Carl Vernon Sheridan was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 5, 1925. He was still living there and working as a sales clerk when, at just age 18, he was drafted into the United States Army for combat service during World War II on May 1, 1943.
Sheridan was trained as an infantryman and bazooka gunner, and it was in that capacity that he went to war against Nazi Germany as a member of Company K, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division. He likely joined the unit as it was preparing to join in the invasion of Europe in England, or shortly after the 9th Division entered combat in France on June 10, 1944.
On November 26, 1944 during the Battle of Hürtgen Forest, Sheridan’s company, attached to the 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, was one of those assigned to blast Nazi paratroopers out of Castle Frezenburg. Sheridan, then just a 19-year-old Private First Class, used his bazooka and his last three rockets in a solo attack against the heavily defended gatehouse entrance. When the heavy door had been breached and armed only with his M1911 .45 caliber pistol, Sheridan shouted to his comrades to follow him into the castle. They won the day, and the man who led the way was posthumously decorated with the Medal of Honor the following May.
*SHERIDAN, CARL V.
Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Army, Company K, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Place and date: Frenzenberg Castle, Weisweiler, Germany, 26 November 1944. Entered service at: Baltimore, Md. G.O. No.: 43, 30 May 1445
Citation: Attached to the 2d Battalion of the 47th Infantry on 26 November 1944, for the attack on Frenzenberg Castle, in the vicinity of Weisweiler, Germany, Company K, after an advance of 1,000 yards through a shattering barrage of enemy artillery and mortar fire, had captured 2 buildings in the courtyard of the castle but was left with an effective fighting strength of only 35 men. During the advance, Pfc. Sheridan, acting as a bazooka gunner, had braved the enemy fire to stop and procure the additional rockets carried by his ammunition bearer who was wounded. Upon rejoining his company in the captured buildings, he found it in a furious fight with approximately 70 enemy paratroopers occupying the castle gate house. This was a solidly built stone structure surrounded by a deep water-filled moat 20 feet wide. The only approach to the heavily defended position was across the courtyard and over a drawbridge leading to a barricaded oaken door. Pfc. Sheridan, realizing that his bazooka was the only available weapon with sufficient power to penetrate the heavy oak planking, with complete disregard for his own safety left the protection of the buildings and in the face of heavy and intense small-arms and grenade fire, crossed the courtyard to the drawbridge entrance where he could bring direct fire to bear against the door. Although handicapped by the lack of an assistant, and a constant target for the enemy fire that burst around him, he skillfully and effectively handled his awkward weapon to place two well-aimed rockets into the structure. Observing that the door was only weakened, and realizing that a gap must be made for a successful assault, he loaded his last rocket, took careful aim, and blasted a hole through the heavy planks. Turning to his company he shouted, “Come on, let’s get them!” With his .45 pistol blazing, he charged into the gaping entrance and was killed by the withering fire that met him. The final assault on Frezenberg Castle was made through the gap which Pfc. Sheridan gave his life to create.
Sheridan’s remains were returned to the United States and laid to rest in the Druid Ridge Cemetery, Pikesville, Maryland.