Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Harold Alva Garman

  • Rank: Private (Highest Rank: Technician Fifth Grade)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company B, 5th Medical Battalion, 10th Infantry,
    5th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: August 25, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Montereau, France
For conspicuouus gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 25 August 1944, in the vicinity of Montereau, France, the enemy was sharply contesting any enlargement of the bridgehead which our forces had established on the northern bank of the Seine River in this sector. Casualties were being evacuated to the southern shore in assault boats paddled by litter bearers from a medical battalion. Pvt. Garman, also a litter bearer in this battalion, was working on the friendly shore carrying the wounded from the boats to waiting ambulances. As one boatload of wounded reached midstream, a German machine gun suddenly opened fire upon it from a commanding position on the northern bank 100 yards away. All of the men in the boat immediately took to the water except one man who was so badly wounded he could not rise from his litter. Two other patients who were unable to swim because of their wounds clung to the sides of the boat. Seeing the extreme danger of these patients, Pvt. Garman without a moment's hesitation plunged into the Seine. Swimming directly into a hail of machine-gun bullets, he rapidly reached the assault boat and then while still under accurately aimed fire towed the boat with great effort to the southern shore. This soldier's moving heroism not only saved the lives of the three patients but so inspired his comrades that additional assault boats were immediately procured and the evacuation of the wounded resumed. Pvt. Garman's great courage and his heroic devotion to the highest tenets of the Medical Corps may be written with great pride in the annals of the corps.
Medal of Honor Recipient Harold A. Garman
Medal of Honor Recipient Harold A. Garman
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Albion, Edwards County, Illinois
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: April 6, 1945
    Munetx, Germany, presented by Gen. George S. Patton
  • Born: February 26, 1918, Fairfield, Wayne County, IL, United States
  • Died: August 13, 1992, Albion, IL, United States
  • Buried: Samaria Baptist Church Cemetery (MH) , Albion, IL, United States

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