Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Charles William Shea

  • Rank: Second Lieutenant (rank at time of action: Staff Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    2d Squad, 2d Platoon, Company F, 2d Battalion, 350th Infantry,
    88th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: May 12, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Mount Damiano, Italy
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, on 12 May 1944, near Mount Damiano, Italy. As 2d Lt. Shea and his company were advancing toward a hill occupied by the enemy, three enemy machine guns suddenly opened fire, inflicting heavy casualties upon the company and halting its advance. Second Lt. Shea immediately moved forward to eliminate these machine-gun nests in order to enable his company to continue its attack. The deadly hail of machine-gun fire at first pinned him down, but boldly continuing his advance, 2d Lt. Shea crept up to the first nest. Throwing several hand grenades, he forced the four enemy soldiers manning this position to surrender, and disarming them, he sent them to the rear. He then crawled to the second machine-gun position and after a short firefight forced two more German soldiers to surrender. At this time, the third machine gun fired at him, and while deadly small-arms fire pitted the earth around him, 2d Lt. Shea crawled toward the nest. Suddenly he stood up and rushed the emplacement and with well-directed fire from his rifle, he killed all three of the enemy machine gunners. Second Lt. Shea's display of personal valor was an inspiration to the officers and men of his company.
Medal of Honor Recipient Charles W. Shea
Medal of Honor Recipient Charles W. Shea
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: New York, New York
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: December 1, 1944
    Montecatini, Italy, presented by Lt. Gen. Mark Clark
  • Born: August 24, 1921, Bronx County, NY, United States
  • Died: April 7, 1994, Plainview, NY, United States
  • Buried: Long Island National Cemetery (MH) (DSS 71-A), Farmingdale, NY, United States

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