previous post next post  

Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 28 January

There is only one Medal awarded for actions on this day. a posthumous award from World War II.

This is the second "Fighting Mess Daddy" we've seen recently. Not exactly the MOS one expects to find earning the Medal, and just goes to show you can't always tell who's got the right stuff to stand and deliver when the chips are down - and why it's important to make sure *everybody* knows how to fight.

World War II

Rank and organization. Technician Fifth Grade, U.S. Army, 3d Infantry Division. Place and date: Near Isola Bella, Italy, 28 January 1944. Entered service at: Chicago, Ill. Birth: Nysund, Sweden. G.O. No.: 74, 11 September 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 28 January 1944, near Isola Bella, Italy, Tech. 5th Grade Gibson, company cook, led a squad of replacements through their initial baptism of fire, destroyed four enemy positions, killed 5 and captured 2 German soldiers, and secured the left flank of his company during an attack on a strongpoint. Placing himself 50 yards in front of his new men, Gibson advanced down the wide stream ditch known as the Fossa Femminamorta, keeping pace with the advance of his company. An enemy soldier allowed Tech. 5th Grade Gibson to come within 20 yards of his concealed position and then opened fire on him with a machine pistol. Despite the stream of automatic fire which barely missed him, Gibson charged the position, firing his submachine gun every few steps. Reaching the position, Gibson fired pointblank at his opponent, killing him. An artillery concentration fell in and around the ditch; the concussion from one shell knocked him flat. As he got to his feet Gibson was fired on by two soldiers armed with a machine pistol and a rifle from a position only 75 yards distant. Gibson immediately raced toward the foe. Halfway to the position a machinegun opened fire on him. Bullets came within inches of his body, yet Gibson never paused in his forward movement. He killed one and captured the other soldier. Shortly after, when he was fired upon by a heavy machinegun 200 yards down the ditch, Gibson crawled back to his squad and ordered it to lay down a base of fire while he flanked the emplacement. Despite all warning, Gibson crawled 125 yards through an artillery concentration and the cross fire of 2 machineguns which showered dirt over his body, threw 2 hand grenades into the emplacement and charged it with his submachine gun, killing 2 of the enemy and capturing a third. Before leading his men around a bend in the stream ditch, Gibson went forward alone to reconnoiter. Hearing an exchange of machine pistol and submachine gun fire, Gibson's squad went forward to find that its leader had run 35 yards toward an outpost, killed the machine pistol man, and had himself been killed while firing at the Germans.
*Asterisk indicates posthumous award.


The Marines say every Marine is a rifleman first, then what ever else it is they do.  I recall reading about a battalion in WWII, I believe at the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge, whose CO required everyone in their fox holes, battle ready, from a half hour before daybreak to a half hour after.  His men didn't like him very much because of that, but the morning they were in the way of the German offensive they were able to hold their ground and fight off much larger units, just because everyone was ready to fight.  I tried to get that through to the soldiers of the U. S. Army Reserve Civil Affairs unit I spent most of my 24 years with but they refused.  Oh, well, I was out before they were activated for OIF.