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World War II - U.S. Army

John Roderick Towle

Details
  • Rank: Private
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company C, 504th Parachute Infantry,
    82d Airborne Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 21, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Oosterhout, Holland
Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 21 September 1944, near Oosterhout, Holland. The rifle company in which Pvt. Towle served as rocket launcher gunner was occupying a defensive position in the west sector of the recently established Nijmegen bridgehead when a strong enemy force of approximately 100 infantry supported by two tanks and a half-track formed a counterattack. With full knowledge of the disastrous consequences resulting not only to his company but to the entire bridgehead by an enemy breakthrough, Pvt. Towle immediately and without orders left his foxhole and moved 200 yards in the face of intense small-arms fire to a position on an exposed dike roadbed. From this precarious position Pvt. Towle fired his rocket launcher at and hit both tanks to his immediate front. Armored skirting on both tanks prevented penetration by the projectiles, but both vehicles withdrew slightly damaged. Still under intense fire and fully exposed to the enemy, Pvt. Towle then engaged a nearby house which nine Germans had entered and were using as a strongpoint, and with one round killed all nine. Hurriedly replenishing his supply of ammunition, Pvt. Towle, motivated only by his high conception of duty which called for the destruction of the enemy at any cost, then rushed approximately 125 yards through grazing enemy fire to an exposed position from which he could engage the enemy half-track with his rocket launcher. While in a kneeling position preparatory to firing on the enemy vehicle, Pvt. Towle was mortally wounded by a mortar shell. By his heroic tenacity, at the price of his life, Pvt. Towle saved the lives of many of his comrades and was directly instrumental in breaking up the enemy counterattack.
Medal of Honor Recipient John R. Towle
Medal of Honor Recipient John R. Towle
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: March 25, 1945
    Fort Knox, Kentucky, presented to his parents by Maj. Gen. C.L. Scott
  • Born: October 19, 1924, Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, OH, United States
  • Died: September 21, 1944, Holland
  • Buried: Calvary Cemetery (MH) (60-53-1), Cleveland, OH, United States
 

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