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TOMINAC, JOHN

tominac john j

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 12 September 1944, in an attack on Saulx de Vesoul, France. First Lt. Tominac charged alone over 50 yards of exposed terrain onto an enemy roadblock to dispatch a three-man crew of German machine gunners with a single burst from his Thompson machine gun. After smashing the enemy outpost, he led one of his squads in the annihilation of a second hostile group defended by mortar, machine-gun, automatic-pistol, rifle, and grenade fire, killing about 30 of the enemy. Reaching the suburbs of the town, he advanced 50 yards ahead of his men to reconnoiter a third enemy position which commanded the road with a 77-mm SP gun supported by infantry elements. The SP gun opened fire on his supporting tank, setting it afire with a direct hit. A fragment from the same shell painfully wounded 1st Lt. Tominac in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. As the crew abandoned the M-4 tank, which was running downhill toward the enemy, 1st Lt. Tominac picked himself up and jumped onto the hull of the burning vehicle. Despite withering enemy machine-gun, mortar, pistol, and sniper fire, which was ricocheting off the hull and turret of the M-4, 1st Lt. Tominac climbed into the turret and gripped the .50-caliber antiaircraft machine gun. Plainly silhouetted against the sky, painfully wounded, and with the tank burning beneath his feet, he directed bursts of machine-gun fire on the roadblock, the SP gun, and the supporting German infantrymen, and forced the enemy to withdraw from his prepared position. Jumping off the tank before it exploded, 1st Lt. Tominac refused evacuation despite his painful wound. Calling upon a sergeant to extract the shell fragments from his shoulder with a pocketknife, he continued to direct the assault, led his squad in a hand-grenade attack against a fortified position occupied by 32 of the enemy armed with machine guns, machine pistols, and rifles, and compelled them to surrender. His outstanding heroism and exemplary leadership resulted in the destruction of four successive enemy defensive positions, surrender of a vital sector of the city Saulx de Vesoul, and the death or capture of at least 60 of the enemy.

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Service

Rank

Division

U.S. Army First Lieutenant (highest rank: Colonel) 3d Platoon, Company I, 3d Battalion, 15th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division

Conflict

Year of honor

born

World War Two 1944 Conemaugh, Cambria County, Pennsylvania

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty on 12 September 1944, in an attack on Saulx de Vesoul, France. First Lt. Tominac charged alone over 50 yards of exposed terrain onto an enemy roadblock to dispatch a three-man crew of German machine gunners with a single burst from his Thompson machine gun. After smashing the enemy outpost, he led one of his squads in the annihilation of a second hostile group defended by mortar, machine-gun, automatic-pistol, rifle, and grenade fire, killing about 30 of the enemy. Reaching the suburbs of the town, he advanced 50 yards ahead of his men to reconnoiter a third enemy position which commanded the road with a 77-mm SP gun supported by infantry elements. The SP gun opened fire on his supporting tank, setting it afire with a direct hit. A fragment from the same shell painfully wounded 1st Lt. Tominac in the shoulder, knocking him to the ground. As the crew abandoned the M-4 tank, which was running downhill toward the enemy, 1st Lt. Tominac picked himself up and jumped onto the hull of the burning vehicle. Despite withering enemy machine-gun, mortar, pistol, and sniper fire, which was ricocheting off the hull and turret of the M-4, 1st Lt. Tominac climbed into the turret and gripped the .50-caliber antiaircraft machine gun. Plainly silhouetted against the sky, painfully wounded, and with the tank burning beneath his feet, he directed bursts of machine-gun fire on the roadblock, the SP gun, and the supporting German infantrymen, and forced the enemy to withdraw from his prepared position. Jumping off the tank before it exploded, 1st Lt. Tominac refused evacuation despite his painful wound. Calling upon a sergeant to extract the shell fragments from his shoulder with a pocketknife, he continued to direct the assault, led his squad in a hand-grenade attack against a fortified position occupied by 32 of the enemy armed with machine guns, machine pistols, and rifles, and compelled them to surrender. His outstanding heroism and exemplary leadership resulted in the destruction of four successive enemy defensive positions, surrender of a vital sector of the city Saulx de Vesoul, and the death or capture of at least 60 of the enemy.