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Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army

William John Crawford

  • Rank: Private (Highest Rank: Master Sergeant)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    3d Platoon, Company I, 3d Battalion, 142d Infantry,
    36th Infantry Division
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: September 13, 1943
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: near Altavilla, Italy

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Altavilla, Italy, 13 September 1943. When Company I attacked an enemy-held position on Hill 424, the 3d Platoon, in which Pvt. Crawford was a squad scout, attacked as base platoon for the company. After reaching the crest of a hill, the platoon was pinned down by intense enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire. Locating one of these guns, which was dug in on a terrace on his immediate front, Pvt. Crawford, without orders and on his own initiative moved over the hill under enemy fire to a point within a few yards of the gun emplacement and singlehandedly destroyed the machine gun and killed three of the crew with a hand grenade, thus enabling his platoon to continue its advance. When the platoon, after reaching the crest, was once more delayed by enemy fire, Pvt. Crawford again, in the face of intense fire, advanced directly to the front midway between two hostile machine-gun nests located on a higher terrace and emplaced in a small ravine. Moving first to the left, with a grenade he destroyed one gun emplacement and killed the crew; he then worked his way, under continuous fire, to the other and with one grenade and the use of his rifle, killed one enemy and forced the remainder to flee. Seizing the enemy machine gun, he fired on the withdrawing Germans and facilitated his company's advance.

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Additional Details
  • Accredited to: Pueblo, Pueblo County, Colorado
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: May 30, 1984

    Medal was originally presented to his father in 1944 at Camp Carson, Colorado by Maj. Gen. Terry Allen as Crawford was erroneously presumed to be killed in action. On May 30, 1984, another presentation ceremony was held by Pres. Ronald Reagan at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, to present the Medal to William J. Crawford

  • Born: May 19, 1918, Pueblo, Pueblo County, CO, United States
  • Died: March 15, 2000, Palmer Lake, CO, United States
  • Buried: U.S. Air Force Academy Cemetery (MH) (3-D-68), Colorado Springs, CO, United States

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