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DIETZ, ROBERT

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He was a squad leader when the task force to which his unit was attached encountered resistance in its advancing on Kirchain, Germany. Between the town's outlying buildings 300 yards distant and the stalled armored column were a minefield and two bridges defended by German rocket-launching teams and riflemen. From the town itself came heavy small-arms fire. Moving forward with his men to protect engineers while they removed the minefield and the demolition charges attached to the bridges, SSgt. Dietz came under intense fire. On his own initiative he advanced alone, scorning the bullets which struck all around him, until he was able to kill the bazooka team defending the first bridge. He continued ahead and had killed another bazooka team, bayoneted an enemy soldier armed with a panzerfaust, and shot two Germans when he was knocked to the ground by another blast of another panzerfaust. He quickly recovered, killed the man who had fired at him, and then jumped into waist-deep water under the second bridge to disconnect the demolition charges. His work was completed; but as he stood up to signal that the route was clear he was killed by another enemy volley from the left flank. SSgt. Dietz by his intrepidity and valiant effort on his self-imposed mission, singlehandedly opened the road for the capture of Kirchain and left with his comrades an inspiring example of gallantry in the face of formidable odds.

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Service

Rank

Division

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Company A, 38th Armored Infantry Battalion, 7th Armored Division

Conflict

Year of honor

born

World War Two 1945 Kingston, Ulster County, New York

Citation

He was a squad leader when the task force to which his unit was attached encountered resistance in its advancing on Kirchain, Germany. Between the town's outlying buildings 300 yards distant and the stalled armored column were a minefield and two bridges defended by German rocket-launching teams and riflemen. From the town itself came heavy small-arms fire. Moving forward with his men to protect engineers while they removed the minefield and the demolition charges attached to the bridges, SSgt. Dietz came under intense fire. On his own initiative he advanced alone, scorning the bullets which struck all around him, until he was able to kill the bazooka team defending the first bridge. He continued ahead and had killed another bazooka team, bayoneted an enemy soldier armed with a panzerfaust, and shot two Germans when he was knocked to the ground by another blast of another panzerfaust. He quickly recovered, killed the man who had fired at him, and then jumped into waist-deep water under the second bridge to disconnect the demolition charges. His work was completed; but as he stood up to signal that the route was clear he was killed by another enemy volley from the left flank. SSgt. Dietz by his intrepidity and valiant effort on his self-imposed mission, singlehandedly opened the road for the capture of Kirchain and left with his comrades an inspiring example of gallantry in the face of formidable odds.