Private First Class Francis X. McGraw, USA (November 19, 1944)

Francis Xavier McGraw was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 29, 1918 and was living in Camden, New Jersey when he entered the United States Army to serve during World War II. McGraw was a machine gunner in Company H, 3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division.

On November 19, 1944 during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest at Schevenhutte, Germany, McGraw kept his machine gun in action to hold off a Nazi counter attack despite suffering wounds himself and having his position struck by several rockets. He kept fighting until his machine gun ammunition was exhausted, and was killed while engaging the enemy with his M1 carbine.

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

*McGRAW, FRANCIS X.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company H, 26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Schevenhutte, Germany, 19 November 1944. Entered service at: Camden. N.J. G.O. No.: 92, 25 October 1945

Citation: He manned a heavy machine gun emplaced in a foxhole near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 19 November 1944, when the enemy launched a fierce counterattack. Braving an intense hour-long preparatory barrage, he maintained his stand and poured deadly accurate fire into the advancing foot troops until they faltered and came to a halt. The hostile forces brought up a machine gun in an effort to dislodge him but were frustrated when he lifted his gun to an exposed but advantageous position atop a log, courageously stood up in his foxhole and knocked out the enemy weapon. A rocket blasted his gun from position, but he retrieved it and continued firing. He silenced a second machinegun and then made repeated trips over fire-swept terrain to replenish his ammunition supply. Wounded painfully in this dangerous task, he disregarded his injury and hurried back to his post, where his weapon was showered with mud when another rocket barely missed him. In the midst of the battle, with enemy troops taking advantage of his predicament to press forward, he calmly cleaned his gun, put it back into action and drove off the attackers. He continued to fire until his ammunition was expended, when, with a fierce desire to close with the enemy, he picked up a carbine, killed 1 enemy soldier, wounded another and engaged in a desperate firefight with a third until he was mortally wounded by a burst from a machine pistol. The extraordinary heroism and intrepidity displayed by Pvt. McGraw inspired his comrades to great efforts and was a major factor in repulsing the enemy attack.

McGraw rests in peace under the gold-inlaid headstone of a Medal of Honor recipient in the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Hombourg, Belgium beside 7,991 of his fallen comrades.

3rd Battalion, 26th Infantry is  presently inactive. The 1st Infantry Division is an active element of the United States Army and is headquartered at Fort Riley, Kansas.

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2 thoughts on “Private First Class Francis X. McGraw, USA (November 19, 1944)”

  1. First I don’t write and speak much english
    This week I was on the cemetery henri-chapelle at the grave of francis x. mcgraw I said thanks to him and to all the american soldiers who are died for our libaration and freedom
    Luc wullaert belgium

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