Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

John Robert Fox

  • Rank: First Lieutenant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    attached to the 598th Field Artillery Battalion, Cannon Company, 366th Infantry,
    92d Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: December 26, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Serchio River Valley in the vicinity of Sommocolonia, Italy
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidityat the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: First Lieutenant John R. Fox distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism at the risk of his own life on 26 December 1944 in the Serchio River Valley Sector, in the vicinity of Sommocolonia, Italy. Lieutenant Fox was a member of Cannon Company, 366th Infantry, 92d Infantry Division, acting as a forward observer, while attached to the 598th Field Artillery Battalion. Christmas Day in the Serchio Valley was spent in positionswhich had been occupied for some weeks. During Christmas night, there was a gradual influx of enemy soldiers in civilian clothes and by early morning the town was largely in enemy hands. An organized attack by uniformed German formations was launched around 0400 hours, 26 December 1944. Reports were received that the area was being heavily shelled by everything the Germans had, and although most of the U.S. infantry forces withdrew from the town, Lieutenant Fox and members of his observer party remained behind on the second floor of a house, directing defensive fires. Lieutenant Fox reported at 0800 hours that the Germans were in the streets and attacking in strength. He called for artillery fire increasingly close to his own position. He told his battalion commander, "That was just where I wanted it. Bring it in 60 yards!" His commander protested that there was a heavy barrage in the area and the bombardment would be too close. Lieutenant Fox gave his adjustment, requesting that the barrage be fired. The distance was cut in half. The Germans continued to press forward in large numbers, surrounding the position. Lieutenant Fox again called for artillery fire with the commander protesting again, stating, "Fox, that will be on you!" The last communication from Lieutenant Fox was, "Fire It! There's more of them than there are of us. Give them hell!" The bodies of Lieutenant Fox and his party were found in the vicinity of his position when his position was taken. This action, by Lieutenant Fox, at the cost of his own life, inflicted heavy casualties, causing the deaths of approxamately 100 German soldiers, thereby delaying the advance of the enemy until infantry and artillery units could by reorganized to meet the attack. Lieutenant Fox's extraordinarily valorous actions exemplify the highest traditions of the military service.
Medal of Honor Recipient John R. Fox
Medal of Honor Recipient John R. Fox
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 13, 1997
    The White House, presented by Pres. William J. Clinton to his widow Mrs. Arlene E. Fox
  • Born: May 18, 1915, Cincinnati, Hamilton County, OH, United States
  • Died: December 26, 1944, Sommocolonia, Italy
  • Buried: Colebrook Cemetery (664-665-6), Whitman, MA, United States

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