Author Topic: Vernon McGarity, World War II veteran who received the Medal of Honor, dies at 91  (Read 369 times)

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Via the Washington Post:

Vernon McGarity, an Army sergeant who received the Medal of Honor for what was described as his intrepid leadership of his frozen, outgunned squad during the Battle of the Bulge, the last significant German offensive of World War II, died May 21 at a hospice in Memphis. He was 91.

He had cancer, said his daughter-in-law, Lee McGarity.

(Courtesy of Congressional Medal of Honor Society) - Sgt. Vernon McGarity, shown in 1945 with President Harry S. Truman after being awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in World War II, died May 21 at 91.


Notable deaths of 2013: A look at those who have died this year.

Sgt. McGarity spoke rarely, if ever, about the events that began on the morning of Dec. 16, 1944. At the time, the Allies were pushing toward Germany as the Wehrmacht suffered setbacks on both the Eastern and Western fronts.

The Germans decided to launch a surprise attack in the Ardennes Forest in Belgium — an epic offensive that became known as the Battle of the Bulge. The most complete account of Sgt. McGarity’s actions there is the citation for his Medal of Honor, awarded to him by President Harry S. Truman after the end of the war in 1945.

Sgt. McGarity was positioned near Krinkelt, Belgium, with the 99th Infantry Division. Before the battle started, he was wounded in an artillery assault. He refused medical evacuation and instead returned to his men in the field, according to the citation, where “the fury of the enemy’s great Western Front offensive swirled about the position.”

Despite intense hostile fire, and despite the frigid conditions of the Belgian winter, Sgt. McGarity managed to rescue a wounded friend. It would be his first of at least two rescue efforts during the fight. As the night wore on, the citation reads, he “exhorted his comrades to repulse the enemy’s attempts at infiltration.”

More at link.

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