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Old 03-18-2020, 12:44 PM
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Thumbs up 75 years ago, this Medal of Honor recipient braved a 'death-sown' minefield to reach

75 years ago, this Army Medal of Honor recipient braved a 'death-sown' minefield to reach 2 injured soldiers
By: James Clark - Task & Purpose - 03-18-20
Re: https://taskandpurpose.com/unsung-he...-william-mcgee

Photo link: https://taskandpurpose.com/.image/c_...iam-mcgee.webp
Medal of Honor recipient Pvt. William D. McGee.

On this day 75 years ago during World War II, Army medic Pvt. William D. McGee made the ultimate sacrifice to save his fellow soldiers.

On March 18, 1945, American soldiers with the 304th Infantry Regiment, 76th Infantry Division prepared to capture the German town of Mülheim.

At night, they crossed the Moselle River by boat, but as they reached the shore, the advancing soldiers discovered that the retreating German forces had mined the area. As the first wave pushed forward, two men were grievously injured by enemy anti-personnel mines.

Caught in a minefield between a river and an enemy-occupied town, they were left bleeding, in pain, and trapped. Despite the risk, McGee went forward alone to get them.

"Entirely on his own initiative, Pvt. McGee entered the minefield, brought out one of the injured to comparative safety, and had returned to rescue the second victim when he stepped on a mine and was severely wounded in the resulting explosion," reads McGee's Medal of Honor citation.

Mortally wounded, McGee demanded that his fellow soldiers not come to his aid, knowing that their attempts to reach him would result in the same fate.

"Although suffering intensely and bleeding profusely, he shouted orders that none of his comrades was to risk his life by entering the death-sown field to render first aid that might have saved his life," continues the award citation.

McGee's decision undoubtedly saved lives, even as it cost him his own.

In recognition of his selfless sacrifice, McGee was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor, on Feb. 26, 1946.

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, McGee enlisted in the Army on Dec. 11, 1942, after which he completed basic training Camp Howze, and received training as a medic at Camp Bowie in Texas, before shipping off to England in February 1944, according to Together We Served.

Following his death, his Medal of Honor was presented to his wife in Indianapolis. McGee is interned at Luxembourg American Cemetery in Germany.

Read McGee's full Medal of Honor citation below:

A medical aid man, he made a night crossing of the Moselle River with troops endeavoring to capture the town of Mulheim. The enemy had retreated in the sector where the assault boats landed, but had left the shore heavily strewn with anti-personnel mines. Two men of the first wave attempting to work their way forward detonated mines which wounded them seriously, leaving them bleeding and in great pain beyond the reach of their comrades.

Entirely on his own initiative, Pvt. McGee entered the minefield, brought out one of the injured to comparative safety, and had returned to rescue the second victim when he stepped on a mine and was severely wounded in the resulting explosion. Although suffering intensely and bleeding profusely, he shouted orders that none of his comrades was to risk his life by entering the death-sown field to render first aid that might have saved his life.

In making the supreme sacrifice, Pvt. [McGee] demonstrated a concern for the well-being of his fellow soldiers that transcended all considerations for his own safety and a gallantry in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service.

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Personal note: Ever notice these M.O.H. recipients never think about their heroics they just do what's right regardless of circumstance. Regardless of he danger they run out and try to save their comrades without thinking of the danger. True heroes one an all. The act of saving your mates from further demise is really in all of us at one time or another. What is the trigger that sets off the chemistry in our heads is humanity. One man caring for another person whose been hurt or is in danger. Special are these heroes of self sacrifice.
In war you never know what you are capable of or when it kicks in you just do it. If you survive you have shudder's running through your body. You don't know how or why you did what you did - but you did it. That's all that counts. Our humanity for others in harms way seems to be an instinct rather then heroism. Maybe I'm wrong but most trigger's that set off the act can hardly be recalled by the saver. It just snaps and you do it. I've been told that by a couple guys when I was in. Now that they think about they are not sure they could do it again - unless the circumstances were the same. I think they would.

Boats
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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