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McCALL, THOMAS

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For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 22 January 1944, Company F had the mission of crossing the Rapido River in the vicinity of San Angelo, Italy, and attacking the well-prepared German positions to the west. For the defense of these positions the enemy had prepared a network of machine-gun positions covering the terrain to the front with a pattern of withering machine-gun fire, and mortar and artillery positions zeroed in on the defilade areas. S/Sgt. McCall commanded a machine-gun section that was to provide added fire support for the riflemen. Under cover of darkness, Company F advanced to the river-crossing site and under intense enemy mortar, artillery, and machine-gun fire crossed an ice-covered bridge which was continually the target for enemy fire. Many casualties occurred on reaching the west side of the river and reorganization was imperative. Exposing himself to the deadly enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire that swept over the flat terrain, S/Sgt. McCall, with unusual calmness, encouraged and welded his men into an effective fighting unit. He then led them forward across the muddy, exposed terrain. Skillfully he guided his men through a barbed-wire entanglement to reach a road where he personally placed the weapons of his two squads into positions of vantage, covering the battalion's front. A shell landed near one of the positions, wounding the gunner, killing the assistant gunner, and destroying the weapon. Even though enemy shells were falling dangerously near, S/Sgt. McCall crawled across the treacherous terrain and rendered first aid to the wounded man, dragging him into a position of cover with the help of another man. The gunners of the second machine gun had been wounded from the fragments of an enemy shell, leaving S/Sgt. McCall the only remaining member of his machine-gun section. Displaying outstanding aggressiveness, he ran forward with the weapon on his hip, reaching a point 30 yards from the enemy, where he fired two bursts of fire into the nest, killing or wounding all of the crew and putting the gun out of action. A second machine gun now opened fire upon him and he rushed its position, firing his weapon from the hip, killing four of the guncrew. A third machine gun, 50 yards in the rear of the first two, was delivering a tremendous volume of fire upon our troops. S/Sgt. McCall spotted its position and valiantly went toward it in the face of overwhelming enemy fire. He was last seen courageously moving forward on the enemy position, firing his machine gun from the hip. S/Sgt. McCall's intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice his life exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.

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Service

Rank

Division

U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Company F, 143d Infantry, 36th Infantry Division

Conflict

Year of honor

born

World War Two 1944 Burrton, Harvey County, Kansas

Citation

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. On 22 January 1944, Company F had the mission of crossing the Rapido River in the vicinity of San Angelo, Italy, and attacking the well-prepared German positions to the west. For the defense of these positions the enemy had prepared a network of machine-gun positions covering the terrain to the front with a pattern of withering machine-gun fire, and mortar and artillery positions zeroed in on the defilade areas. S/Sgt. McCall commanded a machine-gun section that was to provide added fire support for the riflemen. Under cover of darkness, Company F advanced to the river-crossing site and under intense enemy mortar, artillery, and machine-gun fire crossed an ice-covered bridge which was continually the target for enemy fire. Many casualties occurred on reaching the west side of the river and reorganization was imperative. Exposing himself to the deadly enemy machine-gun and small-arms fire that swept over the flat terrain, S/Sgt. McCall, with unusual calmness, encouraged and welded his men into an effective fighting unit. He then led them forward across the muddy, exposed terrain. Skillfully he guided his men through a barbed-wire entanglement to reach a road where he personally placed the weapons of his two squads into positions of vantage, covering the battalion's front. A shell landed near one of the positions, wounding the gunner, killing the assistant gunner, and destroying the weapon. Even though enemy shells were falling dangerously near, S/Sgt. McCall crawled across the treacherous terrain and rendered first aid to the wounded man, dragging him into a position of cover with the help of another man. The gunners of the second machine gun had been wounded from the fragments of an enemy shell, leaving S/Sgt. McCall the only remaining member of his machine-gun section. Displaying outstanding aggressiveness, he ran forward with the weapon on his hip, reaching a point 30 yards from the enemy, where he fired two bursts of fire into the nest, killing or wounding all of the crew and putting the gun out of action. A second machine gun now opened fire upon him and he rushed its position, firing his weapon from the hip, killing four of the guncrew. A third machine gun, 50 yards in the rear of the first two, was delivering a tremendous volume of fire upon our troops. S/Sgt. McCall spotted its position and valiantly went toward it in the face of overwhelming enemy fire. He was last seen courageously moving forward on the enemy position, firing his machine gun from the hip. S/Sgt. McCall's intrepidity and unhesitating willingness to sacrifice his life exemplify the highest traditions of the Armed Forces.