooka teams. Cpl. Beyer’s intrepid action and unflinching determination to close with and destroy the enemy eliminated the German defense line and enabled his task force to gain its objective.
Beyer returned to Saint Ansgar and eventually operated his own farm. He died there at an all-too-early age of 55 on February 16, 1965 and was laid to rest in the town’s Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery.
Both the 603rd Tank Destroyer Battalion and the 6th Armored Division were deactivated and disbanded after the end of World War II.