“Fortitude and Courage” is the motto of the 314th Infantry Regiment. Seventy years ago today, two soldiers of that regiment as part of the 79th Infantry Division embodied its motto with their heroism during the Battle of Cherbourg in the Normandy Campaign.
Edward Stanley Michael was born on May 2, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois. His enlistment record shows that he had been a machinist in civilian life and had completed three years of high school. Michael enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps on November 4, 1940 at age 22. His record indicates that he was going to be assigned to the Hawaiian Department, but his World War II experience would be in Europe, not the Pacific.
The annals of American combat history are filled with stories of men who risked their lives to save those of their comrades. Earlier I posted the first of two Medal of Honor-worthy “so that others may live” stories from February 20, 1944, that of First Lieutenant William R. Lawley, Jr. Two other airmen belonging to the United States Army Air Forces predecessor of the present day United States Air Force aboard a single Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, serial number 42-21763 and nicknamed Ten Horsepower, provide us with the second.
Eric Gunnar Gibson was born in Nysund, Sweden on October 3, 1919. He emigrated as a child with his parents to the United States, where they settled in Chicago, Illinois. From Gibson’s enlistment record, we know that he entered the United States Army on February 18, 1941. He’s listed as a “selectee”, so he was probably drafted. We also know that he only completed three years of high school and hadn’t become a naturalized American citizen yet.