Lieutenant Colonel George L. Mabry, Jr., USA (November 20, 1944)

George Lafayette Mabry, Jr. was born on September 14, 1917 in Sumter, South Carolina. He graduated from Presbyterian College (Clinton, SC) in 1940, and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army via ROTC. Mabry, as Captain in the 8th Infantry Regiment, landed with the 4th Infantry Division on D-Day at Utah Beach. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor during the invasion.

Mabry was also decorated with the Silver Star as the 4th Division fought its way across France and towards Germany. By November 20, 1944, Mabry had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was commanding the 8th Infantry’s 2nd Battalion. On that day during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, he personally led his soldiers through a minefield and, while fighting ahead of his scout troops, engaged the Nazi German enemy alone and in hand-to-hand combat, greatly inspiring and motivating his men to victory. His Medal of Honor recognizing his courage above and beyond the normal call of duty was awarded in September of 1945.

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

MABRY, GEORGE L., JR.

Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army, 2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division. Place and date: Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, 20 November 1944. Entered service at: Sumter, S.C. G.O. No.: 77, September 1945

Citation: He was commanding the 2d Battalion, 8th Infantry, in an attack through the Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, on 20 November 1944. During the early phases of the assault, the leading elements of his battalion were halted by a minefield and immobilized by heavy hostile fire. Advancing alone into the mined area, Col. Mabry established a safe route of passage. He then moved ahead of the foremost scouts, personally leading the attack, until confronted by a boobytrapped double concertina obstacle. With the assistance of the scouts, he disconnected the explosives and cut a path through the wire. Upon moving through the opening, he observed 3 enemy in foxholes whom he captured at bayonet point. Driving steadily forward he paced the assault against 3 log bunkers which housed mutually supported automatic weapons. Racing up a slope ahead of his men, he found the initial bunker deserted, then pushed on to the second where he was suddenly confronted by 9 onrushing enemy. Using the butt of his rifle, he felled 1 adversary and bayoneted a second, before his scouts came to his aid and assisted him in overcoming the others in hand-to-hand combat. Accompanied by the riflemen, he charged the third bunker under pointblank small arms fire and led the way into the fortification from which he prodded 6 enemy at bayonet point. Following the consolidation of this area, he led his battalion across 300 yards of fire-swept terrain to seize elevated ground upon which he established a defensive position which menaced the enemy on both flanks, and provided his regiment a firm foothold on the approach to the Cologne Plain. Col. Mabry’s superlative courage, daring, and leadership in an operation of major importance exemplify the finest characteristics of the military service.

Mabry remained in the Army after the war and retired with 35 years of service and as a Major General in 1975. He passed away at age 72 on July 13, 1990 and was laid to rest in the cemetery of the Church of the Holy Cross, Stateburg, South Carolina.

The 4th Infantry Division is active today and is based at Fort Carson, Colorado.

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