Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Arthur Frederick Defranzo

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    18th Infantry,
    1st Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: June 10, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Vaubadon, France
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 10 June 1944, near Vaubadon, France. As scouts were advancing across an open field, the enemy suddenly opened fire with several machine guns and hit one of the men. SSgt. DeFranzo courageously moved out in the open to the aid of the wounded scout and was himself wounded but brought the man to safety. Refusing aid, SSgt. DeFranzo reentered the open field and led the advance upon the enemy. There were always at least two machine-guns bringing unrelenting fire upon him, but SSgt. DeFranzo kept going forward, firing into the enemy and one by one the enemy emplacements became silent. While advancing he was again wounded, but continued on until he was within 100 yards of the enemy position and even as he fell, he kept firing his rifle and waving his men forward. When his company came up behind him, SSgt. DeFranzo, despite his many severe wounds, suddenly raised himself and once more moved forward in the lead of his men until he was again hit by enemy fire. In a final gesture of indomitable courage, he threw several grenades at the enemy machine-gun position and completely destroyed the gun. In this action SSgt. DeFranzo lost his life, but by bearing the brunt of the enemy fire in leading the attack, he prevented a delay in the assault which would have been of considerable benefit to the foe, and he made possible his company's advance with a minimum of casualties. The extraordinary heroism and magnificent devotion to duty displayed by SSgt. DeFranzo was a great inspiration to all about him and is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.
Medal of Honor Recipient Arthur F. Defranzo
Medal of Honor Recipient Arthur F. Defranzo
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Saugus, Essex County, Massachusetts
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Born: March 20, 1919, Saugus, Essex County, MA, United States
  • Died: June 10, 1944, France
  • Buried: Riverside Cemetery (MH) (Veterans Lot 3), Saugus, MA, United States

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