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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

Ruben Rivers

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    Company A,
    761st Tank Battalion
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: November 16 - 19, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: Guebling, France
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Staff Sergeant Rivers distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action during 16-19 November 1944, while serving with Company A, 761st Tank Battalion. On 16 November 1944, while advancing toward the town of Guebling, France, Staff Sergeant Rivers' tank hit a mine at a railroad crossing. Although severely wounded, his leg slashed to the bone, Staff Sergeant Rivers declined an injection of morphine, refused to be evacuated, took command of another tank, and advanced with his company into Guebling the next day. Repeatedly refusing evacuation, Staff Sergeant Rivers continued to direct his tank's fire at enemy positions beyond the town through the morning of 19 November 1944. At dawn that day, Company As' tanks advanced toward Bourgaltoff, their next objective, but were stopped by enemy fire. Captain David J. Williams, the Company Commander, ordered his tanks to withdraw and take cover. Staff Sergeant Rivers, however, radioed that he had spotted the German antitank positions: "I see 'em. We'll Fight'em!" Staff Sergeant Rivers, joined by another Company A tank, opened fire on enemy tanks, covering Company A as they withdrew. While doing so, Staff Sergeant Rivers' tank was hit, killing him and wounding the rest of the crew. Staff Sergeant Rivers' fighting spirit and daring leadership were an inspiration to his unit and exemplify the highest traditions of military service.
Medal of Honor Recipient Ruben Rivers
Medal of Honor Recipient Ruben Rivers
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma
  • Awarded Posthumously: Yes
  • Presentation Date & Details: January 13, 1997
    The White House, presented by Pres. William J. Clinton to his sister Grace Woodfolk
  • Born: October 30, 1918, Tecumseh, Potawatomie County, OK, United States
  • Died: November 19, 1944, near Bourgaltoff, France
  • Buried: A.B.M.C. Lorraine Cemetery (MH) (C-5-53), St. Avold, France

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